National Socialist Radio listeners have participated in a project to compile The Top 100 Science Fiction And Fantasy Books.
Denny and a lot of other bloggers have participated in a meme where you copy the NSR list, highlight the ones you've read, and provide any commentary that would encourage others to read some of the titles that you've enjoyed.
I'm not a huge fan of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre, mostly because any time the hero gets in trouble, the authors can instantly save him with a time warp, an enchanted spatula, an unexpected invasion of liberators from the planet Nekthar, or a magical stimulus package. But I was surprised at how many of these I've read.
1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
This is the ultimate fantasy trilogy. A friend of The Whited Mama, Mrs. Merritt, recommended it to me when I was in the 8th grade. Mrs. Merritt had read the series 3 or 4 times. I devoured these puppies. You've never known true joy until those hobbits get rid of that dang ring.
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
You will laugh until you cry. I almost ruptured a gut during the sequence where Marvin The Paranoid Android gets left behind in the space time continuum and has to park cars at The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe for billions of years until he can rejoin his buddies in "the present". Please don't judge this thing by the movie adaptation. This is brilliant stuff. I wish it could have been number 42 on this list, though.
3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
The first book in the series is pure, undiluted greatness. Herbert creates an entire culture that the reader can totally buy into - grammar, traditions, religion, coming-of-age rituals, laws, diet, clothing, the works. The second is good. The third is blah. All the other stuff after that is dull. I bet if you read the first one, you'll still try to read the all the rest, kinda like a crack addict trying to get that old feeling back.
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell
Yes, Big Brother is watching you. And he's not happy that you're reading anything on this site.
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
The best anti-censorship book EVER. Read it, and you'll never forget the temperature at which paper spontaneously ignites. Bradbury's best?
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
I didn't read all of this. Therefore it is only half-highlighted. I usually liked Asimov's non-fiction essays more than his novels.
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
"And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins."
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
Hilarious. Joyous. Wonderful storytelling. Loved it, loved it, loved it. And they didn't screw up the movie. Inconceivable. I don't think that means what you think it means. And I am not left-handed. Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
As Timothy The Tax Cheat Geithner will tell you, "some are more equal than others". Animal Farm - we're living on it.
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
Watchmen is a graphic novel. For people over 60, that's what they're now calling lengthy comic books. I liked it ok, but didn't think it was worth inclusion in Time magazine's Top 100 Novels list. Because of this graphic novel, all references that I make to "Ozymandias" are misunderstood.
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
I think I finished it.
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
I grokked it in a big way. One of the best libertarian novels ever written.
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
Frankenstein isn't about being afraid of a monster. It's about how horrible it would be to live as a monster.
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
Even if you haven't read PKD's books, you're probably familiary with some of the movies they spawned - Blade Runner, Total Recall, and Minority Report. This theme seems to have driven Philip K. Dick stark raving mad.... How do we know that we really experienced something in the past? How do we know that we weren't all created 15 minutes ago, with common non-contradictory memories? This guy makes my head hurt.
22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood has a typing fit where she imagines a religious fundamentalist takeover of the U.S. after nuclear war makes most of the women sterile and races are segregated again, and nobody can wear makeup and women can't drive cars. Kind of a left-wing rape fantasy.
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
I think I own all the volumes of this, but I'm saving them for my old age.
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
I read this in the North Sunflower Academy library when I was too young to understand it. I need to revisit this one. Every time Barack Obama discovers that some Socialist/Keynesian policy will not work, it reminds me of the chimps crowding around the metal tower and discovering how to use tools.
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
This is a big fat story that you can get lost in, with a good vs. evil plot. King has a great time destroying the world and populating it with dozens of memorable characters: Trashcan Man, Mother Abigail, The Walking Dude, and that washed-up, one-hit-wonder, rock singer. This is one of my favorites. Buy the really long uncut version.
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
If bookstores still exist 50 years from now, Ray Bradbury will probably be shelved in the Literature section, not Sci-Fi.
28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
My friend Roger and I were discussing this one last night. If you take away someone's free will with drugs, is he still a human?
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
Imagine a semi-fascist society where everyone lives to serve the state, and the state assigns them their careers, and some of them are sent off to fight giant bugs. Good stuff. Bad movie. It's so bad that you'll watch it over and over. "It's an ugly planet ! A BUG planet !"
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
I've not thought about this before, but this one belongs on the list for the same reason as Frankenstein. Frankenstein is about how horrible it would be to live as a monster. Watership is about how horrible it would be to live as prey.
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
Haven't read it, but it's on my Bucket List.
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
Read it a long, long time ago. Those underground Morlock things gave me bad dreams.
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
Read it after I went on the ride at Disneyland, sometime in the 4th or 5th grade.
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
Read it in Jr. High School and thought it was ok. Tried it again a few years ago, and it wasn't ok.
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
If we ever make contact with other planets, this is what The Feds will use to justify more spending.
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Phenomenally dull stuff. Like George Lucas discovered in doing Star Wars Episodes 1,2, and 3, there are times when you should produce something great and then leave it alone.
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
Pure, undiluted greatness. I love, love, love this book. Love it, love it, love it. I will give you a dollar if you read this book.
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
This is one of the darkest things I've ever read, and I'm a fan of darkness. Post-apocalyptic meldown. Two people trying to get from Point A to Point B. You never get the names of the two main characters, the man and the boy. This might be McCarthy's best novel, in spite of serious competition.
64. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
If you like Zombie combat, this is your book.
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
Greatness. Nothing but Bradbury short stories, tied together with a guy who is tattooed all over. If I remember correctly, you don't have to read them in order, which makes for convenient bathroom reading. (You know, for when you just need something to keep you occupied for five minutes.)
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis
I think Lewis's theological parables (Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce) are better than these. I don't think I ever finished the 2nd one.
That's the list. I hope it was helpful. I'm going to try to read the Vonnegut stuff.