Thursday, August 11, 2011

My reading list just got a lot longer.

Sci-fi AND Fantasy!
Budd, over at Sci-fi Media posted about NPR's list of their top 100 science fiction and fantasy books and it looks like I've got a lot of catching up to do. I have only read about 1/3 of the titles on the list. To make myself feel better, I can say that I have read many of the series on the list, all of the top 5 and 10 out of the top 15... so, that's good, right?

Some notable absences I felt included Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy and C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. I don't even particularly like the Narnia series, but it is certainly a formative work in the fantasy genre.

Also... No Harry Potter!? Not making a judgment, but I was genuinely surprised. I wonder if the "real world" setting causes a psychological block so that people don't think of it as fantasy. Or maybe Harry Potter fans don't listen to NPR.

What are your thoughts on the list?

Edit: The absence of Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire is also surprising, given the recent HBO series and his skyrocketing profile in the fantasy authorship ranks. I actually find that fact kind of satisfying, because it reduces the argument that the selections are based on the new hotness on the book shelves. "Reduces" does not necessarily mean "eliminates." Okay, clearly I was suffering from some sort of selective vision/memory because SOI&F is #5! Please resume complaints about this being a list of "what's hot"

Also, this.


  1. This is relevant to my interests. I was surprised that the John Carter Series (A Princess of Mars) was absent. It's the first space opera.

    You might be interested in my sci-fi project - I'm reading my (ever expanding) collection of vintage sci-fi paperbacks in order of original publication. It's an interesting project. The blog itself may not actually be very compelling, but, eh.


  2. anything they deemed as YA was cut from the list as they are doing a YA list next year and didn't want any overlap. Song of ice and fire is there.

  3. Lynn - I agree on a personal level about A Princess of Mars. Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan, Mars and Pelucidar books were really my gateway into the sci-fi/fantasy genre. However, I have found that very few people actually know Burroughs as an author. Everyone knows Tarzan, but not who came up with him.

    Also, I think your sci-fi reading project sounds awesome! I have also been trying to read more of the classic & pulp sci-fi. Over the past couple years, I finally got around to reading Dune, the Time Machine, Call of Cthulu and King Solomon's Mines. The classic stuff on NPR's list is likely going to be my first target. Once I finish book 13 of WoT, book 2 of the Kingkiller Chronicles and A Dance with Dragons... I'm so behind!

    Budd, thanks for catching my sudden lapse in vision/memory.

  4. I'm pretty happy they excluded the Harry Potter series from this list. I've enjoyed much of that series, but I think it would have earned an undeserved #1 spot due to a lot of readers who hadn't necessarily read other sci-fi/fantasy. (IMO)

    I certainly saw evidence of this being a list of "what's hot" to some degree. I'm a big fan of Neal Stephenson, but I don't think he necessarily deserved four spots on the list.

    I think Terry Pratchett should have gotten a single item for the entire Discworld series, but Small Gods and Going Postal are certainly a couple of the best.

  5. Got the list and put it into a Google Doc, here's the public version if anyone is interested:

    I'm at 35 myself, which was lower than I expected... started in on my 36th "World War Z". Quite entertaining.

  6. Very cool! Just snagged it for myself!


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