November 15th, 2006

New Tilley Hat

Abritrary comments on an arbitrary 50 book list

I don't do "memes" so feel no compunction whatsoever about ignoring arbitrary rules. I don't agree with this list, which leaves out too many influential books. But what the heck. This is the list of books now making the rounds. All the books started were finished except The Silmarillion, which shouldn't be on this list. I'll bold all the ones I especially like and cross out the ones I haven't read. The number in parenthesis is the number I've times I've read the book, if memory serves. The default is (1). Comments in [brackets].

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien (5) [including The Hobbit, and I may be up to 6]
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
3. Dune, Frank Herbert (2) [the first three as a trilogy are good, the other two are not, only the original Dune is great]
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein [not even the best 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 [movie is also great]
the restCollapse )
A partial list of books I think are more influential (or books that are better than the ones on the list, or books for which I'm annoyed that more people don't like as much as I do), 1953-2002:
Babel-17, Samuel R. Delany
Nova, Samuel R. Delany
The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, Robert Heinlein
The Past Through Tomorrow, Robert Heinlein
Daybreak 2250 (Star Man's Son), Andre Norton
The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury
The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
Orphan of Creation, Roger McBride Allen
Shockwave Rider, John Brunner
How Much For Just The Planet?, John M. Ford
Options, Robert Sheckley
Songmaster, Orson Scott Card
True Names, Vernon Vinge
Slan, AE Van Vogt
... I'm not sure I could pick out one Theodore Sturgeon collection, maybe The Best Of...

...and so on and so forth. I better stop before I think of more. This list, and my additions, are heavily skewed toward the early part of the half-decade. Part of this is that it takes a while for a book to be recognized as influential (Harry Potter books aside). Part of it is that I haven't read all that many recent books. I'm still catching up with the old ones...