Friday, 6 November 2009

The 100 best Science Fiction novels ever written

Continuing my recent theme of posting lists of the 100 best this 'n that. Here's a list that the great and the good have voted as being the 100 best science fiction novels. I reckon I've found my genre here as I've read all but 11 of these, and feel no urge to read the ones I've missed.

For the record my top 5 are, in no particular order, at 1, 17, 30, 52, and 97 and my top 5 'what the heck were they thinking and they should be nowhere near this list' are 6, 44, 63, 86 and 93.

I can't think of any book off the top of my head that ought to be there, but the lack of Consider Phlebas when a lot of other Iain Banks novels are there is strange. And We by Yevgeny Zamyatin is, to my mind, more important than 1984 and Brave New World. The lack of JG Ballard is criminal as is Brian Aldiss and Bob Shaw and Samuel Delany and oh I'll stop worrying about it... Here's the list:

1 Orson Scott Card Ender's Game [S1] 1985
2 Frank Herbert Dune [S1] 1965
3 Isaac Asimov Foundation [S1-3] 1951
4 Douglas Adams Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy [S1] 1979
5 George Orwell 1984 1949
6 Robert A Heinlein Stranger in a Strange Land 1961
7 Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 1954
8 Arthur C Clarke 2001: A Space Odyssey 1968
9 Isaac Asimov [C] I, Robot 1950
10 William Gibson Neuromancer 1984
11 Philip K Dick Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 1968
12 Robert A Heinlein Starship Troopers 1959
13 Larry Niven Ringworld 1970
14 Arthur C Clarke Rendezvous With Rama 1973
15 Aldous Huxley Brave New World 1932

16 H G Wells The Time Machine 1895
17 Dan Simmons Hyperion [S1] 1989
18 Arthur C Clarke Childhood's End 1954
19 Robert A Heinlein The Moon is a Harsh Mistress 1966
20 H G Wells The War of the Worlds 1898
21 Ray Bradbury [C] The Martian Chronicles 1950
22 Joe Haldeman The Forever War 1974
23 Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse Five 1969
24 Neal Stephenson Snow Crash 1992
25 Niven & Pournelle The Mote in God's Eye 1975
26 Ursula K Le Guin The Left Hand of Darkness 1969
27 Orson Scott Card Speaker for the Dead [S2] 1986
28 Philip K Dick The Man in the High Castle 1962

29 Michael Crichton Jurassic Park 1990
30 Alfred Bester The Stars My Destination 1956
31 Isaac Asimov The Caves of Steel 1954
32 Frederik Pohl Gateway 1977
33 Roger Zelazny Lord of Light 1967

34 Madeleine L'Engle A Wrinkle In Time 1962
35 Jules Verne 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 1870
36 Stanislaw Lem Solaris 1961
37 Kurt Vonnegut Cat's Cradle 1963
38 Michael Crichton The Andromeda Strain 1969

39 Carl Sagan Contact 1985
40 Isaac Asimov The Gods Themselves 1972
41 John Wyndham The Day of the Triffids 1951
42 Neal Stephenson Cryptonomicon 1999
43 Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange 1962
44 Robert A Heinlein Time Enough For Love 1973
45 Philip K Dick UBIK 1969
46 Vernor Vinge A Fire Upon the Deep 1991
47 Daniel Keyes Flowers for Algernon 1966
48 Kim Stanley Robinson Red Mars [S1] 1992

49 Walter M Miller A Canticle for Leibowitz 1959
50 Isaac Asimov The End Of Eternity 1955
51 Mary Shelley Frankenstein 1818
52 Kurt Vonnegut The Sirens of Titan 1959
53 Neal Stephenson The Diamond Age 1995
54 Iain M Banks Player Of Games [S2] 1988
55 Jules Verne Journey to the Center of the Earth 1864

56 L Ron Hubbard Battlefield Earth 1982
57 Ursula K Le Guin The Dispossessed 1974
58 David Brin Startide Rising [S2] 1983
59 Orson Scott Card Ender's Shadow [S1] 1999
60 Peter F Hamilton The Reality Dysfunction [S1] 1996
61 Greg Bear Eon 1985
62 Philip Jose Farmer To Your Scattered Bodies Go 1971

63 Niven & Pournelle Lucifer's Hammer 1977
64 Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale 1985
65 Philip K Dick A Scanner Darkly 1977
66 Alfred Bester The Demolished Man 1953
67 Gene Wolfe The Shadow of the Torturer [S1] 1980
68 Harry Harrison The Stainless Steel Rat [S1] 1961
69 Arthur C Clarke The City and the Stars 1956
70 Philip K Dick The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch 1964
71 Robert A Heinlein The Door Into Summer 1956

72 Connie Willis Doomsday Book 1992
73 Michael Crichton Sphere 1987
74 Robert A Heinlein Citizen Of the Galaxy 1957
75 C S Lewis Out of the Silent Planet [S1] 1938
76 Dan Simmons Ilium 2003
77 Robert A Heinlein Have Space-Suit - Will Travel 1958
78 Robert A Heinlein The Puppet Masters 1951
79 H G Wells The Invisible Man 1897
80 Clifford Simak Way Station 1963

81 Edgar Rice Burroughs A Princess of Mars [S1] 1912
82 Ursula K Le Guin The Lathe of Heaven 1971
83 Alastair Reynolds Revelation Space [S1] 2000
84 John Wyndham The Chrysalids 1955
85 Iain M Banks Use of Weapons [S3] 1990
86 Julian May The Many-Colored Land [S1] 1981
87 E E 'Doc' Smith Grey Lensman [S4] 1951
88 Richard Morgan Altered Carbon [S1] 2002
89 Arkady & Boris Strugatsky Roadside Picnic 1972
90 Edwin A Abbott Flatland 1884
91 David Brin The Postman 1985
92 Clifford Simak [C] City 1952
93 Greg Bear Blood Music 1985

94 Audrey Niffenegger The Time Traveler's Wife 2003
95 John Brunner Stand on Zanzibar 1969
96 Arthur C Clarke The Fountains of Paradise 1979
97 Stanislaw Lem [C] The Cyberiad 1974
98 Theodore Sturgeon More Than Human 1953
99 Philip K Dick VALIS 1981
100 William Gibson [C] Burning Chrome


Evan Lewis said...

Hm. 29 for me, and only because there were a lot of classics and Vonneguts. (And even with all those Vonneguts, I don't see my favorite, 'Breakfast of Champions'.) I've read only one of your faves, Ian. I'll take note of the others.

David Cranmer said...

The sheer number of science fiction novels I haven't read is staggering. This list will be a good reference point.

Melissa said...

I have to vigorously disagree with you on Julian May - I think the whole Pliocene series is brilliant. I guess it just depends whether you are arguing about the sci-fictioness of it.

Pity the list is so light on women authors really.

I.J. Parnham said...

I didn't enjoy May's series. I tried it a long time ago, but I think it was down to the sf nature of it, as it came over more as fantasy. For instance I remember the characters have micro-houses or somesuch that fitted in a matchbox and expanded to provide complete houses, which was silly and just put in so that the story wouldn't have to worry about the aspects of survival.

I agree about the lack of female authors. James Tiptree's novel would be in my top few.