Late to the Top 50 SF & Fantasy Meme (did I just say that word?)

After all my previous squawking about women reading science fiction and fantasy, OK, I mean hottus scientificas chicas who do or do not read the genre, I can’t believe I missed this. Well, maybe I can. I am a near geriatric, after all.
Here are the various responses from my SciBlings: Most Significant SF & Fantasy Books of the Last Fifty Years.
The list is below the fold, and the books which I have read are in bold text: 36 of 50, if I counted right. My brother, 10 years my senior, is an avid science fiction and fantasy fan, and not only had many of these books in paperback form, but also pulp mags like Isaac Asimov’s SF & Fantasy and Analog. As a kid and teenager, I devoured the stuff, and I kept it up through grad school & my post-doc.
The majority of my science fiction and fantasy reading occured between age 9 to 35, and since then, I read the genre sporadically. My mom was good friends with Neal Stephenson’s late grandmother (or aunt, something like that) so she makes sure I read his work.
I recently re-read The Silmarillion by Tolkien. This post-modern reading from my perspective as a career-scientist and an atheist was revealing, and the subject of another post. Let’s just say that Feanor, the Elven-smith, transformed from a scary pain in the ass in my 1977-1980ish readings of The Silmarillion to my long suffering scientist-hero in 2006.

The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
Dune, Frank Herbert
Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
Neuromancer, William Gibson
Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
Cities in Flight, James Blish
The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
Gateway, Frederik Pohl
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
Little, Big, John Crowley
Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny.
The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
On the Beach, Nevil Shute
Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
Ringworld, Larry Niven
Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein
Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
Timescape, Gregory Benford
To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

2 thoughts on “Late to the Top 50 SF & Fantasy Meme (did I just say that word?)”

  1. Tolkien seemed to be very ambivalent about the whole idea of creativity, whether scientific/technological or “artistic”. On the one hand, he thought that creativity was a way to get close to God, on the other that it always presented the danger that you started thinking of yourself as God. Just start to list the renowned “craftsmen” in Tolkien and see how many of them go off the rails at least once:
    Feanor, Saruman, Sauron, Celebrimbor, Aule, Eol. Also Niggle and Smith.
    (But note the selection bias – there’s not much to say about all the great elven-smiths who _didn’t_ get funny ideas.)

  2. Just start to list the renowned “craftsmen” in Tolkien and see how many of them go off the rails at least once.
    Absolutely. I have a rough draft in progress germane to this, and will slap it up here amidst the bonobo scat soon.

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