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This is a list of the 50 most significant science fiction/fantasy novels, 1953-2002, according to the Science Fiction Book Club. Bold the ones you've read, strike-out the ones you hated, italicize those you started but never finished, and put an asterisk beside the ones you loved, and add a question mark if you can't remember for sure.
Ganked from phoenixalpha.

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
This is one of four Heinlein novels I really don't like. One of the others was written at about the same time, and the other two much later in his dotage.
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
The movie was better.
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
I think you could make a better case for the Darkover novels, myself.
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
Heh. Now this is obscure...I read the original printing in Astounding SF.
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
A hundred years from now, people are going to regard him as the William Burroughs of science fiction, and no, that's not a compliment.
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
Can you say "unreadable poser"? I knew that you could.
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
22. Ender's Game***, Orson Scott Card
One of the few stories I know that was improved by becoming a novel - and the original story was pretty goddamn good.
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
24. The Forever War*, Joe Haldeman
I remember all the fuss when the parts of this started coming out in ASF. "OMGWTFBBQ! Soldiers having SEX!!! IN ANALOG!!!!111!!oneoneone111!!!!"
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
Here again, the movie (The Omega Man) was better.
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
Not actually his best work, but the one everyone remembers.
34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
You know, I think I may not have actually read this, but what else is there besides Norstrilia and The Instrumentality of Man?
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
Depressing, but not as much so as the movie.
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
This badly needs to be done as a Bruce Willis movie. What's that guy who did The Fifth Element doing these days?
46. Starship Troopers**, Robert A. Heinlein
47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
Elric. Daaarling. ^____^
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go*, Philip Jose Farmer

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Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
edwarddain
Nov. 18th, 2006 04:55 am (UTC)
I agree entirely about Ender's Game and it makes me think of something else.

In the same There will be war series of anthologies there was a series of short stories about vitual wargamers who had become sort of "trial by combat" lawyers - I can't remember the author and I'm too lazy to get up and look.

The author ended up compiling them into a novel that was horrible. the exact opposite of the Ender's Game result - which had been a shame because I'd always wanted to "read the whole thing" as it were.

Ugh. Thinking about gives me a bad taste in my mouth.
wombat_socho
Nov. 18th, 2006 05:34 pm (UTC)
William F. Wu, Masterplay. Yeah, that was unfortunate. On the other hand, Edward Hughes' Masters of the Fist was better than the sum of its parts. It would seem Wu (or his editor) just wasn't good enough to do a successful "fix-up" novel.
edwarddain
Nov. 18th, 2006 10:51 pm (UTC)
Yeah...
That was it.

It was so bad...
wombat_socho
Nov. 19th, 2006 12:48 am (UTC)
Re: Yeah...
*nods* The ending ruined it for me. He wins the battle, loses the war...and doesn't care? WTF?
rihan_elric
Nov. 18th, 2006 04:57 am (UTC)
Maybe I'm just missing it, but I'm not seeing any of the Chronicles of Narnia on there...not that I would necessarily list it on there, but I'm surprised its not.
wombat_socho
Nov. 18th, 2006 05:36 pm (UTC)
It's not on the list because the books were published before 1953. Oddly enough, when it comes to the classic works of fantasy, it's one I've never managed to find the time to read. One of these days...
rihan_elric
Nov. 18th, 2006 09:17 pm (UTC)
Ah, oops, missed the date part up there.

I've only read through it once....14 years ago, so I've pretty much forgotten most of it.
wombat_socho
Nov. 19th, 2006 12:32 am (UTC)
It seem to be one of those books "everybody read when they were a kid". I must have been reading Heinlein at the time, or something...maybe it was just that nobody suggested it to me until much later. *shrugs*
kawaii_shoujo
Nov. 18th, 2006 11:24 pm (UTC)
There are a lot of those I haven't read, but I think I'm going to put in my journal anyway.

Eventually. . .
wombat_socho
Nov. 19th, 2006 12:50 am (UTC)
A while back I set about trying to compose a list of the canon - things I think every well-read/versed fan of science fiction and fantasy should be familiar with. This would be a section of it...I think I gave up on the canon list because it just got too darn BIG. You could literally spend your life trying to get caught up.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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