Books

I’m always reading something, and most of what I read is science fiction or fantasy. I find if I read a book that’s not science fiction or fantasy I’m often vaguely unsatisfied at the end.

In the last couple of years I’ve been filling in some gaps in my reading by reading books on the Sci-Fi Lists web site. There’s a science fiction list and a fantasy list. Sometime in the not-too-distant future I plan to give you a complete rundown of what I think of the books on these lists — I haven’t read all of them but I’ve read quite a few.

When I review a book I’ll rate it out of 5. I only started rating books a couple of years ago, so my ratings from before then are from memory and therefore come with a small grain of salt.

What do I hope to do with my reviews? For myself, I hope to remember more about the books I read and become more articulate about what I think about them. For you, if you decide that your taste is close to mine I hope to introduce you to great books you didn’t know about and steer you away from horrible books you don’t want to read.

To start things off, here’s the best of the best — the top 20 books in various categories, of the books I’ve read in the last 20 years.

Top 20 science fiction novels

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  • Foundation – Isaac Asimov
  • Evolution – Stephen Baxter
  • The Demolished Man – Alfred Bester
  • Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
  • The City and the Stars – Arthur C. Clarke
  • Native Tongue – Suzette Haden Elgin
  • The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Warchild – Karin Lowachee
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller, Jr.
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
  • The Wild Shore – Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Hominids – Robert J. Sawyer
  • Ventus – Karl Schroeder
  • Hyperion – Dan Simmons
  • A Door Into Ocean – Joan Slonczewski
  • Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson
  • A Fire Upon the Deep – Vernor Vinge
  • Passage – Connie Willis
  • Darwinia – Robert Charles Wilson

Top 20 fantasy novels

  • Watership Down – Richard Adams
  • The Last Unicorn – Peter S. Beagle
  • Seventh Son – Orson Scott Card
  • Red Prophet – Orson Scott Card
  • Someplace to Be Flying – Charles de Lint
  • Good Omens – Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
  • Dragonsbane – Barbara Hambly
  • Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb
  • A Song For Arbonne – Guy Gavriel Kay
  • The Summer Tree – Guy Gavriel Kay
  • Tigana – Guy Gavriel Kay
  • A Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • A Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin
  • The Book of Knights – Yves Meynard
  • The Anubis Gates – Tim Powers
  • The Witching Hour – Anne Rice
  • The Initiate Brother – Sean Russell
  • Gatherer of Clouds – Sean Russell
  • Nobody’s Son – Sean Stewart
  • The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

Top 20 science fiction & fantasy collections

  • Anthonology – Piers Anthony
  • I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
  • Nightfall – Isaac Asimov
  • Virtual Unrealities – Alfred Bester
  • The Golden Apples of the Sun – Ray Bradbury
  • The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury*
  • Keeper of Dreams – Orson Scott Card
  • Maps in a Mirror – Orson Scott Card
  • Stories of Your Life and Others – Ted Chiang
  • Expedition to Earth – Arthur C. Clarke
  • The Nine Billion Names of God – Arthur C. Clarke
  • Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick – Philip K. Dick
  • Daughter of Regals & Other Tales – Stephen R. Donaldson
  • Gravity Wells – James Alan Gardner
  • The Birthday of the World and Other Stories – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Wind’s Twelve Quarters – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Identity Theft and Other Stories – Robert J. Sawyer
  • Iterations – Robert J. Sawyer
  • City – Clifford D. Simak*
  • The Perseids and Other Stories – Robert Charles Wilson

* collections of linked stories

Top 6 science fiction & fantasy anthologies

  • Seeds of Change – John Joseph Adams
  • Masterpieces – Orson Scott Card
  • Give Me Liberty – Martin Harry Greenberg & Mark Tier
  • The Road to Science Fiction Volume 4: From Here to Forever – James Gunn
  • The Savage Humanists – Fiona Kelleghan
  • The Bakka Anthology – Kristen Pederson Chew

Top 13 non-science fiction & fantasy novels

  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown
  • Shogun – James Clavell
  • Tai-pan – James Clavell
  • Gai-jin – James Clavell
  • Noble House – James Clavell
  • Whirlwind – James Clavell
  • Generation X – Douglas Coupland
  • Too Many Blackbirds – Ken Ledbetter
  • Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  • Ishmael – Daniel Quinn
  • The Story of B – Daniel Quinn
  • My Ishmael – Daniel Quinn

Top 5 graphic novels

  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Frank Miller
  • The Amazing Spider-man – J. Michael Straczynski
  • Superman: Grounded – J. Michael Straczynski
  • Angel season 6 – Joss Whedon et al
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 8 – Joss Whedon et al

Top 3 comic strips

  • Bloom County – Berke Breathed
  • The Far Side – Gary Larson
  • Calvin and Hobbes – Bill Watterson

Top 12 nonfiction books

  • Reflections of Eden – Biruté M.F. Galdikas
  • Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
  • Through a Window – Jane Goodall
  • The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight – Thom Hartmann
  • Manufacturing Consent – Edward S. Herman & Noam Chomsky
  • The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch
  • Beyond Civilization – Daniel Quinn
  • Amusing Ourselves to Death – Neil Postman
  • Why Do People Believe Weird Things – Michael Shermer
  • Native Roots – Jack Weatherford
  • What Would You Do? – John H. Yoder

Top 12 Star Trek books

  • The Lost Years – J. M. Dillard
  • Spock’s World – Diane Duane
  • How Much for Just the Planet? – John M. Ford
  • Double, Double – Michael Jan Friedman
  • Crucible: McCoy – Provenance of Shadows – David R. George III
  • Crucible: Spock – The Fire and the Rose – David R. George III
  • Crucible: Kirk – The Star to Every Wandering – David R. George III
  • Ishmael – Barbara Hambly
  • Enterprise: The First Adventure – Vonda N. McIntyre
  • Prime Directive – Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens
  • Vulcan’s Forge – Josepha Sherman & Susan Shwartz
  • Vulcan’s Heart – Josepha Sherman & Susan Shwartz

Top 7 Star Trek: The Next Generation books

  • Imzadi – Peter David
  • A Rock and a Hard Place – Peter David
  • Q Squared – Peter David
  • A Call to Darkness – Michael Jan Friedman
  • Destiny: Lost Souls – David Mack
  • Destiny: Mere Mortals – David Mack
  • Destiny: Gods of Night – David Mack

Top 6 Babylon 5 books

  • The Passing of the Techno-Mages: Casting Shadows – Jeanne Cavelos
  • The Passing of the Techno-Mages: Summoning Light – Jeanne Cavelos
  • The Passing of the Techno-Mages: Invoking Darkness – Jeanne Cavelos
  • Legions of Fire: The Long Night of Centauri Prime – Peter David
  • Legions of Fire: Armies of Light and Dark – Peter David
  • Legions of Fire: Out of the Darkness – Peter David

This entry was posted on Monday, February 20th, 2012 at 9:44 pm and is filed under My thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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