Thursday, August 11, 2011

NPR Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

Voted on by reader/listener participation.

The book I wish had been included:
Cover art for Snow Queen by Joan Vinge

The Snow Queen, by Joan Vinge, which won a Hugo. Alternatively, The Summer Queen, also by Joan Vinge.

The book I feel should have been left out to make room for either of these:

A Spell for Chameleon, by Piers Anthony, which is a book I loved when I was in high school, but think is a pile of sexist garbage now. Ugh.

Other than that, I'm pretty happy with the choices!


Mikey Mo said...

I was happy with the list as a whole, although I would have dropped The Sword of Truth series, which exemplifies all that is ridicule-able in fantasy.

As always, I would agitate for more Heinlein and especially more Vonnegut (Sirens of Titan!), and it would have been nice to see The Lathe of Heaven on the list.

Still, very good! And a lot of suggestions for future reading too.

Anonymous said...

The list is crap.

First off, Number 20 is "Frankenstein." No one (I tell you, no one) has ever actually read "Frankenstein." Oh, you have? Really? Where's it start? What place? No, you're wrong, because you've only ever seen the movie. The book starts in a place that isn't even mentioned, much less filmed, in the movie. People who voted for "Frankenstein" are just being erudite snobs.

Second, Mikey Mo is half right: the list lacks Heinlein entries. But, it doesn't need more Heinlein. It needs better Heinlein. "Starship Troopers" isn't bad, but "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" is a libertarian's wet dream, not a good novel, while "Stranger in a Strange Land" is just kooky. "Citizen of the Galaxy," on the other hand, is a classic picaresque, an exciting adventure, and a thoughtful social commentary. That and "The Past Through Tomorrow" are what should have been The Dean's representatives.

Finally, it has too much Neil Gaiman. Yes, "American Gods" was a blockbuster, but "Stardust"? (And "Stardust" instead of "Anansi Boys"?) Gaiman is the hottest name in sf right now, but did he really deserve four entries when, say, Pohl, Baxter, Lem, and Norton didn't even make the list?

I don't get my science from the New York Times, and I'm not going to be getting my science fiction from NPR. They should stick to whining about how global suffering is principally all America's fault. They're good at that.


Jody said...

I haven't looked closely at the list because I can't bear the thought of adding more to my to-read list, which is already overwhelming. But I agree whole-heartedly with any proposal to ditch the Xanth series, which seemed so good to my teenage self and makes me so embarrassed for her now.