Thursday, August 25, 2011

NPR's Top 100 - Annotated and Commented

With nominations due to open next month for the Independent Literary Awards (for which I'm fortunate enough to be a Voting Member in the Speculative Fiction category), I thought I'd hop on the meme bandwagon and present my annotated version of the NPR's "100 Best SF/Fantasy Books."

The idea of the meme is to bold the ones you've read.

So, without further ado, allow me to present the list, and my progress in reading through it over the years (it's admittedly heavy on the Fantasy, and light on the Sci-Fi, but I think I've done rather well):

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien (classic)
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams (loved it, but #2 . . . really?)
3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card (sorry, can't get past his homophobic ranting)
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert (first 2 books)
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin (first 3.5 books)
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell

14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss (just the first - the second is on my TBR list)
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
(personally, my #1)
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King

26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller (in my TBR pile)
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
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings (wouldn't make my top 100)
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
(a dry, difficult read - I suspect it's listed more out of respect than love)
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons (this is a long-standing entry in my TBR pile)
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson (1st and 2nd chronicles . . . the last chronciles are in my TBR pile)
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
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

67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb

70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson (great book, but a little early to be making a top 100 list, in my opinion)
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
(I loved it, but I can't believe this made it, and the Dragonlance Chronicles didn't)
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 (first two books - the rest are in my TBR pile)
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson (so happy to see this recognized!)
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks (in my TBR pile)
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson (currently reading, so I'll count it)
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe (this is a long-standing entry in my TBR pile)
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn (if only Lucas had chosen to film this, instead of Episodes I-III)
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan (this is a long-standing entry in my TBR pile)
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
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
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
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis  (not after the crap that was Narnia)

As for notable omissions, I would have liked to see Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Melanie Rawn's The Dragon Prince, Weis and Hickman's The Dragonlance Chronicles, Lynn Flewelling's Tamir Trilogy, some Guy Gavriel Kay (The Fionavar Tapestry, if nothing else), and some L.E. Modesitt (Saga of Recluce or Spellsong Cycle).


  1. It warms my heart that you want to add Tad Williams to the list. Some of the others listed on there, I wondered how his were missed.

  2. More books omitted here than included, of course. I suspect NPR doesn't have hardcore SF and Fantasy fans, really, generating this list.