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Guardian Must-Read Science and Fantasy Reads!

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message 1: by Charlotte (last edited Jun 10, 2013 06:21AM) (new)

Charlotte Jones (ramblingsofanelfpire) I know that there is a BBC list of 149 books that you must read in your lifetime, but there is also a Guardian version which consists of 1000 novels and they are split into genres.

I'm just wondering how many of these people have read these 'must-read' sci-fi and fantasy books, and which you would want to read too!

Science fiction and fantasy

1.The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
2.Non-Stop by Brian W Aldiss
3.Foundation by Isaac Asimov
4.The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
5.The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
6.In the Country of Last Things by Paul Auster
7.The Drowned World by JG Ballard
8.Crash by JG Ballard
9.Millennium People by JG Ballard
10.The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
11.Consider Phlebas by Iain M Banks
12.Weaveworld by Clive Barker
13.Darkmans by Nicola Barker
14.The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter
15.Darwin's Radio by Greg Bear
16.Vathek by William Beckford
17.The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
18.Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
19.Lost Souls by Poppy Z Brite
20.Wieland by Charles Brockden Brown
21.Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys
22.The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
23.The Coming Race by EGEL Bulwer-Lytton
24.A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
25.The End of the World News by Anthony Burgess
26.A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
27.Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
28.Kindred by Octavia Butler
29.Erewhon by Samuel Butler
30.The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino
31.The Influence by Ramsey Campbell
32.Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
33.Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll
34.Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
35.The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter
36.The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
37.The Man who was Thursday by GK Chesterton
38.Childhood's End by Arthur C Clarke
39.Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
40.Hello Summer, Goodbye by Michael G Coney
41.Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland
42.House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski
43.Pig Tales by Marie Darrieussecq
44.The Einstein Intersection by Samuel R Delaney
45.Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick
46.The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick
47.Camp Concentration by Thomas M Disch
48.Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco
49.Under the Skin by Michel Faber
50.The Magus by John Fowles
51.American Gods by Neil Gaiman
52.Red Shift by Alan Garner
53.Neuromancer by William Gibson
54.Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
55.Lord of the Flies by William Golding
56.The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
57.Light by M John Harrison
58.The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
59.Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A Heinlein
60.Dune by Frank L Herbert
61.The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse
62.Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban
63.The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg
64.Atomised by Michel Houellebecq
65.Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
66.The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro
67.The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
68.The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
69.The Children of Men by PD James
70.After London; or, Wild England by Richard Jefferies
71.Bold as Love by Gwyneth Jones
72.The Trial by Franz Kafka
73.Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
74.The Shining by Stephen King
75.The Victorian Chaise-longue by Marghanita Laski
76.Uncle Silas by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
77.The Earthsea Series by Ursula Le Guin
78.The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
79.Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
80.Memoirs of a Survivor by Doris Lessing
81.The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
82.The Monk by Matthew Lewis
83.A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay
84.The Night Sessions by Ken Macleod
85.Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel
86.Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith
87.I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
88.Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Maturin
89.The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe
90.The Road by Cormac McCarthy
91.Ascent by Jed Mercurio
92.The Scar by China Mieville
93.Ingenious Pain by Andrew Miller
94.A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M Miller Jr
95.Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
96.Mother London by Michael Moorcock
97.News from Nowhere by William Morris
98.Beloved by Toni Morrison
99.The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
100.Ada or Ardor by Vladimir Nabokov
101.The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
102.Ringworld by Larry Niven
103.Vurt by Jeff Noon
104.The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien
105.The Famished Road by Ben Okri
106.Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
107.Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
108.Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock
109.Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake
110.The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and CM Kornbluth
111.A Glastonbury Romance by John Cowper Powys
112.The Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett
113.The Prestige by Christopher Priest
114.His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
115.Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais
116.The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
117.Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
118.The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson
119.Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling
120.Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
121.The Female Man by Joanna Russ
122.Air by Geoff Ryman
123.The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
124.Blindness by Jose Saramago
125.How the Dead Live by Will Self
126.Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
127.Hyperion by Dan Simmons
128.Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon
129.Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
130.The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
131.Dracula by Bram Stoker
132.The Insult by Rupert Thomson
133.The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
134.The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
135.A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
136.Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
137.The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
138.Institute Benjamenta by Robert Walser
139.Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner
140.Affinity by Sarah Waters
141.The Time Machine by HG Wells
142.The War of the Worlds by HG Wells
143.The Sword in the Stone by TH White
144.The Old Men at the Zoo by Angus Wilson
145.The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
146.Orlando by Virginia Woolf
147.Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
148.The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham
149.We by Yevgeny Zamyatin


I've only read 6 of these but I own at least 10 more that I need to read so how many have you read?


message 2: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte Jones (ramblingsofanelfpire) I've read:
Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy,
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,
Through the Looking Glass,
Fight Club,
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,
The Time Machine.

There are at least 10 that I own and loads others that I really want to read and I'm halfway through Lord of the Rings at the moment...it's a really interesting list though, makes me realise how many great books I'm missing out on!


message 3: by Lee (new)

Lee I've read 26 -mainly fantasy rather than sci-fi. Sci-fi is something I've been wanting to explore more - so this list is an excellent start point for me


message 4: by Lee (new)

Lee I always think that it's a bit weird that they always link sci fi and fantasy together - they seem quite different to me. For instance the day of the triffids and nights at the circus couldn't be more different. My dad is a huge sci-fi fan and hates fantasy (except for The Lord of the Rings) - one of his pet hates is books described as sci-fi that, in his opinion, are fantasy.


message 5: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte Jones (ramblingsofanelfpire) Lee wrote: "I always think that it's a bit weird that they always link sci fi and fantasy together - they seem quite different to me. For instance the day of the triffids and nights at the circus couldn't be ..."

I completely agree! There are so many books that are frequntly described as sci-fi even though they are definitely fantasy, though it doesn't seem to happen the other way around.

I need to read more sci-fi though I think. I own so many of the books on this list and I think the only thing putting me off a bit is the length of them as they tend to be a bit on the long side...


message 6: by Lee (new)

Lee So many books, so little time - if only there was a government grant available for people who just wanted to read!


message 7: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte Jones (ramblingsofanelfpire) Lee wrote: "So many books, so little time - if only there was a government grant available for people who just wanted to read!"

I know what you mean! Being a student, books can be so expensive!


message 8: by Stephen (new)

Stephen | 40 comments Mod
Being a self-proclaimed sci-fi fan.. I'm a little embarrassed by my effort; only having read 23 in that list. But I'll be +1 after Foundation next month, and recently bought The Road from my local charity shop - makes it +2 soon.

Sci-fi/Fantasy.. Fantasy/Sci-fi - it's a touchy subject for some. Just because it's set in space doesn't make it a sci-fi (classic example - Star Wars). I once read a good description of the subject: something along the lines of.. "fantasy is something that could never happen, but you wish it would; sci-fi could happen, but you hope it doesn't!"

I think the reason why they get linked is because of their history. Before the two genres split up, you could only get 'fantastical' fiction (usually in grubby little magazines!) - people didn't know what else to call it...

..at which point I've just gotta link in this google search. A certain cover of a science fiction magazine - hilarious! Don't worry, nothing rude/dodgy - I just don't want to spoil the surprise if you haven't seen that one.


message 9: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte Jones (ramblingsofanelfpire) Stephen wrote: "Being a self-proclaimed sci-fi fan.. I'm a little embarrassed by my effort; only having read 23 in that list. But I'll be +1 after Foundation next month, and recently bought The Road from my local ..."

I'm interested to know which you'd recommend of the ones you've read? I need a pointer or two with where to start to be honest...

For some reason sci-fi is a genre that is quite intimidating and I really need to get into it properly!


message 10: by Jules (new)

Jules | 8 comments So, the ones I have read I have crossed out and put my personal rating beside the title:

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
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

Wow, that's 25, I'm not doing to badly then. Some others are on my tbr list but there are others I have never heard of. That's a lot of interesting books for me to discover!


message 11: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte Jones (ramblingsofanelfpire) Jules wrote: "So, the ones I have read I have crossed out and put my personal rating beside the title:

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams★★★★★
Non-Stop by Brian W Aldiss
Foundation by Isaac As..."


If you love The War of the Worlds, then I'd definitely recommend that you read 'The Time Machine' :)


message 12: by Stephen (new)

Stephen | 40 comments Mod
Charlotte wrote: "I'm interested to know which you'd recommend of the ones you've read? I need a pointer or two with where to start to be honest..."

Hi Charlotte - my initial reaction to you would be to add one more to the list: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Don't bother with the rest of the series (apart from Ender's Shadow) - but that's THE sci-fi book to read IMO.

I've been going through a classic sci-fi period recently. Any short stories from the 50s/60s are a great introduction to the genre - and there's loads of anthologies you'll find in charity shops.

..then there's the Godfather: anything by Arthur C. Clarke. But it's hard, not knowing 'you' means it's difficult to suggest which you might like best.

..I still think Ender's Game. I've recommended that to sci-fi virgins in the past, and have always had good feedback.


message 13: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte Jones (ramblingsofanelfpire) Stephen wrote: "Charlotte wrote: "I'm interested to know which you'd recommend of the ones you've read? I need a pointer or two with where to start to be honest..."

Hi Charlotte - my initial reaction to you would..."


Ender's Game has been suggested in the past and I think that I'll definitely pick that one up at some point, thanks :)


message 14: by Jen (new)

Jen | 468 comments Mod
I'm ashamed to say that I've only read 11! That will obviously improve now that we are choosing randomly from this list for one of our monthly books :)


message 15: by Lee (last edited Jun 11, 2013 12:48PM) (new)

Lee Just to let everyone know, I've just noticed that amazon is doing a sci-fi/fantasy kindle daily deal (£0.99) from the 10th to the 16th June - Todays is Snow Crash - sadly I already have that one :(


message 16: by Maria (new)

Maria Ryder | 20 comments I have read 34 of the books listed above. Having said that it would be more for me, and no doubt a lot of other people, if all the Disc World books, the Earthsea books, and the Dark Materials series weren't lumped together as one choice!


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