Top 50 Sci-Fi Books

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by The Master™, May 11, 2012.

  1. The Master™

    The Master™ Here with muffins!!!

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    I was reading the Forbidden Planet website today, and came across this curiosity... The Top 50 Sci-Fi books, you should read, according to them...

    Some interesting choices and some obvious ones...

    Personally, I have only read the ones in red:

    50. Embassytown
    49. Zoo City
    48. The Windup Girl
    47. Uplift: Book 1: Sundiver
    46. The Reality Dysfunction
    45. Cat's Cradle
    44. SF Masterworks: The Difference Engine
    43. SF Masterworks: Centauri Device
    42. The Drowned World
    41. SF Masterworks: Pavane
    40. Make Room! Make Room!
    39. The Player Of Games
    38. Altered Carbon (GOT THE BOOK IN MY PILE STILL TO READ)
    37. SF Masterworks: Dying Inside
    36. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Trilogy Of Four
    35. SF Masterworks: Blood Music
    34. S.F. Masterworks: Lord Of Light
    33. SF Masterworks: Rendezvous With Rama
    32. Zones Of Thought: A Fire Upon The Deep & A Deepness In The Sky
    31. Mars: Book 1: Red Mars
    30. SF Masterworks: Ubik
    29. Fahrenheit 451
    28. The Death Of Grass
    27. SF Masterworks: Inverted World
    26. SF Masterworks: The Female Man
    25. SF Masterworks: Helliconia: Hellonica Spring, Helliconia Summer, & Helliconia Winter
    24. S.F. Masterworks: I Am Legend
    23. Day Of The Triffids
    22. War Of The Worlds
    21. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
    20. A Canticle For Leibowitz
    19. Ender's Game
    18. Snow Crash
    17. Foundation
    16. S.F. Masterworks: The Stars My Destination
    15. SF Masterworks: Flowers For Algernon
    14. SF Masterworks: Stand On Zanzibar
    13. Left Hand Of Darkness
    12. S.F. Masterworks: Babel 17
    11. Ringworld
    10. SF Masterworks: Timescape
    9. Childhood's End
    8. The Man In The High Castle
    7. S.F. Masterworks: Gateway
    6. SF Masterworks: Dispossed
    5. SF Masterworks: The Demolished Man
    4. Neuromancer
    3. Fantasy Masterworks: Book Of The New Sun Book 1 & Shadow & Claw Book 1
    2. S.F. Masterworks: The Forever War
    1. Dune


    Shame that BrAVE NEW WORLD is missing from the list... :(
     
  2. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    Top 50 makes way more sense than top 10.

    psik
     
  3. DailyRich

    DailyRich Damn fool idealist

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    Really? I'd have a hard time arguing against that top ten. Maybe not all books I would have personally included, but there's nothing glaringly out of place to me.
     
  4. Danogzilla

    Danogzilla Couch Commander

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    How on earth can Dune be number one? I don't get it.
     
  5. Hitmouse

    Hitmouse Registered User

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    As meaningless as these lists are, this one has a high rate of hits. I reckon I have read at least 2/3 of these. Plenty of others I would add.
     
  6. phil_geo

    phil_geo Rat Thing

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    Top 50 how? In importance or readability, etc? Because I loooved Altered Carbon, but I wouldn't expect it to be on a list of the most important scifi works. But if it is a list of readable, popular books, I would not expect to see A Canticle For Leibowitz
    or War of the Worlds. I know, I know, some people here love those but that's not the point. If you look at sales, they are not exactly what people will be voting for these days.

    The point is the list seems to be kind of all over the place.
     
  7. vrabinec

    vrabinec Registered User

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    Mostly because of readability, politics and worms...It's not my no.1, but it's close. Obviously, the story was far better than the science of it, but ultimately, it's the story that counts. Though, I can see why a lot of people put it down with all the exposition and backstory it opens with.
     
  8. Hobbit

    Hobbit Administrator Staff Member

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    I would tend to think of it as a list rather than a ranked list.

    Why Dune at the top? Iconic. Recognisable both in film and book and TV series (which is probably why it's higher than say Foundation.) Multi Award winner. Influence on many other writers, who have since recommended it also.

    Of the list, I've read the ones in red below:

    50. Embassytown
    49. Zoo City
    48. The Windup Girl
    47. Uplift: Book 1: Sundiver
    46. The Reality Dysfunction
    45. Cat's Cradle (Long while ago!)
    44. SF Masterworks: The Difference Engine
    43. SF Masterworks: Centauri Device (Have to read, just not got to it, yet.)
    42. The Drowned World
    41. SF Masterworks: Pavane

    40. Make Room! Make Room!
    39. The Player Of Games
    38. Altered Carbon

    37. SF Masterworks: Dying Inside
    36. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Trilogy Of Four
    35. SF Masterworks: Blood Music
    34. S.F. Masterworks: Lord Of Light
    33. SF Masterworks: Rendezvous With Rama
    32. Zones Of Thought: A Fire Upon The Deep & A Deepness In The Sky
    31. Mars: Book 1: Red Mars
    30. SF Masterworks: Ubik (Tried it years ago, didn't finish it)
    29. Fahrenheit 451
    28. The Death Of Grass
    27. SF Masterworks: Inverted World (Have to read, not got to it, yet.)
    26. SF Masterworks: The Female Man (Have to read, not got to it, yet.)
    25. SF Masterworks: Helliconia: Hellonica Spring, Helliconia Summer, & Helliconia Winter
    24. S.F. Masterworks: I Am Legend
    23. Day Of The Triffids
    22. War Of The Worlds
    21. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
    20. A Canticle For Leibowitz
    19. Ender's Game
    18. Snow Crash
    17. Foundation
    16. S.F. Masterworks: The Stars My Destination
    15. SF Masterworks: Flowers For Algernon
    14. SF Masterworks: Stand On Zanzibar
    13. Left Hand Of Darkness

    12. S.F. Masterworks: Babel 17
    11. Ringworld
    10. SF Masterworks: Timescape
    9. Childhood's End
    8. The Man In The High Castle
    7. S.F. Masterworks: Gateway
    6. SF Masterworks: Dispossessed
    5. SF Masterworks: The Demolished Man
    4. Neuromancer
    3. Fantasy Masterworks: Book Of The New Sun Book 1 & Shadow & Claw Book 1
    2. S.F. Masterworks: The Forever War

    1. Dune


    A couple of those in black I'm actually not sure if I've read or not: if so it was a long while ago. I'm fairly sure I gave Dying Inside and Babel 17 a try, but really can't remember much about them. I suspect I didn't finish Babel 17, for some reason.

    Mark
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  9. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

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    I'd take out Hitchhiker's Guide and Ender's Game based on the fact the former is a rather overrated book and the latter is... Well, I'm not going into that because the staff will hit me over the head with a starship.

    It's also missing We and Nineteen Eighty-Four! How rude of it. No Do Androids...? either.

    I've read (Red for finished, Blue for unfinished, Green for own):
    50. Embassytown
    49. Zoo City
    48. The Windup Girl - Absolutely vile rape scene near the start.
    47. Uplift: Book 1: Sundiver
    46. The Reality Dysfunction
    45. Cat's Cradle
    44. SF Masterworks: The Difference Engine
    43. SF Masterworks: Centauri Device
    42. The Drowned World
    41. SF Masterworks: Pavane
    40. Make Room! Make Room!
    39. The Player Of Games
    38. Altered Carbon
    37. SF Masterworks: Dying Inside
    36. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Trilogy Of Four - Yawn.
    35. SF Masterworks: Blood Music
    34. S.F. Masterworks: Lord Of Light
    33. SF Masterworks: Rendezvous With Rama
    32. Zones Of Thought: A Fire Upon The Deep & A Deepness In The Sky
    31. Mars: Book 1: Red Mars
    30. SF Masterworks: Ubik
    29. Fahrenheit 451
    28. The Death Of Grass
    27. SF Masterworks: Inverted World
    26. SF Masterworks: The Female Man - Very, very tough going. And very confusing.
    25. SF Masterworks: Helliconia: Hellonica Spring, Helliconia Summer, & Helliconia Winter
    24. S.F. Masterworks: I Am Legend
    23. Day Of The Triffids
    22. War Of The Worlds - I just... stopped. That was it.
    21. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
    20. A Canticle For Leibowitz
    19. Ender's Game
    18. Snow Crash
    17. Foundation
    16. S.F. Masterworks: The Stars My Destination

    15. SF Masterworks: Flowers For Algernon - Very good story.
    14. SF Masterworks: Stand On Zanzibar
    13. Left Hand Of Darkness
    12. S.F. Masterworks: Babel 17
    11. Ringworld
    10. SF Masterworks: Timescape
    9. Childhood's End
    8. The Man In The High Castle
    7. S.F. Masterworks: Gateway
    6. SF Masterworks: Dispossessed
    5. SF Masterworks: The Demolished Man
    4. Neuromancer
    3. Fantasy Masterworks: Book Of The New Sun Book 1 & Shadow & Claw Book 1
    2. S.F. Masterworks: The Forever War - Got fed up with the constant sex scenes.
    1. Dune
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  10. Hitmouse

    Hitmouse Registered User

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    @Hobbit
    If you have not read The Drowned World or Babel 17 then I would suggest that you avail yourself of your nearest book retailer. You are in for a treat.

    Thoroughtly recommended. A pleasure to read and great SF.
     
  11. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    Started the green ones, never finished.

    50. Embassytown
    49. Zoo City
    48. The Windup Girl
    47. Sundiver I think #3 Uplift War is better than Sundiver
    46. The Reality Dysfunction
    45. Cat's Cradle
    44. The Difference Engine
    43. Centauri Device
    42. The Drowned World
    41. Pavane
    40. Make Room! Make Room!
    39. The Player Of Games
    38. Altered Carbon
    37. Dying Inside
    36. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    35. Blood Music
    34. Lord Of Light
    33. Rendezvous With Rama
    32. A Fire Upon The Deep & A Deepness In The Sky
    31. Book 1: Red Mars
    30. Ubik
    29. Fahrenheit 451
    28. The Death Of Grass
    27. Inverted World
    26. The Female Man
    25. Helliconia: Hellonica Spring, Helliconia Summer, & Helliconia Winter
    24. I Am Legend
    23. Day Of The Triffids
    22. War Of The Worlds
    21. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
    20. A Canticle For Leibowitz
    19. Ender's Game
    18. Snow Crash
    17. Foundation
    16. The Stars My Destination
    15. Flowers For Algernon
    14. Stand On Zanzibar
    13. Left Hand Of Darkness
    12. Babel 17
    11. Ringworld
    10. Timescape
    9. Childhood's End
    8. The Man In The High Castle
    7. Gateway I may have read this long ago but don't remember it.
    6. Dispossed
    5. The Demolished Man
    4. Neuromancer
    3. Book Of The New Sun Book 1 & Shadow & Claw Book 1
    2. The Forever War
    1. Dune

    psik
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2012
  12. Hobbit

    Hobbit Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks, Hitmouse.

    I know, I know.... too many books, too little time. :)

    My Ballard novels I confuse or amalgamate together: Crystal World, Drowned World, the Drought. Really must have another look.

    And Babel 17: I'm just not sure I have/not. As I said, I think I tried it when I was younger - 20 or so, I think. I remember at that time I hated Dhalgren, Triton was rather meh, and I think I gave up on Babel 17. But I'm not sure, and I keep saying I must try them again, now that I'm (much) older.

    They're on the list.... and I might even have copies around I've never got to...

    Rob's convinced I'm trying to read every Gollancz Masterwork re-release. Not quite there yet, but it is something I like to keep my hand in, even if it is to confirm/deny what I thought of when I first read them. :)

    Mark
     
  13. Hitmouse

    Hitmouse Registered User

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    Babel 17 is much more accessible and more fun than Dhalgren.
     
  14. Hobbit

    Hobbit Administrator Staff Member

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    LOL. Yeah, I thought so. :) I'm trying to think why I think I tried it but didn't finish it, especially as in those days I usually tried to finish everything I begin to read. (Doesn't happen so much these days... :) ) It was over 20 years ago, might be nearer 30, actually. I'm fairly sure I did start it, because I was going through a phase of reading Hugo and Nebula Award winners... But I can't remember a darn thing about it.

    Dhalgren was a challenge: I knew it would be at the time, but really seemed to be how I remembered most of the New Wave stuff: unfocused meanderings about nothing in particular, designed to shock rather than entertain and usually style over substance. (There are exceptions, I know.)

    Mark
     
  15. Seli

    Seli Registered User

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    Red for finished, blue for on pause.
    50. Embassytown
    49. Zoo City
    48. The Windup Girl
    47. Uplift: Book 1: Sundiver
    46. The Reality Dysfunction
    45. Cat's Cradle
    44. SF Masterworks: The Difference Engine
    43. SF Masterworks: Centauri Device
    42. The Drowned World
    41. SF Masterworks: Pavane
    40. Make Room! Make Room!
    39. The Player Of Games
    38. Altered Carbon
    37. SF Masterworks: Dying Inside
    36. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Trilogy Of Four
    35. SF Masterworks: Blood Music
    34. S.F. Masterworks: Lord Of Light
    33. SF Masterworks: Rendezvous With Rama
    32. Zones Of Thought: A Fire Upon The Deep & A Deepness In The Sky
    31. Mars: Book 1: Red Mars
    30. SF Masterworks: Ubik
    29. Fahrenheit 451
    28. The Death Of Grass
    27. SF Masterworks: Inverted World
    26. SF Masterworks: The Female Man
    25. SF Masterworks: Helliconia: Hellonica Spring, Helliconia Summer, & Helliconia Winter
    24. S.F. Masterworks: I Am Legend
    23. Day Of The Triffids
    22. War Of The Worlds
    21. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
    20. A Canticle For Leibowitz
    19. Ender's Game
    18. Snow Crash
    17. Foundation
    16. S.F. Masterworks: The Stars My Destination
    15. SF Masterworks: Flowers For Algernon
    14. SF Masterworks: Stand On Zanzibar
    13. Left Hand Of Darkness
    12. S.F. Masterworks: Babel 17
    11. Ringworld
    10. SF Masterworks: Timescape
    9. Childhood's End
    8. The Man In The High Castle
    7. S.F. Masterworks: Gateway
    6. SF Masterworks: Dispossed
    5. SF Masterworks: The Demolished Man
    4. Neuromancer
    3. Fantasy Masterworks: Book Of The New Sun Book 1 & Shadow & Claw Book 1
    2. S.F. Masterworks: The Forever War
    1. Dune


    So for a large part I've missed some recent books I still intend to read and a bunch of older books, about half of which I'm fine with never having read.
     
  16. Werthead

    Werthead Registered User

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    Bold: read.
    Italicised: own but not read yet.

    50. Embassytown
    49. Zoo City
    48. The Windup Girl
    47. Uplift: Book 1: Sundiver
    46. The Reality Dysfunction
    45. Cat's Cradle
    44. SF Masterworks: The Difference Engine
    43. SF Masterworks: Centauri Device
    42. The Drowned World
    41. SF Masterworks: Pavane
    40. Make Room! Make Room!
    39. The Player Of Games
    38. Altered Carbon
    37. SF Masterworks: Dying Inside
    36. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Trilogy Of Four

    35. SF Masterworks: Blood Music
    34. S.F. Masterworks: Lord Of Light
    33. SF Masterworks: Rendezvous With Rama

    32. Zones Of Thought: A Fire Upon The Deep & A Deepness In The Sky
    31. Mars: Book 1: Red Mars
    30. SF Masterworks: Ubik
    29. Fahrenheit 451
    28. The Death Of Grass
    27. SF Masterworks: Inverted World
    26. SF Masterworks: The Female Man
    25. SF Masterworks: Helliconia: Hellonica Spring, Helliconia Summer, & Helliconia Winter
    24. S.F. Masterworks: I Am Legend
    23. Day Of The Triffids
    22. War Of The Worlds
    21. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
    20. A Canticle For Leibowitz
    19. Ender's Game

    18. Snow Crash
    17. Foundation
    16. S.F. Masterworks: The Stars My Destination

    15. SF Masterworks: Flowers For Algernon
    14. SF Masterworks: Stand On Zanzibar
    13. Left Hand Of Darkness
    12. S.F. Masterworks: Babel 17
    11. Ringworld
    10. SF Masterworks: Timescape
    9. Childhood's End
    8. The Man In The High Castle
    7. S.F. Masterworks: Gateway
    6. SF Masterworks: Dispossed
    5. SF Masterworks: The Demolished Man
    4. Neuromancer
    3. Fantasy Masterworks: Book Of The New Sun Book 1 & Shadow & Claw Book 1
    2. S.F. Masterworks: The Forever War
    1. Dune

    An odd list in places. What the heck is Sundiver doing on there? It's probably Brin's weakest novel. Startide Rising and The Uplift War are comprehensively superior on every level (they're also festooned with awards and critical praise, whilst Sundiver isn't).

    I'm also really confused by their eligibility criteria. Why just the first half of The Book of the New Sun when the four volumes really do form one continuous story? Why not the omnibus of all four? And why the first four HHGTTG books when it's a five-book series but only the first two have widespread acclaim? Also, The Wind-Up Girl seems to be as much hated and loathed as it is acclaimed, which makes it an odd book to put in there, and Foundation being so high definitely makes the list questionable (it hasn't aged well at all).

    Also, isn't Harrison's Light a lot more critically-acclaimed than The Centauri Device (which I believe the author has disowned)?

    Also, no Beggars in Spain or Doomsday Book? And Timescape really isn't so good as to warrant a Top 10 spot.
     
  17. hawkeyye

    hawkeyye Registered User

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    I'm not seeing Hyperion on that list. List has no credibility if that's the case. I think Hyperion is on most people's top 10 list, let alone top 50. Just sayin...
     
  18. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    LOL, Hyperion probably would not make my top 100.

    But Neuromancer would not make it either.

    I am reading Diamond Age now. I think it is better than Snow Crash.

    psik
     
  19. kennychaffin

    kennychaffin Man of Ways and Means

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    Ha! No chance.

    Nor Neuromancer as psi says.. :)
     
  20. Hobbit

    Hobbit Administrator Staff Member

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    Like all these lists, they're there for discussion often as much as being seen as a 'quality' list.

    I'd agree with what was said above though: Timescape is a lot higher than I'd put it, I think Doomsday Book should be in there myself. Think there should be a Bujold in there myself, and Hyperion, if not Endymion.

    Mark