Skip to comments.Top 100 Science Fiction/Fantasy books
Posted on 08/11/2011 5:46:33 PM PDT by Tanniker Smith
More than 5,000 of you nominated. More than 60,000 of you voted. And now the results are in. The winners of NPR's Top 100 Science-Fiction and Fantasy survey are an intriguing mix of classic and contemporary titles.
A quick word about what's here, and what's not: Our panel of experts reviewed hundreds of the most popular nominations and tossed out those that didn't fit the survey's criteria (after we assure you much passionate, thoughtful, gleefully nerdy discussion). You'll notice there are no young adult or horror books on this list, but sit tight, dear reader, we're saving those genres for summers yet to come.
So, at last, here are your favorite science-fiction and fantasy novels. (And a printable version, to take with you to the bookstore.)
No Jack Vance on this list? Absurd.
The Man in the High Castle, Phillip K. Dick. Come on, a masterpiece. Farnham’s Freehold, Heinlein, really a classic. I recall parts of both of these novels today, having read them over 35 years ago.
You can stop there.
I noticed that they only mentioned the first, not the entire series.
Because they made a movie out of it that really blew?
I don't know. Military. NPR. Go figure.
I’m glad the Foundation trilogy made it in the top ten. My favorite of all time.
I like those fantasy books “I never thought this would happen to me...”. Oh.....not THAT kind of fantasy book. Sorry.
I agree some of the ‘top pics’ are just crap....Yawners.
I am surprised any of Heinlein’s books made an NPR list, he did not care much for pansy socialist types.
I really need to read “A Canticle for Leibowitz” I’ve just always wanted to read it because of the great title and never have.
Some of these I’ve read, and all of those have been good, although I wasn’t crazy about “Brave New World”.
“A Clockwork Orange” was one of the greatest reading experiences of my life. I’d recommend it to anyone. There is a glossary of the thugs slang and at the start you’ve got to turn to it all the time. But by the end you can pick up a new word’s meaning just from context. It’s like learning a new language.
And the first Dune book is also one of the greatest reading experiences, you are in a whole ‘nother world and yet it is complete.
I’m not a big sci fi/fantasy person, but there a a few things I would suggest, and admit it, they seem to have been pretty “big tent”. I mean “The Once and Future King”? But OK, going with all that....
No Blade of Grass by John Christopher, I read this years ago when my then sci fi loving bf got it for me. I don’t really remember the story, but I did enjoy it a lot.
Samuel R. Delaney, I had a short story collection by him and he was a very elegant writer. My recollection is that he wrote the single best sentence I’ve ever read.
Ridley Walker by Russell Hoban. “The heart of the wood’s in the heart of the stone” Something like that. I really enjoyed this book too.
Now, as I said, I’m not a sci fi person and if I re-read some of these I might find them objectionable for various reasons, so, you know, don’t flame me if you hate them!
But to me they were all great reads and I WILL see if I can get “A Canticle for Leibowitz” and also “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” for my kindle.
Maybe have a sci fi late august!
No. 67: The Sword Of Shannara Trilogy
It’s from the listeners and the folks that heard about it on the Internet. I saw it posted on both reddit and digg, and I’m sure it was elsewhere. Sorry that I didn’t post it here.
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy ahead of Dune and Foundation?
Nothing by Cherryh? Nothing by Vinge? No part of the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant?
A Star Wars novel in the best 100 SF/Fantasy of all time? Seriously?
A Clockwork Orange? [A great book, yes. SF/Fantasy, no.] Same comment for 1984, Animal Farm, Brace New World...
Handmaid's Tale?. Literally: WHAT. THE. F...?
I know it's NPR, but Le Guin ahead of the Silmarillion?
I could go on for hours with this. This is a disgrace.
Nothing by L. Sprague de Camp. One of the greatest fantasy writers ever. The Compleat Enchanter, wonderful. Must be read many times.
And no John Brunner? The Shockwave Rider? Extremely prophetic.
Oh, I forgot one that is really good.
Again I wouldn’t classify this as sci fi, but it is certainly dystopian like 1984 and as we all know nobody does dystopia better than the Brits.
“The Children of Men” by PD James.
Another great read, takes you completely out of yourself, into another world. I’d have a few quibbles with the author about this and that, but I would re-read this book and I don’t say that about too many that are not murder mystery brain candy.
I do not particularly care for “Lord of the Rings” being classified as Sci-Fi. I read all of the original 4, and thought it sucked.
Some of the others as well do not qualify as “Sci-Fi” in my mind, but it is not my list to determine. Fantasy & Sci-Fi are related, but I would not create a survey that equated them as close to the same sort of thing. They are not.
Fun source though.
Appreciate the thread.
I would have place “Lucifer’s Hammer” much higher on the list. Great book.
I am happy to see “the Foundation Series”. Very memorable story, well told.
I can't even guess how many times I've read the Dying Earth.
I’ve read 62.5 of these, “Wicked” being an unfinishable pile of flying monkey poo. I haven’t read any Brandon Sanderson. Is he as good as this list implies?
I must say I’m disappointed at the omission of Norstrilia- Cordwainer Smith is not as well known as his talent deserved.
John Brunner is conspicupus in his absence.
I agree Honor Harrington is a big omission but the Conan series is on the list.
I was happy to see Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson on the list as I didn’t think that was well known.
I would recommend the series by Daniel Keys Moran that includes Emerald Eyes, The Long Run, and Last Dancer. Tough to find as they’ve been out of print for twenty years.
Dying Inside (good for multiple reads)
The Book of Skulls
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