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It’s What All the Cool Kids Are Doing August 21, 2011

Posted by Mitchell in Science Fiction & Fantasy.

The NPR scifi/fantasy book list! I saw this over at Leeann’s place. Nicole has her list up too. Dang, these gals are making me look like a total slacker. (Which I am, I just don’t like it when people point it out).

The deal is you highlight the ones you’ve read.

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien (I’ve read these books backwards and forwards and know the story by heart.)
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams (Great, funny stuff but I thought it kind of petered out a bit toward the end. His Dirk Gently series started out pretty strong too. Shame he died so young).
3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card (Haven’t read the whole series though.)
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert  (I’ll admit, it’s a hard series to get into and Dune Messiah nearly killed it for me. It picked up in Children of Dune and God Emperor blew me away. The rest of the books were great too. It really is a fantastic series. The other Dune books written by his son and that other dude weren’t nearly as good but I read them all anyway just to find out what was supposed to happen after Chapterhouse Dune.)
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin (Dunno about this series. I liked the Showtime series.)
6. 1984, by George Orwell (Read this on recently on my phone. What a depressing book.)
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov (Great classic series from one of the Old Masters.)
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley (One of the Big Three of dystopian future stories. I started it a few years ago, but haven’t finished.)
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman (I’ve read nice things about Neil, but haven’t read much of his stuff)
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell (Saw the movie, does that count?)
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson  (Have heard MUCH about this one and even looked at it in the store a couple times but didn’t pull the trigger)
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore (Well okay I didn’t read the comic book but I did see movie.  Hey, I had to look at Dr. Bluedong’s schlong for two hours don’t tell me that doesn’t count. Seriously dude, throw on a pair of shorts when other people around mkay?)
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov (I’ve read all the robot stories. Good stuff. Movie sucked.)
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein (I thought this was really good when I was younger but looking back I’m kinda meh.)
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick (I have a book of PKD’s stories including this one. I haven’t read any of them yet. The ginormous suckitude that is Blade Runner really puts me off.)
22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King (Oh Stephan King I will never forgive you for the way you ended this series.)
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke (Saw the movie, no interest in reading the book.)
25. The Stand, by Stephen King (I understand someone is interested in making this into a series of movies for the theaters. Good luck.)
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson (I’ve heard of this guy, but haven’t read anything by him.)
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury (For some reason I never got into Ray Bradbury)
28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess (The other one of the Big Three. For some reason the version in the U.S. leaves out the last chapter, which kinda changes everything. WTF?  LOVED the movie. Really horrorshow.)
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein (I keep reading how great this book is but I’ve never gotten around to it.)
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey (If this is the original Dragonriders of Pern series. Haven’t read much of  1000 other books she’s written about Pern. Come on Anne, write about someplace else for a change.)
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein (I may or may not have read this one. Just don’t recall.)
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 (What a great, sad story)
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny (Easily the most often re-read series of all time for me. He also did a follow-up series which was excellent too. RZ is my top all-time favorite SF/F author and I was greatly saddened when I heard about his death. He went WAY too early.)
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings (Good, but not great. I got burned out on Eddings after a while)
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven (Pretty much anything by Niven is excellent)
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien (Unless you’re a total Tolkien nut you’ll never get through this. It’s weapons-grade density.)
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White (Started when I was a kid. Never finished.)
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan (Not really sure why this is on here. This book was widely panned when it came out IRRC)
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons (Easily one of the most original writers out there. But on the front of each of his books needs to be the warning: “You must be This Smart to get on this ride” and then have to pass a test before you’re allowed to buy the book. Sometimes he makes me think I would not quite pass that test.)
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson (I guess this guy is a real hot shot as I keep seeing his name everywhere)
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks (No interest. Zombies = snoozzzzzzzzzzes)
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett (I’ve read just about everything Pratchett has written. Hell I knew about him before he got big.)
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson (And I read the second Chronicles (not as good) and I’m currently into the LAST chronicles of TC. SD promises this will be the last. He comes up with great story lines but MAN you gotta slog through a whole lot of thick writing to get there.)
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett (Not sure why this one gets singled out of all the other Discworld books though.
61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle (Classic hard SF. Really great book. Follow-up was good too.)
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 (I kinda burned out on Feist after this one)
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks (I read one other Shannara book after the first three and decided I didn’t really care about Shannara)
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard (Never got around to reading this one. Dunno why. LOVED the movies!)
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 (Mr. Maguire makes my top 4.)
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 (Didn’t care for it.)
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock (Partial credit, I finally finished reading the first three after 20+ years of trying. Two more to go. I read one of MM’s later Eternal Hero series previously and this always felt like I was on well trodden ground. Also there’s only so much of the crimson-eyed moody albino’s moodiness and bad temper before I get tired of him.)
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 (These were okay. Just struck me as a bit eco-preachy at times.)
96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony (I read a bunch of them but eventually got tired of them. He’s written other, better series like the Blue Adept books. At some point I just burned out on PA and I don’t even bother looking at his section anymore.) Great Caesar’s ghost! He’s STILL pumping these things out! #33 was published last year.
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

Boom, there it is.


1. Nicole - August 21, 2011

Going Postal I think probably got on the list because it was the most recent thing The Public had seen. People who didn’t discover him until recently and haven’t gone back to read any others. Personally, I’d put others on a list like this other than Going Postal.

As far as Song of Fire & Ice goes, I’ve only read the first one, but if you liked the show, you’ll probably like the book. It pretty much is exactly like the show, only the book fills in some gaps that you didn’t notice were there in the show.

Mitchell - August 22, 2011

I think I like the first two Discworld books the best. Back then everything was new and shiney and Pratchett was still figuring out where all the knobs and switches were.

I probably won’t pick up SoF&I. I have too much other stuff to read as it is.

2. JAM2 - August 21, 2011

hmm a notable missing, is Robert Asprin….
Phules Company and MythAdventures are just plain entertaining…

some punny shit…that there Lad…

Mitchell - August 22, 2011

Read much Asprin myself for several years then kinda lost track of him.

3. ooGcM taobmaetS - August 22, 2011

Missing – my personal favorite classic:

Way Station, by Clifford D. Simak.

Why they have not made this into a movie yet, I do not know.

Mitchell - August 22, 2011

Excellent book ooGcM! Which for some reason brings to mind an equally excellent book “Mission of Gravity” by Hal Clement.

4. Veeshir - August 26, 2011

Thomas Covenant absolutely does not belong on there.
It’s a cross between LOTR and Apprentice Adept except horribly depressing and nihilistic.

Mitchell - August 27, 2011

Heh. Yeah TC has some problems. I was going to write a bit about this series then didn’t. Your characterization of it as a blend of those other two series is brilliant BTW. Well done! This deserves a response post.

5. geoff - August 27, 2011

Hate these lists – you always think half the books are crap, and the lists are always biased toward the latest fad books.

Neuromancer‘s a pretty good read, although time has passed it by somewhat. I hated Stephenson’s Snow Crash but loved Anathem.

Thomas Covenant made a big splash when it came out because it was an adultish fantasy (very rare) with a complex, conflicted hero (who I found incredibly annoying. How many times can we talk about VSE or whine about our lot in life rather than jumping in?). I thought it had been forgotten, though.

Surprised to see the Codex Alera series up there – it’s fun, but I don’t think history will take much note of it. Kind of like his Dresden Files series (which is even more entertaining).

I guess nobody reads Lord of Light or Creatures of Light & Darkness anymore.

Mitchell - September 1, 2011

Yes, TC was easily one of the most annoying characters I’ve ever run across and Donaldson’s style is very thick. But, there are a lot of other really great characters and the overall storyline was really interesting. I guess there’s still interest in these books because he is still writing them.

Much of Zelazny’s stuff is out of print sadly. I think those two are still available though. Another problem is that his books are stuck waaaaaayyyyy down in the dark bottom-right corner. Not exactly the best place to attract the attention of new readers.

6. cmblake6 - August 31, 2011

I’ve read most of what you’ve read, but not all, and a lot of what you haven’t but again not all. The type of literature fascinates me.

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