Following the Latest Meme
I can’t remember if I first saw this at Tam’s or Roberta’s.
100 Greatest SF/Fantasy Novels
1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien – I read it every few years and think it is the archetype of all fantasy novels.
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams – I read the first book, but liked the BBC radio production better. I felt like it was written for middle schoolers.
3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card – I was blown away by this novel, but the original sequels were lame. Card got it right with the Shadow sequels.
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert – I think this is the greatest SF novel of all time – a true epic. The rest of the series were ok, but paled in comparison.
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell – I read this in high school and was paranoid for a month afterwards. Today, I’m afraid that Orwell may have been an optimist.
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury – Also read this one in high school, but don’t remember it that well. I may have seen the movie, too.
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov – Read this one in high school, too. I have fond memories of the trilogy, but not Foundation’s Edge. Haven’t felt like reading it again.
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley – I didn’t read this one until my 30’s. Enjoyed it, but don’t remember many details.
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman – I read this one because of the movie. It was okay, but the movie was excellent.
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell – I read this one in college. It’s like an Aesop’s Fable to explain the truth of Socialism.
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore – I enjoyed the comic and the movie, but do not believe it belongs in the top 100.
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov – I read this in high school, but haven’t felt compelled to read it again. Same thing applies to most of Asimov’s books.
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein – I read this in high school and a few times since, including the uncut version published after he died. I enjoyed it.
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut – I read this in college, but don’t remember it much. Same applies to most of the Vonnegut that I’ve read.
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick – I read this after seeing Bladerunner, but I preferred the movie.
22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke – I read this one in high school before seeing the movie. I liked most of it up to the ending.
25. The Stand, by Stephen King – Not a big King fan, I tried and failed to read this in my 30s. I was able to read the uncut version after enjoying the mini-series.
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury – Read it in high school (see the pattern). Vaguely remember the tv mini-series. Enjoyed parts of it.
28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut – My favorite Vonnegut, but still wouldn’t have included it in this list.
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess – Read it in college before seeing the movie. Very disturbing and surprisingly prophetic.
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein – Read it in high school and several times sense. The movie destroyed any good will I had toward Verhoeven since Robocop.
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams – I read this in a college English class and was very pleasantly surprised. Have tried to get my kids to read it without success.
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey – I read the trilogy and Moreta’s Ride. I remember Moreta’s Ride as the best of the series.
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein – Read in high school and several times since. Probably my favorite Heinlein.
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells – Read it in college and saw both movies. I prefer the Rod Taylor version over Guy Pierce.
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys – Read it in high school and yes, it made me sad.
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny – I read these in high school and have fond memories of them, but haven’t read them since.
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven – I read this one and the sequel. Great concept, but not one of the top 100.
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien – tried to read this one, but couldn’t finish
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman – no, but I liked the movie.
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks – Loved it and have recommended it to anyone that likes zombies.
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman – Read it because someone had compared him to Heinlein. It was good enough that I read a few more of his books, but I can’t remember which.
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson – Getting through the first book was tough since the main character was so unlikeable, but loved the series.
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold – I’ve only read these within the past year. Baen has one book and one short story available as free ebooks and they hooked me.
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle – Read this in high school and once since, plus the sequel.
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson – Read in high school and many times since. I’ve also enjoyed all 3 movies. Definitely a masterpiece.
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist – Read this in high school, but don’t remember it very well.
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks – Read the first book only. Felt it was a pretty weak copy of Tolkien
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger – started the audiobook but couldn’t finish it
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi – Loved it and the Ghost Brigades, but gave up after the Lost Colony.
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson – Read it in high school, but don’t remember it.
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke – Read it in high school and again in college. Kind of dull, but in a realistic manner.
77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury – Read this in high school.
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart – Read this in high school and most of the series. Never read the last book.
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn – The best of the Star Wars novels.
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury – Finally, my favorite Bradbury. The movie was pretty good, too.
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov – Read in high school. If I were going to re-read some Asimov, this would be it.
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson – Started the first book, but didn’t finish it.
96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle – I have read this 4-5 times and recommend it often.
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony – Read this in high school and the next 7-8 books. Yes, I like puns. Why do you ask?
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis – Read this in a college. As a class assignment, I wrote a “missing chapter” for the third book.
50/100 – 4 of them only partially
So Nivens and Pournelle made the list a couple of times, but not for my favorite, The Legacy of He0rot. Edgar Rice Burroughs didn’t make the list for Tarzan or John Carter of Mars. Plenty of horror on the list, but no Bram Stoker or HP Lovecraft. Or Anne Rice (she is pretty much responsible for the surge in vampire novels for the past 20 years).
Probably half of the books on the list that I’ve read would not be on my top 100 list. Some of the books that I haven’t read may be finding their way into my library in the future.
I actually wish that I liked Douglas Adams. THGTTG was hilarious in parts, but I just wasn’t impressed with his writing. I think that’s why I haven’t been able to read any Terry Pratchett because their style is somewhat similar.
Well, everyone’s taste is a bit different. And for most of us, our tastes change as we get older. If time permits, I’ll try to put together my own top 100 (or top 50) list.