Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Meme: Guardian's Science Fiction and Fantasy Novel List

Back in January, The Guardian came out with a list of "10000 Novels everyone must read", which included a list of 149 science fiction and fantasy titles. It is, not surprisingly, fairly UK-centric, and a lot of entries are arguable. The list seems heavily weighted towards literary fiction and magic realism, and many, like Eco's Foucalt's Pendulum or Golding's Lord of the Flies, I don't consider science fiction or fantasy at all. But there are many speculative fiction classics on the list too. And taking the next logical step, SF Signal has meme-ified the list, and asked other people to play along.

Here's my take, with the novels I've read bolded.

1. Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979)
2. Brian W Aldiss: Non-Stop (1958)
3. Isaac Asimov: Foundation (1951)
4. Margaret Atwood: The Blind Assassin (2000)
5. Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid's Tale (1985)
6. Paul Auster: In the Country of Last Things (1987)
7. J.G. Ballard: The Drowned World (1962)
8. J.G. Ballard: Crash (1973)
9. J.G. Ballard: Millennium People (2003)
10. Iain Banks: The Wasp Factory (1984)
11. Iain M Banks: Consider Phlebas (1987)
12. Clive Barker: Weaveworld (1987)
13. Nicola Barker: Darkmans (2007)
14. Stephen Baxter: The Time Ships (1995)
15. Greg Bear: Darwin's Radio (1999)
16. William Beckford: Vathek (1786)
17. Alfred Bester: The Stars My Destination (1956)
18. Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
19. Poppy Z Brite: Lost Souls (1992)
20. Charles Brockden Brown: Wieland (1798)
21. Algis Budrys: Rogue Moon (1960)
22. Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita (1966)
23. Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Coming Race (1871)
24. Anthony Burgess: A Clockwork Orange (1960) (part of it, anyway)
25. Anthony Burgess: The End of the World News (1982)
26. Edgar Rice Burroughs: A Princess of Mars (1912)
27. William Burroughs: Naked Lunch (1959)
28. Octavia Butler: Kindred (1979)
29. Samuel Butler: Erewhon (1872)
30. Italo Calvino: The Baron in the Trees (1957)
31. Ramsey Campbell: The Influence (1988)
32. Lewis Carroll: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
33. Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871)
34. Angela Carter: Nights at the Circus (1984)
35. Angela Carter: The Passion of New Eve (1977)
36. Michael Chabon: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (2000)
37. Arthur C Clarke: Childhood's End (1953)
38. GK Chesterton: The Man Who Was Thursday (1908)
39. Susanna Clarke: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (2004)
40. Michael G Coney: Hello Summer, Goodbye (1975)
41. Douglas Coupland: Girlfriend in a Coma (1998)
42. Mark Danielewski: House of Leaves (2000)
43. Marie Darrieussecq: Pig Tales (1996)
44. Samuel R Delany: The Einstein Intersection (1967)
45. Philip K Dick: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)
46. Philip K Dick: The Man in the High Castle (1962)
47. Thomas M Disch: Camp Concentration (1968)
48. Umberto Eco: Foucault's Pendulum (1988)
49. Michel Faber: Under the Skin (2000)
50. John Fowles: The Magus (1966)
51. Neil Gaiman: American Gods (2001)
52. Alan Garner: Red Shift (1973)
53. William Gibson: Neuromancer (1984)
54. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Herland (1915)
55. William Golding: Lord of the Flies (1954)
56. Joe Haldeman: The Forever War (1974)
57. M John Harrison: Light (2002)
58. Nathaniel Hawthorne: The House of the Seven Gables (1851)
59. Robert A Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)
60. Frank Herbert: Dune (1965)
61. Hermann Hesse: The Glass Bead Game (1943)
62. Russell Hoban: Riddley Walker (1980)
63. James Hogg: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824)
64. Michel Houellebecq: Atomised (1998)
65. Aldous Huxley: Brave New World (1932)
66. Kazuo Ishiguro: The Unconsoled (1995)
67. Shirley Jackson: The Haunting of Hill House (1959)
68. Henry James: The Turn of the Screw (1898)
69. PD James: The Children of Men (1992)
70. Richard Jefferies: After London; Or, Wild England (1885)
71. Gwyneth Jones: Bold as Love (2001)
72. Franz Kafka: The Trial (1925)
73. Daniel Keyes: Flowers for Algernon (1966)
74. Stephen King: The Shining (1977)
75. Marghanita Laski: The Victorian Chaise-longue (1953)
76. CS Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia (1950-56)
77. Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu: Uncle Silas (1864)
78. Stanislaw Lem: Solaris (1961)
79. Ursula K Le Guin: The Earthsea series (1968-1990)
80. Ursula K Le Guin: The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)
81. Doris Lessing: Memoirs of a Survivor (1974)
82. MG Lewis: The Monk (1796)
83. David Lindsay: A Voyage to Arcturus (1920)
84. Ken MacLeod: The Night Sessions (2008)
85. Hilary Mantel: Beyond Black (2005)
86. Michael Marshall Smith: Only Forward (1994)
87. Richard Matheson: I Am Legend (1954)
88. Charles Maturin: Melmoth the Wanderer (1820)
89. Patrick McCabe: The Butcher Boy (1992)
90. Cormac McCarthy: The Road (2006)
91. Jed Mercurio: Ascent (2007)
92. China Miéville: The Scar (2002)
93. Andrew Miller: Ingenious Pain (1997)
94. Walter M Miller Jr: A Canticle for Leibowitz (1960)
95. David Mitchell: Cloud Atlas (2004)
96. Michael Moorcock: Mother London (1988)
97. William Morris: News From Nowhere (1890)
98. Toni Morrison: Beloved (1987)
99. Haruki Murakami: The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (1995)
100. Vladimir Nabokov: Ada or Ardor (1969)
101. Audrey Niffenegger: The Time Traveler's Wife (2003)
102. Larry Niven: Ringworld (1970)
103. Jeff Noon: Vurt (1993)
104. Flann O'Brien: The Third Policeman (1967)
105. Ben Okri: The Famished Road (1991)
106. George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-four (1949)
107. Chuck Palahniuk: Fight Club (1996)
108. Thomas Love Peacock: Nightmare Abbey (1818)
109. Mervyn Peake: Titus Groan (1946)
110. Frederik Pohl & CM Kornbluth: The Space Merchants (1953)
111. John Cowper Powys: A Glastonbury Romance (1932)
112. Terry Pratchett: The Discworld series (1983- ) (A few of them)
113. Christopher Priest: The Prestige (1995)
114. Philip Pullman: His Dark Materials (1995-2000)
115. François Rabelais: Gargantua and Pantagruel (1532-34)
116. Ann Radcliffe: The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794)
117. Alastair Reynolds: Revelation Space (2000)
118. Kim Stanley Robinson: The Years of Rice and Salt (2002)
119. JK Rowling: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1997)
120. Geoff Ryman: Air (2005)
121. Salman Rushdie: The Satanic Verses (1988)
122. Joanna Russ: The Female Man (1975)
123. Antoine de Sainte-Exupéry: The Little Prince (1943)
124. José Saramago: Blindness (1995)
125. Will Self: How the Dead Live (2000)
126. Mary Shelley: Frankenstein (1818)
127. Dan Simmons: Hyperion (1989)
128. Olaf Stapledon: Star Maker (1937)
129. Neal Stephenson: Snow Crash (1992)
130. Robert Louis Stevenson: The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)
131. Bram Stoker: Dracula (1897)
132. Rupert Thomson: The Insult (1996)
133. JRR Tolkien: The Hobbit (1937)
134. JRR Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings (1954-55)
135. Mark Twain: A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court (1889)
136. Kurt Vonnegut: Sirens of Titan (1959)
137. Horace Walpole: The Castle of Otranto (1764)
138. Robert Walser: Institute Benjamenta (1909)
139. Sylvia Townsend Warner: Lolly Willowes (1926)
140. Sarah Waters: Affinity (1999)
141. HG Wells: The Time Machine (1895)
142. HG Wells: The War of the Worlds (1898)
143. TH White: The Sword in the Stone (1938)
144. Angus Wilson: The Old Men at the Zoo (1961)
145. Gene Wolfe: The Book of the New Sun (1980-83)
146. Virginia Woolf: Orlando (1928)
147. John Wyndham: Day of the Triffids (1951)
148. John Wyndham: The Midwich Cuckoos (1957)
149. Yevgeny Zamyatin: We (1924)

So by my count, that's 50 of the total. Interestingly, there a number of authors on the list whose work I've read, but I've missed their apparently "essential" work. Some of the books that I haven't read, I've had on my mental "to read" list for a while. Other books and authors I've never even heard of - the names Ramsey Campbell, Angela Carter, Hilary Mantel, Jed Mercurio, and Michael Marshall Smith don't even ring a bell. But now I have heard of them, and that's part of the fun of lists like this.

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

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WRobinson said...

I have always regarded Orwell's "1984" as the perfect science fiction novel.
As an example of the worst science fiction novel, I'd nominate Brian Aldiss' "Report on Probability A". I managed to get to within 20 pages of finishing it, when I finally gave up.