18 November 2006 by Published in: entertainment 2 comments

Meme, because that’s all I have energy for (so that’s how memes happen). Works thusly: you read over the Science Fiction Book Club’s “The Most Significant SF & Fantasy Books of the Last 50 Years, 1953-2002” list and then you italicize and bold and mark up stuff about each one, and everything you mark up means something. Only I haven’t done enough of these to figure out what’s what, so I’m taking a page from my fellow VPer cicadabug’s book and just grouping them instead of all the crazy highlighting. Makes more sense and you know, I just cannot resist putting like items together. I’ve been having an ongoing conversation with a friend about spec fic and how much I’ve been reading of it lately and whether that’s a departure for me or not. Perhaps the list will illuminate.

Books I’ve read, loved and still love (and would read again in a heartbeat, if only there were enough heartbeats in a life to do so)

  • 1 The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
  • 5 A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
  • 10 Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
  • 11 The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
  • 12 A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
  • 26 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
  • 27 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
  • 29 Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
  • 30 The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
  • 33 The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
  • 42 Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
  • 43 Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson (though I liked The Diamond Age better, to be honest)

Books I loved when I read them

  • 2 The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
  • 3 Dune, Frank Herbert
  • 6 Neuromancer, William Gibson
  • 9 The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • 37 On the Beach, Nevil Shute
  • 41 The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
  • 47 Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock

Books I’ve read

  • 4 Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein (am I the only person on the planet who really dug The Puppetmasters and not much else Heinlein?)
  • 21 Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey

Books I read but hated

  • 23 The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
  • 48 The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks

Books I feel like I really ought to/want to read

  • 8 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
  • 20 Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
  • 36 The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
  • 45 The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester

Meh. Might read this some day

  • 16 The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
  • 19 The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
  • 22 Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card*
  • 28 I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
  • 32 Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
  • 31 Little, Big, John Crowley*

Books you will never persuade me (go on, try) I need to read

  • 14 Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
  • 15 Cities in Flight, James Blish
  • 17 Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
  • 18 Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
  • (to be fair, I totally met my Ellison quota, because I read the mammoth retrospective tome)

  • 24 The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
  • 25 Gateway, Frederik Pohl
  • 34 Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
  • 35 More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
  • 38 Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
  • 40 Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
  • 44 Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
  • 49 Timescape, Gregory Benford

Did I read this?

  • 7 Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
  • 13 The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
  • 39 Ringworld, Larry Niven
  • 46 Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein
  • 50 To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

It may seem weird to you that I’m not all that sure what I’ve read. This is part of my impetus toward better record-keeping. I forget what I read. I’m also pleased to see how I’ve loved most of what I’ve read, and hated very little of it. Even the two haters were instrumental in their way to my adolescent self. Before I read them, I read anything, uncritically. It took stories I hated to make me see not all stories are worth it. So, not counting the five I may or may not have read (they look familiar, but if I did read them it was over ten years ago and I can’t exactly remember), I’ve read twenty three of the fifty. Not quite half, but close. Some of the most loved ones I’ve read multiple times.

ETA : I asterisked the books strongly recommended in the comments, in case I use this entry to pick books later.


Sun 19th Nov 2006 at 12:59 am

I really can’t recommend Little, Big highly enough. I had a hell of a time finding a copy (maybe it’s back in print now?) but I just treasured that book all the way through.

Also, Ender’s Game has much to recommend it. If I were reading it for the first time, though (and it’s one of those books I very much wish I could read for the first time again), I’d stop at the end and NOT read the rest of the series. At all.

Sun 19th Nov 2006 at 6:02 am

I’m with elaine – I liked Ender’s Game quite a bit (and even liked the second in the series too) but I try to blot out books 3 and 4.

Hmm…19 out of 50 for me. I clearly have to make a visit to the library.

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