Pharyngula

Tikistitch has put up a list of the “Most Significant SF & Fantasy Books of the Last 50 Years” (hey, as old as I am!). Put the ones you’ve read in bold — I’ve put my list below the fold.

The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
Dune, Frank Herbert
Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
Neuromancer, William Gibson
Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov

Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
Cities in Flight, James Blish
The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
Gateway, Frederik Pohl
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
Little, Big, John Crowley
Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon

The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
On the Beach, Nevil Shute
Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
Ringworld, Larry Niven

Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein
Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock

The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks (started it, but it was such appalling dreck I threw it away after page 3)
Timescape, Gregory Benford
To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

I read many of those when they first came out, compounding my geekery. Although they also seem to be a little sloppy in their timing: I Am Legend and More Than Human were written a few years before I was born, I’m sure.

Comments

  1. #1 Torbjörn Larsson
    March 10, 2007

    Allowing movies (since it is unlikely I will read a filmed book):

    The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
    The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
    Dune, Frank Herbert
    Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
    A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
    Neuromancer, William Gibson
    Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick

    The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
    Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
    The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
    A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
    The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
    Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
    Cities in Flight, James Blish
    The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
    Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
    Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
    The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
    Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
    Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
    Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card

    The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
    The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
    Gateway, Frederik Pohl
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
    I Am Legend, Richard Matheson

    Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
    The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
    Little, Big, John Crowley
    Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
    The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
    Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
    More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
    The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
    On the Beach, Nevil Shute
    Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
    Ringworld, Larry Niven
    Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
    The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
    Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut

    Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
    Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
    The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
    Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein

    Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
    The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
    Timescape, Gregory Benford
    To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

  2. #2 Torbjörn Larsson
    March 10, 2007

    I might as well pitch in for good books:

    Strong and/or unconventional:
    The Stars My Destination, Bester.
    Riverworld, Farmer.
    Time enough for love, Heinlein
    Ender’s game, Card (But only Ender’s game by Card.)
    Anvil of Stars, Bear

    Basic:
    I, Robot, Asimov
    Reality Dysfunction trilogy, Hamilton
    Uplift, Brin

    Much of anything of Moore, Vinge and van Voigt are also good reads for one reason or other.

  3. #3 Torbjörn Larsson
    March 11, 2007

    If you’re a 16 yr old 96 pound male weakling who gets sand kicked in his face at the beach and needs a violent wet dream fantasy to make you feel really powerful and important Ender was fabricated for the likes of you. If you’re a reasonably adjusted grownup – sorry, it’s just too late.

    Interesting that Ender’s Game is so polarizing. That is one reading.

    The other is that it shows how innocent children gets isolated, perverted and made into soldiers and killers. Sort of the shakeup the “Lord of the Flies” gives, but as scifi and with the added perversion of grownups promoting it.

  4. #4 Bunjo
    March 11, 2007

    Ook! Ook!

    Just in case I didn’t stress my regard for the Terry Pratchett books enough, I’m also recommending 3 of his fiction/non-fiction works jointly written with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen – the Science of Discworld I, II, and III. Whilst best read in order, they can be read separately if you have at least some knowledge of Discworld.

    They are supportive of good science and the latest one (tSoDWIII) is subtitled “Darwin’s Watch”. Without giving too much away it is about Paley’s watch, Charles Darwin, The Theology of Species and the Reverend Richard Dawkins…

  5. #5 Torbjörn Larsson
    March 13, 2007

    There are additional clues in the sequels and in his real-world politics.

    I purposefully excluded the sequels. As some has noted, in this view he reengineered his world in them.

    And I thank Patrick for explaining the reason for the polarity in views about “Ender’s Game” in comment #126.

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