Glenn's Junk Chest

An assortment of Glenn's writings, photography, gaming resources, flash movies, and other creative output.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Fun: The Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book Meme

One of the blogs I occassionally read (Chronicles of Bean) recently posted a copy of the Science Fiction Book Club list most significant SF novels between 1953-2006. I thought I'd take a break from pondering HDTV and participate.

The meme part of this works like so: Bold the ones you have read, strike through the ones you read and hated, italicize those you started but never finished and put a * next to the ones you love.

I'm doubtlessly way late to the meme party, but I couldn't resist such a tasty list of books.

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. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card*
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson*
24. The Forever War, Joe "Robot Jox" Haldeman
25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
27. The Hitchhiker’s 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*

A few interesting observations. My favorite books in the whole world are the first two books in the Harper Hall trilogy. They didn't make the list, but Dragonflight, set in the same world, did. My second and third favorites, The Chronicals of Thomas Covenant and Snow Crash, made the list at #23 and #43.

I quibble with #48 being on the list at all. I've read it, and it seemed way too derivative of #1 on the list to be seriously considered of significance. It's a fun read, and later books in the series are much more original, but still...

#4, and #20 almost earned strikeouts. I took a lot of valuable stuff away from the first, but didn't exactly think it was a fun read, and #20 was brutally difficult for me to get through. I kept thinking it was about to start making sense, and then I'd lose the thread.

I haven't read #28, but I did read a graphic novel based on it.

I was also pleasantly surprised to see how highly a Canticle for Leibowitz rated. It's a great book.


At 7:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Alex,

I noticed that #11-50 are alphabetical rather than in some "judged" order.


At 4:04 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Personally, I think that 11-50 are in a judged order and it's mere coincidence that they are also alphabetized.

I was glad to see Starship Troopers on the list, though I found this particular novelization of the movie to be too far from the source material. They should've stuck to what made the movie great and never added all that preachy politics. I feel bad for Paul Verhoeven, having his work perversed so badly.

Also, why is this Paul person calling you Alex?

At 4:44 PM, Blogger Glenn said...

Crazyness. I'm leaving my comment about Canticle for Leibowitz though, because it's a good book that probably deserves its 12.

At 4:48 PM, Blogger Glenn said...

Oh, and Paul calls me Alex because...

1. My full name is Glenn Alexander Austin.

2. When I was a child, my parents called me Alex, to avoid confusion with my father, Glenn Heath Austin. They probably could have called him Heath, but for some reason that never occured to them.

3. Paul's initials are PMS, which may have scarred his psyche.

4. Paul and I used to work together in the MIC. One day, someone took a phone call for "Alex", told the person at the other end that no one by that name worked there, and hung up.

5. Paul thus learned my middle name, which he decided he liked better than Glenn. Because of the aforementioned scarred pysche, he decided to remake the world in line with his preferences, and henceforth called me Alex.


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