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Literature Meme [Nov. 15th, 2006|09:54 am]
The list of 50 "most significant" sci-fi/fantasy novels (1953-2002), according to the Science Fiction Book Club. Meme ganked from altivo

Instructions: Bold the ones you've read, strike-out the ones you hated, italicize those you started but never finished and put an asterisk beside the ones you loved.

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov (read the first book, wasn't hooked enough to continue)
3. Dune, Frank Herbert
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
6. Neuromancer, William Gibson *
7. Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury *
11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett (No, but about five other Pratchett books that were good)
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
22. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card *
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling
27. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams *
28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
31. Little, Big, John Crowley
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny (No, but I really like some of his other work)
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven * (And finished the video game!)
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson (On my To-Read list)
44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein (I've heard the book's better than the crappy movie)
47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

Obligatory Tolkien Note: I, through great willpower, read the first book and a half of the trilogy. While I love Tolkien's creation and characters, I hate his writing. It totally doesn't work for me.

(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: kit_ping
2006-11-15 06:26 pm (UTC)
It's less sci-fi fantasy than historical thriller/mystery/weird shit. :) Snow Crash is there, though.
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[User Picture]From: penh
2006-11-15 06:30 pm (UTC)
Hmm... I've read 22 of those, and there's some that have been on my "oughta read these" list for some time. Maybe it's time for another trip to Half-Price Books.
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[User Picture]From: altivo
2006-11-15 07:00 pm (UTC)
Or a library. Virtually all of these are standard library fare.
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2006-11-15 07:06 pm (UTC)
Yay, libraries! Our city just finished their new public library this month. I need to head over and check it out.
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[User Picture]From: altivo
2006-11-15 07:11 pm (UTC)
Yay, libraries indeed. (Of course I have a vested interest in that: my job.)
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[User Picture]From: penh
2006-11-15 10:25 pm (UTC)
When I was a kid, Proposition 13 passed (in California, this was), which had something to do with property taxes. The only thing I knew about it was that because it had passed, the library had to cut its hours. Oh, did I hate Prop. 13 so very, very much.
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[User Picture]From: altivo
2006-11-15 10:49 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's always a problem. Libraries do cost money. People think they are "free" and make a fuss when told they must pay taxes or pay for a library card in order to have access to a library.

Prop 13 in California limited or froze property taxes, which meant that government cuts were needed all over. Given a choice between reduced garbage collection and reduced library service, you can guess what people will choose every time.
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[User Picture]From: altivo
2006-11-15 07:06 pm (UTC)
Tolkien is a 19th century writer, in spite of the fact that he lived most of his life in the 20th century. Unless you appreciate the styles of Edward Plunkett (better known as Lord Dunsany,) William Morris, and James Branch Cabell, I can see that you might not like Tolkien. I like all of them, but Tolkien best of all. Hemingway these guys are not. ;p

It requires a lot of patience and the kind of mind that would let you read War and Peace because Tolkien's never in a hurry. I actually hated Peter Jackson's movie versions because he left out all the good parts and focused just on the violence, drawing it out to twice or three times the proportion it should have had. To my mind, he missed the entire point of the book, or else read a completely different version than I did.
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2006-11-15 07:12 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure if it's the style of writing or particular authors. I've not read enough 19th century fiction to have a good sample set.

I can say that I liked Sherlock Holmes and The Time Machine (both late 19th) and was neutral on Pride and Prejudice (early 19th, IIRC).
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[User Picture]From: altivo
2006-11-15 07:31 pm (UTC)
Ah. But I would class Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells as transitional, almost more 20th century than 19th in style. The 19th century English writing style is that of Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Thackery, Dickens, George Eliot, William Morris, and Thomas Hardy. Rich in descriptive prose, unhurried, long on images of the countryside or digressions into history or social behavior. Many modern readers grow quickly impatient with this. They want plot action, more like what they see in film or on television, and declare these writers to be boring. These writers paint images by using words, and their writing is often a long series of vignette paintings, as if one were walking through a museum filled with an exquisite series of detailed landscapes and portraits done by artists with a microscopic eye for detail.

I happen to love the descriptive prose and history. Tolkien is a sad and nostalgic trip into a past that is gone forever, not only in the terms of his own story which delves into events that cover 10,000 years that will never come again, but also in terms of the way he tells his story and the way he sets the scene. Modern writers are often compared to Tolkien when book jacket blurbs are written, but frankly, none are up to that level of power and vision. Not that I dislike or discredit modern authors, but what they do is an entirely different sort of work, just as a Picasso cannot be compared to a Rembrandt. Neither is "better" because they are so different that there is just no comparison to be made.
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[User Picture]From: spazfox
2006-11-15 07:24 pm (UTC)
Man, I've got a long way to go!

Snow Crash? *hums the Starcrash theme*
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[User Picture]From: foobart
2006-11-15 07:56 pm (UTC)
Snow Crash is very worth reading. It's Stephenson at his best.

Also, I'd encourage you to give the later Foundation books (in the original trilogy) a try. Though his 1960's(?) era vision of the future is already dated, Second Foundation is just a great book.
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[User Picture]From: patch_bunny
2006-11-16 03:00 am (UTC)
Ah, opinions. I detested Snow Crash.

Other than that, I've never even heard of most of those, let alone read them. Never been a huge Sci-Fi fan.
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[User Picture]From: foobart
2006-11-16 06:22 am (UTC)
Heretic! ;)
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[User Picture]From: sayh
2006-11-16 10:15 am (UTC)
Swandoggie read "Rats of NIMH" to me this month...
(yes, i know how to read, but is so sweet to have someone read books for you :) I did not care much for the movie, and I care even less for it now.. OvO

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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2006-11-16 09:01 pm (UTC)
How cool.

Yeah, the movie was cute but not, at all, a good adaptation of the book. All of the interesting themes of the book (science, self-determination, social contract) are replaced by a mystical red sparkly. :P

Oh, and Nicodemus doesn't die. And Jenner's already dead. Details.
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[User Picture]From: cateriona
2006-11-17 08:38 am (UTC)
Unfortunately, I lived in Tolkien's realm to get me through high school. But I've got to admit that some of my favorites are missing, A Wrinkle in Time, for one. By the way, I highly recommend Sky Coyote by Kage Barker (or it is Baker) for any one living in California and thinking of how to make a tail wage realistic.
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