Friday, August 12, 2011

NPR's 100 Top Science Fiction/Fantasy Books

For this summer, NPR asked it's listeners to nominate & vote on their favorite science fiction and fantasy books.  They didn't do it alone, thank goodness, they had the assistance of a panel of experts.  

I've only read 15 of the top 100 books selected, though quite a few of them are made of multiple books.  So the actual book number would be much higher.  I do wish they would have made separate lists for science fiction and fantasy.  I think by combing the two genres, it does a disservice to both the readers and the authors.  I would have liked to see Guy Gavriel Kay & Mercedes Lackey make the list.  I also think a few names appear way too often, Neil Gaiman & Neal Stephenson being two of them.  Overall, I think it's a good list and includes some of my favorite books of all time.  It also includes a lot of books that have been on my radar for a while, now I just need to read them.  The one thing about this list I loved, no YA or horror.  So thankfully, Twilight did not make the list.

1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
3. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles by Frank Herbert
5. A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin
6. 1984 by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
12. The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer by William Gibson
15. Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
16. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
32. Watership Down by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
35. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
36. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
38. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
39. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
40. The Amber Chronicles by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad by David Eddings
42. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
46. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once and Future King by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold
60.  Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote in Gods Eye by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan the Barbarian Series by Robert E. Howard & Mark Schultz
69. The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way of the Kings by Brandon Sanderson
72. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
73. The Legend of Drizzt Series by R. A. Salvatore
74. Old Man's War by Jon Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
76. Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book of the Fallen Series by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series by Iain Banks
84. The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series by Jim Butcher
87. The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon
90. The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
99. The Xanath Series by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis


Helen's Book Blog said...

I've only read 8 of these books, but sic-fi isn't really my genre so that's not too bad!

KarenSi said...

I got 38. Great list, quite a few of my favourites are on there. Although I would class Dianna Gabaldon as romance not sci fi (although I know the author classes her books as sci fi).

bermudaonion said...

I've only read 3, but that doesn't surprise me - those aren't really my genres.

Bev Hankins said...

Thanks for posting, Ryan! I just had to re-post. I've racked up 37 so far.

Jill Buck said...

I've read 5 of them and we have a whole lot more in my house if I ever get around to them. This is more my husbands genre than mine. Diana Gabaldon is my favorite, but with all the other things going on in her books I really wouldn't class them as romance, maybe not totally sci-fi either, but it isn't like a love story that is going to be happily ever after at the end and there are so many different characters and storylines.

Simcha said...

This list contains all the usual suspects, and few surprises. Of course, The Lord of the Rings is at the top, though it's certainly not one of my favorites. But I am glad to see Brandon Sanderson here and Lois McMaster Bujold here. I do agree that it would have been better had separate lists been created for scifi and fantasy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for Posting NPR's Best SCI/FI I get their email..But cozier to read it on your blog and read your comments and everyone else's..

Anonymous said...

Had to Post again I have Read Seven..Some Many years Ago..But Am Obsessed with "The Outlander" Series".Time Travel,History.. So well researched .Just finished "Drums of Autumn" on to "Fiery Cross" if time allow's ..New Book Nov 2011 "The Scottish Prisoner" Not exactly in the correct order...

Anonymous said...

Had to Post again I have Read Seven..Some Many years Ago..But Am Obsessed with "The Outlander" Series".Time Travel,History.. So well researched .Just finished "Drums of Autumn" on to "Fiery Cross" if time allow's ..New Book Nov 2011 "The Scottish Prisoner" Not exactly in the correct order...

Anonymous said...

Sorry..No Idea what Happened : )

Alexia561 said...

Surprised that I've only read 16 on this list! And you're right, they should have had separate lists for science fiction and fantasy.

BTW, you can never have too much Neil Gaiman! :D

Staci said...

I've read 14 from this list and I have to say that some of those I read were my absolute favorite books of all time!!

LoriStrongin said...

I totally agree that they should've listed scifi and fantasy separately. They're such different genres and really can't be fairly pitted against each other. And yeah, how could they leave Mercedes Lackey off a list of the greatest fantasy books of all time. Hello, anyone hear of Pern???

And OMG, you haven't read any of the Xanth series or The Princess Bride?!?! Get thee to a library!


David Scholes said...

I think this is a pretty good list. No two sci-fi buffs will ever agree on such a lengthy list but the main ones seem to be there.

I understand that the list excludes young adult sci-fi and also is a "popularity" list rather than a "literary merit" assessment by sci-fi authors.

I've been reading sci-fi for many years now and this list certainly brings back some memories. In more recent years I decided it was time to give something back to the genre. Just look on the Golden Visions site for the "Alien Hunter" series by me.


Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Great list! I've already borrowed it and scheduled a post of my own for tomorrow. :)

Amanda said...

I posted about this list too. I've read 16 and then at least one book from 4 of the series listed. I always find the series ones hard. I mean that's a lot of books right there in the wheel of time series. I too am glad there are no YA but for some reason I always thought Watership Down was YA. I may have to read that now.