Author Topic: AbeBooks: 50 Essential Science Fiction Books  (Read 938 times)

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Offline Matamore!

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AbeBooks: 50 Essential Science Fiction Books
« on: January 21, 2013, 05:08:00 PM »
AbeBooks: 50 Essential Science Fiction Books

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Let the indignant outcry of our fellow nerds commence - what did we miss?


My own first choice would be Vernor Vinge, A Fire Upon the Deep, possibly the best SF novel I have read. (The prequel A Deepness in the Sky is possibly just as good, or even better. I look foward to the pleasant duty of re-reading both of them to decide!)

Gibson\'s Neuromancer is pictured, but not listed among the 50, as it undoubtedly should be.

Surely one of E. E. \'Doc\' Smith\'s Lensman series? A guilty pleasure, yes, but so much pleasure!

Nice to see someone else nominating Alan Dean Foster\'s Midworld - I loved that.

Good heavens, yes, someone has just pointed out that Frankenstein is not on the list! Of course it has to be.

Is Samuel Delany\'s The Fall of the Towers as good as I remember it?

Oh yes, someone else in the comments has just mentioned Bob Shaw. Other Days, Other Eyes is great.

(I\'m restraining myself from quibbling with the 50 choices themselves. And it\'s a pretty good list, from what I know of it. But I\'ve only read 19 of the 50.)

P.S. Someone in the comments pointed to this list of 100 books, which reminds me that Daniel Keyes\'s Flowers for Algernon ought to be in there somewhere.

P.P.S. The book 100 Must-Read Science Fiction Novels, edited by Stephen E. Andrews and Nick Rennison, includes Tim Powers\'s The Anubis Gates. This also leapt to my mind, but I dismissed it because I can\'t think of it as SF. Wonderful story, whatever it is! They also list a book by John Sladek, which I haven\'t read, but his The Reproductive System is great.

Offline tepeethetroll

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Re: AbeBooks: 50 Essential Science Fiction Books
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2013, 08:47:14 PM »
Thanks for posting that link Mat - interesting article.

I have to confess to not being much of a SF fan, and as such have not heard of many of the authors listed. Those I have read and enjoyed are \"War of the Worlds\",\" Foundation\", \"Hothouse\", \"Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep\" and \"The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy\".

 There are others where I have read and enjoyed the authors work, but the books chosen would not be my first choice. From Jules Verne I would take \"20,000 Leagues Under the Sea\", from Ray Bradbury his collection of short stores \"Golden Apples of the Sun\", from John Wyndham \"The Midwich Cuckoos\", and from Arthur C Clarke either \"Firstborn\" or \"Childhoods End\".

 Two others on the list I have read, and found very hard going, \"Brave New World\" and \"1984\" - did not take pleasure from either. As for \"Dune\"; its one of the very few books that I could not even finish.

 Final comment (don\'t want to bore everybody) regards \"The Stand\" by Stephen King. Great read - really gripped me.......but would you really classify it as SF?
I\'m NOT paranoid......thats just what THEY want you to think!!!

Offline Matamore!

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Re: AbeBooks: 50 Essential Science Fiction Books
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2013, 09:27:58 PM »
tepeethetroll Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Final comment (don\'t want to bore everybody)
> regards \"The Stand\" by Stephen King. Great read -
> really gripped me.......but would you really
> classify it as SF?

I haven\'t read it, but for what it\'s worth, I don\'t have the impression that it\'s SF. As rather weak evidence for this vague assertion: I have read the similarly-themed (and similarly long) Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon, and I didn\'t consider that to be SF - unlike, say, Walter M. Miller\'s A Canticle for Leibowitz (one of the 50, and rightly so).

Incidentally, I learned about Swan Song from the book Horror: 100 Best Books, edited by Stephen Jones and Kim Newman (1988, rev. ed. 1992), but that\'s a whole other ball game! (Swan Song wasn\'t one of my favourite recommendations from that book. I found it readable enough, but I wouldn\'t recommend it myself.)

Offline baycruiser

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Re: AbeBooks: 50 Essential Science Fiction Books
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2013, 04:27:28 AM »
I don\'t think The Stand is scifi either, but I really liked the tv miniseries made of it, probably one of the most faithful and more successful screen interpretations of King\'s work. It was done by ABC before Disney bought them. If you have a chance, listen to the commentary track, it\'s as entertaining as the show...

Offline tepeethetroll

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Re: AbeBooks: 50 Essential Science Fiction Books
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2013, 01:01:17 PM »
If you have a chance, listen to the commentary track, it\'s as entertaining as the show...

Any idea where I could pick up a copy of that Mars ? May find it very interesting.
I\'m NOT paranoid......thats just what THEY want you to think!!!

Offline Janaru

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Re: AbeBooks: 50 Essential Science Fiction Books
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2013, 05:23:24 PM »
I don\'t like reading SF, or spy novels, for that matter, but I love the stories (either heard or seen).

I\'ve read part of The Foundation series, which I enjoyed. Asimov deserves an award just for the Three Laws of Robotics, imo! :) Also loved I, Robot which I don\'t remember seeing on the list.

And remember liking 1984.

I did read both The Stand and Swan Song and so did my husband. We both agreed we liked Swan Song better. Although I love Stephen Kings stories his writing style bugs the cr*p outta me. I really have to slog through all the \"and\"s (\"Fred and Roger and Sally and Bob went to the store....\" grrrrr). Is it SF? Eh....

I don\'t know all the ones listed, but I know many of them and enjoyed most of them.

Phillip K. Dick\'s short stories should be in there somewhere (Minority Report, We Can Remember It For You Wholesale (Blade Runner), etc...).


Great thread, Mat, thanks for posting it!
Note to self:  Use your powers for good, not for evil.....