50 Most Significant SF&F Books

The Sci­ence Fic­tion Book Club has a list of what they con­sid­er “The Most Sig­nif­i­cant SF & Fan­ta­sy Books of the Last 50 Years, 1953–2002.”

I would­n’t have cho­sen the list quite the same. For one thing, Allen Steele isn’t rep­re­sent­ed at all, and nei­ther is Vic­tor Koman. John Var­ley and Con­nie Willis aren’t rep­re­sent­ed. Where are David Brin and Charles de Lint? Sheri Tep­per? Spi­der Robin­son? David Weber? How the hell can they jus­ti­fy hav­ing Ter­ry Brooks on a list that did­n’t have room for de Lint? And C.J. Cher­ryh is miss­ing? Where’s Andre Norton?

I may use the list as a read­ing guide, as I’ve only read 21 of them—but some of them I know just don’t inter­est me. I’m fair­ly sure that I tried to read Do Androids Dream of Elec­tric Sheep at some point, and it just did­n’t do any­thing for me. The same goes for The Sil­mar­il­lion (though Katie liked it). 

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

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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