Meme: The Guardian List of Best SF/F


Peggy over at Biology in Science Fiction brought to my attention this meme of the Guardian’s list of 149 best science fiction and fantasy novels. Being the good little bookworm, I decided to join in on the fun:

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)
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) (not all of them)
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) (part of it)
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)

And another list where I did poorly!  Twenty novels from this list (well, twenty three if you count the ones I read in the Chronicles of Narnia).  Insane.
How did you do?

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

6 thoughts on “Meme: The Guardian List of Best SF/F

  1. Well I’ve read 18, but four of those are actually multiple-book series, so I’ve actually read 31, if you count LOTR as three books, which you really should because they’re so darn long. Plus I’ve read all the Hitchhikers stuff after the first one, and all of Neil Gaiman’s stuff barring The Graveyard book, which earns me uber bonus points. And why is Alice in Wonderland split into two, and Harry Potter only one book on there, when they have such multiple-book epics as Discworld, HDM, and Earthsea on there? And Lord of the Flies is in no way fantasy, either, it’s some kind of weird literary junk that no one should be forced to read.

    I hate these lists, because they’re so selective about what authors they put on there. I mean, two Le Guin and only one Gaiman? I don’t think there are any people who would agree that’s fair, since Le Guin writes like a each word was painful, and Gaiman does not. Never even heard of JG Ballad, yet he has three??


  2. Ellira: Alice in Wonderland is split into two because it’s two separate novels.
    And yeah, I didn’t get the Lord of the Flies one. I mean, maybe they’re arguing it’s SF (dystopian), but it really doesn’t fit at all…
    Le Guin happens to have a bit more literary respect than Gaiman, even if her work isn’t all that better. She’s just been at it for longer. I’ve only read one of her books and it was okay.
    And Ballard is important! Big time important!

  3. I know it’s two separate novels, idiot, but so is HDM, Narnia, etc. Why did Alice deserve two spots on the list?

    And why is Le Guin, the most boring, wooden writer I’ve ever read, more respected than someone who is, y’know, interesting, stylistically unique, and capable of loading his work with hidden meanings and references etc etc.? If the Earthsea series is so wonderful, why did it take me four months (yes, four months) to read it?

    I don’t trust The Guardian, anyway. Silly paper full of people with their nose in the air.

  4. Le Guin is there because it’s not Lindsey’s list. What you think is boring and wooden might not be so for a lot of other folks. And Alice has two spots cause it’s old :P.

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