So from this randomly selected (via Google) list of the 100 best sff books of all time, I have read 24. I thank my dad for this number, of which I’m rather proud, given that it was arrived at unintentionally.
If you have 10 minutes to kill, scroll through and do your own tally. I don’t care if you consider yourself a sff reader or not—it’s interesting to see where mainstream crossover occurs, too.
(Not having read the majority of the books on this list, and minus the rather large and sad fact that it doesn’t feature the works by any authors of color (ETA: sorry, I overlooked Samuel Delaney–thanks Waltermonkey for pointing this out), some of whom have been very important to the sff canon, it seems like a nice jumping-off point for a list. But the color post is one for another day. For today, we shall, with these pitiful excuses, comment on The Establishment.)
PLEASE tell me in the comments which books you’ve read, what you thought of them, etc. Feel free not to read any further on this post—the rest is just my tally.
I’m not going to reference the list again, so I’ll definitely forget some, but here are titles I’ve read that I remember checking off:
-Tigana, by Guy Gavriel Kay
-Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
-The Wheel of Time (obvi)
-Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (thanks, Dad, for reading these to me when I was four and very sleepy—I remember the night he got SO IRRITATED with me when I drifted off during the grand escape by barrel down the river. “You missed one of the best parts,” he told me sniffily. I was a great disappointment to him that day, I think.)
-Watership Down, by Richard Adams
-Ubik, which is my only Philip K. Dick novel
-funny how bad my memory is; I’ve forgotten the rest of the list.
Here are titles I wish had been on the list:
-Kindred, by Octavia Butler, a 1976 publication that’s now a classic/staple of SFF
-The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russel (interesting to me that -Canticle for Leibowitz, which is great writing but rather less speculative, made the list but Sparrow didn’t)
-Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke (probably the most influential straight classic sci-fi I’ve ever read)
–Silk Road, by Jeanne Larsen, for which I’m an unofficial one-woman publicity team. Gosh I wish even more people would read this book so I can talk about it with them!
-The Once and Future King, by TH White
-Interesting to me that nothing by Neil Gaiman made the list, especially since he’s made some significant contribution to widening sff readership in the last decade
-Also interesting that C.S. Lewis didn’t make the list, nor did H.G. Wells
-I got in an argument with someone the other day that Beloved is actually sff, but that doesn’t seem to be a popular opinion.
-I’m sure there are many others but that’s what I’ve thought of just now
And the books that are on the list that I really want to read after discussions at Sirens:
-Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K Le Guin
-Swordpoint, by Ellen Kushner
–Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card, which I have yet to get around to
I’ll stop here. Please chime in!