?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Science Fiction Book Club 50 most significant "novels" - Terrafactive Armageddon

> Recent Entries
> Archive
> Friends
> Profile

URLs of convenience
Google Shared
Amazon wishlist
friends
more friends
even more friends
posting
Cat macros

November 15th, 2006


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
03:03 pm - Science Fiction Book Club 50 most significant "novels"
Yep, I'm a skiffy geek.


Stolen from rimrunner. Rant about what "novel" means is entirely my own.

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, italicize those you started but never finished, strike-out the ones you hated and put an asterisk beside the ones you loved.

NB: some of these are "novels" in the sense they were published as an omnibus book. Dangerous Visions, for example, is by no definition I'm familiar with an actual novel, as the stories are related only by the fact that they were theoretically unpublishable before Ellison bought them. The Rediscovery of Man is NESFA's posthumous collection of all of Cordwainer Smith's short fiction in one volume. Donaldson's First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant is a trilogy that appeared serially. Wolfe's Book of the New Sun is four novels (one of which won the 1981 Nebula) and a possible coda! I think why this annoys me is the inconsistency - why group Donaldson's trilogy but not LeGuin's Earthsea works, or Herbert's Dune novels, or the rest of Moorcock's Eternal Champion series?

*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 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. Last 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


I don't recall ever hearing of Children of the Atom before, although according to Red Jacket Press' blurb about Wilmar Shiras it sounds like something I'd like. I didn't hate the Foundation books, the Thomas Covenant books, or the Riverworld books (Philip Jose Farmer's TYSBG is first of that series) but I did find them tedious. I don't know where they got the "Last" from in the Brunner title, I'm pretty sure it's just "Stand on Zanzibar" in most cases. I'd be willing to give Dhalgren another try, since I was only 15 or so when I picked it up before.

(10 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:rechercher
Date:November 15th, 2006 10:14 pm (UTC)
(Link)
*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 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. Last 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

Snow Crash is a bit of a cheat, because I listed to an abridged version of it. I don't think listening is a cheat, just the abridged part of it.

Doesn't 1984 count as sci-fi? If so, I'm kinda surprised it didn't make it. (And I'm bummed I can't add it to my meager showing) And where's The Andromeda Strain???
[User Picture]
From:cithra
Date:November 15th, 2006 10:20 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I suspect the list is based on novels the SFBC offer for sale. Or "novels" as the case may be. They are fond of issuing omnibus editions.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:rechercher
Date:November 16th, 2006 10:41 am (UTC)
(Link)
If movies counted, I'd have to italicized strike through Mists of Avalon. Wicca? Sure. Incest? EWWWWWWWWWWWWW!
[User Picture]
From:cithra
Date:November 17th, 2006 12:20 am (UTC)
(Link)
Ah, but it's true to the Morte d'Arthur - blame the original, at least, please.
[User Picture]
From:rechercher
Date:November 17th, 2006 02:18 am (UTC)
(Link)
Fine, I'll say EWW to them both. I can't see any rational or emotional justification for incest. And don't tell me about Lot. That was icky too.
[User Picture]
From:cithra
Date:November 17th, 2006 02:26 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I'm going to ignore the implication that you think I'm trying to justify incest here, for the sake of peace, and simply reaffirm that it is important to know the context of what you are repudiating. In other words, don't blame MZB for part of the tale that originated with Mallory.
[User Picture]
From:rechercher
Date:November 18th, 2006 12:12 am (UTC)
(Link)
I'm going to ignore the implication that you think I'm trying to justify incest here

Say wha????

Hell, no. Not you. The author perhaps, but not you.

and simply reaffirm that it is important to know the context of what you are repudiating. In other words, don't blame MZB for part of the tale that originated with Mallory.
I hear you (I heard you the first time), but I don't really agree with you. At the very least, she made the choice to write about the story of Arthur -- she could have wrote about something else. So, no, I'm not going to hold her 'blameless'.

I don't like the word 'blame' anyway. She can write about it -- I don't have to like it. If the topic doesn't bother you, then it's probably a great book/movie.

[User Picture]
From:mcjulie
Date:November 16th, 2006 01:19 pm (UTC)

Sure, I'll play

(Link)
*1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien -- My favorite book. And yet, not science fiction.
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov -- It's funny, I really haven't read much Asimov except short stories.
3. Dune, Frank Herbert -- Stopped because I was bored. But I was twelve, so I've always been meaning to give it another try.
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein -- I didn't hate it, but I do think it's incredibly overrated, since he tackled many of the same themes better in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Which is my favorite Heinlein, in spite of the number of libertarians who cite it as an influence.
5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin -- I actually didn't like this very much when I first read it, as a fantasy-cravin' ten year old. I appreciated that it wasn't yet another LoTR ripoff, though. And what order is this list in? Why is Wizard listed before The Left Hand of Darkness? And why so much fantasy?
6. Neuromancer, William Gibson -- I liked it, but I have to honestly say, I didn't love it. Paul is a much bigger Gibson fan than I am.
7. Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke -- Another classic that I liked, but didn't love. I was too annoyed by the fact that it is imaginative, visionary, etc., but the sex roles are still appropriate to a 1950s sitcom.
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick -- This one is almost on the "love" list, but I've never re-read it.
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley -- It seems odd to me that I've never read this, but I haven't.
[User Picture]
From:mcjulie
Date:November 16th, 2006 01:20 pm (UTC)

Re: Sure, I'll play pt 2

(Link)

*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 -- I didn't actually like this one very much, and I assume it's on here only because it is the first Ringworld novel, not because it is the most important. I would have picked Equal Rites, the third in the series, and the first one with Granny Weatherwax.
*17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison -- Important, yes, loved it, yes, but you are right that it is not a novel. Definitely not a novel.
*18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison -- This book changed my life. But it's really, really not a novel.
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
*21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey -- Have to admit I loved this when I was younger. It doesn't seem as important to me now, but I did love it.
*22. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card -- He might be a right wing nutcase, but Ender's Game is a really good book.
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson -- I can't put a strikethrough it honestly, because I read it and liked it as a teenger. I do hate it now, though. I hate the way Donaldson never says "silver" when he can say "vermeil" and never says "green" when he can say "vert."
24. The Forever War, Joe 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 -- I do love this book. And hate almost everything else she's ever written. But the unending stream of shite doesn't make Interview a worse book. Really, it doesn't. Just like The Tommyknockers doesn't make The Dead Zone any less fabulous. And, speaking of which, The Dead Zone is a science fiction novel, and belongs on this list. So there.
*30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
31. Little, Big, John Crowley
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny -- I've read and liked a lot of Zelazny, but I've been on chapter one of this book for months. And if they're including series, which they are, the first Chronicles of Amber series belongs on this list.
*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 -- I suspect the majority of people who have attempted have not finished, and it makes me wonder what it's doing on this list if nobody's actually read it.
*42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
*43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
44. Last 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 -- Like the Covenant books, I didn't hate it when I was a teenager, but I think it's shite now.
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

I don't know what criteria were used for selecting this list, but I think I have some quibbles with their definition of "novel," their definition of "science fiction" and their definition of "important."
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:cithra
Date:November 18th, 2006 02:25 pm (UTC)

Re: Sure, I'll play pt 2

(Link)
I think the Sturgeon books were to come from Uly & Carol?

I am 99% certain that this list has the strange qualities of composition and omission that it does due to being drawn from the SFBC's list of titles. In other words, these are the 50 most influential SF "novels" that the Science Fiction Book Club publishes.

> Go to Top
LiveJournal.com