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Guardian SF book list meme

For those who, like me, are procrastinating this morning:

The U.K. Guardian has published a series on "1000 novels everyone must read," which I first learned about from my favorite Research Maven. The full list of books is here.

Now Andrew Wheeler, via james_nicoll, offers the following meme, using the science fiction & fantasy portion of the list: "Bold the books one has read, italicize the ones on the pile to be read, and -- this one is my addition -- strikethrough the ones you wouldn't be caught dead with and/or violently disagree with."

My own addition: put an asterisk next to books you've skimmed or started but for some reason didn't finish, and that you may or may not go back to in the future.

Also, the list that both Andrew and James used in their posts is missing a number of the SF books that the Guardian picked (the absence of anything by Ballard struck me as odd right away). My own list is taken directly from the Guardian's "definitive list."

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Non-Stop by Brian W Aldiss
Foundation by Isaac Asimov*
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
In the Country of Last Things by Paul Auster
The Drowned World by JG Ballard
Crash by JG Ballard
Millennium People by JG Ballard
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
Consider Phlebas by Iain M Banks

Weaveworld by Clive Barker*
Darkmans by Nicola Barker
The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter
Darwin's Radio by Greg Bear
Vathek by William Beckford
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Lost Souls by Poppy Z Brite*
Wieland by Charles Brockden Brown
Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
The Coming Race by EGEL Bulwer-Lytton
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess*
The End of the World News by Anthony Burgess
A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
Kindred by Octavia Butler*
Erewhon by Samuel Butler
The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino
The Influence by Ramsey Campbell
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll

Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
The Man who was Thursday by GK Chesterton
Childhood's End by Arthur C Clarke*
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Hello Summer, Goodbye by Michael G Coney
Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland
House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski*
Pig Tales by Marie Darrieussecq
The Einstein Intersection by Samuel R Delaney
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick

Camp Concentration by Thomas M Disch
Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco
Under the Skin by Michel Faber
The Magus by John Fowles
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Red Shift by Alan Garner
Neuromancer by William Gibson
Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Light by M John Harrison*
The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A Heinlein*
Dune by Frank L Herbert
The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse
Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban
The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg
Atomised by Michel Houellebecq
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
The Children of Men by PD James
After London; or, Wild England by Richard Jefferies
Bold as Love by Gwyneth Jones
The Trial by Franz Kafka
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Shining by Stephen King

The Victorian Chaise-longue by Marghanita Laski
Uncle Silas by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
The Earthsea Series by Ursula Le Guin
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
Memoirs of a Survivor by Doris Lessing
The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
The Monk by Matthew Lewis
A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay
The Night Sessions by Ken Macleod
Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel
Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Maturin
The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe
The Road by Cormac McCarthy*
Ascent by Jed Mercurio
The Scar by China Mieville
Ingenious Pain by Andrew Miller
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M Miller Jr
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Mother London by Michael Moorcock
News from Nowhere by William Morris
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
Ada or Ardor by Vladimir Nabokov
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Ringworld by Larry Niven
Vurt by Jeff Noon
The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien
The Famished Road by Ben Okri
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk*
Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock
Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake
The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and CM Kornbluth
A Glastonbury Romance by John Cowper Powys
The Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett
The Prestige by Christopher Priest
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman* (actually, it's The Golden Compass I tried and gave up on)
Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais
The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds*
The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling*
Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
The Female Man by Joanna Russ
Air by Geoff Ryman
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Blindness by Jose Saramago
How the Dead Live by Will Self
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Insult by Rupert Thomson
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
Institute Benjamenta by Robert Walser
Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner
Affinity by Sarah Waters
The Time Machine by HG Wells
The War of the Worlds by HG Wells
The Sword in the Stone by TH White
The Old Men at the Zoo by Angus Wilson
The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin


Jan. 24th, 2009 06:58 pm (UTC)
the way the Guardian put this together is confusing and inconsistent. i know the list that i bookmarked looks like the one other folks have used - here is the page that does not include Tolkien.

there's enough fail in the list that i am become reluctant to do much with it. as another friend (who did the full 1000) said: i need to read everything Jane Austen wrote, including Northanger Abbey? (and i wondered at the arm-long list of Agatha Christie.)
Jan. 24th, 2009 07:23 pm (UTC)
From the comments in Wheeler's blog I gather that the original newspaper series put some book descriptions in special sidebars, which weren't reproduced in the "non-definitive" online listings, hence the confusion.

I am intrigued by the descriptions of some of the books I'd never heard of before -- like Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita -- but not intrigued enough to wade through all the sub-lists.
Jan. 25th, 2009 06:43 am (UTC)
I read The Master and Margarita many years ago after a co-worker told me it was wonderful --and he was right. I should reread it sometime.

The list is very odd -- unrepresentatively poor books by OK writers, and many good writers not included. Where's Roger Zelazny, for example? And how could they not include John Brunner, on either a historical or quality basis?
Jan. 26th, 2009 12:08 pm (UTC)
You absolutely need to read "The Master and Margarita".

It's fascinating, especially if you keep in mind that Bulgakov started writing it in 1928.

For me it was kind of a revelation in my 'reading career'.

Jan. 26th, 2009 02:57 am (UTC)
"The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier"

-- This should be NEXT on your list to read. It's GREAT stuff, especially if you're a boy. Chabon writes adventure novels for boys who happen to be men, and this is a prime example. "Wonder Boys" is also fantastic. And the short story collection "Werewolves in Their Youth". And his first novel, "Mysteries of Pittsburgh". ... I am not Michael Chabon, and I do not work for him. :) I'm just a boy who happens to be a man, and he writes for me.

"Stranger in a Strange Land"

-- You really owe it to yourself to investigate this one further. The ending is sublime, to say the very least. Also, "Starship Troopers" is the greatest novel ever written, bar none, about military life and what it means to live one. You may not be interested in that, but my experience (back when) in the Navy so closely tracks with what Johnny goes through, especially in boot camp, that I've read two copies to complete pieces.

"Harry Potter and the ... [well, everything, frankly]"

-- These novels are better than they deserve to be, but not because they build a complete and magical world. Rather, it's because they are, at their heart, mystery novels, and, furthermore, they never cheat (well, the last one's a little iffy). If you're paying attention, you always feel that you could have figured it all out, after it's all been explained, if you'd only been paying closer attention; they're Christie-esque, which is their secret charm. I'm surprised more people haven't pegged this as the real reason for their mystique, not to mention their popularity.

"Snow Crash"

-- A great novel, but Stephenson was just warming up. While I can't say I was ever able to muddle through "The Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, et al)", his "Cryptonomicon" is a wonderful novel, and a good gateway book into the absolutely fascinating world of cryptography. Follow it up with Simon Singh's non-fiction but completely accessible "The Code Book", and see if you aren't sitting down working out your own codes and cyphers in your spare time!! Stephenson's "The Diamond Age" is also quite a gem.

-- jim --

Feb. 2nd, 2009 01:21 am (UTC)
(I'm rather embarrassed to say that I left this comment on the wrong post, where it made absolutely no sense...)

I went through this with some dread only to discover that I'd read about 150 of them. I was amused at where some of these books were categorized. Why is Journey To The Center of the Earth under Warfare?

Mark Tiedemann

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