Monday, August 19, 2013

another book meme

I'm a sucker for a book meme, and even though I did one almost identical a while back, I'm following Lockwood's lead.

So this is flavorwire's list of 50 science fiction/fantasy books that everyone should read. Lockwood's rules: bold the ones you've read, * the ones you found particularly outstanding, / the novels or series you've only read a fraction of, that is, not finished. ? if you're not sure. Add notes as desired. Make a suggestion or two for ones they missed.
  1. Ubik, Philip K. Dick
  2. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card (this is a classic that I just never got around to)
  3. The Lord of the Rings trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkien (can I admit that I was sort of bored by all the songs and traipsing around?)
  4. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
  5. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
  6. A Song of Ice and Fire, George R.R. Martin/ (I read up to book 5 and then got irritated that at the ever-increasing universe of characters to the detriment of who I really cared about. In this case, I think the TV series is better)
  7. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
  8. The Gormenghast series, Mervyn Peake
  9. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, Robert A. Heinlein
  10. Kindred, Octavia Butler
  11. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
  12. Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny (I just read this a couple months ago and found it super annoying - he basically picks up the characters and moves them randomly for nine books)
  13. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke
  14. Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut* (this book blew my mind in high school. An all-time favorite)
  15. The City & The City, China MiƩville (I like everything by Mieville, but I think Perdito Street Station is much, much better)
  16. The Once and Future King, T.H. White (this is a classic, but I first read it when I was quite young and the animal deaths were traumatic)
  17. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley (eh, I read them but never got why everybody liked them so much)
  18. Zone One, Colson Whitehead
  19. The Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling
  20. The Time Quartet, Madeleine L’Engle (I must have been in the single digits when I read A Wrinkle in Time. I don't think it's aged terribly well, but I do still like the later ones)
  21. The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis/ (tried to get into these, probably read about 4 of them before giving up)
  22. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
  23. The Female Man, Joanna Russ
  24. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne
  25. Brown Girl in the Ring, Nalo Hopkinson
  26. Solaris, Stanislaw Lem
  27. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams/ (tried reading this multiple times, but it's just not my bag)
  28. The Dune Chronicles, Frank Herbert (this was a groundbreaking series. Unfortunately, I read it decades after the world of SF/fantasy had moved on, and it just seemed dated and silly)
  29. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
  30. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
  31. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
  32. Neuromancer, William Gibson
  33. American Gods, Neil Gaiman
  34. The Foundation series, Isaac Asimov
  35. Discworld, Terry Pratchett (I've read all five million books. They hit their stride after the first couple)
  36. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
  37. Among Others, Jo Walton
  38. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
  39. The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle
  40. The Drowned World, J.G. Ballard
  41. Witch World, Andre Norton
  42. Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury
  43. The Time Machine, H.G. Wells
  44. Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
  45. Little, Big, John Crowley
  46. The Dragonriders of Pern series, Anne McCaffrey (I read up to the point where the spaceship appeared and the books ran off the rails, so somewhere in the late nineties. I read all her older stuff, including a ridiculous [but entertaining] softcore porn story)
  47. How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Charles Yu
  48. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Patricia C. Wrede
  49. The Castle trilogy, Diana Wynne Jones
  50. The Giver, Lois Lowry (this came out after I was past the target age - I always meant to pick it up, but never did)      
So I got about half - not too bad. I do think a few fantasy classics are missing. I'd replace 47 through 49 with either The Stand or the dark tower series by Stephen King, something from Lovecraft, and (for a newer author), something from Brent Weeks.

So consider yourself tagged...


Lockwood said...

I find the Dune series is still one I go back and re-read every few years- the first four books. The later ones are weird. I agree on Song of Fire and Ice. When/If it's ever finished, I'll read whole series. Haven't bothered with Dances with Dragons, because I don't see any point if I have to wait for a decade for the next one.

A Life Long Scholar said...

Ok, which Pern book features "the point where the spaceship appeared and the books ran off the rails"? I just checked an on-line list, and can't see any ninth pass books I haven't read, and if a spaceship had appeared in one of the earlier passes it likely would have been remembered by the ninth pass (Lessa's time)...

Short Geologist said...

Sorry, I meant "when the spaceship appeared in the narrative," i.e. when they found the old spaceship in the south continent and started learning all about the tech. I liked the series as a straight high fantasy, not a sci-fi hybrid.