Sunday, March 11, 2007

Reading List

Just saw this meme developing over at Pharyngula (a terrific science blog), and thought it would be fun to see how my reading matches up. My guess is I'll be heavier on the SF and lighter on the fantasy, but let's see how it plays out.

Bold means I've read 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
Hmmm. Only 27. And more surprising to me is the number of books on the list I've never even heard of. And then there's the number of books on the list I think are horribly overrated. Oh, well. We can't all agree on everything.

It does strike me that I haven't been reading much SF of late. I've been a bit bogged down in a nonfiction book for a while, and need to get to something lighter.

If you feel like playing, the list is at The News Blog.


David Schuetz said...

These are always fun, but more frequently the lists aren't as useful as the discussion about what's *not* on the lists. Once every year or so there's something like this on Slashdot, and I occasionally search for those old discussions for good book ideas. Unfortunately, I rarely have the time to actually act on such information.

Oddly, the list of books I've read is almost exclusively a subset of what you've read, Chard. I've read numbers 1-4, 7, 8, 12, 22, 26, 27, 38, 39, 41-43, and 46. I also read #16 (The Color of Magic) but you haven't (and I heartily recommend the entire Discworld series, as it's often pretty good satire disguised as a collection of silly puns). Only 17 out of 50, but as you say, it's not really a "You Must Read These" sort of list. :)

A lot of those books which I haven't read I've at least heard of and would like to. The Anne McCaffrey I tried to read when I was far too young to appreciate them, and after reading Eregon recently I've decided that I should definitely read some of her stuff (and also the Earthsea stories by Le Guin), as they're both strong influences (stolen sources?) for Eregon. Avalon just never grabbed me, and 451 I've got but just haven't picked up yet. I've also heard a lot of good about I Am Legend. As for Benford, I kinda soured on him with the last few Rama stories, but I'm not sure how much of that was his fault and how much Clarke's....

Chard said...

Hmmm. I read the first of the Discworld series, I think, and it didn't grab me. I either borrowed it or tossed it, or maybe I'm thinking of something else entirely. But I don't have a copy here.

Earthsea is definitely on my list. I like LeGuin (as I think I mentioned somewhere in the blog).

Jan and I plowed through two or three of the Avalon books. I liked them, but they're too long.

And I never got through the rest of the Rama series. The first one exemplifies what I said about overrated books. I think I read two, but after the first, I was clear that I really didn't want to read them all. I must have read some other Benford, at some point, but I can't figure what.

Fahrenheit 451 is very, very good. I like Bradbury in general. I'm quite partial to his book "Green Shadows, White Whale," about his experience writing the screenplay for Moby Dick. But then, I would be.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of books that should have made the list, I'd say The Chronicles of Narnia are a huge oversight.

I do recommend LeGuin.

What's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone?