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Top 50 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Meme

Because by now we all know I love lists, here is another science fiction one, found originally at Where the Wind’s Like a Whetted Knife.

Bold the ones you’ve read, strike-out the ones you hated, italicize those you started but never finished and put asterisks beside the ones you loved (the more asterisks, the more you liked it).

The Most Significant SF & Fantasy Books of the Last 50 Years, 1953-2002

  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

So that is only 16, which considering how much science fiction and fantasy I have read seems a bit poor. One could argue with some of the book choices, but I might leave that to another day. I must admit also that my enjoyment ratings in some cases might relate to the age at which I read most of these books – the majority was when I was 16 or under, which might have skewed my view somewhat. At least it indicates more books I should read, and perhaps some I might want to revisit. I loved the Foundation books as a teenager, and also really enjoyed A Stranger in A Strange Land when I was in my final year of school and my extension english topic was politics and religion in science fiction. And it must be said, I still love Douglas Adams.


4 responses to “Top 50 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Meme

  1. Andrew V ⋅

    You’ve never read the colour of magic? Goodness!

    • godardsletterboxes ⋅

      No, I really have never read any Terry Pratchett. I know, I know…. And Caves of Steel (and the robot books) are probably the only Asimov I haven’t read. And yes, I am very slack in the Philip K Dick and Arthur C Clarke areas….

  2. Becky

    As I went through your list, I was very proud of the fact that I have read the majority of the books on this list. I am currently reading another great fantasy fiction book titled, “Sea Clearwater” by Selene Cardenas that is, in my opinion, right up there with your list. It is new so if you haven’t yet heard of it you should check it out. This is the most imaginative thrilling book!

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