Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A needless exercise

Its been a slow day, and I am gonna shock the world with posts on consecutive days !!!

As it happens a lot with people with little or no creative juice, I resort to the oldest trick in the world .... copy-paste.

All this started when, one of my friends asked for sci-fi recommendations, which led me to this, a ranking of top 100 science fiction books. Naturally, was curious to know how many I have actually read. The number turned out to be 24 out of the top 50. Not bad, eh?

So here are the top 10, with my value-add ...

1. Dune, Frank Herbert - A sci-fi "Lawrence of Arabia", which nevertheless remains a cult novel. Sadly, the sequels lost the plot through increasingly complex philosophies which messed up the story.

2. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card - One of the very best. You can't go much wrong with a plot involving children battling alien invaders. A book which asks all the difficult questions and lets readers find their own answers. If only the author was not so preachy in real life !

3. Foundation, Isaac Asimov - On second reading, Hari Seldon and his brand of psychohistory seem a little childish. But then Asimov's simplicity is his greatest strength, attracting readers from across spectrums.

4. Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams - The one and only. Dry british humour turning all sci-fi fundamentals on its head. Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect are immortal. And so probably is Marvin, the paranoid andriod.

5. 1984, George Orwell - The Mother (or should I say, Big Brother) of persecuted individual novels. "It was bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen". There, I just did the first line from memory. That's how good it is.

6. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A Heinlein - IMHO, does not deserve a place in the top 10. May have been a pathbreaking novel when it was released, but always sounded overrated tripe to me. Coming from Heinlein, its a let-down.

7. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley - The first one which I haven't read. Considered to be written under the influence of heavy narcotics. Well, if Jim Morrison can be inspired by Huxley, so can you.

8. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury - Guy Montag and his python. The dreaded future where books are burnt. A moral fable turned cult classic beyond compare.

9. Starship Troopers, Robert A Heinlein - Another one from Heinlein, which has more popularity than substance (not to mention those giant bugs). An example of people choosing the author over the book, perhaps.

10. I, Robot, Isaac Asimov - More popularised by Will Smith's simplistic movie version rather than the book. This is Asimov at his very best, blurring the boundaries of science fiction, detective novels and social commentary.

And the balance 40 ....

11. Neuromancer, William Gibson
12. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K Dick
13. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Arthur C Clarke
14. Ringworld, Larry Niven
15. The Time Machine, H G Wells
16. Childhood's End, Arthur C Clarke
17. Hyperion, Dan Simmons
18. Rendezvous With Rama, Arthur C Clarke
19. Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut
20. The War of the Worlds, H G Wells
21. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert A Heinlein
22. Speaker for the Dead, Orson Scott Card
23. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
24. The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury
25. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K Le Guin
26. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
27. The Mote in God's Eye, Niven & Pournelle
28. Ender's Shadow, Orson Scott Card
29. A Wrinkle In Time, Madeleine L'Engle
30. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K Dick
31. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
32. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
33. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
34. A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
35. Solaris, Stanislaw Lem
36. Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson
37. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
38. Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes
39. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M Miller
40. Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut
41. The Day of the Triffids, John Wyndham
42. The Gods Themselves, Isaac Asimov
43. Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton
44. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne
45. UBIK, Philip K Dick
46. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
47. Time Enough For Love, Robert A Heinlein
48. A Fire Upon the Deep, Vernor Vinge
49. The End Of Eternity, Isaac Asimov
50. The Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut

9 comments:

Dipta Chaudhuri said...

My score is 9/50.
And most of mine are the Jules Verne / HG Wells category!

I think a few of Prof Shonku novels can get into the Top 50.

Bikramjit said...

What no Ben Bova?

Rimi said...

We are duly shocked and stupefied by posts on consecutive days.

Also, I feel miserably under-read. How could you do this to me?

P.S: I agree with Dipta. Professor Shonku. Ekdom!

Anonymous said...

Hee hee... My score is twenty or something... not bad... nothing like a good book of scifi/fantasy to ignite those stagnant grey cells...

Prash

Prometheus_Unbound said...

8/50. Fuck man and I used to consider myself a science fiction buff.

But looks like you have given me a great list to start with. ;)

Cheerios

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Saar, I would submit that a couple of Pratchetts should feature on that list. Yes, I know they're usually more fantasy than SF, but some would make the cut.

J.A.P.

aneesh said...

22/50 but am currently reading two more so i should soon catch up soon:-)

Btw are you by any chance working for a certain dutch bank? then i could lono you!

yoda said...

22/50 for me too, hey aneesh havent we met?

Anonymous said...

Hi,

"Solaris" by Stanislaw Lem has a sincere effort to describe science. esp. the alien is truly an alien, not something we can fit in our language and our descriptions...

highly recommended, if you have not read it.

ashish