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From [livejournal.com profile] jwgh

The Guardian's list of F&SF books you should read before you die. I hope that by not having read some of these, I will have achieved an inexpensive, practical form of immortality.

Rules:

The rules of the meme are familiar: bold the books one has read, italicize the ones on the pile to be read, and strikethrough the ones you wouldn't be caught dead with and/or violently disagree with.




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. Paul Auster: In the Country of Last Things (1987)

6. Iain Banks: The Wasp Factory (1984)

7. Iain M Banks: Consider Phlebas (1987)

8. Clive Barker: Weaveworld (1987)

9. Nicola Barker: Darkmans (2007)

10. Stephen Baxter: The Time Ships (1995)

11. Greg Bear: Darwin's Radio (1999)

12. Alfred Bester: The Stars My Destination (1956)

13. Poppy Z Brite: Lost Souls (1992)

14. Algis Budrys: Rogue Moon (1960)

15. Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita (1966)

16. Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Coming Race (1871)

17. Anthony Burgess: A Clockwork Orange (1960)

18. Anthony Burgess: The End of the World News (1982)

19. Edgar Rice Burroughs: A Princess of Mars (1912)

20. William Burroughs: Naked Lunch (1959)

21. Octavia Butler: Kindred (1979)

22. Samuel Butler: Erewhon (1872)

23. Italo Calvino: The Baron in the Trees (1957)

24. Ramsey Campbell: The Influence (1988)

25. Lewis Carroll: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)

26. Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871)


27. Angela Carter: Nights at the Circus (1984)

28. Michael Chabon: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (2000)

29. Arthur C Clarke: Childhood's End (1953)

30. GK Chesterton: The Man Who Was Thursday (1908)

31. Susanna Clarke: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (2004) (half bolded b/c I'm halfway done)

32. Michael G Coney: Hello Summer, Goodbye (1975)

33. Douglas Coupland: Girlfriend in a Coma (1998)

34. Mark Danielewski: House of Leaves (2000)

35. Marie Darrieussecq: Pig Tales (1996)

36. Samuel R Delaney: The Einstein Intersection (1967)

37. Philip K Dick: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)

38. Philip K Dick: The Man in the High Castle (1962)

39. Umberto Eco: Foucault's Pendulum (1988)

40. Michel Faber: Under the Skin (2000)

41. John Fowles: The Magus (1966)

42. Neil Gaiman: American Gods (2001)

43. Alan Garner: Red Shift (1973)

44. William Gibson: Neuromancer (1984) (half bolded because I got halfway through and never finished)

45. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Herland (1915)

46. William Golding: Lord of the Flies (1954)

47. Joe Haldeman: The Forever War (1974)

48. M John Harrison: Light (2002)

49. Robert A Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)

50. Frank Herbert: Dune (1965)

51. Hermann Hesse: The Glass Bead Game (1943)

52. Russell Hoban: Riddley Walker (1980)

53. James Hogg: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824)

54. Michel Houellebecq: Atomised (1998)

55. Aldous Huxley: Brave New World (1932)

56. Kazuo Ishiguro: The Unconsoled (1995)

57. Shirley Jackson: The Haunting of Hill House (1959)

58. Henry James: The Turn of the Screw (1898)

59. PD James: The Children of Men (1992)

60. Richard Jefferies: After London; Or, Wild England (1885)

61. Gwyneth Jones: Bold as Love (2001)

62. Franz Kafka: The Trial (1925)

63. Daniel Keyes: Flowers for Algernon (1966) -- I read the short story but not the novel.

64. Stephen King: The Shining (1977)

65. Marghanita Laski: The Victorian Chaise-longue (1953)

66. Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu: Uncle Silas (1864)

67. Stanislaw Lem: Solaris (1961)

68. Doris Lessing: Memoirs of a Survivor (1974)

69. David Lindsay: A Voyage to Arcturus (1920)

70. Ken MacLeod: The Night Sessions (2008)

71. Hilary Mantel: Beyond Black (2005)

72. Michael Marshall Smith: Only Forward (1994)

73. Richard Matheson: I Am Legend (1954)

74. Charles Maturin: Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) (I started it and intend to finish someday)

75. Patrick McCabe: The Butcher Boy (1992)

76. Cormac McCarthy: The Road (2006)

77. Jed Mercurio: Ascent (2007)

78. China Miéville: The Scar (2002)

79. Andrew Miller: Ingenious Pain (1997)

80. Walter M Miller Jr: A Canticle for Leibowitz (1960)

81. David Mitchell: Cloud Atlas (2004)

82. Michael Moorcock: Mother London (1988)

83. William Morris: News From Nowhere (1890)

84. Toni Morrison: Beloved (1987)

85. Haruki Murakami: The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (1995)

86. Vladimir Nabokov: Ada or Ardor (1969)

87. Audrey Niffenegger: The Time Traveler's Wife (2003)

88. Larry Niven: Ringworld (1970)

89. Jeff Noon: Vurt (1993)

90. Flann O'Brien: The Third Policeman (1967)

91. Ben Okri: The Famished Road (1991)

92. Chuck Palahniuk: Fight Club (1996)

93. Thomas Love Peacock: Nightmare Abbey (1818)

94. Mervyn Peake: Titus Groan (1946)

95. John Cowper Powys: A Glastonbury Romance (1932)

96. Christopher Priest: The Prestige (1995)

97. François Rabelais: Gargantua and Pantagruel (1532-34)

98. Ann Radcliffe: The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794)

99. Alastair Reynolds: Revelation Space (2000)

100. Kim Stanley Robinson: The Years of Rice and Salt (2002)

101. JK Rowling: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1997)

102. Salman Rushdie: The Satanic Verses (1988)

103. Antoine de Sainte-Exupéry: The Little Prince (1943) (I read half of it)

104. José Saramago: Blindness (1995)

105. Will Self: How the Dead Live (2000)

106. Mary Shelley: Frankenstein (1818)

107. Dan Simmons: Hyperion (1989)

108. Olaf Stapledon: Star Maker (1937)

109. Neal Stephenson: Snow Crash (1992)

110. Robert Louis Stevenson: The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)

111. Bram Stoker: Dracula (1897)

112. Rupert Thomson: The Insult (1996)

113. Mark Twain: A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court (1889)

114. Kurt Vonnegut: Sirens of Titan (1959)

115. Robert Walser: Institute Benjamenta (1909)

116. Sylvia Townsend Warner: Lolly Willowes (1926)

117. Sarah Waters: Affinity (1999)

118. HG Wells: The Time Machine (1895)

119. HG Wells: The War of the Worlds (1898)

120. TH White: The Sword in the Stone (1938)

121. Gene Wolfe: The Book of the New Sun (1980-83)

122. John Wyndham: Day of the Triffids (1951)

123. John Wyndham: The Midwich Cuckoos (1957)

124. Yevgeny Zamyatin: We (1924)


My performance on that list was pretty sad. Then again, I like fantasy but not sci-fi so I was guaranteed to be missing a good chunk. On the other hand, there were some authors on there whose books I have read, but not the one listed. Also, a lot of stuff on there I wouldn't consider in the genre. I mean, Dracula and The Shining are classified as "horror" to me, "Melmoth the Wanderer" is gothic, and "Beloved" is general lit.

Date: 2009-01-25 11:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jeffspender.livejournal.com
I wouldn't feel bad at all about a sorry performance on this list... I think it's a pretty terrible list. They didn't even manage to get Bradbury on here? Yeesh.

This list smells an awful lot like a "normal" lit expert trying to find all the books they liked that could possibly be categorized as fantasy or sci-fi.

Date: 2009-01-26 04:53 am (UTC)
jwgh: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jwgh
Apparently the original list was '1000 books to read before you die', and then that list of 1000 was subclassified into different genres in various arbitrary ways. For instance I gather that 'Lord of the Rings' was on the list somewhere but was classified as something other than F/SF.

Date: 2009-01-26 02:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] paperclippy.livejournal.com
We should come up with our own list. Of course, my personal favorites are all in such a teeny tiny subgenre of fantasy that I'd have trouble coming up with a more generic one. Here are some books I'd include though, some of which are taken from the list:

* Lord of the Rings
* one of the Oz books (off the top of my head I'd pick the Patchwork Girl but in terms of historical influence it would probably have to be the first book)
* something by Bradbury
* Slaughterhouse Five (I don't get why they picked some other random book by Vonnegut instead of this one)
* Hitchhiker's Guide
* Foundation
* Dune (I hated this book, but it is pretty darn famous)
* Stranger in a Strange Land
* 1984
* Brave New World
* Neuromancer
* something by Philip K. Dick, if we're going for most famous then Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? but I think he has some better ones, at least, according to my sister -- I only read "The Galactic Pot-Healer"
* something by HG Wells
* something by Arthur C. Clark


Picking important fantasy novels is hard, because 95% of fantasy novels are just rip-offs of Lord of the Rings (at least, IMO). I would think there should be some representative of comedic fantasy (like Piers Anthony or Robert Aspirin), some representative of Tolkein-esque fantasy, some representative of alternate history fantasy, and some representative of dark fantasy. And some representative of urban fantasy. I hate to pick though because I hated so many books that everyone else loved.

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