12 October 2011

The NPR Top 100 SF/F List- or how geeky am I?

I started this post a very long time ago, after seeing someone else discussing the list. I'd seen the list posted on numerous SF blogs and newsfeeds, but thought it would be too much work. So instead I just took a long time to annotate it. When I count the books I know that I have read (even though I can't remember them in my senescence), it's a few more than I had originally thought: 100-29=71 read.

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien--- What can I say? I think I have read this more than 20 times. In storage, I must have at least 5 separate copies, bought when I couldn't access one for a period of time. (I'm still looking for a copy of the Barbara Remington triptyche cover poster-seen above- in good condition: anyone who knows where I can buy one would make me very happy...).

2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams--- Didn't everyone read this at least once- perhaps in college? I played the Infocom game as well.

3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card--- Read and enjoyed this when it came out and before I knew Card's personal views (which ruined his writing for me). It was a really cutting edge book at the time.

4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert--- I'm counting this, although I certainly haven't read all the books put out under this rubric. The first was a classic, the second good, the third a waste and everything after that worth avoiding.

5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin: have the first, have the series waiting to be seen. Haven't read it yet

6. 1984, by George Orwell: I love this book. One of those first dystopian novels I read which formed my humorless character.

7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury: I reviewed my re-read here.

8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov: I used to quote from this, as a smart-alec child. My cousin thought the Galactic Encyclopedia was a spin-off of the Britannica for a while.

9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley: See #6.

10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman: nope.

11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman: Loved it. Read Thackery (highly recommend The Rose and the Ring) because of this. Read Lang and the Ruritanian novels because of this. Wrote away for the missing Buttercup chapter and have the movie on my DVR right now (and watched it last week and think I'll introduce the kids to it this month.)

12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan: Nope. Keep thinking I will, especially now that Sanderson has written the ending. But was this more important than The Belgariad? I guess I will need to read it to find out.

13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell: see #6 and #9.

14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson: Can I count this if I don't remember it? OK, I will.

15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore: Loved it, have it, read more Moore because of it. Saw the movie and rebought the graphic novel, too.

16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov: Classic. One of the many I read as I read my way through all the books in my public library that had atoms on their spines. Of course, everything by Asimov came early.

17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein: Still re-read it (and everything by Heinlein) regularly, although The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is his best.

18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss: not yet, although they have great reviews.

19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut: Like the Gibson, I know that I read it, but I can't remember the plot. I think I'll count it because I have owned and read everything by Vonnegut and after 35+ years, my memory has a right to be giving out...

20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley: Read, re-read, read about the literary scene at the time as well. Not to mention all the movies, from Karloff to "realistic".

21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick: Liked the movie far better than the book. Loved the movie enough to see a WR Grace ad about the debt. Loved the concepts enough to read more by Dick but be unhappy with his writing.

22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood: Thought it was well-done but was offended by her BS attempt to pretend she was not writing SF. Who is she to think herself better than HG Wells? (Although I understand that she has now "come out" about her SF writing.)

23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King- nope.

24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke: So long ago, I can barely remember even a bit of the movie. I did read all of Clarke published before 1982, though.

25. The Stand, by Stephen King:Oh, why did all the metaphysical stuff have to intrude into an absolutely fabulous end-of-the-world/epidemic story. Still read it multiple times and really like the 6 hour mini-series.

26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson

27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury- Of course. Beautiful writing.

28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut- as above.

29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman

30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess: This book gave me nightmares, interesting as the language was and although it tempted me to read more on the study of words. I actually couldn't watch the movie: it was too— I guess, I felt it too closely.

31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein: I still like it,and I am still a Heinlein fangirl. I even liked the movie, ridiculous as it was.

32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams: Read it when I was 12, and not since. But I remember loving it, though when I glanced at it recently I found it a bit pedantic and stiff.

33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey: read it (and all of McCaffrey's work through about 20 years ago) and loved it.

34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein: already mentioned my deep love for this book. I love this book.

35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller: read it when I read my way through the Hugos in my teens. Barely remember a word.

36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells: Read and re-read. Truly a classic.

37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne: Of course. Classic.

38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys: Read and even enjoyed, in a "required for school" sort of way.

39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells: Read many times, seen in many movies, fell in love with the musical and listen to it quite a bit. Saw it in London for its anniversary tour last year and can quote along with the words when singing/speaking it.

40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny: Read it (although there are many other Zelaznys I prefer) and actually have an omnibus on my side table of all 10 Amber novels (I think I only read the first 5 or so when they came out). Like the Dune novels, I stopped reading when I didn't find them as interesting: there are a lot of books out there to read!

41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings: Here it is. Loved these books and forgot how much I loved them. I'll be buying both series for pick up next time I am in the US (and yet I know, somewhere in my storage unit, in those 167 boxes of books, these books exist).

42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley: Read it when I was still madly loving Darkover, didn't love this.

43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson: on my TBR list, with several other books by him.

44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven: Classic, read with almost all other Niven novels and short stories (and he wrote some absolutely amazing short stories). He is still writing, but there was a period his work was just incredible.

45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin

46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien: I won't count it, because I know that I never read it straight through. I was young and excited when it came out and then disappointed. I dipped in and out of it.

47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White: Read so many times (and bought multiple times), in both its short and long versions. I make the kids watch the Disney version of the first section as well.

48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke: from my classic period I remember the shocker ending, but nothing else.

50. Contact, by Carl Sagan: It's been 30+ years! But not only did I read it, I know that I reread it when I was at Cornell and I saw the Jodie Foster movie too. No memory of it at all.

51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons

52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman: bought the book and read it after seeing the movie, which was wonderful. So was the book and its charming illustrations.

53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson

54. World War Z, by Max Brooks: read reviews and some blog posts, but not the book.

55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle: In credible book. Wrenchingly sad in certain ways. Adore it. Also love the movie and make my kids watch it with me (though they thought the "wave" part was scarey). The sequel was terribly sad as well and I prefer not to think of it. When I read it, "Shmendrick" was still an inside joke.

56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman: Yes.

57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett: see 60 below. Although this is a charming book and better than 60.

58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson: Yes, I read them all. But Donaldson's errors in discussing leprosy made me so angry that I actually threw the books at the wall a few times then gave them back to my then-boyfriend and told him all the ways that the book should have been re-written. In our defense, there weren't a lot of high fantasy sagas in existence at that point, so we were desperate for things to read.

59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold: All of them, as they continue? Why are some cited as a series and some as books? In any case, I read all of Bujold, all of the time. I love her Miles books, but her Chalion books are even better in some ways (fantasy, not SF, but really quite gritty).

60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett: Absolutely not the Pratchett I would have chosen. But I adore all Pratchett and, now that my Nortons and Francis' were destroyed by flood, his are the books I have in HC by unbelievably the most. In fact, I think I have all of Pratchett in HC, his videos and cartoons, almost all re-purchased or found in English and German so that the German can read them and I have Snuff on pre-order. I also go to Pratchett cons for fun.

61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle: Yep. On the gripping hand...

62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind: I ordered the whole series in last year after watching the TV series and loving in. Have only read the first this month and like it very much. I'll probably wend my way through the next ten books over the coming year and enjoy them (although not enough to give up all other books in between!).

63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke: Hated this book. Thought it was a total waste of a decent concept and only finished it because I have a strange masochistic bent when reading.

65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson: Re-read this two years ago. Matheson was a great writer. But I also loved The Omega Man with Charlton Heston: what a great period movie! The Will Smith re-make was incredibly violent- too much so for my taste.

66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist: Have a few, started reading one, put it down, now it's in storage and my TBR pile is a year high. Not interesting enough to me at the time.

67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks: What can I say? I actually wrote a book report discussing its similarities to Tolkien. Was this the first contemporary high fantasy series after LoTR was published in the US? I certainly thought so (I was in grade school!).

68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard: I haven't read all of these, but I read enough Howard that I think it should count. And the comics (which were why I found the books in the first place) and of course, Arnold. It's about to be re-made, I think? But the AS Conan movies were classics and I still love them.

69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb: Have read other books by Robin Hobb, under both her names, but not this series.

70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger: Have the book and the movie (on DVR). Not yet.

71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson: Have the book, haven't read it yet.

72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne: Read, re-read, read it on Kindle last year. Seen the movie multiple times and saw the re-make last month.

73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore

74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi: Great Heinlein-style book. The first I read by Scalzi before I read all the rest of his books and then started to read his blog regularly. I like his characters and I like his plots and I like his worlds: highly recommended SF.

75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson

76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke: Read and not remembered, with much of Clarke.

77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey

78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin: I am starting to worry about my brain as I realize how many books have left not a trace! Read and not remembered, 35 years later! But as I read the Wikipedia entry, I see that I owned and read the first pb copy, and the more philosophical aspects were definitely above my head!

79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury: I remember the beauty of the writing, I even remember the cover of the PB. But not the story.

80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire: I really thought I would like this, but I just didn't.

81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson: I have read a review of this series but it sounds so all-consuming, there is no way I am going to start.

82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde- didn't like the one Fforde I read, although friends keep saying I will.

83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks- read one book by his non-SF alter-ego, hit a line I found alienating and won't read anything else by him.

84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart: read everything ever written by Mary Stewart, adore her with a passion, and miss having her books on my shelves.

85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson

86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher: one of these days. It's intimidating that there are already so many books written and I have only read one. It's not cheap getting English language older books here in Germany.

87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe: Read these (although the only Wolfe I remember is a short story about Sand Kings). Wolfe was the man who taught me not to start reading a series until I could be assured it would come out relatively quickly (I didn't learn as I wait 18 years and counting for the next Chtorr novel).

88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn

89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldon: Loved her books, still reading them, waiting after her cliff-hanger ending for the next. Went to her reading (and bagpipe accompaniment) here in Berlin. Great stuff, time-travel and ley line fantasy with Scotland and early American history.

90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock: Read a few, never got into it.

91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury: Read all of Bradbury and this is a story (the title story of the collection which is this book) which I actually remember extremely well.

92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley: Really loved this not-to-the-current-vogue vampire story with a sun-loving baker. I'd love a sequel (And I think it deserves one) but McKinley famously bashes anyone asking. Still a great read and a precursor to Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews success in the same tone and field.

93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge: Have read all of Vinge. Don't remember it.

94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov: Incredibly good classic Asimov. Just amazing stuff that anyone who says they read SF cannot pass by.

95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson: They were given to me and I read them. Ok. I'm not certain why I didn't like them more because what I remember should have been great (I like a certain type of hard SF). Perhaps it was a bad month in which I read them.

96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle: Read it when I read all of Niven. Good stuff.

97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis: I think that I have read just about every fiction and non-fiction book dealing with infectious diseases. Certainly did not miss this classic, which I read when it was printed.

98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville: Just read his City and the City and greatly enjoyed it, so I'll need to dig this up to read it.

99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony: Read the first 10+. Would happily re-read them again if theyw ere on a shelf by me, but got increasingly light and pun-dependent as the series went on. Not in Anthony's top works, it's too bad if this is what he is remembered for.

100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis: I was quite young when I journeyed from Narnia through Hell (and the Screwtape Letters) and to that Hideous Planet. I was probably a bit above my head, but I enjoyed it and re-read them several times.

1 comment:

Christina LMT said...

Very impressive!

I'd recommend waiting on the Patrick Rothfuss Kingkiller Chronicles, simply because he's only finished two books and there were five years or more between them, I believe. I finished the first two and then was jonesing for DAYS and severely disappointed I couldn't go on with the series. Yes, they're that good. :)