Edited to add: I saw an addendum to Rosemerry’s post over on her blog and learned that this list is part of a published book. I don’t recall reading that on Rosemerry’s blog at the time, but that could just as easily have been my goldfish memory at play as much as it could be that Rosemerry herself didn’t know.
At any rate, the authors of the book 100 Must-Read Science Fiction Novels, Stephen E. Andrews and Nick Rennison, requested that Rosemerry remove the list from her blog. They haven’t contacted me, but I think it’s only fair that I follow suit. As Rosemerry stated, if these two authors have websites, I’d also love to link to them. 🙂
I had read that lists were not copyrightable and it was on this basis that I made the post, but since I am no expert on this aspect of copyright law, I will defer to politeness in respecting the author’s wishes. I’ve left up only those I’ve read or watched and my commentary on them. Hopefully, that satisfies copyright issues and the author’s concerns. 🙂
Rosemerry also posted the back cover blurb on her site, and I thought I would add that as well since it looks particularly interesting. Here goes:
Want to become a science fiction buff or expand your reading in your favourite genre? 100 Must-Read Science Fiction Novels is a good place to start! From the publishers of the popular Good Reading Guide comes a guide to some of the finest science fiction novels ever published. With 100 of the best titles fully reviewed and a further 500 recommended, you’ll quickly become an expert on the world of science fiction.
Yeah, I’m already convinced that, for a science fiction fan, this would be an interesting read. 😀 Plus it would give me great ideas for other well-written novels to read that I haven’t already read. Which, in turn, would also introduce me to authors I haven’t yet discovered which I could very well highly enjoy.
Plus there’s the geek factor. Seriously. Being informed on the arguably top one hundred science fiction novels of all times? That rates a person serious geekery! Being knowledgeable about the next 500? Oh, you seriously need a pocket protector and punch cards from the 1970s. 😀
I saw a post about this over at Puttin’ Words on Paper and thought, hey, great idea! And since lists and ideas aren’t copyrightable, I thought I’d copy Rosemerry in putting the list up here. And the titles you see below that are bolded and green, I’ve read the book. Where it’s green and not bolded, I’ve seen the movie (Oh, the horror!) And I’ve added commentary, too. Of course. 😀
ETA: List amended to include only those I’ve actually read.
- I, Robot (1950) Isaac Asimov. Read the book years and years and years ago and also saw the Will Smith movie of the same name.
- Foundation (1953) Isaac Asimov. Read the book years and years and years ago.
- Timescape (1980) Gregory Benford. Hey, I read that only a couple of years ago, along with The Demolished Man.
- The Demolished Man (1952) Alfred Bester
- Fahrenheit 451 (1953) Ray Bradbury. Another one that’s so long ago that I don’t really remember much. I think it’s time I read it again.
- A Clockwork Orange (1962) Anthony Burgess. Saw the first, oh, five minutes of the movie when I was 16 in an English class. I promptly walked out – the subject matter was, in my opinion, inappropriate for someone of my age and sensibilities.
- Ender’s Game (1985) Orson Scott Card. One of my favourite books by one of my favourite authors. 🙂
- Childhood’s End (1953) Arthur C. Clarke
- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) Philip K. Dick
- Neuromancer (1984) William Gibson
- Starship Troopers (1959) Robert A. Heinlein. Yeah, I’ll probably get tomatoes thrown at me, but I enjoyed both the book and the movie. Sad, I know…
- Dune (1965) Frank Herbert. Another one that’s been so long – for both the book and the movie – that I think I need to watch/read again and soon.
- Brave New World (1932) Aldous Huxley. Probably read during high school, along with The Chrysalids and other such stuff.
- Flowers for Algernon (1966) Daniel Keyes. Yeah, I think I read this before puberty hit. And then saw the movie that was based on the book – Charlie, I think. And then the Bollywood version that’s partially based on the book called Koi… Mil Gaya with Hrithik Roshan.
- Solaris (1961) Stanislaw Lem. Saw the very badly done movie with George Clooney.
- I Am Legend (1954) Richard Matheson. Saw the Will Smith movie. Disappointing ending. Very disappointing ending.
- Ringworld (1970) Larry Niven. Excellent book. Interesting premise. Worth revisiting.
- Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) George Orwell. Are there still people around who haven’t read it?
- Red Mars (1993) Kim Stanley Robinson. Admittedly, this is one of his books that got me hooked on the rest of his books. 🙂
- The Man in the Maze (1969) Robert Silverberg. I’m a huge Robert Silverberg fan. His stuff is just plain fun. 😀
- Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864) Jules Verne. Read the book, saw at least one rendition of it as a movie.
- The Time Machine (1895) H.G. Wells. Read the book, of course, and watched two versions of it as a movie. The recent one with, uh, what’s his face, and an older one. I’m pretty sure. Not absolutely positive, but fairly so.
- The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896) H.G. Wells. Ah, the more recent version of the movie with that old guy, what’s-his-face, was vaguely disturbing, probably because I believed the character he created. Which really only serves to show how good of an actor he is. Nevertheless…
- The War of the Worlds (1898) H.G. Wells
I’m surprised that there are so many I haven’t not just read, but heard of. Methinks I’m going to have to get my hands on more classic science fiction.
So I’ve read a sum total of 21 (if I can count, and that’s open for debate) and seen the movies for an additional three.
Thanks, Rosemerry! 🙂
9 thoughts on “Top 100 Must-Read Science Fiction Novels”
Ah, yes! I saw Blade Runner, of course, as you suspected. Don’t know why, but I always forget what it’s about, just like Mel Gibson’s whatchamacallit Australian dystopian movies.
I heard about the new Journey to the Centre of the Earth. I wonder how it’ll compare to the old one? The old one, from what I recall, was a bit cheesy in spots, but then, it was science fiction back in the day before there were special effects, so much more difficult to do well visually the same way they can now.
I’m also partial to stories about Mars. I wonder why that is? 🙂
Thanks for commenting, Rosemerry. 🙂
I am not a big sci-fi reader, so I haven’t read most of these. But I do keep meaning to read THE MAN IN THE MAZE- a friend of mine recommended it to me. Perhaps a trip to the bookstore is in order…
A New Journey to the Center of the Earth movie is coming out here in the States. It’s a 3-D version and stars Brendan Fraser apparently they are having a family of dad, mom, and son go this time.
Blade Runner is the movie for Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep so maybe you saw that movie as well.
I have to agree with you about Red Mars and that whole trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson but then I’m partial to stories about Mars.
I can’t believe I, Robot and I am Legend were both written in the 50’s! Holy smokes! I’m a Will Smith fan. I agree about the ending in Legend.
Please note that my book does not claim to list the ‘TOP’ or ‘BEST’ SF novels ever, as you have assumed. This habit some people have of making assumptions about the intention of a book without actually reading the book is one of the cardinal reasons why I requested that the list be removed from sites.
Instead, the book presents an overview of the SF genre through 100 books (nowhere in the book do we claim to have selected a ‘best’ or ‘top’ 100), and our selection can only be understood if the book is read – or if the reader reads all the novels we cite and considers them as parts of a whole.
There is also the issue of livelihood – professional authors rely on royalties to keep writing, so if people make assumptions about the nature of thier books without having read them, and make internet postings that appear to have understood the author’s intentions, the author can lose out. ‘Oh, it’s a list of the best SF – I disagree with that as a list, therefore, I won’t read the book,’ is the result.
Consequently, the true authorial intention is never discovered by the potential reader, the author loses sales, the potential reader may not discover the details of novels included in the book and so on.
I’m grateful that my book has interested people here, but I’m naturally not happy that assumptions have been made about it’s nature, which I’m sure you’ll understand. I’d prefer people read the book instead of assuming what it is about, as would any author.
Thanks for listening,
Stephen E. Andrews
(100 Must Read Science Fiction Novels, 100 Must Read Books For Men)
PS -incidentally, the ‘Art of Manliness’ website borrowed the title of my second book soon after it was announced on Amazon for a listing totally different to the one my book covers. Again, watch out for those assumptions!
Stephen, I’m sorry, but your rather lecturing/condescending tone doesn’t do much for convincing me to read your book.
You harp on and on about assumptions – this isn’t a top! or best! list, yet your own back cover blurb says “With 100 of the best titles fully reviewed and a further 500 recommended”. If you don’t want people associating “100 best” with your book, perhaps you need to have your back cover blurb changed.
As for me, I use the phrase “top 100 best” once; otherwise, it’s “top 100 must-read”. Must you assume what I’ve assumed? 😛
IMHO there’s an important difference between ‘100 of the best’ and ‘the 100 best’. I have no issues about claiming that the books we selected are amongst the best SF books, but I don’t have a big enough ego to suggest they are the ‘100 best’, as I think this is for each reader to decide for themselves.
I’m sorry if you find my tone condescending, but can you really blame authors for getting fed up with people assuming things about the books they produce instead of actually reading the content? One assumption is enough to mislead another potential reader in my experience.I feel strongly that what an author actually writes is more important than misleading assumptions about a text. If you ever get anything professionally published and then misrepresented, you’d feel the same, I guarantee you. I know a number of authors (including world famous names) who feel the same about this issue as I do – and they’ve seen thier sales suffer as a result of selective reviewing and so on.Forgive my sensitivity on this issue, but my books are my babies and I naturally like to see them represented accurrately. I have no problem with someone attacking (for example) my prose style, as that’s subjective, but on objective issues like the clearly stated aims of a book (see the’About This Book’ section), I won’t apologise for insisting on clarity.
You won’t read it? Well, that’s up to you, but with a fifth printing due, I’m quite happy that I’m reaching an audience. But I hope you do try it, even if you disagree with some of my choices – but I bet you’ll discover some new authors via the book…
Every time i come here I am not dissapointed, nice post
I would also recommend
“nSpace” by Dovin Melhee
completely out of the box sci fi novel