Saturday, May 23, 2009

Top 50 Science Fiction Novels



The photo is of Arthur C. Clarke



I just posted on this topic over on my department's blog, but if by chance you like lists and/or are looking for a list of sci-fi novels to work through, here is one:

http://www.epic-fantasy.com/

I'd describe myself as a reader who's always dabbled in science fiction, but I'm about as far from being an expert on the subject as Pluto (which is still a planet, in my opinion) is from Mercury. However, I know quite a few people who do qualify as experts, and they tend to have strong opinions that don't mesh with the opinions of other experts. Also, the fact that list rather loosely mixes sci-fi, fantasy, and more-or-less realistic fiction that is merely speculative (like On the Beach) is no doubt a bone of contention, like the bone that goes up in the air in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Please pretend the titles are in Italics.

I don't know of any well known poets who also dabbled in sci-fi writing, but I'm sure there must be, or must have been, some. Richard Hugo wrote one genre-novel--a detective novel with a great title: Death and the Good Life. Karl Shapiro wrote a realistic novel, Edsel. As far as I know, neither writer tried more than one novel. Poet Stephen Dobyns became a bona fide writer of crime fiction.

I'll just add that a lot of sci-novels have terrific poetry-like title. I mean, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,--what a great title for a poem that would have been! In cinematic form, it became Blade Runner, but you knew that.

Anyway, the list:

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. 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
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