feelin’ the peer pressure…

So, there’s this here list being passed around these here interwebs: NPR’s Your Picks: Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books. I voted in the original survey, surprised that I had read as many books as I had – as much as I love science fiction, I’ve read precious little of it. And once I cast my votes, I thought that my duty was done.

But then the final list came out and all my UCF friends started posting their selections on their blogs, with Michelle doing the instigation, as she does. So now I’m feeling the pressure, the invisible Afterchool Special, “C’mon, do it! All the cool kids are posting their selections on their blogs! If you don’t do it, you won’t be cool and we’ll all sneer at you and laugh at you and tell the other cool kids that you still wet your bed.”

Well, I can’t have that. I mean, I haven’t wet my bed in years and I don’t even have to wear Depends any more. I can’t have all that hard work dashed!

So here is NPR’s top 100 list, with my notations marked thusly:
bold for books I’ve read
italicized for my personal top ten
(Unlike Michelle and a few others, I won’t be marking books I’ve started and abandoned, mainly because I have a thing against abandoning books – I will finish even some of the crappiest books, such as Wild Animus or The Architects of Hyperspace. Even if I haven’t gotten around to finishing a book just yet, I will eventually pick it up again, else it will nag on my conscience until it’s done.)

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien

2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
(Note: Douglas Adams. I love the entire series. If I could have his British snarky, off-the-wall baby, I would. ‘Nuff said.)

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
(Note: this was the first book to genuinely blow my mind. I graduated from high school in 1984 and was curious about all the hubbub surrounding the book, so I picked up in my senior year. Once I finished it, I sat staring at a wall for a good fifteen minutes, going over what I had just read. I try to reread it every few years.)

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
(Note: I’m not a fantasy fan, but I was already a huge fan of the movie. I love the book almost as much.)

12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan

13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
(Note: As soon as I finished 1984, I immediately checked Animal Farm out of the library and devoured it in one day. An amazing book.)

14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson

15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore

16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov

17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein

18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss

19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
(Note: My first Vonnegut book. Instantly I became a devout fan.)

20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
(Note: This barely missed my top ten list. Love the book. Plus it’s just a seminal piece of work.)

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
(Note: I read the first book, but didn’t continue the series. Just not my cup of tea.)

24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
(Note: I also love this book, but it just missed being on my top ten list.)

25. The Stand, by Stephen King

26. Snow Crash, by 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
(Note: Wonderful, icky, creepy and disturbing as hell. There’s no way I could not love this book, even if I didn’t exactly enjoy it.)

31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein

32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
(Note: Another book that barely missed out on my top ten list. So sad and disturbing, but so very wonderful.)

33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey

34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein

35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller

36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells

37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne

38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
(Note: Heartbreaking and wonderful.)

39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells

40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny

41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings

42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley

43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson

44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven

45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin

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
(Note: This sat in my bookshelf for many years before I finally read it. So happy I finally did.)

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 God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
(Note: My first hard science fiction book. Wow. Die-hard Niven/Pournelle fan ever since.)

62. The Sword Of Truth, 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 Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks

68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard

69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb

70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger

71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson

72. A 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 John Scalzi

75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson

76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke

77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey

78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin

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 M. 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 Gabaldan

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
(Note: This one hits close to home, as the building in which I work was destroyed in the book. Still a wonderful book.)

97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis

98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville

99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony

100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

20/100. Not great, but still better than I thought. I have read other SF books, but they didn’t make the list. Needs more Philip K. Dick, for instance. And the little Heinlein that I have read (Job and
The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag
) didn’t make it. However, I now have a list of books to read…right after I read the many books that I currently own and haven’t read.

My SF book list pushers:

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  1. I have read Pratchett, just not the books on this list. I’ve read Good Omens (admittedly because Gaiman was involved) and Interesting Times. I’m not averse to reading more of his work. It just hasn’t happened yet.

    Edited to add: Also, I’m just not much into fantasy. I do want to read Mists of Avalon at some point, because the King Arthur myth has always fascinated me, but that’s as far as it goes. I’m not even interested in reading any Tolkein – I’m happy enough with the movies.


  2. I’ve never had occasion to read a Terry Prachett book and have too many things on the stack right now to imagine I’ll get to one anytime soon. Sorry.


  3. You’ll love Mists of Avalon. Was in my top ten, so was happy to see it made the final list.

    And at the risk of Michelle shooting me, I don’t think I’ve read any Prachett either, at least none of the titles on the list. I know I don’t own any, and with the exception of some dreadful L Ron Hubbard series I ditched a few year ago, tend to keep most of the scifi/fantasy I buy.


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