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There’s a new list of the Top 100 Sci-fi/Fantasy books that you should check out

August 11, 2011

NPR has released it’s list of the top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy books as voted on by readers who happened to have known about the vote. It’s a great list, and I have few problems with it. It’s slightly skewed toward current large fan bases I think, as Neil Gaiman has three entries in the top 50 and four overall. I love Neil, as you know, but Neverwhere is not the 48th best Sci-fi/Fantasy novel of all time. Sorry.

I also would have ranked both The Road and Something Wicked This Way Comes much higher than their current positions on the list. The Road is one of the best books I’ve ever read period. So I would easily put that in my top 10 on this list. Beyond that, it looks pretty good. I don’t know about having Dune or Ender’s Game in the top 5, though I know they’re both very popular.

And let’s face it, this is pretty much a popularity contest anyway. Although that speaks well of all you Sci-fi/Fantasy readers, because for the most part the list is made up of really good books (not that I’ve read them all). So at least in this genre, quality actually counts for something.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 11, 2011 1:36 pm

    Yeah, I’m not sure what the heck Gaiman is doing on that list with such regularity.

    Other thoughts:
    –I love Brave New World, and I actually think Aldous got it more right than 1984, but neither are really sci-fi or fantasy…rather, they probably belong in dystopia.(Same with Animal Farm)
    –I really wish Hyperion had been higher. It’s such a great story, a great world, and a great novel, it actually belongs in the echelons of literature.
    –The Forever War is one of those overlooked novels that should be stacked up next to the space operas that blithely disregards the rules of space and time…
    –Terry Goodkind. How the heck does anyone swallow that crap? He’s to fantasy what Stephanie Meyer is to horror and vampires.
    –Speaking of dystopia, I thought the Road was hugely overrated. A chilling story, but…well, it left me unfulfilled, disappointed, and, frankly, felt like a huge copout.
    –I Am Legend. A fantastic read that should be in the top 50, if not higher, rather than just a couple spots above Terry Brooks, who hasn’t come up with a new idea in well over a decade. Maybe two.
    –I’m impressed that Sanderson has made it onto the list. He hasn’t written his best stuff yet, and he’s relatively new, so that he’s on it at all, let alone more than once, is impressive.
    –Wicked? Really? O. VER. RATED.
    –I’m all about Star Wars, and I make far too many references to the original trilogy in my daily conversation to dodge accusations of nerdom, but the Thrawn Trilogy in the top 100? No thank you.
    –Glad to see Connie Willis on there, and so far down the list. She writes good fiction, but she is far too over rated by the Hugo awards. Also, she needs an editor who is willing to say ‘no.’

    That’s all I have to say about that.


    • August 11, 2011 2:04 pm

      I agree with you that Huxley was more right than Orwell. I’m still a big fan of 1984 though.

      Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. American Gods and Sandman belong on this list. Neverwhere and Stardust, not so much.

      I really, really enjoyed The Road. It’s a simple story written absolutely beautifully. It’s certainly not complex, and I actually think Oprah did it a disservice in labeling as something that it’s not; but I just love the way McCarthy writes.

      The Forever War is one of those books that I always think, “I should read that because I bet I’ll really like it.” I’m going to have to do that soon.



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