Friday, July 23, 2010

100 SF book list

There is a list at Byzantium Shores of books all SciFi fans should read. Since I have nothing else to blog about, I'll do it.

Bold denotes read books, red denotes books I'm thinking of reading. I will also put some comments here and there.

The Postman – David Brin
The Uplift War – David Brin
Neuromancer – William Gibson
Foundation – Isaac Asimov
Foundation and Empire – Isaac Asimov
Second Foundation – Isaac Asimov
I, Robot – Isaac Asimov (to comment on all of them ,Azimov is the staple of Sci-Fi and all of his books should be read IMHO)
The Long Tomorrow – Leigh Brackett
Rogue Moon – Algis Budrys
The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury (too young when I read it to have any significant effect, maybe I should revisit)
Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury
Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke
The City and the Stars – Arthur C. Clarke
2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C. Clarke (I remember reading it, and that's it)
Armor – John Steakley
Imperial Stars – E. E. Smith

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card (Good first book, messed with my head,I don't remember reading the rest of them)
Speaker for the Dead – Orson Scott Card
Dune – Frank Herbert (Awesome books, love the whole Dune series done by F. Herbert, later works by his son are just OK)
The Dosadi Experiment – Frank Herbert
Journey Beyond Tomorrow – Robert Sheckley
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams (the same as Dune, the later books are less fun, but the Guide and .. The Restaurant are extreme fun)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick (I should at least read that)
Valis – Philip K. Dick
A Scanner Darkly – Philip K. Dick
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K. Dick

1984 – George Orwell
Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut (Should I read Vonnegut?)
Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut (I've never read Vonnegut either. What a hole in my literary life.)

The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
The Island of Doctor Moreau – H. G. Wells
The Invisible Man – H. G. Wells (Yes, I read all of Wells' works, another great story teller)

A Canticle for Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller, Jr.
Alas, Babylon – Pat Frank
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
A Journey to the Center of the Earth – Jules Verne
From the Earth to the Moon – Jules Verne
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea – Jules Verne (How can you possibly be a Sci-Fi lover and not read Verne?)

Old Man’s War – John Scalzi

Nova Express – William S. Burroughs
Ringworld – Larry Niven
The Mote in God’s Eye – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
The Unreasoning Mask – Philip Jose Farmer
To Your Scattered Bodies Go – Philip Jose Farmer
Eon – Greg Bear (actually a very very very interesting book)
Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton
The Andromeda Strain – Michael Crichton (Yes, I've read most of Chrichton's works)

Lightning – Dean Koontz
The Stainless Steel Rat – Harry Harrison
The Fifth Head of Cerebus – Gene Wolfe
Nightside of the Long Sun – Gene Wolfe
A Princess of Mars – Edgar Rice Burroughs
Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson (I only wish it wasn't so long, I am still third into the Quicksilver four months after starting)
Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson
The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester
Solaris – Stanislaw Lem (The same as Verne and Herbert and Azimov, LEM should be read!)
Doomsday Book – Connie Wills
Beserker – Fred Saberhagen
Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
The Word for World is Forest – Ursula K. LeGuin
The Dispossessed – Ursula K. LeGuin
Babel-17 – Samuel R. Delany
Dhalgren – Samuel R. Delany
Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes
The Forever War – Joe Haldeman
Star King – Jack Vance
The Killing Machine – Jack Vance
Trullion: Alastor 2262 – Jack Vance

Hyperion – Dan Simmons

Starship Troopers – Robert A. Heinlein
Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert A. Heinlein
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein

A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
More Than Human – Theodore Sturgeon
A Time of Changes – Robert Silverberg
Gateway – Frederick Pohl (Loved this book.)
Man Plus - Frederick Pohl
The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham (My first ENGLISH book I read, meaning not a Russian translation)
Mission of Gravity – Hal Clement
The Execution Channel – Ken Macleod
Last and First Men – W. Olaf Stapledon
Slan – A. E. van Vogt
Out of the Silent Planet – C. S. Lewis
They Shall Have Stars – James Blish
Marooned in Realtime – Vernor Vinge
A Fire Upon the Deep – Vernor Vinge
The People Maker – Damon Knight
The Giver – Lois Lowry
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Contact – Carl Sagan
Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand

Battlefield Earth – L. Ron Hubbard

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court – Mark Twain
Little Brother – Cory Doctorow
Invasion of the Body Snatchers – Jack Finney
Planet of the Apes – Pierre Boulle

I think I should reread some of the classics, or touch up on things I haven't read.


Eric said...

I haven't read most of these, but yes: you should read Vonnegut. Even if you decide you hate him, he's one of those crucial 20th-Century writers you should at least be passingly familiar with.

Ditto squared for George Orwell: aside from the fact that 1984 is one of the most influential and referenced works of the 20th Century, the man was just a genius at the English language. Although his most famous works can be treated as SF and Fantasy (1984 and Animal Farm, respectively), Orwell's a writer who should just be read for the sake of the English language.

And I have to put in a plug for Philip K. Dick, who, for all his flaws, is one of my favorite fiction novelists of all time. I suggest starting with Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep and/or UBIK (not on the list). PKD was, aside from being a great SF writer, someone who anticipated late-20th/early-21st Century literature: ambiguous, metaphysical, concerned with reality vs. perceptions of reality, etc. PKD was a writer whose work fits comfortably with "serious" and "literary" writers like Don DeLillo or Thomas Pynchon, even if those guys are admittedly better stylists. (PKD's work was hampered by the quantity of it: constantly broke, he took massive quantities of speed and wrotewrotewrotewrotewrote to get submissions in to feed the family--and much of his work suffered, accordingly. Additionally, as a writer for a pulp--as opposed to literary--market, he also found himself hampered by a need to write things that might sell even at the cost of what might have worked better. Still, brilliant writer.) The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is a difficult go, frankly. VALIS, on the other hand, is one of my favorite novels of all time. As for A Scanner Darkly: written during PKD's "personal" phase and drawing on his own experiences as an addict and hanging out with addicts, it's a pretty harrowing antidrug novel and really, really, really damn good.

Eric said...


Oh: personally, I think the original novella version of Daniel Keyes' "Flowers For Algernon" is much better than the expanded novel version, which feels padded and, as I recall, drags. (It's been twenty years since I read the novel, I have to add--I might feel differently about it now, frankly.) My personal recommendation would be that you look for that one in a collection of short stories (it's frequently anthologized) instead of picking up the novel (which can also be found under the alternate title Charly, taken from a movie adaptation of the work). That one's a pretty powerful and sad piece of work, too, in either form.

Konstantin B. said...

Thanks Eric. I've already loaded Electric Sheep on my eReader.

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