Baron Dave Romm (barondave) wrote,
Baron Dave Romm

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]

11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe (2)
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr. [novella and book]
13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish (2)
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett [I don't remember which Discworld books I've read, maybe this one]
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison [why is this here?]
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester (2)
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey [and the others in the original series]
22. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card [and Speaker for the Dead; the other two are poor]
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson [I wish they'd make up their mind about books vs. series]
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling [and the others]
27. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams [and the others... not nearly as good as the original radio play]
28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
31. Little, Big, John Crowley
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon [book and novella]
36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith [If they mean Norstrillia and the others]
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien [why is this here?]
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein
47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford [I think I've read this one]
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

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...

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