RSS Feed’s 100 Greatest SF or Fantasy novels

Posted on Thursday, February 18, 2010 in Uncategorized

Over on a post at last month (to which I was drawn by this Nashua Library’s “From the Reference Desk” posting) there’s a list of a “Greatest Science Fiction or Fantasy Novels of all time, along with a few words of commentary about each item. Now, such lists are often fodder for dissent or criticism: one could say, for instance, “Wow, that’s a lot of LeGuin or Vance or Wolfe,” or, “How does The Fountainhead fit this category?,” or, “Where’s Verne or Gibson or etc.,” but more to my point they are fodder for making a blog post. They also get me to thinking about how few books I’ve really read, or even heard of, especially anything SF since 1970 or so.

So without much ado, here’s the list. If the entry is bold it means I’ve read it. If it’s italicized it means I haven’t even heard of it (i.e., italics for ignorance). Others are just others. BTW, this list is just for my markup — do go to the original site and have a look at the list, with its cover photos and brief comments on each entry.

100. The Word For World Is Forest by Ursula K. LeGuin
99. Sorcerer’s Son by Phyllis Eisenstein
98. Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
97. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick
96. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
95. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
94. The Company by K.J. Parker
93. An Evil Guest by Gene Wolfe
92. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
91. Danny, The Champion of the World by RoaldDahl
90. Camp Concentration by Thomas Disch
89. Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner
88. Song of Kali by Dan Simmons
87. Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
86. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller
85. Sphere by Michael Crichton
84. Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin
83. The Alteration by Kingsley Amis
82. The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
81. The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
80. Watership Down by Richard Adams
79. Griffin’s Egg by Michael Swanwick
78. Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
77. Free Live Free by Gene Wolfe
76. Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
75. Ringworld by Larry Niven
74. Schismatrix by Bruce Sterling
73. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
72. Maske: Thaery by Jack Vance
71. The Mists of Avalon by Marion ZimmerBradley
70. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
69. Flow My Tears The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick
68. The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov
67. The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
66. The High Crusade by Poul Anderson
65. A Song for Lya by George R.R. Martin
64. At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft
63. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
62. Wildlife by James Patrick Kelly
61. The Book of Knights by Yves Maynard
60. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
59. Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman
58. Nightwings by Robert Silverberg
57. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
56. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
55. Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
54. The Book of the Short Sun by Gene Wolfe
53. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
52. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
51. The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
50. The Wizard Knight by Gene Wolfe
49. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
48. The Demon Princes by Jack Vance
47. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
46. The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson
45. Alastor by Jack Vance
44. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
43. Flatland by Edwin Abbott
42. Farmer in the Sky by Robert Heinlein
41. A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick
40. Animal Farm by George Orwell
39. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
38. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
37. Lyonesse by Jack Vance
36. Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein
35. True Names by Vernor Vinge
34. Ubik by Philip K. Dick
33. The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons
32. Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert Heinlein
31. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
30. A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge
29. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
28. More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
27. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
26. 1984 by George Orwell
25. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
24. The Cadwal Chronicles by Jack Vance
23. Lost Horizon by James Hilton
22. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
21. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
20. The Fifth Head of Cerebus by Gene Wolfe
19. A Song of Ice And Fire by George R.R. Martin
18. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
17. The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay
16. The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
15. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
14. All My Sins Remembered by Joe Haldeman
13. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
12. Planet of Adventure by Jack Vance
11. Dune by Frank Herbert
10. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
9. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
8. The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
6. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
5. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
4. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin
3. The Dying Earth by Jack Vance
2. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
1. The Book of the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe

So many titles I’ve never even heard of — authors too (Wolfe, for example, who comes it at #1 on this list and appears 7 times in total — somebody must really like him.)

Bring on the comments

  1. I’d have to vote for The Forever War, which had a huge impact on me. I interviewed Joe Haldeman recently and asked him about The Forever War and winning the Grand Master award. He told me that he doesn’t feel old enough. (If you’re interested, you can read my Joe Haldeman interview for free at )