Monday, March 12, 2007


SF MagazineFrom Modulator, who in turn snarfed it up from Pharyngula, comes this list of “The Most Significant Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of the Last 50 Years.”

“Significant” is an interesting choice of words, but likely one that was made for a reason. It incorporates the idea that a novel may have an impact on the genre without necessarily being “good.” I’m sure I could have come up with my own list, given the time and assuming I really gave a Rat’s Ass - and chances are it would not have been much different than this one.

Books I’ve read are in boldface.
  1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
  3. Dune, Frank Herbert
  4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
  5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
  6. Neuromancer, William Gibson
  7. Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
  8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
  9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
  10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
  11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
  12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
  13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
  14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
  15. Cities in Flight, James Blish
  16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
  17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
  18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
  19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
  20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
  21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
  22. Enders Game, Orson Scott Card
  23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
  24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
  25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
  26. Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone*, J.K. Rowling
  27. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
  28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
  29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
  30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
  31. Little, Big, John Crowley
  32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
  33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
  34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
  35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
  36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
  37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
  38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
  39. Ringworld, Larry Niven
  40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
  41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
  42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
  43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
  44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
  45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
  46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein
  47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
  48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
  49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
  50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer
Hrm. I’ve read only 29 out of this list of fifty, which means I have a little catching up to do. Or maybe it means I’m not the SF geek I thought I was. Whatevvahs. But since I tend to favor SF over fantasy, it’s unlikely I will ever work my way through all of ’em.

Some of these books have been a part of my life since my Snot-Nose Days, notably Childhood’s End. And I have re-read several of them many, many times.

Which of these fine works of SF and Fantasy have you read? Which were your favorites?

*Note: Released as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the U.S., apparently because Scholastic believes American kids can’t understand four-syllable words.

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