Matters skiffy

Gacked from many people, primarily ,
, and
.

It’s an interesting list, maybe not of the “best” books (whatever
that means, and however you might quantify “best”), but certainly of
influential titles. I haven’t given the read/not read/partly
read/never heard of classification that other people have. Instead,
suggested in part by ‘s post, I’ve indicated
with a “*” those books which I rate especially highly, and often which
I have two copies of – one for me, and one to lend. Conversely, books
that I read and disliked enough to never want to read again are marked
with a “-“.

  1. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
  2. Foundation, by Isaac Asimov
  3. Dune, by Frank Herbert
  4. * Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick
  5. Starship Troopers, by Robert A. Heinlein
  6. Valis, by Philip K. Dick
  7. Frankenstein, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
  8. Gateway, by Frederick Pohl
  9. * Space Merchants, by C.M. Kornbluth & Frederick Pohl
  10. Earth Abides, by George R. Stewart
  11. Cuckoo’s Egg, by C.J. Cherryh
  12. Star Surgeon, by James White
  13. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, by Philip K. Dick
  14. Radix, by A.A. Attanasio
  15. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
  16. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
  17. * A Case of Conscience, by James Blish
  18. Last and First Man, by Olaf Stapledon
  19. * The Day of the Triffids, by John Wyndham
  20. Way Station, by Clifford Simak (why not “City”, which I feel is a great book?)
  21. More Than Human, by Theodore Sturgeon
  22. Gray Lensman, by E.E. “Doc” Smith
  23. The Gods Themselves, by Isaac Asimov
  24. * The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin
  25. Behold the Man, by Michael Moorcock
  26. Star Maker, by Olaf Stapledon
  27. The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells
  28. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne
  29. Heritage of Hastur, by Marion Zimmer Bradley (I have read most of the Darkover series, which rock)
  30. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
  31. The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester
  32. Slan, by A.E. Van Vogt
  33. * Neuromancer, by William Gibson
  34. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
  35. In Conquest Born, by C.S. Friedman
  36. Lord of Light, by Roger Zelazny
  37. Eon, by Greg Bear
  38. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
  39. Journey to the Center of the Earth, by Jules Verne
  40. Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
  41. Cosm, by Gregory Benford
  42. The Voyage of the Space Beagle, by A.E. Van Vogt
  43. Blood Music, by Greg Bear
  44. Beggars in Spain, by Nancy Kress
  45. Omnivore, by Piers Anthony
  46. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
  47. Mission of Gravity, by Hal Clement
  48. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, by Philip Jose Farmer
  49. * Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
  50. The Man Who Folded Himself, by David Gerrold
  51. 1984, by George Orwell
  52. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson
  53. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
  54. Flesh, by Philip Jose Farmer
  55. Cities in Flight, by James Blish
  56. * Shadow of the Torturer, by Gene Wolfe
  57. Startide Rising, by David Brin
  58. Triton, by Samuel R. Delany
  59. * Stand on Zanzibar, by John Brunner
  60. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
  61. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
  62. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter Miller
  63. Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
  64. No Blade of Grass, by John Christopher
  65. The Postman, by David Brin
  66. Dhalgren, by Samuel Delany
  67. Berserker, by Fred Saberhagen
  68. Flatland, by Edwin Abbot
  69. Planiverse, by A.K. Dewdney
  70. Dragon’s Egg, by Robert L. Forward
  71. Downbelow Station, by C.J. Cherryh
  72. Dawn, by Octavia E. Butler
  73. Puppet Masters, by Robert Heinlein
  74. The Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
  75. Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
  76. Deathbird Stories, by Harlan Ellison
  77. Roadside Picnic, by Boris Strugatsky & Arkady Strugatsky
  78. The Snow Queen, by Joan Vinge
  79. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
  80. Drowned World, by J.G. Ballard
  81. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
  82. Red Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson
  83. Upanishads, by Various
  84. Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
  85. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
  86. The Lathe of Heaven, by Ursula K. Le Guin
  87. The Midwich Cuckoos, by John Wyndham
  88. Mutant, by Henry Kuttner
  89. Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem
  90. Ralph 124C41+, by Hugo Gernsback
  91. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
  92. Timescape, by Gregory Benford
  93. * The Demolished Man, by Alfred Bester
  94. War with the Newts, by Karl Kapek
  95. Mars, by Ben Bova
  96. Brain Wave, by Poul Anderson
  97. Hyperion, by Dan Simmons
  98. The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton
  99. Camp Concentration, by Thomas Disch
  100. A Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs

On a related note, went to see I, Robot last night with
Les and Dave last night. It would appear that while I overestimated
the angular velocity of the esteemed Dr. A, he’s probably still
spinning at a steady 33 1/3 rpm. It didn’t help that I managed to work
out both whodunnits (who killed Alfred Lanning, and who is controlling
the NS-5s) within the first fifteen minutes. Anyway, the film has some
nice action sequences, and aside from some clunky exposition
(Calvin: The first law says that a robot may not harm a human, or
by inaction allow a human to come to harm. Detective: Yes, but the
second law says that a robot must obey the orders given it by a
human. Calvin: That would conflict with the first law. (etc)
),
the dialogue was fine. Will Smith turned in an atypically straight
role – I couldn’t work out if he’s trying to be the new Laurence
Fishburn or the new Wesley Snipes.

The film had excellent art direction (apart from the “evil robots
have glowing red chest plates” schtick), so it was quite similar to
Minority Report (looks right, moves right, but bears no
resemblance to the story it’s adapting), expect for the fact that I
liked this and hated Minority Report.

Also saw the trailer for Alien vs. Predator, which really
does look dire – even worse than Alien 4. Might go and see it on
Friday with some colleagues, since they’re quite keen on seeing
it. Might still be a good popcorn film, I suppose…

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