Thursday, April 30, 2015

You Really Should Read...Sci-Fi & Fantasy


I was asked by a friend to compile a list of the essential texts in sci-fi and fantasy and this was the very personal list I came up with, one that includes a chunk of fairy tales and mythology since so much of the genre springs from that same well.

1. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams

2. Watership Down by Richard Adams

3. The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Anderson (any edition that looks like it's for adults and not kids)

4. The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov (He kept adding to the Foundation series, but read the definitive trilogy first and then wait a while before reading more if you want)

5. I. Robot by Isaac Asimov

6. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

7. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

8. Peter Pan by JM Barrie (the full novel, obviously, not some picture book or abridged version)

9. Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges (learn Spanish first or, if you must, read it translated into English)

10. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

11. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

12. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

13. Tarzan Of The Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

14. Arabian NIghts: The Marvels and Wonders Of The Thousand and One Nights by Richard Burton and edited by Jack Zipes (two volumes)

15. The Complete Cosmic Comics by Italo Calvino

16. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (the only one worth reading of his)

17. Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

18. Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke

19. Jonathan Strange And Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

20. The Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland

21. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

22. The First Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson (Lord Foul's Bane; The Illearth War; and The Power That Preserves)

23. Dangerous Visions edited by Harlan Ellison

24. To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer

25. Coraline by Neil Gaiman

26. Neuromancer by William Gibson

27. The Bible by God (Cheeky of me, no? But whether you're a believer or an atheist, you really must read the Bible at least once or you'll miss way too many references and allusions in the arts. So which versions should you read? There are hundreds if not thousands of translations of all or parts of the Bible in countless languages. In English, the King James Version in general; Thomas Jefferson's Bible for his take on the Gospels; the Five Books of Moses by Everett Fox; any translations by Stephen Mitchell, who has done Proverbs, the Book Of Job, his own Gospel According To Jesus and so on. And yes, you can skip the begats)

28. The Princess Bride by William Goldman

29. The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales edited by Jack Zipes

30. The Left Hand Of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

31. Mythology by Edith Hamilton

32. Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert Heinlein

33. Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin

34. Dune by Frank Herbert (really it's the only one you need to read)

35. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

36. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

37. Just-So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

38. King Matt The First by Januzs Korzcak

39. The Blue Fairy Book edited by Andrew Lang

40. The Red Fairy Book edited by Andrew Lang

41. Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman

42. Le Morte d'Artur by Sir Thomas Malory

43. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44. A Song Of Ice And Fire by George RR Martin

45. The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey (original trilogy: Dragonflight, Dragon Quest, The White Dragon)

46. Martin Dressler: The Story Of An American Dreamer by Steven Millhauser

47. We Others: New and Selected Stories by Steven Millhauser

48. A Canticle For Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.

49. Winnie The Pooh by AA MIlne

50. The House At Pooh Corner by AA Milne

51. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

52. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

53. Ringworld by Larry Niven

54. Animal Farm by George Orwell

55. 1984 by George Orwell

56. The Gormenghast Novels by Mervyn Peake

57. The Complete Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe

58. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullmam

59. The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars)

60. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling

61. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

62. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

63. Abel's Island by William Steig

64. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

65. Dracula by Bram Stoker

66. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

67. The Lord Of The Rings by JRR Tolkien

68. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne

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