Thursday, August 11, 2011

NPR's top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

NPR has published their list of the top 100 scifi and fantasy books.  I have read or attempted the top 10.  Actually out of the top 30, I had read or attempted 27.  I finished with a total of 52 complete.  I disagreed with some (Neverwhere was good, but how is it there and not Good Omens and why is Gaiman on here four times).  I think Hitchhiker is top ten book but I don’t think it is A. #2 on the list, nor B. the best science fiction entry.  I had at least heard of most of the science fiction entries, but can’t say the same for the fantasy entries especially #18 The Kingslayer Chronicles.  I mean on a list where I have read 27 of the top 30 and have seen movie versions of two more, I have never even heard of #18. 

I think a lot of authors got a bump due to being very hot right now.  Brandon Sanderson, for instance, had three things on here and I just don’t think he is going to be that relevant in 20-30 years.  It is worth noting that this list isn’t really a best of list, but more of a popularity contest.  A lot of people have commented on the fact that the list should have been split or that an author should only be allowed on the list once.  These are great ideas. 
Pleasant surprise-  Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave
Glaring omission-  John Steakley’s Armor.


MRanthrope said...

lots of classics on that list. Glad I read some of those back in high school.

SteveB said...

I thought it was a pretty good list, though yes -- it was a little hot-right-now centric.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

John at Grasping for the Wind had posted NPR's voting list - I need to check if any of my ten selections made the cut.

GeoffN. said...

Do yourself a favor and read the King Killer Chronicles! It is some of the most refreshing fantasy I've read in a while, at least from a structural standpoint, for the following reasons:

A: It's told in flashback. There is an interesting frame story in which the protagonist has already become notorious and is telling his own story to a travelling sage called the Chronicler.

B: There is only one POV. This is super refreshing after series like Wheel of Time and Song of Ice and Fire that bog the reader down with plot threads.

C: The chapters are short, but don't sacrifice depth. This makes the books real page burners because Rothfuss is eloquent without being wordy. He gets to the point and to the action.

D: Rothfuss is young and is churning out a book every two years. There is little risk of him keeling over before the series ends. This is further supported by the protagonist's assertion that telling his story will take 3 days. Each book represents one day of story telling. Unless something goes horribly wrong, this will be a trilogy and not a 14 book monstrosity.

Budd said...

Sporkchop, you have addressed a lot of my concerns with Fantasy or at least my concerns with wheel of timish type fantasies.

Alex- No Cassastar, What where they thinking.

Steve-It is a pretty good reading list.

Mranthrope-there are a lot of unarguable classics on the list. I must read Frankenstein.

Pat Tillett said...

First off, the link is not good. The blogger draft info needs to be taken off the beginning of it.

I love the list overall, but I agree that the two types need to be on different lists. Having said that, I'm really happy that Heinlein makes a few appearances on the list. Stranger in a Strange Land, is what got into scifi in the first place.
GREAT post Budd!

Michael Hickerson said...

Like others, I noticed a lot of recent stuff making the list though at least it wasn't in the top ten.