The Gross National Debt

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top 100 SF and fantasy novels according to me

My top 100 SF-Fantasy. Some of these are series, but some of the individual books are better than others. Where I can’t say one book is better than the others, I list the series as a single entry, so the list is actually more than 100.

My list. YMMV

1) Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

2) Stand on Zanzibar - John Brunner

3) Ender’s Game - Orson Scott Card

4) Dune - Frank Herbert

4) Roadmarks - Roger Zelazny

5) Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert A. Heinlein

5) Trumps of Doom - Zelazny

6) Jagged Orbit - Brunner

7) Foundation (series) - Issac Asimov

8) Farenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

9) Space Odyssey series - Arthur C. Clarke

10) remaining Dune Chronicles - Herbert

11) Piknik na Obochine (Roadside Picnic) -- Arkadi & Boris Strugatsky
 (This is in Russian so finding an English translation may take you a bit. I consider this a MUST read for die hard SF fans. For that matter, I consider everything in the top 20 to be pretty much required reading.)

12) Barlowe’s Guide to Extra-Terrerestrials - Wayne Douglas Barlowe (mine is the ONLY SF list to put this in the top 100. Why? This book is a critical work for SF fans.)

12) The Fafherd and Grey Mouser (series) - Fritz Leiber

13) Equal Rites - Terry Prachett

14) Nemesis - Asimov

15) The remainder of the Amber series - Zelazny

16) The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Heinlein

17) Hyperion (series) - Dan Simmons

18) Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman

19) The Vorkosigan Saga - Lois McMaster Bujold

20) The Dresden Files (Series) - Jim Butcher

21) Guns of the South - Harry Turtledove

22) Bored of the Rings - Henry N. Beard and Douglas C. Kenney,

23) The X-Men (Comic book series) - various with some far better than others

24) A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court - Mark Twain

25) Gulliver’s Travels - Jonathan Swift

26) Warlord of Mars - Edgar Rice Burroughs

27) Thieves World (Series) - various

28) Dracula - Bran Stoker

29) Beowulf - unknown

30) The Modern Prometheus (AKA Frankenstein) - Mary Shelley

31) Animal Farm - Orwell

32) 1984 - George Orwell

33) The Book of Skulls - Robert Silverberg

34) Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Adams

35) Life the Universe and Everything - Adams

36) Pern series - Anne McCaffrey

37) Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes (probably should be ranked higher)

38) Courtship Rites - Donald Kingsbury

39) Kiln People - David Brin

40) Across a Billion Years - Silverberg

41) The Rowan - McCaffrey

42) Wizard’s First Rule - Terry Goodkind

43) Jingo - Terry Prachett

44) The Man in the Maze - Silverberg

45) Conan The Cimmerian - Robert E. Howard

46) The Puppet Masters - Heinlein

47) Stainless Steel Rat (series) Harry Harrison

48) Hellstrom’s Hive - Herbert

49) Bill The Galactic Hero on the Planet of the Bottle Brains - Harrison

50) The Smoke Ring -- Larry Niven

51) The Bladerunner - Alan E. Nourse (not the movie or the other book you think of)

52) Mostly Harmless - Adams

53) So Long And Thanks for All The Fish - Adams

54) Time Enough For Love -- Robert Heinlein

55) The Galactic Milieu Series -  Julian May

56) I, Robot - Asimov

57) Methuselah’s Children -- Robert Heinlein

58) The Number Of The Beast -- Robert Heinlein

59) Watership Down - Richard Adams

60) Seventh Son - Card

61) The Time Machine - HG Wells

62) Ringworld - Larry Niven

63) Lord Valentine's Castle -- Robert Silverberg

64) The Coming of the Quantum Cats - Fred Pohl

65) Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency -- Douglas Adams

66) The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul -- Douglas Adams

67) Another Fine Myth -- Robert Asprin

68) The Cat Who Walks Through Walls - Robert Heinlein

69) Heart of the Comet -- Gregory Benford & David Brin

70) Practical Demon Keeping - Christopher Moore

71) A Spell for Chameleon - Piers Anthony

72) The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis

73) The Books Of Swords (series) - Fred Saberhagen

74) Phaze (series) - Piers Anthony

75) Howard the Duck - Steve Gerber

76) There is a book the title and author of which escapes me in which a stasis bubble was developed and used to travel forward in time and conduct a war.

77) The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury

78) A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess

79) The Forge of God (and The Anvil of God) - Greg Bear (NB - These are the only books by Greg Bear which I like. The rest I do not care for.)

80) The Dune chronicle series by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson (Important because it fills in gaps in the Dune series which so many of us have wondered about for years.)

81) The Princess Bride - William Goldman

82) The Stand - Stephen King

83) Most of the remainder of the Xanth series - Anthony. (Some of ‘em suck).

84) The Blue Devil (comic) - Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn, and Paris Cullins

85) Ambush Bug (comic) - Keith Giffen

86) Axa (comic) - Donne Avenell and Romero.

87) Ghita of Alizarr (comic) - Frank Thorne (also did Red Sonja)

88) The Once & Future King - TH White

89) The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

90) The Lord of the Rings trilogy - JRR Tolkien

91) Peter Pan and Wendy - JM Barre

92) The Ozark trilogy - Suzette Haden Elgin

93) Sluggy Freelance : Born of Nifty : Megatome 01 (comic) - Peter Abrams

94) Sluggy Freelance: Little Evils: MegaTome 02 (comic) - Abrams

95) Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH - Robert C. O'Brien (Children’s book, but still awesome!)

96) Gateway (Heechee Saga)- Pohl

97) The Mule - Asimov

98) The Horseclan series - Robert Adams

99 )The Positronic Man - Silverberg & Asimov

100) The as yet untitled SF novel I’m working on.

I could easily list pretty much everything Heinlein, Zelazny, Sliverberg and Brunner wrote in my top 100 and still be satisfied. Instead I picked their tops works to make room for other authors.

I did not list anthologies, except for Thieves World, but they all rank high on list.

Someone is gonna eyeball this list and attempt to make some inferences about  me. G’head. Lemme know what you come up with.

This is my top 100. I admit it may change as I read other authors and consider their work. While I did include a few classic literature pieces that to me are SF-Fantasy  (Beowulf) and not some others, it’s because I either haven’t read ‘em or did not like them. You pick which option you prefer as I’m probably never going to read any more of the “classics” like The Iliad because I was forced to read ‘em in school and so now refuse to have anything to do with them.

Favorite authors: Adams, Asimov, Herbert, Clarke, Heinlein, Brunner, Phillip K. Dick, Bradbury, Theodore Sturgeon, Clifford D. Simak, Kurt Vonnegut, Ursual K LeGuin, Poul Anderson, Sliverberg, Fred Pohl, Philip Jose Farmer, Larry Niven, Marion Zimmer Bradley. Tracy Hickman, Margaret Weis, Mercedes Lackey, Michael Moorcock, Terry Brooks, L. Ron Hubbard, A E Van Vogt, Gordon Dickson, David Eddings, Alan Dean Foster, David Drake (his Hammer series is pretty good), Spider Robinson, Ben Bova, Prachett and more whose names escape me.

I do not care for CJ Cherryh’s work. Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time series” is immensely popular but once you read one of the books, you have read them all. Besides which he had the bad manners to die before finishing the series.

I have read 1 book by George RR Martin and found it entertaining, but not worthy of my top 100.

For other examples -

I have most of these books.



And in case your wondering what is something you’d like to read, a flow chart -

I have also found that when buying used books, I look for the Doubleday SF imprint. With 1 exception, I have always been delighted with Doubleday’s stuff. The one exception was merely OK. Dunno if you have discount dollar stores where you live. Sometimes these places have a book rack where you can buy new SF books for a buck or so. They were remaindered and the publisher is trying to get some money from ‘em.

I’ve picked up some real dogs and picked up some winners from these racks. If you don’t go in expecting a lot, you’ll come out ahead in the long run.

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