The other top 100 sf and fantasy books list

There was a Top 100 sf and fantasy books meme going around last week which though well distributed didn’t actually have 100 books on it! It was more of “100 sf and fantasy classics” list, though, while Tristrom Cooke’s Top 100 list is much more of a live list, revised every few weeks, including many books I haven’t read, based on the votes of random readers. It actually means that classics tend to do less well – if you read a less well-known book and didn’t like it, you probably don’t bother voting it down, but if you really hated, say, Dune then a list like this is one more chance to get your revenge on Frank Herbert for wasting your time. Tristrom also sometimes lists series, sometimes anthologies, and sometimes single volumes, and has a modifier designed to mark down books with fewer voters. The list seems biased towards fantasy and Poles, but I guess that reflects the voters…

Having said all that, Tristrom’s current top 100 list is:

  1. A Song of Ice and Fire (series) by George R. Martin – a fantastic series, can’t wait for the next volume.
  2. Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien – rather a shock to find this slipping behind Martin, but I think it reflects the inherent bias against classics I noted above
  3. The Vorkosigan Series, by Lois McMaster Bujold – again, quite superb.
  4. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card – I had slightly more mixed feelings about this one.
  5. The Wiedzmin Stories, by A. Sapkowski – never heard of this series, which seems perhaps to have benefited from a write-in vote…
  6. Dune, by Frank Herbertgood start to a series which I became less excited by.
  7. The Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett – what, only in seventh place?
  8. Roadside Picnic, by A & B Strugatski – I found it gripping, the contemptuously absent aliens having monstrous effects on human society
  9. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons – actually have only read the first two as I have heard the second two are much less good.
  10. Hard to be a God, by A & B Strugatski
  11. The Lions of Al-Rassan, by Guy Gavriel Kay – I bought this one because it was on this list, and was enthralled.
  12. Tigana, by Guy Gavriel Kay – by the same token I will probably enjoy this one if I ever read it
  13. Beetle in the Anthill, by A & B Strugatski – haven’ even heard of this one
  14. A Fire Upon the Deep, by Vernor Vinge – Vinge has a fanatical following; I didn’t like the sequel at all but found this one pretty good.
  15. Palindor, by D.R. Evans – listing refers only to first book in series, an author I do not know.
  16. Armor, by John Steakley
  17. Deathbird Stories, by Harlan Ellison
  18. The Dragon Never Sleeps, by Glen Cook
  19. Replay, by Ken Grimwood
  20. Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes – subject of the most visited page on my website; a masterpiece.
  21. The Stars my Destination, by Alfred Bester – to my shame, one I haven’t read
  22. Bridge of Birds, by Barry Hughart – I bought this one because the book recommender at Alexlit said I would like it, and I did – lovely fantasy tale of a China that never was
  23. The Nine Billion Names of God, by Arthur C. Clarke – the listing technically refers to the collection with this title rather than the short story, but I’m sure I’ve read and enjoyed most of the stories in the collection, including of course the title one.
  24. Tales of the Continuing Time, by Daniel Keys Moran
  25. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert A. Heinlein – Heinlein’s last good book, though it’s a bit surprising not to see some of his earlier ones listed above it.
  26. The Deed of Paksennarion, by Elizabeth Moon – series I haven’t read though I greatly enjoyed here recent novel The Speed of Dark
  27. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien – only 27th?
  28. Fiasco, by Stanislaw Lem
  29. Lord of Light, by Roger Zelazny – a favourite book of mine by a favourite author
  30. By the Sword, by Mercedes Lackey
  31. The Coldfire Trilogy, by C.S. Friedman
  32. The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley
  33. The Best of Cordwainer Smith (collection), by Cordwainer Smith
  34. The Once and Future King, by T.H. White – brutal, but for my money still the best retelling of the Arthurian legend
  35. The Annals of the Black Company (series), by Glen Cook
  36. The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley
  37. The First Chronicles of Amber, by Roger Zelazny – rollicking stuff, without the annoying inconsistencies and arbitrary twists of the second five books. I found the whole lot in one volume for a jolly good price in Belgrade last time I was there.
  38. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb – lots of people rave about this author but I haven’ yet been tempted
  39. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson – Still Stephenson’s best, adn I think also the best cyberpunk novel.
  40. Doors of his Face, Lamps of his Mouth, by Roger Zelazny – the listing refers to the collection, which of course is great.
  41. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
  42. 1984, by George Orwell – again, probably this low on the list because of the classic effect.
  43. Watership Down, by Richard Adams – rather cute to see this here.
  44. The Cyberiad, by Stanislaw Lem – supposedly hilarious in the original Polish, raises the odd wry smile in English
  45. The Invincible, by Stanislaw Lem
  46. Persistence of Vision, by John Varley – OK I admit that I have probably only read the title story of this collection but it is pretty memorable.
  47. Quarantine, by Greg Egan – some rave about Egan; I found this book OK but am not rushing to buy more.
  48. The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories, by Gene Wolfe
  49. The Demolished Man, by Alfred Bester
  50. True Names, by Vernor Vinge
  51. Soldier of the Mist, by Gene Wolfe
  52. Legend, by David Gemmell
  53. Memory, Sorrow and Thorn (series), by Tad Williams
  54. God Stalk, by P.C. Hodgell
  55. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov – haven’t rereas these for years, and am somewhat hesitant to do so as I find I have grown out of Asimov’s style
  56. Norstrilia, by Cordwainer Smith
  57. Green Hills of Earth, by Robert A. Heinlein – from Heinlein’s heyday
  58. Vlad the Assassin Series, by Steven Brust
  59. Player of Games, by Iain M. Banks – Agreed; my favourite of Banks’ sf books.
  60. The Book of the New Sun (series), by Gene Wolfe – actually I’ve only read the first and third of these and found them intriguing, if slow going.
  61. The Anubis Gates, by Tim Powers – a great debut which Powers hasn’t really matched since, though I’ve enjoyed all his other books.
  62. The Honor Harrington Series, by David Weber
  63. Stone of Tears, by Terry Goodkind
  64. Raising the Stones, by Sheri S. Tepper – certainly Tepper’s best, hitting on all her themes – feminism, religion, sex, violence – but not in too strident a way
  65. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis – surprised not to see a series listing for Narnia, but perhaps this is the best of them
  66. Tea with the Black Dragon, by R.A. MacAvoy
  67. A Deepness in the Sky, by Vernor Vinge – as said above, I found this unsatisfactory, though the Hugo voters did not.
  68. The Last Unicorn, by Peter Beagle
  69. The Chung Kuo Series, by David Wingrove – actually I only read the first two and as the sex got more vicious and the characters less attractive I have given up for now.
  70. Startide Rising, by David Brin – Probably the best of Brin’s Uplift sequence of books, though I have faithfully bought each of the others and only been slightly disappointed.
  71. A Song for Arbonne, by Guy G. Kay
  72. A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula Le Guin – now, not having this above the Hobbit is a disgrace!
  73. Way Station, by Clifford Simak
  74. The Tactics of Mistake, by Gordon Dickson – have a feeling I may have read this in my teens but it left no impression.
  75. A Night in the Lonesome October, by Roger Zelazny – Zelazny’s last good book, Cthulhoid horrors almost meet Frankenstein and Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper. I think. It’s difficult to be sure but worth the ride.
  76. The Madness Season, by C.S. Friedman
  77. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
  78. The Fionavar Tapestry (series), by Guy G. Kay
  79. Ubik, by Philip K. Dick – an surprising result for Best Dick Novel – surely Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep or even more so A Scanner Darkly are better?
  80. On Stranger Tides, by Tim Powers – it all meshed together very satisfactorily in this one too.
  81. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams – of course.
  82. Last Call, by Tim Powers
  83. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart – Like TH White, a superb retelling of the Arthurian legends from Merlin’s point of view. This book, the first and best of the series, deals with the youth of Merlin.
  84. Something Wicked this Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
  85. A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller – superb, religion and far future, and surprisingly humorous.
  86. Futurological Congress, by Stanislaw Lem
  87. Against a Dark Background, by Iain M. Banks – oh, yes. *shiver*
  88. More than Human, by Theodore Sturgeon – rather surprising, I don’t think this one has weathered the test of time so well.
  89. Crystal Express, by Bruce Sterling
  90. Neutron Star, by Larry Niven – early Niven collection, from when he was young and hungry and still a good writer.
  91. Sojourn, by R.A. Salvatore
  92. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut – tremendous satire on nuclear weapons, religion, colonialism.
  93. Dying Inside, by Robert Silverberg – gloomy novel of telepath losing his powers
  94. The Shadow Rising, by Robert Jordan – fourth book of the Wheel of Time – actually I think this was the point where I lost interest in the series.
  95. Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll – suffers from being a classic.
  96. Tides of Light, by Gregory Benford
  97. Magic’s Pawn, by Mercedes Lackey
  98. The Sparrow, by Mary D. Russell – excellent, if you can ignore the incorrect physics and disappointing sequel.
  99. City, by Clifford Simak
  100. The Door into Summer, by Robert A. Heinlein

One thought on “The other top 100 sf and fantasy books list

  1. Do tell us about Oxford’s encounters with the judicial system! Killing an undercook, property disputes, debts and begging for the stannary concession, isn’t it?

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