SciFi and Fantasy Book Club discussion

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message 1: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
Here's the list of best SFF on Goodreads, per their metrics.

https://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/1...

How many books have you read? Do you agree with the experts on best books and books to keep on your radar?

What are you planning on reading soon?

What do you disagree with?


message 2: by Gabi (last edited Aug 23, 2018 07:02AM) (new)

Gabi | 3405 comments I've read 7 so far (although for 2 - Martian Chronicles and 2001 - it's been so long that I can't remember a thing), 1 I'm currently reading and 9 are on my TBR shelf.

I guess I would have to give the classics a try again. In my youth I never managed to get into the likes of Heinlein, Asimov or PK Dick.

----

Edit: just seen that there is a Fantasy list as well. There I've read 9 books and 2 are on my TBR shelf..


message 3: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 2610 comments I’ve read: 8 on the Sci-Fi list and 11 on the Fantasy list.

I don’t necessarily disagree with any of them- I do find it funny that Ancillary Sword made the list but not Ancillary Justice.

On the Fantasy list: I’m surprised at the number of paranormal romances that made the list.


message 4: by Christopher (new)

Christopher | 899 comments I’ve read 31 of the Science Fiction novels and 22 of the Fantasy, so just about half of the combined 100. The lists include many classics, but a few selections surprised me, I wonder how they generated these lists? My guess is it’s largely data driven and not something curated by an editor (hence the surprises)?


message 5: by Marc-André (last edited Aug 23, 2018 12:53PM) (new)

Marc-André I've read 17 books on the list of the top 50 sci-fi novels, and 11 were already on my want-to-read list. From that list I added two novels that I want to read.

The expert liste were a let down. Nothing stood out or was just mass-market lit (Star Wars).


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 2674 comments I've read 22 of the Fantasy, with 2 additional marked as To Read.

Only 8 of the sci-fi, with 2 marked To Read. This doesn't surprise me, as I don't read much sci-fi.

I've only read 1 of the "best of 2018", with 1 marked as To Read.


Can't say the lists surprise me in any way. I mean, it's pretty much the usual standards, with a few random outliers. *shrug*


message 7: by V.W. (new)

V.W. Singer | 371 comments My main interest is Military SF, so I haven't read many of the SF list.

Dune (obviously)
Foundation (all of the series)
Old Man's War
Starship Troopers
The Mote in God's Eye

No interest in the others.

As for fantasy, I'm more of a Sword and Sorcery fan. Also I don't agree that Dragonflight falls under Fantasy.

Furies of Calderon (and the rest of the series)
Pawn of Prophesey (and the rest of the Belgariad)
Storm Front (and the rest)
LOTR
Hobbit
Watership Down

Again, no interest in the rest.


message 8: by Bill (new)

Bill Burris (wburris) | 0 comments I read 16 books on the SF list. Red Rising was a very boring book, and should be on the list of the worst books. Dune, Hyperion, and The Three-Body Problem are the best.

I read 3 books on the F list. I read The Hobbit in the 80s so I don't remember the details very well. I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in the 60s or early 70s, so remember it even less well. The Name of the Wind was an ok book.


message 9: by Maggie (new)

Maggie K | 689 comments I have read 35 from the sci-fi list. I do question some of the books' merit, but they had to work with some kind of system, and it was very rating dependent. All-in-all not a bad list


message 10: by Maggie (new)

Maggie K | 689 comments I just checked fantasy, and I have read 33 and have 4 on my tbr. There are some really BAD books on that list! I dont know about including the paranormal romance books, either.


message 11: by Christopher (new)

Christopher | 899 comments VW, I know you said you’ve no interest beyond the works you’ve already read, but I could recommend a few more in each category that are similar to the ones you’ve listed:

In SF, if you enjoy military SF you’d probably enjoy Ender’s Game

In Fantasy, if you enjoy swords & sorcery, then the Feist novels and the Jordan Wheel of Time series both fit that as well.


message 12: by Lowell (last edited Aug 23, 2018 08:23AM) (new)

Lowell (schyzm) | 567 comments from the top 50 Sci-Fi list: 26 read. 1 TBR. I seem to have a lot of the mid-range to modern stuff, and have missed some classics that should really be on my list.

There are definitey inclusions of more "pop" scifi books and things that have seemed to me (I could be wrong) to be more internet fad-type titles (Wool, Red Rising), but I haven't read them so I really can't say.

From the top 50 Fantasy list: 24 read, 3 TBR, 1 in progress.

A lot on this list are books I consider "classics for teenagers" (pawn of prophesy, wizard's first rule, etc..) but there are some solid pics.

Overall these lists seem to be more about the popularity of a work than the quality, to me. But, I'm feeling particularly curmudgeonly this morning, so take that with a big grain of salt.


message 13: by Lowell (new)

Lowell (schyzm) | 567 comments Marc-André wrote: "The expert liste were a let down. Nothing stood out or was just mass-market lit (Star Wars). ."

Oh good. I am glad that others feel that way - I found those "expert" lists to be really shabby too.


message 14: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2285 comments At least 17 from the SF list. Some that I won't count as I need to reread (eg 1984). I'm glad to see (for example) Saga, Vol. 1 there; too intense for me but really impressive.

Too many there that ppl remember loving... if they read them fresh now I'm sure they would not be so pleased.

None are currently on my to-read list but a couple might be someday (1984, LeGuin).

So, the analysis is just a 4+ star community rating?


message 15: by Micah (last edited Aug 23, 2018 08:43AM) (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1436 comments Read 18 on the SF list. But a SW book in the top 50 best SF? And two graphic novels? I've got nothing per se against SW or graphic novels, but I don't think they stand up to the same standard of, say, some of Alastair Reynolds's, Iain M. Banks's, Peter F. Hamilton's, China Miéville's, Greg Bear's or Ken MacLeod's better works (none of whom were represented on the list). There are other inclusions I'd argue over the quality but which certainly have the longstanding fame to warrant being there (given that my tastes are not usually in agreement with the bulk of the public's).

I've only read 3 on the Fantasy list because I generally avoid it. Not my style.


message 16: by Bobby (new)

Bobby | 869 comments Kind of surprising, but I've read 8 and a half of the Sci Fi, and 8 and a half of the Fantasy. It's kind of skewed though, because a lot of the fantasy books are the first in a series.

There are tons on both lists that I want to read, even if I've been too lazy to actually put them on my TBR list.


message 17: by CBRetriever (new)

CBRetriever | 4625 comments 28 SciFi & 31 Fantasy


message 18: by Jordan (new)

Jordan (justiceofkalr) | 395 comments Looks like I've read 31 of the SF and 17 of the Fantasy. It also looks like there's nothing below three stars for on the SF list, but three Fantasy books that I gave two stars. Clearly my fantasy tastes and this list are not entirely compatible. They're definitely interesting lists. Some books that are classics or that I think have staying power, and quite a few that feel like fad books that will fade over time.


message 20: by Hank (new)

Hank (hankenstein) | 1128 comments 42 Sci-fi, 38 Fantasy. I have a couple of two star ratings on both lists so clearly I don't completely agree but if I am allowed to agree with both Micah and Colleen, first I agree that maybe Star Wars and graphic novels should not make the cut and second *shrug* No list will be perfect according to any of us and these two weren't terrible.


message 21: by Trike (new)

Trike 40 on SF.

21 on Fantasy.

What do I win, Johnny?


message 22: by Trike (new)

Trike Micah wrote: "Read 18 on the SF list. But a SW book in the top 50 best SF? And two graphic novels? I've got nothing per se against SW or graphic novels, but I don't think they stand up to the same standard of, s..."

To be fair, Heir to the Empire is widely considered to be *the* Star Wars novel. I have not read it nor do I have any interest in it, but I’m aware of it and the fact that Zahn created arguably the most popular non-Lucas character in General Thrawn.

I know who he is just through osmosis, which is pretty impressive for a media tie-in novel. I can’t think offhand of any other spin-off character in SFF who has that big a presence, to the point where they were incorporated into official canon and outsiders know their name.


message 23: by Christopher (new)

Christopher | 899 comments I basically never read tie-in novels despite being a fan of several properties for which there exist a multitude. That said, I did read the Zahn trilogy and enjoyed it quite a bit. When it was announced that Star Wars episodes 7-9 were being made I would have been fine if they were just adaptations of these books. That said, I read these long enough ago (think I read as they came out so around 25 years) that my current opinion might be different were I to reread although that’s true for many of the older books listed here, hard to compare my teenaged taste to that of middle age.


message 24: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1436 comments Trike wrote: "To be fair, Heir to the Empire is widely considered to be *the* Star Wars novel..."

In that case it should be in the Fantasy top 50, right? Aren't you the one who always points out it's not SF? **smirk-n-a-wink**


message 25: by Valerie (new)

Valerie (darthval) | 781 comments 39 Fantasy and 39 Scifi. Weird that it came out a tie.


message 26: by Trike (new)

Trike Micah wrote: "Trike wrote: "To be fair, Heir to the Empire is widely considered to be *the* Star Wars novel..."

In that case it should be in the Fantasy top 50, right? Aren't you the one who always points out i..."


Don’t get me started.


message 27: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2285 comments So what do you ppl have against graphic novels?


message 28: by AMG (last edited Aug 23, 2018 07:51PM) (new)

AMG (thenecessarysalamander) | 306 comments I haven't read that much sci-fi. Only five on that list. I enjoy sci-fi. I just haven't read much of it because I never knew how to tell what was good sci-fi before. This group has helped me a lot in that way! I've found so many enjoyable books.

I've read about half of the fantasy list, and everything else I'm either in the process of reading or have on my "to-read" list. Except Stephen King. I've never read anything by him, but I'm sort of terrified of doing so. I don't know why. I don't have a good reason other than that I have a vague idea that he writes spooky things.

From what I've seen, I mostly agree with their 2018 and recent/upcoming releases lists.

I'd only read Promise of Blood off the "hidden gems" list. I didn't like it. I wish I liked it more because it's a cool universe.


message 29: by Tawallah (new)

Tawallah | 59 comments I have read 20 of the science fiction picks and want to read 11 more.

On fantasy side I have read 12 books and want to read a further 7 books. Not a fan of dark fantasy so may bypass quite a few of those on the list. And there is another big section with paranormal fantasy, not my cup of tea.

In a few years I suspect the contemporary fantasy picks will change. It will be good to see more of the self-published works which have gotten great reviews on this list.


message 30: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline | 2306 comments Bearing in mind I only started reading again last October....

Sci-fi
Read 6 and have another 22 on my shelves or iPad.

Fantasy
Read 6 and have at least 19 on my shelves or iPad.

Truth be told I’ve probably got them all nearly on my computer.


message 31: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 53 comments For sci/fi, I've read 10 and have 19 on my tbr.

For fantasy, I've read 14 and have 9 on my tbr.

Amanda wrote: "Except Stephen King. I've never read anything by him, but I'm sort of terrified of doing so. I don't know why. I don't have a good reason other than that I have a vague idea that he writes spooky things. "

I keep away from Stephen King also. A family member gave me Misery as a present when I was in junior high. The book freaked me out. Since then, I refuse to read any of his books.


message 32: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
Amanda with the left side panda, glad you're discovering new books with us!!

June, I suspect you're right, that even next year's list will be different.

Jacqueline, I always picture you with a wagon of books, like Matilda from the movie (and I guess the book, as well!) and it makes me chuckle :)

Amanda with the right-side panda, I've completely steered away from his horror, too! I read Gunslinger, but all of his settings are in towns I've been in, and that's just too much. No thank you.


message 33: by Christopher (last edited Aug 24, 2018 08:49AM) (new)

Christopher | 899 comments If you want to try Stephen King, but want to avoid anything too scary, you might try The Eyes of the Dragon an epic fantasy novel that he penned for his children. I read it when I was 12 or so and enjoyed it a lot, not sure how it reads today.


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 2674 comments I don't read a lot of King's horror. The stuff I have read I've been a bit underwhelmed by, tbh.

I really liked the Dark Tower, though, and I've been enjoying his mystery books - the Bill Hodges books, starting with Mr. Mercedes. Haven't read The Outsider yet, but it's on my list.

***

Cheryl wrote: "So what do you ppl have against graphic novels?"

I don't, personally. Some of the handful of books I've read from the list have actually been GNs, including Watchmen. (Though I enjoyed Watchmen much better on the second go-round when I skipped the interstitial stuff and just read the story straight through.)


message 35: by Patricia (new)

Patricia | 38 comments I’ve read 23 of the Top SciFi and 4 on my tbr list. Top Fantasy, I’ve read 15 with 4 on my tbr. Read 4 on the Most Anticipated list and 1 on the Best of 2018 with 1 on my tbr. On Hidden Gems, read 2 with 4 on tbr.
Just to note, I adore Stephen King and have read everything he has written. But I understand why others might not feel the same way. I remember starting Misery one night before bed. Ended up staying up all night reading and called in sick the next day at work so that I could finish the book!
But I am so glad that my grandson got me into reading Fantasy and SciFi again by lending me his copy of The Name of the Wind by Rothfuss a couple of years ago.
And I love the book group.


message 36: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
Patricia wrote: "I’ve read 23 of the Top SciFi and 4 on my tbr list. Top Fantasy, I’ve read 15 with 4 on my tbr. Read 4 on the Most Anticipated list and 1 on the Best of 2018 with 1 on my tbr. On Hidden Gems, read ..."

<3


message 37: by Beth (new)

Beth (rosewoodpip) | 1685 comments I didn't look at the SF list. I've read 8 of the fantasies.

This looks much more like a metrics-driven "most popular" list than a "best of" list. Nothing wrong with that, but it all but guarantees that we'll see only the same small handful of pre-2000 titles. It's nice that women are more than 1/3 of the entries, although the large amount of UF/PNR representing fantasy by women is a little discouraging.


message 38: by Kaa (new)

Kaa | 1454 comments I've read 21 of the top sci-fi and have 3 on my TBR (although I can see 4 or 5 others I intend to read but just haven't gotten onto my GR shelves yet). Personally, I'm really glad to see Saga listed - it's an incredible series and it's cool to see a variety of sub-genres represented. Saga is the book I recommend to SFF readers who are new to graphic novels and want to know where to start, partly because I think it relates well to the larger SFF canon.

I've read 18 of the fantasy (had to add a couple that I read as a kid but had never made it onto GR), and have 4 on my TBR. I HATE Wheel of Time, but I'm mostly peeved about all the PNR that made it onto the list - rating in the romance genre skews quite a bit higher than in SFF, so it doesn't feel like a fair comparison.

A lot of the books I've read from both lists are things I read pre-GR and therefore haven't rated, but I would agree with those who have said this is more of a "most popular" than truly "best of".


message 39: by Kaa (new)

Kaa | 1454 comments @Beth: I didn't see your comment before I posted mine, but I am in complete agreement. I was also frustrated by all of the UF/PNR on the list, especially because there is so much (to my mind) better fantasy written by women that's been left out.


message 40: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1436 comments Cheryl wrote: "So what do you ppl have against graphic novels?"

Nothing. They're just not novels.

Equating them to books like Dune or Hyperion would be like equating Bob Dylan lyrics with literature.

**ducks and scurries out of the room**


message 41: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline | 2306 comments Yeahhhh I think I do have Matilda on my iPad which is always with me somewhere lol


message 42: by Karin (last edited Aug 24, 2018 02:26PM) (new)

Karin | 773 comments From the top 50 Scifi I've read 24 but am going to be reading one of the others for a British books reading group in about a month.

From the top 50 Fantasy I've read 7 but discarded an 8th.

I've read one from the 2018 list, but have Calculating Stars here for a group read--is this our group read? No need to answer as I'll check once I'm done with this post.

0 from the Hidden Gems list

1 from the recommended by "experts list"

That said, on some of these lists I've read other books by the same authors--I've read at least 3 Discworld books, for example.


message 43: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2285 comments Micah, semantics, not content.

If our language had evolved a commonly used word that included all forms, Saga, Vol. 1 and I, Robot (which is actually a collection of short stories, in case you didn't remember) and Hyperion, I'm sure GR would have used it.


message 44: by Cheryl (last edited Aug 24, 2018 04:04PM) (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2285 comments Btw, I can't believe that I'm the one defending graphic novels. I mean, they prolly make up about .5% of all the books that I read... mainly because I generally find them more challenging to fully appreciate than much narrative fiction.

Also, too bad there aren't any poetry collections, novels in verse, memoirs, or plays on the list for us to bicker agree to disagree over....


message 45: by Anthony (new)

Anthony (albinokid) | 1471 comments @Cheryl for the record, I love graphic novels and believe they should be held up and celebrated alongside other great works of art.


message 46: by CBRetriever (new)

CBRetriever | 4625 comments Micah wrote: "Cheryl wrote: "So what do you ppl have against graphic novels?"

Equating them to books like Dune or Hyperion would be like equating Bob Dylan lyrics with literature. ."


"Bob Dylan will be accepting his Nobel Prize in literature this weekend, according to the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy."

some people seems to think his lyrics are literature


message 47: by Shanna (new)

Shanna | 43 comments Amanda wrote: "Except Stephen King. I've never read anything by him, but I'm sort of terrified of doing so. I don't know why. I don't have a good reason other than that I have a vague idea that he writes spooky things."

30 years ago, I read Pet Sematary and it scared me so much I never read anything else by him. I've seen many of the movies though. For me, a movie is slightly less scary than the book.

I've read 9 on the SF list, with many on my TBR. I've read 5 on the fantasy list.


message 48: by Coralie (new)

Coralie | 104 comments I have read 42 of the Science fiction with 3 on my TBR shelf and 36 Fantasy with 4 TBR. The fantasy that I had read ranged all the way from 1 star to 5.


message 49: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2285 comments Well there certainly are a lot of song lyrics that are better literature than a lot of novels.

But literary value isn't the metric of the list, remember?
It's just reader ratings. Rather meaningless.

Well, listen, I don't want to have the last word. But I don't want to discuss it further anyway, because we're not going to change each other's minds. I just wanted to see if anyone had any new points to bring to the argument.


message 50: by MadProfessah (new)

MadProfessah (madprofesssah) | 741 comments I’ve read 33 of the 50 science fiction books.


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