Friday, August 12, 2011

NPR's top 100 sci-fi and fantasy novels

(Link in post title). NPR has revealed the results of the poll it took for the top 100 sci-fi and fantasy novels. I was delighted to find that the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy made it to #2 on the list, behind only Lord of the Rings! Somewhere, Douglas Adams is smiling at that.

Having said that, there are a few surprising picks. For instance, I would argue that there were far too many books by Neal Stephenson on the list. I tried to read several of his books, and found them impenetrable and oddly written. That's obviously a personal opinion - and one that some of you might find inconsistent considering my love for another sometimes impenetrable and oddly written series, Dune. The Dune series finds itself at #4 on this list, which I think is a bit high, considering that it contains within it at least one utter dud, God Emperor of Dune. Still, it is a very important series in the sci-fi canon, so it definitely belongs on the list.

I'm also happy to see Terry Pratchett get a couple of his Discworld novels on here. He's in the same class as Douglas Adams, so he certainly deserves to be on this list.

I'm glad Ursula K. LeGuin got some books in there, although I'm disappointed not to see Lathe of Heaven or the Earthsea books listed. Lathe of Heaven is just a brilliant book - easily the equal of many on this list.

I would not have put anything by Terry Goodkind on the list. I read several of the Sword of Truth books. The way Goodkind just blatantly rips things off - from Lord of the Rings to Star Wars - should really give his readers pause before putting him among the greats.

The same argument applies to Terry Brooks' Sword of Shannara series. I couldn't even get through the first book of this one - it was so stiffly written and so incredibly derivative of Lord of the Rings that I just lost interest.

Also, what the hell is a Star Wars series novelization doing on this list?

So dear reader(s), what books do you wish were/were not on the list?