The List is Done!

Circa 2005 I decided to stop reading so much trash scifi and start reading through the top 100 novels (based on a list I found on some random website). It took a decade but I did it! I am now officially a science fiction expert! Here’s my final summary of things.

 Best of the Most Prolific

Favorite Asimov: The Gods Themselves

Favorite Clarke: The City and the Stars

Favorite Dick: UBIK, though you REALLY should check out VALIS too.

Favorite Heinlein: The Door into Summer

Favorite Stephenson: Silly: Zodiac (it’s not on the list, I know. Read it anyway). Serious: probably Anathem? Honestly, it’s really, really hard to choose.

Favorite Vonnegut: The Sirens of Titan. But I still can’t actually bring myself to recommend it unless you just really are in the mood to fall into a pit of despair.

 My Top 17

(above authors excluded)

I don’t think I could possibly order these, so I’m going to sort them by date of publication.

  1. Brave New World
  2. 1984
  3. Earth Abides
  4. The Demolished Man
  5. Mission of Gravity
  6. Space Merchants
  7. A Canticle for Leibowitz
  8. A Clockwork Orange
  9. Roadside Picnic
  10. The Cyberiad
  11. Gateway
  12. The Book of the New Sun Tetralogy
  13. Timescape
  14. The Handmaid’s Tale
  15. Hyperion
  16. A Fire Upon the Deep
  17. The Time Traveler’s Wife

 Other Categories

Most Alien Aliens: either Roadside Picnic or Solaris

Most Interesting Time Travel Mechanism: The Time Traveler’s Wife

Best Soft-Fi: tie between Way Station, the Chrysalids, and Day of the Triffids

Most Disappointing: The Reality Dysfunction. It comes SO CLOSE to being utterly amazing.

Just The Worst: tie between Battlefield Earth (the only one I did not finish!) and Dhalgren

Books not on the list that darn well ought to be

  1. Nancy Kress, “Beggars in Spain” – what happens to the world when we genetically engineer people to not need sleep?
  2. Octavia Butler, The Xengogenesis Trilogy (Dawn/Adulthood Rites/Imago) – An entirely different take on “You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.”
  3. Charles Stross, “The Atrocity Archives” – cyberpunk spy thriller Mythos comedy. Why the heck haven’t you read this yet.
  4. China Mieville, “Embassytown” – for best use of exolinguistics I’ve ever encountered.
  5. Edwin A Abbott, “Flatland” – how this was not included in the original list is beyond me, it is a legit classic.

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