Friday, August 5, 2011

Get out the vote: NPR poll on top 100 SF/F titles of all time

If you haven't already heard, NPR has an open poll on the top 100 science fiction/fantasy titles of all time. To participate in the poll (you get to pick your top 1o, from which they'll compile the top 100), click here: The results will be announced August 11.

NPR is getting a lot of flack for co-mingling fantasy and SF, not including children's literature (so no Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, Hobbit, or Narnia) as well as including a few too many modern authors to the exclusion of some classic titles. I don't mind the first two criticisms so much, but I agree with the latter (four China Mieville titles? Give me a break. And no Poul Anderson--WTF?)

But regardless, what's there is pretty good. Here are the ten I voted for:

The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
The Silmarillion, JRR Tolkien
Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut
1984, George Orwell
The Once and Future King, T.H. White
Watership Down, Richard Adams
The Conan series, Robert E. Howard
The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
The Worm Ouroboros, E.R. Eddison


Welleran said...

Ineresting exercise, though I was a bit disappointed in some of those on the list (Drizzt, the Belgariad, Donaldson, etc.) and some that were missing (The Hobbit, George MacDonald, William Morris, etc.).

David J. West said...

I voted a few days ago-ready, nay expecting, for there not to be any Howard and then I could say the list was a fraud an invalid.

But it was pretty comprehensive regardless of what you like.

I think voted for seven of the ones you did.

noisms said...

There are some weird additions. "The Algebraist" by Ian M. Banks? Easily the weakest of his SF books - I couldn't even finish it, it was so dull.

Also, I can't believe there are no John Carter of Mars books in there.

And "Animal Farm" is SF/Fantasy????

Brian Murphy said...

I agree, Noisms: I don't see how, even under the most liberal definition of SF/F, you can put Animal Farm on the list. If intelligent animals is the qualifier, then I guess Moby Dick is SF/F? Or The Call of the Wild?

Yeah, the fact that Drizzt made the list, but none of Burrough's Mars books did, nor The Broken Sword or Jack Vance's stuff, is borderline criminal.

David J. West said...

It didn't have Broken Sword! I missed that-it would be on my list at least in the top 20.

Taran said...

My votes:

The Book of the New Sun - Gene Wolfe
A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter M. Miller
Conan - Robert E. Howard
The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. LeGuin
The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
The Once and Future King - T.H. White
Solaris - Stanislaw Lem
Swordspoint - Ellen Kushner
Watership Down - Richard Adams

I'll be really disappointed if Gene Wolfe or Stanislaw Lem don't make it, and if Robert Jordan does (DON'T YOU PEOPLE EVER LEARN???). I wanted to put Guy Gavriel Kay on there, but the books of his actually on the list were the ones that impressed me the least. I think Tigana's his worst work, frankly. (Also, was Charles de Lint even there?)

Ted Cross said...

The favorites I didn't see on their list were the Earthsea series, the Deryni series, and the Thieves' World series.

Brian Murphy said...

A Canticle for Leibowitz and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy easily could have made my top 10, too. 10 books is really too few to choose from and at that level you're really picking between books of equal quality.