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Meme 101

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Meme! I got this from Andrew Wheeler who got it from James Nicoll who got it from Martine Wisse, who took it from Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels 1985-2010 by Damien Broderick and Paul di Filippo.

Bold if you own it, italics if you’ve read it, strikethrough if you think it doesn’t belong on this list…

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood (1985)
Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card (1985)
Radio Free Albemuth, Philip K Dick (1985)
Always Coming Home, Ursula K Le Guin (1985)
This Is the Way the World Ends, James Morrow (1985)
Galápagos, Kurt Vonnegut (1985)
The Falling Woman, Pat Murphy (1986)
The Shore of Women, Pamela Sargent (1986)
A Door Into Ocean, Joan Slonczewski (1986)
Soldiers of Paradise, Paul Park (1987) (an excellent novel, but Coelestis is better)
Life During Wartime, Lucius Shepard (1987)
The Sea and Summer, George Turner (1987)
Cyteen, CJ Cherryh (1988)
Neverness, David Zindell (1988)
The Steerswoman, Rosemary Kirstein (1989)
Grass, Sheri S Tepper (1989)
Use of Weapons, Iain M Banks (1990)
Queen of Angels, Greg Bear (1990)
Barrayar, Lois McMaster Bujold (1991)
Synners , Pat Cadigan (1991)
Sarah Canary, Karen Joy Fowler (1991)
White Queen, Gwyneth Jones (1991)
Eternal Light, Paul McAuley (1991)
Stations of the Tide, Michael Swanwick (1991)
Timelike Infinity, Stephen Baxter (1992)
Dead Girls, Richard Calder (1992)
Jumper, Steven Gould (1992)
China Mountain Zhang, Maureen F McHugh (1992)
Red Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson (1992)
A Fire Upon the Deep, Vernor Vinge (1992)
Aristoi, Walter Jon Williams (1992)
Doomsday Book, Connie Willis (1992)
Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler (1993)
Ammonite, Nicola Griffith (1993)
Chimera, Mary Rosenblum (1993)
Nightside the Long Sun, Gene Wolfe (1993)
Brittle Innings, Michael Bishop (1994)
Permutation City, Greg Egan (1994)
Blood, Michael Moorcock (1994)
Mother of Storms, John Barnes (1995)
Sailing Bright Eternity, Gregory Benford (1995)
Galatea 2.2, Richard Powers (1995)
The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson (1995)
The Transmigration of Souls, William Barton (1996)
The Fortunate Fall, Raphael Carter (1996)
The Sparrow/Children of God, Mary Doria Russell (1996/1998)
Holy Fire, Bruce Sterling (1996)
Night Lamp, Jack Vance (1996) (really? This is not very good)
In the Garden of Iden, Kage Baker (1997)
Forever Peace, Joe Haldeman (1997)
Glimmering, Elizabeth Hand (1997)
As She Climbed Across the Table, Jonathan Lethem (1997)
The Cassini Division, Ken MacLeod (1998)
Bloom, Wil McCarthy (1998)
Vast, Linda Nagata (1998)
The Golden Globe, John Varley (1998)
Headlong, Simon Ings (1999)
Cave of Stars, George Zebrowski (1999)
Genesis, Poul Anderson (2000)
Super-Cannes, JG Ballard (2000)
Under the Skin, Michel Faber (2000) (I really disliked this)
Perdido Street Station, China Miéville (2000)
Distance Haze, Jamil Nasir (2000)
Revelation Space trilogy, Alastair Reynolds (2000)
Salt, Adam Roberts (2000) (not his best, by a long shot)
Ventus, Karl Schroeder (2001)
The Cassandra Complex, Brian Stableford (2001)
Light, M John Harrison (2002)
Altered Carbon, Richard Morgan (2002)
The Separation, Christopher Priest (2002)
The Golden Age, John C Wright (2002)
The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger (2003)
Natural History, Justina Robson (2003)
The Labyrinth Key/Spears of God, Howard V Hendrix (2004/2006)
River of Gods, Ian McDonald (2004)
The Plot Against America, Philip Roth (2004)
Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro (2005)
The House of Storms, Ian R MacLeod (2005)
Counting Heads, David Marusek (2005)
Air (Or, Have Not Have), Geoff Ryman (2005)
Accelerando, Charles Stross (2005)
Spin, Robert Charles Wilson (2005)
My Dirty Little Book of Stolen Time, Liz Jensen (2006) (The Rapture may be better)
The Road, Cormac McCarthy (2006)
Temeraire /His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik (2006)
Blindsight, Peter Watts (2006)
HARM, Brian Aldiss (2007)
The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Michael Chabon (2007)
The Secret City,Carol Emshwiller (2007)
In War Times, Kathleen Ann Goonan (2007)
Postsingular, Rudy Rucker (2007)
Shadow of the Scorpion, Neal Asher (2008)
The Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins (2008-2010)
Little Brother, Cory Doctorow (2008)
The Alchemy of Stone, Ekaterina Sedia (2008)
The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi (2009)
Steal Across the Sky, Nancy Kress (2009)
Boneshaker, Cherie Priest (2009)
Zoo City, Lauren Beukes (2010)
Zero History, William Gibson (2010)
The Quantum Thief, Hannu Rajaniemi (2010)

I make that 51 read, 33 owned, and 5 owned but not yet read. Not a bad showing. There are some good books on the list, but some feel as if they were picked because they were by a writer they wanted on the list and it was the only title published after 1985. There are certainly a few I don’t think belong on the list – and not just the ones I’ve struck through. Boneshaker, surely, is steampunk, not sf (are we still claiming steampunk is part of sf? do we really want to?). And the Noviks? Fantasy, yes? Also, the Collins trilogy is YA – the only YA on the list, I think.

It’s axiomatic that any such list will be questionable to some extent, though I do think this one is better than most. For one thing, it actually features books I’ve not read but would like to. There are also 32 women on the list, which is more than lists of this sort manage (though it could probably do better).

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2 thoughts on “Meme 101

  1. Well, Boneshaker is Alternate History (, and as far as I know so is Novik’s books). I know at least some Steampunk fans are resistant to calling Steampunk Alternate History, but I can’t see how Steampunk would be anything other than (Victorian Era) Historical Fiction, and thus not SFF, if you remove the Alternate History part of it.
    So it basically comes down to if you define Alternate History as Science Fiction.

  2. How about turning each item into a GoodReads link?

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