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The NPR 100

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Lists, lists, lists, lists. Everyone likes lists. NPR are doing one here. They have cunningly called it a “Top-100 Science Fiction, Fantasy Titles”, which can mean either favourite or best. First they asked people to nominate titles. Then they asked Giant SF Brains Gary K Wolfe, Farah Mendlesohn and John Clute to whittle down those picked to a list of  “several hundred” titles on which people can vote. It is a… strange list. The usual suspects are there, of course. There are, happily, a number of women sf writers, though less than expected – I make it 22%.

Anyway, here is the list. Annotated. I’ve also put in bold those I’ve read, and in italics those I have on the TBR.

The Acts Of Caine Series, by Matthew Woodring Stover – I’ve never even heard of these.
The Algebraist, by Iain M Banks – not his best book by a long shot, not even his best non-Culture novel either.
Altered Carbon, by Richard Morgan – that Morgan’s debut novel was chosen doesn’t surprise, though I’d have said Black Man is the better novel.
American Gods, by Neil Gaiman – I don’t get the appeal of Gaiman.
Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman – see above.
Anathem, by Neal Stephenson – I don’t much understand the appeal of Stephenson, either.
Animal Farm, by George Orwell – this is a bit, well, slight, isn’t it?
The Anubis Gates, by Tim Powers – I’d say this is a contender.
Armor, by John Steakley – really?
The Baroque Cycle, by Neal Stephenson – I read first two and then gave up.
Battlefield Earth, by L Ron Hubbard – probably the worst sf book ever written, liked only by Scientologists and idiots.
Beggars In Spain, by Nancy Kress – I’ve read the novella, but never the novels.
The Belgariad, by David Eddings – I read the first last year; I am thirty-five years too old to think these books are good.
The Black Company Series, by Glen Cook – never read any of them.
The Black Jewels Series, by Anne Bishop – never heard of them.
The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe – excellent, though The Fifth Head of Cerberus I think is better.
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley – I didn’t like it when I read, and I fail to understand why it is considered a classic.
Bridge Of Birds, by Barry Hughart – never read it.
The Callahan’s Series, by Spider Robinson – I’ve read a few of these; one of my pet hates is the “stories told by regulars in a bar” type of story; plus, these are really quite rubbish.
A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M Miller – never read it.
The Cat Who Walked Through Walls, by Robert Heinlein – well, RAH on the list somewhere is no surprise: he casts a giant shadow across the genre – but isn’t this one of his later crap books?
Cat’s Cradle , by Kurt Vonnegut – never read it.
The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov – another giant of sf, but one I consider among the most over-rated writers in the genre. He is the McDonald’s of sf, and his books are all burgers.
The Change Series, by SM Stirling – I know nothing about this series.
Childhood’s End, by Arthur C Clarke – one of Clarke’s better ones, but not my first choice.
Children Of God, by Mary Doria Russell – not as good as The Sparrow, and that I thought was somewhat overrated.
The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny – they started well enough, but they tailed off towards the end.
The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R Donaldson – I’m not a big fan of epic fantasy, and I suspect these would not survive a reread.
The City And The City, by China Miéville – a good novel, and a multi-award winner.
City And The Stars, by Arthur C Clarke – also one of Clarke’s better ones.
A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess – Burgess wrote several novels that were much better, though they weren’t genre.
The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher – never read them.
The Coldfire Trilogy, by CS Friedman – have never read anything by Friedman.
The Commonwealth Saga, by Peter F Hamilton – I did read his Night’s Dawn trilogy –  it was enough.
The Company Wars, by CJ Cherryh – I like Cherryh’s fiction, but I’d sooner chose individual books.
The Conan The Barbarian Series, by Robert Howard – I’ve read loads of these but I’ve no idea how many; but… they’re pulp: the character has transcended his origin, the stories haven’t.
Contact, by Carl Sagan – I suspect the popularity of this rests more on its author than the book itself.
Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson – I remember enjoying this; mostly.
The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart – never read it.
The Culture Series, by Iain M Banks – an excellent series, but the individual books are variable; I’d sooner have voted for one of the books.
The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King – never read it.
The Day of Triffids, by John Wyndham – never read it.
Deathbird Stories, by Harlan Ellison – anoterh sf giant I consider greatly overrated.
The Deed of Paksennarion Trilogy, by Elizabeth Moon – never read it.
The Demolished Man, by Alfred Bester – I hated this book when I read it.
The Deverry Cycle, by Katharine Kerr – never read it.
Dhalgren, by Samuel R. Delany – one of my favourite sf novels, definitely a classic.
The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson – I seem to remember this being better than Snow Crash.
The Difference Engine, by William Gibson & Bruce Sterling – individually, both have written better books.
The Dispossessed, by Ursula K LeGuin – a bona fide sf classic.
Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K Dick – to be honest, I prefer the film.
Don’t Bite The Sun, by Tanith Lee – never read it.
Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis – it was okay, I guess; I don’t understand all this award-love Willis receives.
Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey – never read any of them.
Dreamsnake, by Vonda McIntyre – never read it.
The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert – the prose in Dune may not be very good, but it’s still the premier piece of world-building in the genre and Paul Atreides is the best teenage special snowflake in literature; the later books are better written; the sequels by Kevin J Anderson and Brian Herbert are about as literate as used toilet paper.
Earth, by David Brin – this is a bloated techno-thriller.
Earth Abides, by George R Stewart – it was okay, I guess; though it hasn’t aged well.
The Eisenhorn Omnibus, by Dan Abnett – these are Warhammer books, right?
The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock – I’ve read some of these but I don’t recall which – like Conan, Elric has transcended his pulp origin but many of the books haven’t.
Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card – never read it, never will.
Eon, by Greg Bear – a neat central premise, I seem to recall, spoiled by clumsy geopolitics and a dull story.
The Eyes Of The Dragon, by Stephen King – never read it.
The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde – I thought this was terrible: a neat idea, but really badly written.
The Faded Sun Trilogy, by CJ Cherryh – I loved this when I was a teenager, but I wouldn’t call it a favourite now.
Fafhrd & The Gray Mouser Series, by Fritz Leiber – never read it.
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury – hated it; the film is far superior.
The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb – read the first one, and thought it readable but dull.
The Female Man, by Joanna Russ – another bona fide classic; a recent reread only increased my admiration of it.
The Fionavar Tapestry Trilogy, by Guy Gavriel Kay – I caguely recall these as being interesting, if a bit bland, secondary world fantasies.
A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge – a bit of an uneven work, but I think this qualifies.
The First Law Trilogy, by Joe Abercrombie – read the first book and was unimpressed.
Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keyes – a classic, certainly.
The Foreigner Series, by CJ Cherryh – read the first one, and have the next eight on the TBR; solid work, but not worthy of a place on the Top 100.
The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman – another classic.
The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov – I think my opinion on this is known: it is, in a word, shit.
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley – never actually read it (though I have seen lots of films).
The Gaea Trilogy, by John Varley – I much prefer his Eight Worlds fiction.
The Gap Series, by Stephen R Donaldson – this is a superior space opera, though it is grim and not entirely successful.
The Gate To Women’s Country, by Sheri S Tepper – never read it.
Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett – never read it.
The Gone-Away World, by Nick Harkaway – I started it, but gave upl one day I will return to it.
The Gormenghast Trilogy, by Mervyn Peake – one day I will read it.
Grass, by Sheri S Tepper – I can never remember what actually happens in this novel.
Gravity’s Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon – is on the TBR.
The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood – another classic.
Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End of The World, by Haruki Murakami – never read it.
The Heechee Saga, by Frederik Pohl – like many series, it’s diminishing returns with each additional book; Gateway is good, but the rest?
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams – mildly amusing, I suppose.
The Hollows Series, by Kim Harrison – never heard of them; urban fantasy, is it?
House Of Leaves, by Mark Danielewski – is on the TBR.
The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons – these are very good, though I do need to reread them sometime.
I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson – was okay, I suppose.
I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov – nope.
The Illuminatus! Trilogy, by Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson – read the first, but gave up.
The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury – never read it.
The Incarnations Of Immortality Series, by Piers Anthony – have read a couple of these, though I forget which; I remember them as light, forgettable reads – hardly the qualities of a classic.
The Inheritance Trilogy, by NK Jemisin – this trilogy isn’t even completed yet – how can it be a classic?
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke – is on the TBR.
A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne – seen the film, not read the book.
Kindred, by Octavia Butler – is on the TBR.
The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss – another trilogy that has yet to be completed…
Kraken, by China Mieville – is on the TBR.
The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey – never read it.
Last Call, by Tim Powers – I remember this as being entertaining, but I don’t think I’d call it Top 100 material.
The Last Coin, by James P Blaylock – never read it.
The Last Herald Mage Trilogy, by Mercedes Lackey – never read it.
The Last Unicorn, by Peter S Beagle – never read it.
The Lathe Of Heaven, by Ursula K LeGuin – I wasn’t overly taken with this one when I read it.
The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K LeGuin – definitely a classic.
The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by RA Salvatore – never read it; but isn’t the bloke who wrote “‘You killed me,’ said the surprised man”?
The Lensman Series, by EE Smith – everyone who nominated this should be ashamed of themselves.
The Liaden Universe Series, by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller – I’ve read some of these but they’re, well, fluff.
The Lies Of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch – is on the TBR.
Lilith’s Brood, by Octavia Butler – never read it.
Little, Big, by John Crowley – a classic fantasy, though I think the Ægypt Sequence is much better.
The Liveship Traders Trilogy, by Robin Hobb – never read it.
Lord Of Light, by Roger Zelazny – interesting, possibly borderline Top 100-worthy.
The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by JRR Tolkien – not much you can say about this really, is there?
Lord Valentine’s Castle, by Robert Silverberg – entertaining fluff; Silverberg has written much better books.
Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle – never read it.
Lud-in-the-Mist, by Hope Mirrlees – is on the TBR.
The Magicians, by Lev Grossman – never read it.
The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson – read the first and gave up; I’m not into reading RPG campaigns.
The Man In The High Castle, by Philip K Dick – one of Dick’s better ones, though I need to reread it.
The Manifold Trilogy, by Stephen Baxter – surprised by this choice: Baxter has written better.
The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson – a classic of the genre.
The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury – didn’t like it when I read it; wishy-washy and twee.
Memory And Dream, by Charles de Lint – never read it.
Memory, Sorrow, And Thorn Trilogy, by Tad Williams – never read it.
Mindkiller, by Spider Robinson – never read it.
The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson – never read it and never will.
The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley – never read it.
The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein – is on the TBR (because it’s in the SF Masterworks series)
Mordant’s Need, by Stephen Donaldson – I remember being better than the Thomas covenant books.
More Than Human, by Theodore Sturgeon – is on the TBR.
The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle – is pretty much indicative of everything that was wrong with best-selling sf in the 1970s.
The Naked Sun, by Isaac Asimov – and again, nope.
The Neanderthal Parallax Trilogy, by Robert J Sawyer – never read it.
Neuromancer, by William Gibson – I’m told this has not aged well, but I plan to reread it soon
Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman – never read it.
The Newsflesh Trilogy, by Mira Grant – never read it.
The Night’s Dawn Trilogy, by Peter F Hamilton – if classic status were measured by weight, this would be a contender.
Novels Of The Company, by Kage Baker – never read it.
Norstrilia, by Cordwainer Smith – to be honest, I can remember Smith’s short stories much better than his only novel; there may be a reason for that.
The Number Of The Beast, by Robert Heinlein – perhaps the one novel that epitomises RAH’s late bloated crap novel phase.
Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi – never read it.
On Basilisk Station, by David Weber – mildly entertaining fluffy rip-off of Hornblower; top 100? I think not.
The Once And Future King, by TH White – I read it so long ago, I remember nothing of it.
Oryx And Crake, by Margaret Atwood – is on the TBR.
The Otherland Tetralogy, by Tad Williams – never read it.
The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan – never heard of it.
Parable Of The Sower, by Octavia Butler – never read it.
The Passage, by Justin Cronin – last year’s mega-hyped coming-to-a-cinema-near you blockbuster, which started well but then turned dull and derivative; oh, and it’s the first book an unfinished trilogy.
Pattern Recognition, by William Gibson – never read it.
Perdido Street Station, by China Miéville – this was something special when it first appeared, but has time been kind to it?
The Prestige, by Christopher Priest – good, but I wonder if it’s appearance here is more due to the film – because Priest has written better.
The Pride Of Chanur, by CJ Cherryh – it’s nice to see all this love for Cherryh, but a little more variety might have been preferable; there are, after all, other women writers of space opera and hard sf.
The Prince Of Nothing Trilogy, by R Scott Bakker – never read it.
The Princess Bride, by William Goldman – the film is better; this is a list of books.
Rainbows End, by Vernor Vinge – never read it.
Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C Clarke – if I had to pick a Clarke, it would be this one – because the central BDO more than makes up for the cardboard characters and dated futurism.
Replay, by Ken Grimwood – a fun book and certainly worth reading… possibly top 100 worthy, I think.
Revelation Space, by Alistair Reynolds – why not the series? Banks got his series on the list – because there are better books in the Revelation space series than this one.
Riddley Walker, by Russell Hoban – never read it.
The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E Feist – I’m fairly sure I read one of these many, many years ago; I remember nothing about it.
Ringworld, by Larry Niven – unlike the Clarke, I don’t think the central BDO makes up for the novel’s other deficiencies – like a lack of a plot.
The Riverworld Series, by Philip Jose Farmer – the central idea is a good one, though having reread the first book a couple of years ago, I’m less sure about the use to which Farmer puts it.
The Road, by Cormac McCarthy – certainly one of the best-written books on this list.
The Saga Of Pliocene Exile, by Julian May – I remember enjoying these in my teens; one day, perhaps, I will reread them.
The Saga Of Recluce, by LE Modesitt Jr – I have only ever read one Modesitt novel – I had to review it for Interzone: it was pants.
The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman – nope.
The Sarantine Mosaic Series, by Guy Gavriel Kay – never read it.
A Scanner Darkly, by Philip K Dick – Dick’s best novel, and a sure-fire classic.
The Scar, by China Miéville – never read it.
The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks – never read it, never will: they look horribly derivative and twee.
The Shattered Chain Trilogy, by Marion Zimmer Bradley – never read it.
The Silmarillion, by JRR Tolkien – never read it.
The Sirens Of Titan, by Kurt Vonnegut – not a big Vonnegut fan, to be honest; it was okay.
Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut – as above.
Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett – never read it.
Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson – when this was published, I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about; I still can’t.
The Snow Queen, by Joan D Vinge – I’m planning to reread this soon, though a recent quick dip into it demonstrated it was a lot more romancey than I’d remembered from my original read all those years ago.
Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem – I suspect I read a bad translation, because this was surprisingly dull; Tarkovsky’s film is greatly superior.
Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury – is on the TBR (because it’s in the Fantasy Masterworks series).
Song for the Basilisk, by Patricia McKillip – never read it.
A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin – I read first three, but I will not be reading the rest – despite all the current hype; I might watch the television series, though.
The Space Trilogy, by CS Lewis – never read it.
The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell – I remember the fuss when this was first published; I didn’t get it.
The Stainless Steel Rat Books, by Harry Harrison – I loved these as a kid; I reread the first a year or two ago, and found it absolutely terrible – dreadful, dated, misogynistic crap.
Stand On Zanzibar, by John Brunner – is on the TBR (SF Masterworks series, natch).
The Stand, by Stephen King – never read it.
Stardust, by Neil Gaiman – never read it; seen the film, though.
The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester – if I had to pick and early-ish sf novel, it would be this – because its sheer verve more than compensates for its datedness.
Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein – a crypto-fascist polemic thinly-disguised as a novel; the film is infinitely superior.
Stations Of The Tide, by Michael Swanwick – a very good novel, though I was mildly disappointed when I reread a few years ago; but as the genre’s premier Southern Gothic sf novel, it is certainly top 100 worthy.
Steel Beach, by John Varley – I like the Eight Worlds, but I wouldn’t say this is the best novel – The Ophiuchi Hotline is.
Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein – I reread this recently; it was awful.
Sunshine, by Robin McKinley – never read it.
The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind – I read the first book many years ago; I thought it derivative and unimaginative; I’m told the series later turns very weird and offensive.
The Swordspoint Trilogy, by Ellen Kushner – never read it.
The Tales of Alvin Maker, by Orson Scott Card – never read it.
The Temeraire Series, by Naomi Novik – never read it.
The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn – aren’t these, like, shared world? Star Wars? Should they even be on this list?
Tigana, by Guy Gavriel Kay – I remember this as being quite good.
Time Enough For Love, by Robert Heinlein – more late period bloated wankery from RAH; next, please.
The Time Machine, by HG Wells – it never ages.
The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger – never read it; but the film was creepy: he stalks her, folks; that is not good.
To Say Nothing Of The Dog, by Connie Willis – never read it.
The Troy Trilogy, by David Gemmell – never read it.
Ubik, by Philip K Dick – one of his trippier novels: I’m not sure if that makes it good or bad.
The Uplift Saga, by David Brin – if you distilled the story of this series down, it would be quite potent; as it is, it’s a good example of its sort, and perhaps belongs near the bottom of a top 100.
The Valdemar Series, by Mercedes Lackey – never read it.
VALIS, by Philip K Dick – another good Dick, I seem to recall.
Venus On The Half-Shell, by Kilgore Trout/Philip Jose Farmer – wasn’t this just a silly joke/gimmick?
The Vlad Taltos Series, by Steven Brust – never read it.
The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold – I’ve read a couple, they were okay.
The Vurt Trilogy, by Jeff Noon – I read the first one when it was published, but didn’t really get on with it.
The War Of The Worlds, by HG Wells – no one would have believed… yup, a classic.
Watchmen, by Alan Moore – a graphic novel, with superheroes, in a list of sf and fantasy books; it’s good but does it really belong here?
Watership Down, by Richard Adams – the best book about talking rabbits ever written.
The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson – never read it and never will – why should I support someone who says they’re prejudiced but asks me to respect their prejudice?
Way Station, by Clifford D Simak – I used to be a big Simak fan, but this was never one of my favourites.
We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin – never read it.
The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan – these are big, probably about four metres tall if you stacked them one on top of the other; that is the only notable thing about them.
When Gravity Fails, by George Alec Effinger – a possible contender for the top 100, though my memories of it are somewhat hazy.
Wicked, by Gregory Maguire – never read it.
Wild Seed, by Octavia Butler – never read it.
The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi – is on the TBR.
World War Z, by Max Brooks – never read it.
The Worm Ouroboros, by ER Eddison – is on the TBR (Fantasy Masterworks series).
The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony – you must be joking: these pervy books? bad puns and dodgy sexual politics? for shame.
The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, by Michael Chabon – better-written than many other books of its ilk, and with an interesting alternate history… a possible contender.
1632, by Eric Flint – never read it.
1984, by George Orwell – still a classic.
2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C Clarke – the film was better.
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne – I think I read a bad translation of this because it was surprisingly dull.

So there you have it. I suspect that when Top 100 is revealed, I will end up grinding my teeth. Again. Oh well.

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8 thoughts on “The NPR 100

  1. “The Conan The Barbarian Series, by Robert Howard – I’ve read loads of these but I’ve no idea how many; but… they’re pulp: the character has transcended his origin, the stories haven’t.”

    Robert E. Howard wrote 20 short stories and one novel, all of which can be collected in three softcover collections (the three Conan volumes from Del Rey) or a single hardback volume (The Complete Chronicles of Conan from Gollancz). Chances are the loads you’ve read are by other authors.

    I disagree that the character has transcended his origins where the stories haven’t. If the stories haven’t transcended their origin, then why are they still in print across multiple publishers, including the likes of Penguin Classics, which I would think knew a little something about good literature?

  2. Take The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress off your TBR list. If you don’t love other Heinlein, you won’t like it, either. It descends into dated social class warfare. Also might give Oryx and Crake a miss too. I’m not even sure why you’d call it SF.
    I loved Triffids oh so long ago and think it would still hold up to a read. Wyndam is a bit more literary than many of his contemps and so the characters and story hold their own instead of just hanging them on a thin idea.

  3. You’ve missed something if you haven’t read A Canticle For Liebowitz. Although I did read it a long time ago….
    The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury is a set of short stories with a tiresome linking device.
    Neuromancer by William Gibson. Its first line is unparsable.
    Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban. A tour de force.

  4. The Stars My Destination – This is the first SF book I remember reading. I absolutely loved it. The Count of Monte Cristo in Space! I should reread it.

    Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell – I remember being impressed by this book. You should bump it higher on the pile.

    Very entertaining list, thanks Ian

  5. I’ve stayed up way too late doing this exercise as well. Lots of points of agreement between us, a few disagreements with your assessments, but not many. Mainly, I felt a lot of garbage got on the list and too many stone classics got left out.

  6. Well, everyone’s taste is different; you decry some books I quite like, though I generally agree with the ones you rate highly. The ones I like that you wouldn’t rate I nonetheless agree with you that for the most part they aren’t necessarily great literature or books that should be held up as examples of the finest that sf has to offer. I’m a little surprised by some of the books you’ve never read – Zamyatin’s ‘We’, for instance, which I recommend, and it has been available in Penguin Classics in the past – but so it goes.

    Where I do agree with you is over some of the stuff that’s made it onto this list. I consider myself reasonably well-read in sf, but like you, there are names and books on there that I’ve never heard of, and quite a few I wish I’d never heard of. Listing some series of books when the writer never intended them as a linked series in the first place, like Banks’ Culture novels, is a piece of muddled thinking that is straight out of the marketing suite rather than any sort of editorial choice. I wonder if these are the rejects from the luminaries, published by mistake? I certainly don’t see John Clute endorsing a lot of these books…

    Frankly, I don’t often participate in “best of…” lists becasue ultimately, what people find to be worthwhile books are their own choices and no-one else’s. I have more things to waste – sorry, spend – my time on…

  7. Just wanted to put in my two cents about Carl Sagan’s Contact, one of the best books I have ever read. He had a tendency to go off on character history that didn’t necessarily need to be part of the story, but was interesting and very creative unto itself. The movie was OK, but the books was awesome.

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