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Wednesday Night Bag of Fun

Below is, apparently, the Time's most significant SF novels between 1953-2006.

The meme part of this works like so: Bold the ones you have read, strike through the ones you read and hated, italicize those you started but never finished and put a star next to the ones you love.

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 Trooper, 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

Fuck, hey?

Obviously, I haven't read all these books, and a whole bunch I never finished because, well, they were just shitty and boring. Who was influenced by these? Old people. Fucking old people, that's who. I bet they made this list, too, pulling out all their bad childhood favourites. Who gives a shit about Heinlein? Honestly. About the only thing of interest in Asimov these days is that he died of AIDS, but this was not revealed at the time, due, I think, to his family not wanting people to think he was gay. Or something like that.

How's that for some casual inflammatory? The Times makes a list and of course, it is, by and large, white, male, and fucking boring!


Fuck you Times! Fuck your important list!

Truth is, the authors I haven't bolded here, I've read other bits of their work. Arthur C Clarke is hideously boring. Orson Scott Card I refuse to because of his anti-homosexual stance, and fuck it, you gotta have some moral stand in here. Gay people rock. Orson Scott Card does not. And I could go on and on and on, and maybe I will. Did I already say that Heinlein was boring? Theordore Sturgeon was like eating week old bread. I think I had some kind of style death while I was there. When they found me I was quoting Asimov.

Now, don't get me wrong: there are some books on this list that I want to read, but you know, just because they appear here, I think I will never ever not once, no, I repeat, I will never read them.

Such is the power of the Time's List.


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Nov. 15th, 2006 10:25 am (UTC)
there are some books on this list that I want to read, but you know, just because they appear here, I think I will never ever not once, no, I repeat, I will never read them.

And that tells you an awful lot about the Times, but it tells you even more about Ben Peek. Maintaining your enfant terrible rage is WAY more important than accidentally reading a good book....
Nov. 15th, 2006 10:31 am (UTC)
if you take this thing seriously, all it's telling you bout me is lies :)
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 15th, 2006 11:36 am (UTC)
you know, the apparent irony is that he writes about homosexual relationships in a couple of his books. i wonder if they're positive?
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 15th, 2006 11:54 am (UTC)
well, i'm not going to read it to find out. you should!
Nov. 15th, 2006 11:41 am (UTC)
Haha. Alright then, I've done mine.
Nov. 15th, 2006 11:56 am (UTC)
you know, FOREVER WAR is pretty funky.

do kittens cry in ENDERS GAME?
Nov. 15th, 2006 11:59 am (UTC)
There is definitely some animal torture in Ender's Game. I haven't read it since I was young and innocent. (Yes, such a time did exist)

Sure, Haldeman is on my list too. Just not very high on the list because there's a teetering pile of new books waiting to be read too. *sigh*
Nov. 15th, 2006 12:03 pm (UTC)
i knew that scott card couldn't be trusted. steph will be pleased.

i know all bout the new books list. blah. but out of all those fifty books, THE FOREVER WAR is the only one i'd recommend, i think. i teach it, occasionally, and you know the surprising thing? a lot of girls really like it. no matter how many times i teach it, it surprises me like that.
Nov. 15th, 2006 12:11 pm (UTC)
'Coz girls don't like sf? Or girls don't like war books? Or something. I dunno. But yeah, I'll read it, I promise!
You are clearly down on classic sf ;) I guess I read a lot of this stuff when I was a schoolkid, and I got it in context - ie before reading the stuff that came after it. Neuromancer was fantastic at the time, but I do have a soft spot for cyberpunk anyway, and I read it before the post-cyberpunk stuff, and after the "Golden Age" stuff. I read Asimov and Clark earliest, and probably Heinlein.

In a way, it's a bit like how I caught up on popular music. I was obviously brought up with classical music from an early age, and always liked jazz, and around 10 or 11 I started introducing myself to the pop & rock world. I went through a few years of listening to commercial radio and becoming familiar with the history of mainstream music from the '60s through to the '80s, and it didn't take long for me to want to throw that all away, so by the end of the '80s I was starting to notice the weird and underground stuff. But I'm glad I have the history. I do wonder in a grumpy old man way whether kids these days have any idea of the history of pop music, given the sortof blinkered crap that radio feeds them - Triple J has no sense of history any more, and with commercial radio it's either a playlist of about 50 "classic" songs or just contemporary chart stuff.
Nov. 15th, 2006 12:37 pm (UTC)
'Coz girls don't like sf? Or girls don't like war books?


heh. nah. usually it's cause they've gone through a bunch of other books, and there's a few who say thats there fav. always girls. theboys like things like BATTLE ROYALE.

the problem with me and classic sci-fi is i didn't read most of it till i was in my twenties. i grew up on classic fantasy, so i you switched that list round for the top fifty influential fantasy books, i'd probably have read most of it, and have a nice, early reader view of the work. shit, i still have a happy memory of david eddings' THE BELGARIAD. but the things like DUNE and STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, i read later, and none of them were much chop. i was reading them for the history. the place in the canon. most, as you'll see, i didn't finish. i wish i'd never finished A CANTICLE FOR LEBOWITZ.

(i hated NEUROMANCER, but by the time i got to it, i'd been filled with cyberpunk and didn't dig it, you know? on the other side, i really dug gibson's last book, PATTERN RECOGNITION, so i'm not writing off authors--i'm even looking forward to his new book.)

so, y'know, my dislike for classic stuff is probably due to when i found it. also, how i found it. what i've read, in these cases, is very much about giving myself a background knowledge. after that i followed like you with music, but now i cruise on a level where i know my shit, and know what is my target of interest, reader wise, work wise. all good.

i have no real knowledge of music, you know. i do okay, but put me into a classics, or jazz kind of area, and i just stare idiot like. no excuse for it, really.
Nov. 15th, 2006 12:44 pm (UTC)
Hahahaha, THE BELGARIAD, ah man, I read that series every few months for about a year when I was a kid. I'm sure I'd hate it now, but with a kind of nostalgic "awwwww" feeling.
But yeah, there you go, my point exactly - I read the classic sf at the right time, in the right order. Fair enuf.

No need to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of music! I had a head start with my parents' record collection and frequent concert-going, and I spend lots of time and money keeping up with what I'm into, and I realise completely that most people aren't like that. The fact that I'm somewhat like that with certain areas of sf and comics as well is, well, a strain on my bank account and my girlfriend's sanity — vis-à-vis the aforementioned teetering piles of unread books, not to mention unfiled and unfileable CDs and records... We're hopefully getting another set of shelving on the weekend that will fit all my current vinyl and overflow of CDs and books. Life as we know it will change!
Nov. 15th, 2006 12:52 pm (UTC)
yeah, i must've read THE BELGARIAD a couple of times one year. i seem to remember metallica at the same time. i was probably listening to the self titled album and reading the books at the same time. i were a classy act, man. heh. i even dug the first sparhawk series.

i have the urge to encyclopedia it up on things. i'm pretty weighed down with american comics, for example, and i slip around all of fiction pretty much, trying to learn as much as i can. with music i just go with what i dig, and go here and there. i get by. i know a bit too much bout country music, tho. parents got a lot to answer for.

Nov. 15th, 2006 02:37 pm (UTC)
I could send you some good country music.

I have to agree with most of your comments above (especially about Card)...I tried to read much of the stuff on that list when I was too old for it, too.

Have you read The Stars My Destination? That one actualy held up pretty well I thought. Cadigan's 80s cyberpunk stuff did more for me than Gibson, too.

Nov. 15th, 2006 10:46 pm (UTC)
what, and lose my indy rock cred with country?! never! heh. actually, i have a bit of it round here. i'm not genre picky.

i did read THE STARS MY DESTINATION. i'd read THE DEMOLISHED MAN first, however, and i dug that a whole lot more, for some reason. i didn't mind it, though.
Nov. 15th, 2006 02:24 pm (UTC)
Sturgeon's best work was at shorter than novel length. I think a lot of writers can learn from the way he could work humanity and love into a story.
Nov. 15th, 2006 10:50 pm (UTC)
he's ooooooooooooooooooold.
Nov. 15th, 2006 08:39 pm (UTC)
Bloody old people!!

Nov. 15th, 2006 10:51 pm (UTC)
fucking a!
Nov. 15th, 2006 09:43 pm (UTC)
Oi! These are the books of my childhood! Yes, they were battered old library books, some of them written decades before, but still - they're the books I grew up with. They influenced me, during the period of my most avid reading. I loved many of them. I'm not so old as all that.
Nov. 15th, 2006 10:56 pm (UTC)
you so old :P
Nov. 15th, 2006 11:02 pm (UTC)
thbbpt! :-p
Nov. 15th, 2006 11:04 pm (UTC)
It's my birthday - you should be nice to me. Sing me the birthday dirge.
Nov. 16th, 2006 12:01 am (UTC)
haha. happy b-day!
Nov. 16th, 2006 12:17 am (UTC)
Nov. 16th, 2006 04:49 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, right on. But Dune is great, you dick. ;)
Nov. 17th, 2006 05:54 am (UTC)
Nov. 23rd, 2006 07:10 am (UTC)
The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks? I'm really surprised you liked this one. Normally your recommendations are good, but this book is pretty bad. A Lord of the Rings rip-off, with a pretty boring plot.
Nov. 23rd, 2006 08:16 am (UTC)
it's more a i didn't dislike it than like it thing. i read it when i was fifteen, sixteen, and it was okay. i wouldn't actually recommend it to anyone.
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