NPR Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books

Monday, August 22, 2011



Two weeks ago, NPR (books) posted the results for their list of the Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy books.  As they mention on their site, more than 5000 series/books were nominated (in June) and 60 000 people voted (from August 2nd to August 11).


If you don't know anything about NPR (as I did...) it seems that in addition to radio broadcast, NPR.org presents constantly updated news and alerts, timely news blogs, streaming audio, downloadable multimedia content, exclusive multimedia features (video and photojournalism), and free access to more than 10 years of archived coverage and transcripts to web users through NPR.org. Enough of free publicity :)


My first reflex, was to check whether or not I had read most of these books (the same as many other bloggers I think, who I will plagiarize and highlight the ones I have read).  Since I'm mostly a Fantasy reader with some background and several excursions in Sci-Fi, I can't say that I've read much of the titles the people voted for. Ok... so that list has to be taken lightly as with every list voted by readers but then, even when critics or influential people in the domain produce this kind of work, there's always someone to complain .At least, the voters were not afraid to vote for some recent works.  Usually, we find more titles that have proven their worth over a longer period of time but it's fun to have a glimpse of what people cherish in the genre these days.


I was really surprised by the presence of some titles like Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey... (it was not bad... but a Top 100???) but some of the series that became really popular are indeed in the list even though I think (don't forget, it's a personal opinion) they may not deserve to be in a top 100 or wouldn't be in mine... for example, The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodking (the second half of the series was... so disappointing but I know, the first book at least had its charms...) , Donaldson work (I couldn't even finish the first book), the Shannara Trilogy (felt too much like a ripoff of LOTR for me) or The Belgariad by David Eddings would be more fitting in a Top 100 YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi list...


Anyway, we would all have removed some books from that list and added some of our own.  No Abercrombie, Richard Morgan, Tad Williams, Scott Lynch or Mark Charan Newton is a crime!!! :)


So what do you think?  Interesting anyway?  Have you read much of these?

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
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
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
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
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

4 comments:

Laurie Tom said...

I've read 13 of them. Most of them I've heard of. A few I haven't. Regarding Dragonflight I'm actually more surprised it's not listed as Dragonriders of Pern, which as a series is hugely popular. Dragonflight was fun, but it wasn't my favorite.

Ghost said...

Of the top 20, I read about half of them and I must say "I, Robot" by Isaac Asimov should be a lot higher than 16. Also "Clan of the Cave Bear" should be on the list.
However I usually object to these sort of "Top of All Time" lists. There should be a time limit for list like these. Newer series like "Song of Ice & Fire" and "The Kingkiller Chronicles" are more well remembered by readers so they are placed higher than they should be.

Michael Offutt said...

This whole list by NPR is super political. I'm sure lots of pressure from the Big Six and the Big Six authors involved resulted in much of the manipulation I see in this list.

Pieter deVries said...

I have read about 30 of these... but I cannot agree with a lot unfortunately. Inclusion of the Belgariad definitely warms my heart a little.

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