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NPR’s Top 100 Sci-Fi Novels Ever

asimovfoundation

I really should read more Asimov. And Bradbury. And... yeah, you get the idea.

Locus Magazine reported on Twitter that NPR had done a listener poll asking people to nominate and rank the best 100 SF books of all time. Of course, this makes it a popularity content, but the 60,000 respondents were enough to represent an interesting sample size.

Here’s what they picked.

No huge surprises, although I was disappointed to see Ender’s Game, a book I enjoyed but feel is overrated, in the #3 spot. I was also surprised that Neal Stephenson’s books didn’t rank higher, and that Neuromancer, a pretty important book even in a post-VR world, didn’t make the top ten.

That said, this inspired me to collate (following NPR listeners’ rankings) my…

List of Important Fantasy & SF Books I Still Need to Read
(According to NPR Readers, Who May or May Not Be Trustworthy)

  1. The Foundation Trilogy, Asimov
  2. American Gods, Gaiman
  3. I, Robot, Asmiov
  4. The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood
  5. The Martian Chronicles, Bradbury
  6. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Heinlein
  7. The Mists of Avalon, Bradley
  8. The Once & Future King, White
  9. Childhood’s End, Clarke
  10. Cryptonomicon, Stephenson
  11. World War Z, Brooks
  12. The Last Unicorn, Beagle
  13. The Forever War, Haldeman
  14. Small Gods, Pratchett
  15. The Mote in God’s Eye, Niven/Pournelle
  16. The Road, McCarthy
  17. Old Man’s War, Scalzi
  18. The Dispossessed, LeGuin (just started reading this one a few days ago, actually)
  19. Something Wicked This Way Comes, Bradbury
  20. The Culture Series, Banks
  21. The Illustrated Man, Bradbury
  22. Red Mars, Robinson
  23. Doomsday Book, Willis
  24. Perdido Street Station, Mieville

But it shouldn’t surprise anyone to hear that I’ve got about two dozen books queued up on my shelf that I should probably get to before I run out & buy these…

  1. August 18th, 2011 at 01:46 | #1

    Wow… I feel this NPR list is pretty awful.

    LoTR at 1, and Elric at 90, tells you about how well this list handles mainstream versus counter culture in the fantasy department.

    Starship Troopers at 31 (at least it’s not top 10) and Forever War at 56? Sheesh.

    I enjoyed Ender’s Game as a kid, but looking back as an adult, it has some embarrassing gaps and a pretty scary moral compass.

    I like the Culture Series, but it’s way second fiddle to Reynolds’ Revelation Space, which isn’t even on the list. The Culture Series deserves its place, or a higher one, though.

    The Heinlein entries are Heinlein at his most militaristic and misogynist.

    Hobb’s Farseer trilogy lower on the list than Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series? Really?

    PKD’s only entry on this list is Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Pathetic, only on the list because of the movie Bladerunner, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Stigmata, Flow My Tears…, and The Man in the High Castle are ALL superior to Electric Sheep, and to most of the tripe on this list.

    I’m gonna way in here and say, consistent with my opinion of the list, the gap you should first attend to is Perdido Street Station. If you go the classic direction, The Forever War is a safe bet, also.

  2. August 18th, 2011 at 01:47 | #2

    Ha, “way in” = “weigh in.”

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