NPR’s Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy

If you haven’t looked at list, you can find it here. This is a large-scale list that was voted on by 60k + people across 5k titles. Needless to say, it was quite the undertaking in terms of reeling in the titles. If you read in the two genres you will see many familiar titles, here is the question, and many other titles you probably aren’t familiar with or have even heard of.

Here is the top ten:

1. The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams
3. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles by Frank Herbert
5. A Song of Ice And Fire Series by George R.R. Martin
6. 1984 by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I’ve read somewhat religiously consistent for a few years between audio books at work and physical copies at home. When I was younger I read with great enthusiasm until I found alcohol and girls, where there was a gap in reading and memory until I calmed down roughly four or five years ago, so I have thrown down on some books. The list of books to read is longer than the list of books that I have read and I don’t really see that changing……..ever…….. Which is exciting and incredibly annoying at the same time.

I have read probably 60/100 titles in the NPR list throughout the course of my life. Some beloved books are beat out by works I have never heard of, like The Handmaid’s Tale. This makes me incredibly curious because I sort of pride myself on being well read in the genre, or at least did. Before the final results were released I felt I had a good idea of how the list would turn out. I was wrong and right at the same time. In the top ten, five are my favorite writers. The only book on the top ten I haven’t read/listened to is LOTR, blasphemy I know but I just can’t get into it. I have tried multiple times.

So with the giant gorilla of bias out of the way, some of the standings I agree with and others leave me a little confused. Like why wasn’t Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series isn’t on the list and just two books are, or why NPR didn’t just split the genre’s separately. I truly believe that Hyperion should be higher than what it is, but I am a Simmons fan boy so there might be some slight favoritism. Any who, I have added more books to me ‘God Damn Printer Won’t Work – Books To Read List’ because of this – *shakes fist angrily*.

The timeline of these books are spread across decades old classics to new baby smell, and given the sheer volume of literature out in the world, the people who have read all 100 books are probably a minority.

So here is my question: How many of the titles have you NOT read and/or are virtually new to your ear and eye holes?

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8 thoughts on “NPR’s Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy

  1. Oh Frank, The Handmaid’s Tale is amazing. And a really quick read. Although, I’m curious as to if a man would have the same reaction to it that a woman does. I don’t want to give away the story too much, when I read it a friend told me to not read anything about it and just let the story surprise you. I admit, it could actually happen and that scares the shit out of me.

    Have you read Martin Amis’ Time’s Arrow? Another quick read but it’s the story of a dying man whose soul remembers everything backwards … interesting.

    • Frank Bishop says:

      I haven’t read Time’s Arrow, I just read the summary and it does sound interesting. It sounds like it can be very confusing, which interests me.
      I might make a trip to Borders soon and pick up a copy, if they have it. I need to get a copy of The Last Unicorn anyway.

  2. Clint says:

    The Black Company better be on there somewhere…
    Where did Starship Troopers place?

  3. Adam says:

    I just did a quick glance through the list, and without doing an exact count I would guess that I’ve read maybe 1/4 of the books on the list.

    There are some books on the list that I haven’t read and that I probably never will. For example, I read Slaughterhouse Five by Vonnegut and absolutely hated it, I can’t really see myself picking up another Vonnegut book (and he had 2 or 3 books on the list). I also tried reading the first book of The Sword of Truth years ago, got about halfway through the book, and hated it so much that I put it down.

    Among the books that I haven’t read on the list, I have several on my stack of books to read, although in some cases it’s just the first book of the series (Dune, the first Codex Alera, and the first 2 Hyperion books).

    • Frank Bishop says:

      Dune and Hyperion are amazing books, you will be very pleased. Dune is usually likened to Lord of the Rings in turns of scope and Hyperion is like Canterbury Tales in space. I can’t rave about how awesome Hyperion is.

  4. Nick says:

    The fact that Neil Gaiman made the top ten list immediately validates this list. I don’t care what anyone says, American Gods is effing brilliant and should at least be top 5

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