A list that includes M. John Harrison's Centauri Device, the author's own least-favorite work, and omits Signs of Life, Light, and Nova Swing (not to mention The Committed Men) is hard to take seriously.
So is the lack of anything by Jack Vance or Brian Stableford or Cordwainer Smith.
There are also quite a few books there by popular authors that don't belong on any "Best" list, though "Top" is a category a deal more flexible. But if it is, as stated, "Books You Must Read", Holy moly, what a joke.
That aside, it interests me that from this list you could claim that relatively little noteworthy s.f. has been published since about 1990. The last three entries seem like a stab at correcting that, but their positioning makes them look very much like a stab at balancing the list.
I know most of these by reputation and while I'd argue that Ender's Game is not as good as its reputation, it has an enormous reputation and has been an influence on subsequent writers as well as drawing in scads of young readers to s.f. Ditto Neuromancer: whatever its quality as s.f., it had a huge impact on readers who did not normally read s.f. and so brought readers into the genre. And the list includes a few titles that probably deserve discussion -- Pavane, Inverted World -- but would ordinarily be overlooked by most listers.
It's an interesting list and I bet we've all seen far worse.
Wow, I just noticed they picked Brin's Sundiver instead of Startide Rising. I have never met anyone who preferred Sundiver - it is universally considered his weak first novel and the debate is usually whether you should bother to read it or not before starting the award-winning Startide Rising. That is a big slip up.
I'm always quite amused by the outrage such lists generate: whilst there are books I'd choose to replace some of those chosen, and some authors I'd put higher/lower on the list, can't say I'm personally passionate enough about it to throw my things up in the air, metaphorically speaking.
We're not sure of the reasons for the choices: personal preference, popularity, award winning status, reputation, influence on the genre or whatever: which is why I tend to see these things as a list. Ultimately they're a list based on some sort of choice.
Yes: I prefer Startide Rising to Sundiver, but Sundiver is an introduction to the author. Cat's Cradle I've read but wasn't too impressed with it. Others love it, same as Slaughterhouse-Five.
Pavane was OK, but in my opinion not fantastic. Just because I say so, doesn't make it so.
They're a list for discussion, not definitive, IMO. As Randy said, not the best but not the worst.
And yes, I knew when I posted that that several people would post their preference for Sundiver, just like it has taken every ounce of control I have to not defend Neuromancer for the 100th time to the same people using the same arguments.
I enjoyed Cat's Cradle sir, therefore I demand satisfaction.
*searches for slappin' glove*
LOL. Apologies, heretic: see what I mean?I enjoyed Cat's Cradle sir, therefore I demand satisfaction.
Totally accept that others may like what I do not, and vice versa: our tastes sometimes will therefore differ.
But I'm sure we can agree to disagree, on this at least. Clearly you have the better (though clearly misguided) taste.
Perhaps, instead, we can have a think about what has been published since the 1990's that's worthy of inclusion. Randy feels that the list is rather thin on such books.
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.
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.)
I did a thread called Instant Classics about 3 years ago, and this is what people came up with:
Old Man's War
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....