Top 50 Sci-Fi Books

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

  1. kennychaffin

    kennychaffin Man of Ways and Means

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    Yes. Why the heck isn't John Love's FAITH http://www.amazon.com/Faith-John-Love/dp/1597803901 on that list, it's certainly one of the better SF books I've read in the last decade! Sheesh! I am serious, it's a very good book IMHO.
     
  2. Hobbit

    Hobbit Administrator Staff Member

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    See: I'd quite like to see a John Scalzi there: takes Heinlein's style and gives it a contemporary twist.

    Though perhaps it is that similarity to Heinlein that makes it less likely to be on the list.

    Similarly: Is Embassytown the best of Mieville? I'm sure a lot will go for Perdido Street Station....

    And instead of The Windup Girl, why not an Ian McDonald instead?

    Got to say, though, that as it is from the Forbidden Planet shop's website, the choices will be UK-centric. Faith isn't here, sadly, unless it's on import from Night Shade. (Though the author is British.)

    Mark
     
  3. phil_geo

    phil_geo Rat Thing

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    I did a thread called Instant Classics about 3 years ago, and this is what people came up with:

    Old Man's War
    Hyperion
    Snow Crash
    Revelation Space
    Spin
    Altered Carbon
    Blood Music
    Night's Dawn
     
  4. kennychaffin

    kennychaffin Man of Ways and Means

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    That's just not right! :mad:
     
  5. Hobbit

    Hobbit Administrator Staff Member

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    It happens, Kenny. :)

    Faith's on my 'list-to-buy' through one of those internationally based Internet bookstores... will get to it eventually, just got a lot of other stuff first.

    See.... get free books and STILL buy.... ;)

    Mark
     
  6. hawkeyye

    hawkeyye Registered User

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    Thats a good list. I just finished Chasm City for the second time. Absolutely a must on any list, including this top 50 one here. Which it isnt. So it sucks.
     
  7. heretics fork

    heretics fork Curmudgeon

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    Yeah, that's a very good list for the most part. I wasn't a big fan of Spin but I loved the others.
     
  8. MMerle

    MMerle Registered User

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    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


    GREEN = have read
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012
  9. ian_sales

    ian_sales Registered User

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    Ones I've read are in bold...

    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. SF 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. SF 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. SF Masterworks: The Stars My Destination
    15. SF Masterworks: Flowers For Algernon
    14. SF Masterworks: Stand On Zanzibar
    13. Left Hand Of Darkness
    12. SF Masterworks: Babel 17
    11. Ringworld
    10. SF Masterworks: Timescape
    9. Childhood's End
    8. The Man In The High Castle
    7. SF 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. SF Masterworks: The Forever War
    1. Dune

    A bit of a random list - quite a few titles are in the Masterwork series though not mentioned as such like the others. Only Red Mars, but all the Helliconia and HHGTTGbooks? Have tried reading The Windup Girl, but can't get past the racism. Hate Fahrenheit 451 the book but love the film. Ironically. And there are some really bad novels on the list, like Foundation.
     
  10. owlcroft

    owlcroft Webmaster, Great SF&F

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    Yet Another List

    For myself, I find that selecting a "Best X-many" books is quite enough of a task; sorting them into some more or less exact order seems just imposible.

    There are also always questions of whether a given book or series is "sf" or "fantasy"; it's not always obvious. What, for example, is John Crowley's "Aegypt" series? So some of these may border on fantasy, but I feel them close enough to include.

    Well, using generous criterai on that question, and just going alphabetically by novel or series title, I'd cite these (which by chance rather than design total 51):

    "Aegypt" by John Crowley:
    The Solitudes
    Love and Sleep
    Daemonomania
    Endless Things

    "Anima" by M. John Harrison
    The Course of the Heart
    Signs of Life

    A Billion Days of Earth by Doris Piserchia

    "The Briah Cycle" by Gene Wolfe (a work with three major subdivisions)
    "Book of the New Sun"
    The Shadow of the Torturer
    The Claw of the Conciliator
    The Sword of the Lictor
    The Citadel of the Autarch
    The Urth of the New Sun
    Empires of Foliage and Flower
    (in the collection Starwater Strains)​
    "Book of the Long Sun"
    Nightside the Long Sun
    Lake of the Long Sun
    Caldé of the Long Sun
    Exodus from the Long Sun
    "Book of the Short Sun"
    On Blue's Waters
    In Green's Jungles
    Return to the Whorl

    The Deep by John Crowley

    "The Demon Princes" by Jack Vance
    The Star King
    The Killing Machine
    The Palace of Love
    The Face
    The Book of Dreams

    "Dies Irae" by Brian Stableford
    The Days of Glory
    In the Kingdom of the Beasts
    Day of Wrath

    Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman

    The Fifth Head of Cerberus by Gene Wolfe

    The Golden Apples of the Sun [stories] by Ray Bradbury

    The Green Child by Herbert Read

    "The Instrumentality of Man" by Cordwainer Smith
    Norstrilia
    The Rediscovery of Man
    [stories]​

    Islandia by Austin Tappan Wright

    Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter

    Past Master by R. A. Lafferty

    Pavane by Keith Roberts

    "Planet of Adventure" by Jack Vance
    The Chasch
    The Wanek
    The Dirdir
    The Pnume

    The Complete Qfwfq [stories] by Italo Calvino

    Report on Probability A by Brian W. Aldiss

    The Unholy City by Charles G. Finney

    "Viriconium" by M. John Harrison
    The Pastel City
    A Storm of Wings
    In Viriconium
    (aka The Floating Gods)
    Viriconium Nights [stories]​

    A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay

    Many are Oldies But goodies.
     
  11. Ropie

    Ropie Member of the Month™

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    I sought out, bought and read this one on your (indirect) recommendation, Owl, and hated almost every word of it :D I really wanted to like it as it's such a strange book, but although the words went in they made absolutely no sense to me. Shame!
     
  12. owlcroft

    owlcroft Webmaster, Great SF&F

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    Sorry about that.

    Alas. Well, differences of opinion are why they race horses.

    Apparently the late, great Ted Sturgeon once said of this novel: "If you only read one book this year, make it this one."
     
  13. Ropie

    Ropie Member of the Month™

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    I've read precisely 50% of those on the list. From it, I'd extract these 10 as favourites:

    Blood Music
    Rendezvous With Rama
    Red Mars
    Ubik
    The Death Of Grass
    Inverted World
    Day Of The Triffids
    A Canticle For Leibowitz
    Left Hand of Darkness
    Book Of The New Sun


    As SF lists go I think it's a good one - reasonably broad in scope but, I think I'm right in saying, ignoring anything that isn't American or English. I could happily read/re-read my way through that list and only hit a few bumps on the way (Cat's Cradle, MIAHM). Like a few others, I'm not a Dune fan and it wouldn't be anywhere on my list but it's still an important book.

    I'm surprised to see Timescape in the top 10 - is it really better than Left Hand of Darkness or Canticle for Leibowitz? I haven't read it but its reputation is not as prominent as the others in the top 10.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012
  14. INeedAUserName

    INeedAUserName Registered User

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    I was rather disappointed with Dune. I'd heard endlessly how it was the science fiction novel to read, but I found it rather average, bordering on boring through some parts.
     
  15. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    This is why we need a better rating system for books. I think I like Dune more than you but not nearly as much as some people seem to say they do. The story has a lot more "atmosphere" and less excitement or even ideas than a lot of other SF. So readers need to figure out what they like and we need the different characteristics rated in relation to some references.

    psik
     
  16. Hitmouse

    Hitmouse Registered User

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    Well, time moves on and innovative novels can seem mundane, trite, and clicheed in comparison to their successors. Allowing for the hype and hubris, Dune was pretty special when it came out in relation to its predecessors and its contemporaries, and in the perspective of the mid-late 1960s in general.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
  17. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    But I read it not long after it came out. I am not saying there is anything wrong with Dune because it is old.

    As far as I am concerned Revelation Space can't touch it, though I suppose it tries to have "atmosphere" also. It does not have characters that I could give a damn about.

    psik
     
  18. Chrysippus

    Chrysippus Registered User

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    That was my big complaint about Revelation Space too. Cool story, cool world, one-dimensional characters. Worth reading, to be sure, but not upper echelon stuff, I don't think.
     
  19. Shadowcharge

    Shadowcharge Shadowcharge

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    For good characters, read "Against Infinity" by Gregory Benford. Really gripping tale.
     
  20. INeedAUserName

    INeedAUserName Registered User

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    Oddly enough, I'm finding myself enjoying Dune Messiah. I really don't know what it is, but I like this one much better than Dune.