Golden Age & New Wave SF

Science fiction published from 1950-1983. Lets make an SF list without any of those old dystopian novels or that pesky new cyberpunk stuff.
1

by
4.22 avg rating — 644,571 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
2

by
3.98 avg rating — 1,482,126 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
3

by
4.41 avg rating — 84,201 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
4

by
4.14 avg rating — 191,448 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
5

by
4.08 avg rating — 306,217 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
6

by
4.09 avg rating — 122,313 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
7

by
4.11 avg rating — 117,311 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
8

by
4.07 avg rating — 1,044,533 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
9

by
3.92 avg rating — 260,148 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
10

by
4.06 avg rating — 104,367 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
11

by
4.22 avg rating — 1,280,061 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
12

by
4.14 avg rating — 235,925 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
13

by
4.01 avg rating — 175,265 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
14

by
4.19 avg rating — 250,785 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
15

by
3.96 avg rating — 96,641 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
16

by
4.15 avg rating — 126,108 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
17

by
4.17 avg rating — 101,022 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
18

by
4.11 avg rating — 39,198 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
19

by
4.12 avg rating — 433,984 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
20

by
4.10 avg rating — 25,591 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
21

by
4.21 avg rating — 74,900 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
22

by
3.99 avg rating — 548,914 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
23

by
3.98 avg rating — 84,442 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
24

by
3.62 avg rating — 151,966 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
25

by
4.11 avg rating — 45,973 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
26

by
4.16 avg rating — 318,864 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
27

by
4.14 avg rating — 70,073 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
28

by
4.01 avg rating — 83,192 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
29

by
4.07 avg rating — 37,165 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
30

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 113,198 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
31

by
4.02 avg rating — 79,998 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
32

by
4.30 avg rating — 1,035,463 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
33

by
3.95 avg rating — 27,085 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
34

by
4.09 avg rating — 47,343 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
35

by
3.97 avg rating — 14,102 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
36

by
4.16 avg rating — 72,896 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
37

by
4.04 avg rating — 27,939 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
38

by
4.09 avg rating — 75,989 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
39

by
3.98 avg rating — 64,463 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
40

by
4.09 avg rating — 25,642 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
41

by
3.79 avg rating — 20,016 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
42

by
4.09 avg rating — 48,904 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
43

by
3.89 avg rating — 205,900 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
44

by
4.23 avg rating — 39,708 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
45

by
4.13 avg rating — 4,694 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
46

by
3.67 avg rating — 21,591 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
46

by
3.96 avg rating — 30,204 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
48

by
3.94 avg rating — 9,665 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
49

by
4.30 avg rating — 23,440 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
50

by
4.17 avg rating — 2,322 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
51

by
3.85 avg rating — 9,788 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
52

by
3.97 avg rating — 9,900 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
53

by
3.90 avg rating — 12,209 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
54

by
4.20 avg rating — 6,247 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
55

by
4.07 avg rating — 59,790 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
56

by
3.93 avg rating — 12,829 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
57

by
3.96 avg rating — 24,610 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
58

by
3.91 avg rating — 12,394 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
59

by
3.78 avg rating — 6,101 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
60

by
4.15 avg rating — 7,481 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
61

by
3.84 avg rating — 25,334 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
62

by
4.15 avg rating — 6,489 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
63

by
3.48 avg rating — 12,786 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
64

by
3.84 avg rating — 5,203 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
65

by
4.11 avg rating — 8,909 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
66

by
3.87 avg rating — 28,507 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
67

by
3.99 avg rating — 5,362 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
68

by
3.87 avg rating — 8,819 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
69

by
3.83 avg rating — 6,134 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
70

by
4.23 avg rating — 77,860 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
71

by
3.74 avg rating — 7,318 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
72

by
4.07 avg rating — 9,181 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
73

by
3.76 avg rating — 2,400 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
74

by
3.76 avg rating — 11,166 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
75

by
3.66 avg rating — 5,159 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
76

by
3.52 avg rating — 16,072 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
77

by
3.91 avg rating — 31,542 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
78

by
4.09 avg rating — 605 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
79

by
4.15 avg rating — 19,550 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
80

by
3.87 avg rating — 3,221 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
81

by
4.21 avg rating — 8,496 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
82

by
4.20 avg rating — 3,549 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
83

by
3.66 avg rating — 5,652 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
84

by
3.90 avg rating — 3,320 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
3.81 avg rating — 5,106 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
86

by
4.01 avg rating — 28,258 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
87

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 14,786 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
88

by
3.95 avg rating — 1,931 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
89

by
4.19 avg rating — 8,209 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
90

by
3.86 avg rating — 3,148 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
91

by
4.11 avg rating — 12,349 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
92

by
4.07 avg rating — 375 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
93

by
3.94 avg rating — 30,349 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
94

by
4.15 avg rating — 39,277 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
95

by
4.25 avg rating — 1,696 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
96

by
3.78 avg rating — 7,996 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
97

by
3.89 avg rating — 5,557 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
97

by
3.93 avg rating — 5,548 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
99

by
3.77 avg rating — 6,323 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
100

by
3.93 avg rating — 2,390 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
flag this list (?)
278 books · 248 voters · list created June 25th, 2009 by John Burns (votes) .
59 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


John 704 books
44 friends
Rasheed 1542 books
6 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3142 books
828 friends
Printable Tire 1473 books
167 friends
Greyweather 2653 books
72 friends
Chris 2652 books
1672 friends
Dov 763 books
30 friends
Jennifer 562 books
51 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-32 of 32 (32 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Printable Tire (new)

Printable Tire There's too much Dick on this list! (gross pun intended)


message 2: by John (new)

John Burns Ah sorry, I'm a phillip K. Dick fan or a "dickhead" if you will.


message 3: by John (new)

John Burns Slightly concerned about the appearance of Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. I personally never thought of it as being proper sci-fi. Sci-fi usually seems to be about writers exploring the consequences of ideas that interest them. Adams was never really interested in the consequences of his ideas. He just threw them in for comic effect. Sure it's sci-fi but it's not really in the same spirit as real sci-fi.


message 4: by Printable Tire (new)

Printable Tire Well, it is a parody of science fiction, much like Blazing Saddles is a parody of western movies, and it was important in so far that afterward, science fiction writers and readers probably had to come to science fiction differently, now that all its cliches were lampooned and made evident.


message 5: by Greyweather (last edited Jul 02, 2009 06:22PM) (new)

Greyweather Hitchhiker's is one of the most popular series of sci-fi novels there is. Excluding it from the list just seems silly. It would be like excluding Dune because of its numerous fantasy tropes.


message 6: by John (new)

John Burns i still think dune is more like SF than Hitchhikers. Dune may have similarities to the fantasy genre, but the logic that drives the scenarios and situations is still the same logic that runs through the veins of nearly every book in this list except for hitchhikers.
I'm not suggesting excluding it anyway, just tht i think it's a bit overrated and its not really proper SF.


message 7: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather Fair enough, since I feel the same way about Slaughterhouse-Five.


message 8: by John (new)

John Burns Yeah, slaughterhouse 5 isn't really proper sci fi either, Youre right.


message 9: by Kligy (new)

Kligy For the "Golden Age" list:
George O Smith ... "Highways in Hiding"
Edward E. Smith, PhD ... "Lensman and Skylark" Series
A. E. Van Vogt ... "Weapon Shops of Isher", etc.

More when my memory returns.


message 10: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy Slattery Kornbluth


message 11: by Bill (new)

Bill The problem with something like this is that it starts with a pre-determined multiple choice. It would be better if each person could add their favorites.

One of my all time favorite SF novels is not on the list: A Mote in God's Eye


message 12: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Jul 06, 2009 10:18AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads It is easy for anyone to add their favorites if they are not already on there - just use the "find/add books to list" bar over at the right side of the page.


message 13: by Mohammed Abdi Osman (last edited Jul 06, 2009 01:24PM) (new)

Mohammed Abdi Osman Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep ? Isnt even near PKD best and its ranked 2 must be cause of a certain film....


I added Jack Vance(Emphyrio,The Demon Princes,Araminta Station) Heinlein(Rocket ship Galileo),Theodore Sturgeon(The Dreaming Jewels), CJ Cherryh(Kesrith),Zelazny(This Immortal),PKD(Now Wait For Last Year), Pohl(Man Plus)

I voted The Hitchhiker in my top 18 cause it might not be alltime great top 5,10 but its an important SF cause in that it combines humor and SF in a great combo.


message 14: by John (new)

John Burns Mohammed wrote: "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep ? Isnt even near PKD best and its ranked 2 must be cause of a certain film....


I added Jack Vance(Emphyrio,The Demon Princes,Araminta Station) Heinlein(Rocket ..."


It goes without saying that the more popular scifis will make it to the top of this list, regardless of how good people think it is. Thats just a defect in the listopia programming in that it vastly favours number of votes over quality of votes, so these lists just become popularity contests about which books have been read by the most people. Most heinlien afficionados wouldnt consider stranger in a strange land to be his best work, its just that lots of people have read it because of its coutercultural significance. So yeah, things like blade runner get pushed higher than they deserve but thats just the way it works. Anyway, i think its still a good book and this is still becoming a very good list. Thanks to everyone who's voted so far!


message 15: by John (new)

John Burns Incidentally its interesting to note the influence that cinema has had on this list. by my count, 11 of the top 20 films have been adapted for the big screen whilst hardly any of the books below 20 have.


Mohammed Abdi Osman I think its the other way SF great books or even just good books had big influence on cinema. Where would all the fans of Blade runner be without a mid level PKD called Androids Dream ?


Also Dune hasnt had a good film or series to give it extra votes.



message 17: by John (new)

John Burns true, but i still think i robot, a clockwork orange, 2001, i am legend and electric sheep wouldnt be in the positions they currently are in this list were it not for the popularising effect of their numerous adaptations.

I heard ridley scott is planning an adaptation of the forever war. Expect that book to leap into the top 10 in a couple years time.


message 18: by John (new)

John Burns by the way folks, i made this list because the other SF lists were either too limited in scope (hugo award winners, cyberpunk) or too vague and so lost credibility with all the populist and YA books that filled the list (main SF list). The intention for this list was to make an SF list with limitations that would allow credible, less well known books to sit more comfortably at the top. There currently exists no such list for fantasy. Can anyone think of any similar kind of limitations that would lead to a good list like this but for fantasy novels? or are there not even enough good fantasy books out there to justify such a list?


message 19: by Greyweather (last edited Jul 08, 2009 01:41PM) (new)

Greyweather Actually there are a couple such lists for fantasy:
Pre-Tolkien Fantasy (Fantasy up through 1937)
Classic Fantasy (Fantasy written before 1980)
Best Fantasy of the 70s
Best Fantasy of the 80s
Best Fantasy of the 90s
Best Fantasy Books of the 21st Century


message 20: by John (last edited Jul 09, 2009 09:25AM) (new)

John Burns The intention is to get away from the populist stuff that fills most lists and set up parameters that will result in more elitist stuff. Those decade lists are halfway towards what im thinking about, the fantasy masterworks list is probably the closest to what im thinking about but is perhaps too limiting in its scope. The other lists you mention are all pretty similar to the general populist lists out there.

I mean, i dont really know anything about fantasy. I just think this is a very cool SF list we have here, relatively free from the usual YA and mainstream stuff and i just think it would be nice if there were a similar one for fantasy though i dont really know how one would do the same sort of list for fantasy.


message 21: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Are you including collections of short stories?


message 22: by John (last edited Jul 09, 2009 09:31AM) (new)

John Burns Sarah Pi wrote: "Are you including collections of short stories?"

Sure, i dont see why not. We already have the martian chronicles at #3.


message 23: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather I'm not sure what you mean by this list being free from "mainstream stuff" Killthepopular. Asimov, Bradbury, and Clarke are so mainstream that they are referred to as the ABCs of sci-fi.

If what you are looking for a list of more cerebral/philosophical/highbrow/elitist fantasy, I could make one.


message 25: by John (last edited Jul 10, 2009 04:39AM) (new)

John Burns Greyweather wrote: "Here you go:
http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/24..."


Hah, an interesting premise for a list.
The problem is, I've read 2 fantasy novels ive really liked, and whilst they were great and well written i dunno if i'd necessarily call them highbrow. This is why it's problematic creating a premise for these lists. You want something that'll make the right sort of people vote for the right sort of books (sorry if this sounds a little patrician). You want fantasy nerds voting for fantasy classics, to give an idea of what the great (possibly obscure) works of this genre are. Otherwise you get kids voting for harry potter and "normals" voting for mainstream versions of fantasy like magical realism and kafka. This is the kind of list that needs to be avoided as it doesnt really tell anyone anything they dont already know.
Although your premise might create an interesting, if not a very "fantasy" driven list.

As a rule, the best lists on goodreads seem to come from very specific and restrictive (but not too restrictive) parameters. For example, best books of the 20th century, is definitely a better list than "best books ever" hijacked as it is by vampires and mormons, whilst the decade lists are of an even more consistent quality, but often lack enough books, or voter interest, to make a strong list.
Your list is probably a bit too vague to target the specific fantasy area i'm thinking of (i.e. same sort of books as this list but for fantasy, not bulgakov, lewis carroll etc.). I'd just like a list to point out all the great fantasy classics I'm unaware of. This list has pointed me towards some of the classic SFs out there. Is it impossible to have a similar style list for fantasy?

Regarding the ABCs, whilst they are established classic authors they arent necessarily hugely mainstream. Books like the martian chronicles and rendezvous with rama are dwarved ratings-wise by books like 1984, brave new world, a wrinkle in time, the giver etc.

This list isnt dominated by hugely obscure works or anything but its a hell of a lot less "mainstream" that the main SF list.


message 26: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather Well one man's classic is another man's claptrap, and fantasy doesn't have a "golden age" in the way sci-fi does, so a list exactly like this one isn't going to be possible with the listopea structure.

For what you seem to want, the Fantasy Masterworks series you noticed earlier does look to be the best fit.


message 27: by John (new)

John Burns Incidentally:

Martin Prince: As your president, I would demand a science-fiction library, featuring an ABC of the genre. Asimov, Bester, Clarke.
Student: What about Ray Bradbury?
Martin Prince: I'm aware of his work...


message 28: by Bookbrow (new)

Bookbrow Not a bad list, I like to collect as much of the classic SF as I can, after much research I add books to my list. I tend to follow patterns, More than Human, followed by Man Plus, etc. I read current but try to find time for the classics.




message 29: by Leo (new)

Leo Walsh Mohammed wrote: "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep ? Isnt even near PKD best and its ranked 2 must be cause of a certain film....


I added Jack Vance(Emphyrio,The Demon Princes,Araminta Station) Heinlein(Rocket ..."


Interesting point. But I love PDK, and have "Android" in my top 10. Mostly because I think it is his best. I also have "High Castle" in my top 10.

But, now that you mention it, I loved the hard-boiled human angle the "Android" gives. But, could it be because I have seen Harrison Ford as Decker "Blade Runner?"

I don't know. Unfortunately, I cannot unsee the movie...


message 30: by Jain (new)

Jain Deleted the books by J. K. Accinni, all of which were published in 2012 and 2013.


message 31: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Jul 09, 2014 09:41PM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads The Handmaid's Tale (#52), brilliant though it is, was first published in 1985.

ETA: Also, GREETINGS EARTHLINGS, My name is Appleton and I come from the Planet Reginta (#150) was published in 2012.


message 32: by Xantha (new)

Xantha Page Probably one of the best science fiction lists on this site, so props to the voters (though the restricted range obviously has something to do with it). It's one of the few lists of this type I actually feel like adding books to.


back to top