Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Flowchart Guides Readers Through the 100 Best SF Books

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the choose-your-own-novel dept.

Books 222

Hugh Pickens writes writes "T. N. Tobias writes that over the summer, over 60,000 people voted at NPR to select the top 100 science fiction and fantasy books of all time. The result? A list of 100 books with a wide range of styles, little context, and absolutely no pithy commentary to help readers actually choose something to read from it. Now SF Signal has come to the rescue with a 3800 x 2300 flowchart with over 325 decision points to help you find the perfect SF or Fantasy book to meet your tastes. Don't like to scroll? There's an interactive version that let's you answer a series of questions to find the perfect SF book."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years ago (0, Flamebait)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#37767072)

Why is it that no one appreciates MODERN science fiction anymore? There are so many great *modern* science fiction writers out there (just take a look at Gardner Dozois's incredible Year's Best Science Fiction [wikipedia.org] anthology sometime for an excellent sampling). Yet every time someone talks about science fiction, all anyone brings up are golden and silver age writers like Henlein, Asimov, Phillip Dick, etc. Not that there is anything wrong with those guys, but does everyone think science fiction writing ended when disco was still hot? There is great NEW stuff coming out every year. Hell, even Fredrick Pohl's best stuff came in the 90's, not the 60's.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (4, Informative)

keytoe (91531) | about 3 years ago | (#37767132)

You should try looking at the list - there are plenty of contemporary Sci Fi and Fantasy authors on it.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (1, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#37767200)

No, there are few. How many released in the last 5 years 10 years??

and any kist with "The Silmarillion" on it as the best is clearly a waste. It's interesting if you are interested in following the history in LotR, but greatest fantasy sci-fi in the top 100? no.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (3, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 years ago | (#37767242)

Not just the Silmarillion, two Stephan King books.

Good to know the middle school (and middle school reading level) was represented in this poll.

Also the red/green mars drek. At least that was low on the list. Stephan King was in the top half for fucks sake.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767430)

"... and absolutely no pithy commentary.."

Hmmm.. who would this apply to? YOU? Yes indeed.

Hugs and kisses,

Juan Epstein

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (-1, Troll)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | about 3 years ago | (#37767964)

At least Stephen King can spell ``Stephen'' you retarded, elitist, piece of shit, hipster. I bet that you think that Ayn Rand is well written fiction. You either need to grow up or climb out of you ivory tower, you fucking child.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#37768388)

No, he can't. It is spelled Steven.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (0)

Raenex (947668) | about 3 years ago | (#37768068)

Stephan King

Yup, you're quite the literary genius.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (0, Troll)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 years ago | (#37768224)

Who the fuck cares how that tard spells his name? It won't make his books any less awful.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37768390)

You're so cool because you hate something popular!

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (1)

Raenex (947668) | about 3 years ago | (#37768484)

Stephen King is popular because he knows how to tell a good yarn. It doesn't matter if it is "Literature" in the snooty, elitist sense.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (1)

networkBoy (774728) | about 3 years ago | (#37767252)

True enough (though I greatly enjoyed it). I was sad not to see anything by John Ringo in the military fiction category. Easily my favorite still writing author (the ghost series is excellent and free from Baen books).
-nB

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767368)

I was very, very glad there was nothing by Ringo. The man a rightwing nutjob, and it bleeds into his books in a horrible way. He does write well, though.

It's a shame really... (1)

sirwired (27582) | about 3 years ago | (#37768052)

It is indeed a shame Ringo Clancy-fied himself.

The March Upcountry series (which he co-authored with Weber) is excellent, the first four books of the Posleen Wars is solid military SF (as is the Cally offshoot that was co-written) and the Council Wars were also good. (As a side note, Weber has also Clancy-fied himself, but in the "I don't need an editor" way, as opposed to the "I assume all my readers will share my political views and will present them uncritically" way.)

It's kind of funny, the downright bizarre Paladin of Shadows ("Ghost", et al) series was something he didn't ever think would get published, due to it being too extreme. Jim Baen published it anyway, correctly divining that there was a market for this stuff. With how well it did, Ringo made the not entirely unjustified decision to let his political and/or sexual preferences become a major part of his works.

I guess it makes him money, but I can't stand to read the stuff. (I don't like extreme polemic from either end of the political spectrum in my SF, and the sex stuff in Paladin of Shadows is just gross, and I'm not a prude.)

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | about 3 years ago | (#37767344)

Here's what I was going to write:

It's hard to get into a "top 100 ever" list in less than 5 years (it takes time to build up a following) but there are a lot from the last 20 years on that list: Neil Gaiman, Neal Stephenson (both multiply), Iain Banks, Vernor Vinge, Connie Willis.

But then I looked through the full list. You're right, it's full of crap and old stuff. My list above is too short.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767134)

Why is it that people don't read the article before making lots of assumptions...nevermind.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#37767148)

Because it's a list of what people expect to say is the best.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 3 years ago | (#37767168)

William Gibson is on there.

And yes, you're overestimating the new stuff, and underestimating the old stuff they chose.

You're also not recognizing that the new stuff is far less widely read than the old stuff. SF&F is rarely bestseller-list material, and spreads through osmosis.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 3 years ago | (#37767170)

Current Sci-Fi hasn't been around long enough for it to be influential. It's also not been around long enough for the crap to be forgotten by history. For a neophyte if they pick something new off the shelf it's likely to be crap. If it's not crap, it's likely to borrow heavily from the classics. If it's completely novel (no pun intended), they won't have any context in which to appreciate that. In all these cases the reader benefits from being introduced to the classics first.

Notice that nothing about this argument is Sci-Fi specific. It applies to all cultural works.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (2)

CRCulver (715279) | about 3 years ago | (#37767214)

My cynical side wants to attribute it to the genre's turn towards the literary. Aficionados might rejoice that science-fiction finally matured and could claim to be great literature, but casual readers don't want to tax themselves with the challenging prose and labyrinthine plot of, say, Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun [amazon.com] when Golden Age science-fiction provides a simple tale that can be read in an hour or two.

Dozois's anthologies are a great place to find the standouts of the last few decades. It was his Modern Classic Short Novels of Science Fiction [amazon.com] that introduced me to Wolfe, Kate Wilhelm, Nancy Cress, (late-period) Robert Silverberg, Lucius Shepherd and others when I had previously known only pulpish science-fiction.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (1)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#37767326)

Aficionados might rejoice that science-fiction finally matured and could claim to be great literature, but casual readers don't want to tax themselves with the challenging prose and labyrinthine plot of, say, Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun [amazon.com]

Even that review describes itself as one of the best "science fantasies". Sorry, that means its not sci fi, its just princes and knights having swordfights for control of the kingdom, am I guessing right? I'm betting there is swordfights and horseback riding, right? Claiming on the back cover that the date is 9000 AD instead of 900 AD doesn't magically make it scifi instead of fantasy, sorry.

It may be an excellent book, but its probably not an excellent sci fi book.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (2, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | about 3 years ago | (#37767386)

You might prefer such a strict definition of science fiction, but the list that is the topic of this Slashdot discussion contains not only books where science coexists with fantastical elements, but also outright fantasy. The term "Science fiction" is commonly used to encompass a wide range of genres.

And it has been like that for a long, long time. Wolfe's sequence is hardly more fantastical than e.g. Olaf Stapledon's work, but the latter is regularly seen as a classic of science fiction (and not fantasy). Indeed, it was the prevalence of fantastical elements in Golden Age science fiction that led some to use the term "hard science fiction" to emphasize works that didn't stray from our understanding of physics.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (2, Informative)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#37767592)

The term "Science fiction" is commonly used to encompass a wide range of genres

Yeah, most recently as seen in video, Sci Fi is now wrestling, ghost hunting, and giant monster horror B movies. I am unimpressed.

Much like "begging the question" is commonly used completely inappropriately, mostly as a pompous "filler" rather than what it actually means. Again, an emphatic and vigorous "eh".

So back to Wolfe... am I right or wrong, the only thing sci fi about his book is likely to be playing with numbers so the date is in the future, and Maybe some Heinlein style wordprocessor search and replace work where absolutely nothing is changed but the word "telephone" is replaced with "videophone" and "India" is replaced with the word "Mars"? And there's sword fighting, feudal system, and maybe some magic? That's the impression I'm getting.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (1, Troll)

CRCulver (715279) | about 3 years ago | (#37768288)

The Book of the New Sun is science-fiction. It starts out as seemingly fantasy, but the science fiction elements are there from the very beginning if you respond to Wolfe's love of apparently casual relevations. For example, many readers go through the first book oblivious to the fact that the protagonist's home is the ruin of a spaceport. But soon Wolfe introduces directed energy weapons, plenty of spacecraft (propelled by solar sails or antigravity technologies whose advantages and limitations are discussed), terraformation schemes, time travel with grandfather paradoxes, and other speculative elements.

There is horseriding, but the horses are genetically engineered and Wolfe offers a substantial explanation of why warfare might regress from machines like tanks to biological tools.

There's also magic, both of the kind that can be explained as extremely advanced technology and (to a lesser extent) of the sort that defies scientific explanation. But I don't think that challenges the work's claim to be science fiction. After all, Larry Niven's Known Space universe has telekinesis and telepathy with no scientific explanation at all (it's just there, some have it and some don't), but the books are still science-fiction, and often categorized specifically as hard science fiction.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (1)

Toonol (1057698) | about 3 years ago | (#37767700)

No, it's science fiction. It won't seem it when you read it the first time, but that's because Wolfe is writing on a level that is amazingly subtle. One of the finest living writers, in my opinion.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767224)

Last I heard, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett and Neal Stephenson are pretty modern....

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767314)

So are Stephen King, George R. R. Martin, and Iain M. Banks...

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37768122)

So are Stephen King, George R. R. Martin, and Iain M. Banks...

Yeah, but we were talking about GOOD modern authors.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (1)

epine (68316) | about 3 years ago | (#37767240)

Yeah, I don't read all that much SciFi and the chart quickly lead me to a whole bunch of softcore SF classics, all of which I've read.

Here's a question: How does it make a SF title any better to have been written in the last hundred million seconds out of 100,000 years? Isn't keeping up with the present the domain of the Twitterverse?

I'm a well-aged consumer of scotch, cheese, movies, and books. If I'm going to consume something fresh, it's probably a documentary that took ten years to finance and film.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 years ago | (#37767304)

For the most part, "modern" stuff hasn't been around long enough to see whether it stands the test of time.

Frankly, picking a book/movie/whatever for a "best of all time" list that is only four or five years old is silly...

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767310)

Why not try reading the link before you guess. There's a lot of Stephenson (probably the author with the most indiviual listings there), gibson, vinge, banks, fforde, and lots of other modern authors.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767342)

Nearly all of it is modern? It just isn't contemporary.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 3 years ago | (#37767418)

They have Lois McMaster Bujold, whose Vorkosigan saga is quite young ("Cordelia's Honor" is in the list).

It's quite modern, and quite good as well. Dates to the 90s and 00's.

And one minute you're reading Cordelia's Honor and the next you're hunting around for the rest of the series. Thankfully, it's from Baen. They have almost every book for free download if you can find the CD site. (The missing one, Memory, is probably one of the best in the series and unfortunately has to be bought. It's an unfortunate oversight).

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (1)

meloneg (101248) | about 3 years ago | (#37767838)

Try googling "The Fifth Imperium".

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (1)

bittenstate (1985358) | about 3 years ago | (#37767436)

No Lovecraft, Dunsany or Olaf Stapleton? You have to lucky they tossed you a bone in Verne and Wells. The lack of PKD on this list should be considered an embarrassment to the NPR marketing staff. This list really represents the effect of cinema on culture.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (4, Informative)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | about 3 years ago | (#37767532)

The lack of PKD on this list should be considered an embarrassment to the NPR marketing staff.

I realize that clicking links in the submission is considered bad form here, but Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is in the upper right corner of the flowchart.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (1)

14erCleaner (745600) | about 3 years ago | (#37767850)

A bigger problem is their wild inconsistency on single books versus series; a great example is the top of the list: the Lord of the Rings trilogy, then a single book from the Hitchhikers "trilogy", then Ender's Game as a singleton, then Dune as a series, etc. Later they have two Asimov robot books separately, then The Silmarillion (but not The Hobbit), and so on.

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767814)

Electric Sheep was in, or am I mistaken?
The absence of Stross is painful, though

Re:Let me guess, a bunch of stuff from 40+ years a (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about 3 years ago | (#37768174)

My first time through the interactive version, it pointed me at "Cryptonomicon." I took another spin and it suggested "Neuromancer." I tried one more time and went through a much longer maze and eventually landed on "I, Robot." 2/3 ain't bad. I agree with you that modern SF is underrated, but from what I've seen so far, these guys aren't guilty of that.

Argh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767078)

Everything is flowcharts in Hell!

Re:Argh. (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 3 years ago | (#37767184)

How did you arrive at that conclusion?

Show your work.

Re:Argh. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767404)

I have a Power Point presentation to back my research.

Re:Argh. (2)

blair1q (305137) | about 3 years ago | (#37767946)

So you already work in Hell.

no tad williams ... horrid list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767206)

no tad williams ... horrid list

Re:no tad williams ... horrid list (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 years ago | (#37767272)

Includes Stephen King and Kim Stanley Robinson. Horrid, horrid list.

Also the most distorted summary for Animal Farm anywhere ('horrors of totalitarianism', really?). Definitely NPR defending their political philosophy.

Re:no tad williams ... horrid list (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 3 years ago | (#37768346)

Don't know about Stanley Robinson, but the two Stephen King books, the Stand and the Dark Tower series stand among the best books I have read, and I have read many of the books on that top 100 list. Okay, the Stand was a little hokey in places, but the Dark Tower was sheer genius.

Embarrassing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767220)

Asimov barely makes it to #8. Really? And authors like Ian M Banks (Use of weapons), Stanislav Lem (Futurology congress) and Strugackie brothers (Roadside picnic) are not even there. Well I guess The Amber Chronicles would compensate for that.

Re:Embarrassing (1)

Jeremy Allison - Sam (8157) | about 3 years ago | (#37767248)

But no "Lord of Light". How you can rate the Amber stuff and not include "Lord of Light" is beyond me..

Re:Embarrassing (1)

broken_chaos (1188549) | about 3 years ago | (#37767334)

Ian Banks (as Iain M. Banks) is listed, specifically aggregating all his Culture novels into one list entry. An odd choice to aggregate them, given the listing of, say, two separate Discworld novels.

Re:Embarrassing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767926)

May bad. i missed that

Re:Embarrassing (1)

xstonedogx (814876) | about 3 years ago | (#37767402)

Yeah, there's a lot of questionable choices on the list.

Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy (I'm a fan, but it shouldn't be on the list in lieu of some others...)
World War Z (I really don't get why people love this one so much.)
The Wheel of Time (I'm a huge fan OBVS, but it's not even FINISHED yet. Likewise Song of Fire and Ice by GRRM which also is not finished.)
The Xanth series (Maybe the first few, but who the hell over the age of 13 can make it through the whole series? And Incarnations of Immortality was better anyway)
etc., etc.,

And don't get me started on the order. (Ender's Game over Dune?!)

Re:Embarrassing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767438)

Strugackie brothers (Roadside picnic)

I think you mean the Strugatsky [wikipedia.org] brothers (Arkady and Boris). Sorry about being so picky, but the spelling is important with authors' names.

Some good books, but ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767274)

how do you expect anyone to read fantasy without L.E. Modesitt? and no Dave Duncan either?

Where art thou, Berserker series?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767294)

What about Fred Saberhagen's awesome Berserker universe? Or the Bolo universe by Keith Laumer?

Not too bad (1)

honestmonkey (819408) | about 3 years ago | (#37767302)

I have read about 30 of these, and since it was about half fantasy and I don't read that in general, I'd say I've read about 3/5s of the stuff there (that I care about). I saw a few I wouldn't read regardless. So I'd say the list was pretty good. Only a couple on it that I've been meaning to read and haven't yet.

You can't read everything, so this would be a good place to start.

Of course, it's going to suffer from "Why didn't they put X on the list?", but it has a limit of 100 and that's actually kind of small. I don't know why they lump fantasy in with sci-fi. I've read only a few fantasy stories that I much enjoyed, but beyond that, they really aren't similar categories. It's pretty much the same as lumping "Sci-fi and Romance" genres together. "The top 100 Westerns/Autobiographies." Why not?

Re:Not too bad (1)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#37767502)

It's pretty much the same as lumping "Sci-fi and Romance" genres together.

Don't like "City on the Edge of Forever" ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_City_on_the_Edge_of_Forever [wikipedia.org]

Note "romance" is theoretically distinct from pr0n, otherwise we've got tons of slash fiction with spock and kirk, all of the "spandex wearing women" from the 90s era trek TV, etc.

Re:Not too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767636)

Probably because the section at the bookstore is called Science Fiction / Fantasty.

Re:Not too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767780)

we always have to have one of these Me-Me-Me people. I've read xx many! Im special. You go there special one.

Re:Not too bad (1)

honestmonkey (819408) | about 3 years ago | (#37768482)

As opposed to you, who no one at all thinks is special. Gotcha.

The Silmarillion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767358)

I went the "familiar but not too experienced" route of fantasy and it recommended 'The Silmarillion'. That book, I have (attempted to) read before. That book, as a first fantasy book, would turn ANYONE off reading fantasy ever again.

Re:The Silmarillion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767616)

Mission. Fucking. Accomplished.

Re:The Silmarillion (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 3 years ago | (#37768228)

I read the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy in probably 4th or 5th grade (and am reading LOTR again now) and understood them reasonably well. I started to read the Silmarillion as an adult and could make neither heads nor tails of it. I gave it up.

Highest vampire book? (1)

houghi (78078) | about 3 years ago | (#37767370)

I am legend! This will be disappointing for a lot op people.

Re:Highest vampire book? (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 3 years ago | (#37768044)

Well, they did say they were avoiding the genres 'horror' and 'teen', which tends to cover most of the vampire realm. But they also implied they intended to do those in future surveys.

Jack Vance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767374)

Why isn't any of his work on this list?

Wait, whaaaat? (2)

AdamWill (604569) | about 3 years ago | (#37767394)

Er...

"I don't mind a few chuckles between explosions" leads to the Culture series (fine) but "I don't have a sense of humor that I'm aware of" and "I just like my action intense" goes to the Vorkosigan Saga? What the hell? Bujold is funnier than most sf on her worst day. And sure, there's _some_ intense action, but just as much, well, character comedy and romance. I'm, er, not sure if the person who did that bit of the flowchart ever actually read the books at all...

Re:Wait, whaaaat? (1)

demonbug (309515) | about 3 years ago | (#37767602)

Er...

"I don't mind a few chuckles between explosions" leads to the Culture series (fine) but "I don't have a sense of humor that I'm aware of" and "I just like my action intense" goes to the Vorkosigan Saga? What the hell? Bujold is funnier than most sf on her worst day. And sure, there's _some_ intense action, but just as much, well, character comedy and romance. I'm, er, not sure if the person who did that bit of the flowchart ever actually read the books at all...

Definitely agree, Bujold is awesome. Banks' books have far less humour, much of it limited to naming of ships (and some of there conversations, particularly in Excession). I'm rather surprised Bujold's fantasy works didn't make the list as well (Curse of Chalion books, anyway; I never could get into The Sharing Knife series).

There are some very questionable decisions on that flowchart that suggest whoever put it together isn't actually familiar with the material. For example, to get to The Wheel of Time you have to say yes to "Does the series have to be finished?", never mind that the next book won't be out until March at the earliest.

Re:Wait, whaaaat? (1)

Daetrin (576516) | about 3 years ago | (#37767968)

*blinks* I hadn't noticed that bit. You're totally 100% right. Maybe they thought it would be a good idea to direct the people who thought they had no sense of humor to the best humor on the whole page just to see if they were correct about themselves?

Re:Wait, whaaaat? (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 3 years ago | (#37768278)

I tried that interactive thing. By the time I got to the second question, I wanted to click on a button that was not there, and by the third question, I was lost. I desperately clicked a button just to pretend to play through the script, but then I got to some questions that I couldn't even understand what the words meant. Then I finally gave it up as a bad job.

Don't forget Revelation Space (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767432)

If you haven't had the pleasure of reading any of Alastair Reynolds Hard SF books... I HIGHLY recommend them.

Why keep lumping? (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 3 years ago | (#37767576)

Why is it that people keep lumping science fiction with fantasy? What is it that makes the two in any way related? What is it that makes people think readers who want sci-fi are interested in fantasy, so that there needs to be one list of the "top 100"? Or vice versa.

I mean, The Lord of the Rings was a good book, but sci-fi it ain't, and it's not the same kind of book as The Martian Chronicles or real sci-fi.

The interactive selection was a joke. There are so many places where you are asked "A or not A" and then wind up with only B as a possibility. You want space, but "not too far"? Mars vs. the rest of the universe. Sigh.

Re:Why keep lumping? (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 3 years ago | (#37768030)

Why is it that people keep lumping science fiction with fantasy? What is it that makes the two in any way related?

In the Golden Age of science fiction, the same authors wrote both. There are plenty of tales from the as far back as the 1950s where seemingly the characters are going through a simple sword and sorcery plot, but in the end it is revealed that the setting's lack of technology is the result of the fall of a hi-tech civilization, or conversely the magic in the story is in fact extremely advanced technology. If major figures like Poul Anderson were blurring the boundaries before you were likely even born, it's hard to blame this on recent morons who don't know the genre.

Re:Why keep lumping? (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 3 years ago | (#37768186)

My guess is two-fold: (a) a lot of folks like both, and (b) while all of it is 'fiction', going from 'high fantasy' to 'hard science fiction' is more of a spectrum than a hard break. The Belgariad is fantasy, and The Caves of Steel or Mote in God's Eye are science fiction (though even those can be argued not to be 'hard' SF) but where do you put the Perelandra books? Or Star Trek (late 60s version, in particular)? It's difficult to set an objective cutoff.

Re:Why keep lumping? (2)

clodney (778910) | about 3 years ago | (#37768232)

I think the reason is that they do have much in common, and a large overlap in readers.

Compared to just about any other genre of literature, science fiction and fantasy present an author a blank slate, and let them construct any setting, scenario and backstory they want. Want to explore what relationships would be like in a world where peoples gender changes with the seasons? Go for it. Want to examine what happens to humans when omnipotent Gods choose to be terrifyingly real? Have at it.

Those kind of fundamentally changed worlds can't happen in any other genre, but are the basis of much science fiction and fantasy.

Re:Why keep lumping? (2)

idontgno (624372) | about 3 years ago | (#37768274)

Why is it that people keep lumping science fiction with fantasy?

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

-- Arthur C. Clarke

Glad to see some on there (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 3 years ago | (#37767588)

Specifically, Small Gods and Snow Crash. The classics are all there, and a few modern ones I don't think will outlast the century, but the majority of them are all very solid.

Most of the classic top shelf is there (1)

boogahboogah (310475) | about 3 years ago | (#37767596)

but some of the more recent SF has gotten the short straw, maybe because the folks that read SF 30 years ago haven't read any recently. Me ? Still have an Analog subscription (with a few interruptions over the years), and still see some of the good 2/3/4 parts series turning into books that are worthwhile. Stories that resonated with me while I was growing up have been sort of imprinted, so I understand where the bias comes from for the 40/30 year old classic stories.

Now about that 'wave a wand' or 'cast a spell' stuff ? Not interested.

Science Fiction vs. Fantasy (1)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | about 3 years ago | (#37767694)

I'm glad that's the first fork in the map. I have zero interest in vampires and unicorns but that seems to be the bulk of the "Sci-fi / Fantasy" section in the library or book store or netflix. The two genres have very little in common, in my opinion.

Re:Science Fiction vs. Fantasy (1)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | about 3 years ago | (#37768038)

Guess I should have RTFA. Vampires are on the sci-fi side. Oh well.

Suggestion (1)

PerlJedi (2406408) | about 3 years ago | (#37767708)

Just one... err maybe two: Daniel Suarez: Deamon and Freedom

Re:Suggestion (1)

PerlJedi (2406408) | about 3 years ago | (#37767746)

Gaa... auto-correct (or auto-incorrect) created a typo: that is Daemon, and Freedom [thedaemon.com] ....

Different Expectations (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 3 years ago | (#37767742)

Am I the only one who was hoping for something like this: http://xkcd.com/657/ [xkcd.com]

Sapkowski and the Witcher is missing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37767754)

I love Sapkowski's The Last Wish and Blood of Elves - the inspiration for the Witcher game. Too bad they are missing....

No Illuminatus Trilogy? (2)

gallondr00nk (868673) | about 3 years ago | (#37767764)

For shame. It's probably the wittiest, sexiest, most thought provoking sci-fi novel of the last 40 years.

Someone's been raiding my bookshelves (1)

iceaxe (18903) | about 3 years ago | (#37767782)

I was hoping to find some good things to read, but I only found a handful of titles on the list that I don't already own. And most of those I won't.

I was surprised to find some rather - um - lower quality pulp on the list, but I suppose this sort of "everyone vote for your favorite" thing is bound to have a smattering of that.

Oh well. Back to my lists of Hugo and Nebula nominees - that's a much better selection, frankly.

Re:Someone's been raiding my bookshelves (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37768072)

I made it to 18 myself before I found something I hadn't read, and even then I had heard of it.

I'm a bit disappointed by a few of the summaries, The one for The Mote in God's Eye was the worst though. One sentence got everything wrong.

Poorly Named (2)

AlKaMo (106874) | about 3 years ago | (#37767798)

As has been pointed out numerous times already, it's really "The 100 most popular science fiction and fantasy books among listeners of NPR that could be bothered to vote".

As for the flowchart, which is really the point of the post, they did a pretty good job of it, considering what they had to work with.

SciFi != Fantasy (1)

StikyPad (445176) | about 3 years ago | (#37767832)

Fantasy is pretty much the opposite of science. Can we stop grouping it with SciFi?

Re:SciFi != Fantasy (1)

RussR42 (779993) | about 3 years ago | (#37767994)

science != science fiction. Fictional magic and fictional science are kind of similar, and the line gets blurry a lot. Read Julian May's _Many Colored Land_ and tell me what section that goes in :)

Re:SciFi != Fantasy (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 3 years ago | (#37768296)

Sure, but the Science Fiction shelf is going to get very small if you push out the stuff that's really Futuristic Fantasy.

I used to think this too... (1)

sirwired (27582) | about 3 years ago | (#37768308)

I used to wonder why Fantasy was grouped in with SF. But futuristic SF involves things that are not possible (at least by our current understanding.) Why should we limit "Science Fiction" to Starships and Lightsabers? Why not Swords, Sorcery, and Magic? If we strip current tech from a "hard" SF book, you are left with more-or-less magic anyway.

Really, my yardstick for good Fantasy (at least, Fantasy that I enjoy reading) is that it presents a system of magic that is methodical and is internally consistent. I don't care for the "call upon the favor of the Gods" type stuff. But stuff like the Mistborn trilogy, or the Coldfire or Magister series all present stuff that would be "hard" traditional SF if the setting had been changed.

Instead of trying to draw a fuzzy line between "hard" Fantasy, and Tolkien-type stuff, it makes more sense to just stick them in the same section of the store.

Nice if I could do some filtering (2)

mooingyak (720677) | about 3 years ago | (#37767876)

It'd be nice if I could make it re-list by weighting the votes.

I like Vernor Vinge, Neil Gaiman, Bujold, George RR Martin, and Neal Stephenson.

I don't like Kim Stanley Robinson, Anne McCaffrey, David Eddings, Dan Simmons, or Arthur C. Clarke (blasphemy! I know!)

If you feel the opposite, kudos to you, but don't complain, my idea will work for you too.

I'd love to be able to have it weigh the votes of the people who liked the same stuff as me more heavily and the people who like the stuff I don't like less heavily and then see what the new top 100 looks like, and maybe pick out the highest placed book/series that I haven't already read from the new list.

Glory Road (1)

dtmos (447842) | about 3 years ago | (#37767914)

Given the choice between Fantasy and Science Fiction, I've always been a Science Fiction guy. My one Honorable Mention in Fantasy would have been Heinlein's Glory Road -- for some reason, the kind of book I can read over and over.

Pity that it didn't make the cut.

Vorkosigan comes after no humor, really? (2)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 3 years ago | (#37768066)

I really don't like how Bujold's Vorkosigan series comes after a path where one says no to humor. Sure, they can be pretty serious at times. Bujold has explicitly said that she thinks one of the keys to good literature is making characters have a miserable time (not her exact wording but pretty close). But the light-hearted bits are terribly funny. And even when things are going wrong, a lot of the characters, especially Miles, have such delightfully sardonic attitudes that this shouldn't be there. Frankly, a lot of these paths should lead to the same books as options. Overall, amusing but not a great actual flow chart for the purpose intended.

Clearl omissions due to ignorance (1)

Prune (557140) | about 3 years ago | (#37768180)

Seems people are simply not aware of the classics very well, given some startling omissions here. "The End of Eternity" is one of Asimov's greatest works and its lesson is one very applicable today (hint: replace time travel with information technology after reading this book, I got goosebumps thinking about that, shame on NASA for making space boring) http://www.amazon.com/End-Eternity-Isaac-Asimov/dp/0765319187/ [amazon.com] I also don't see a single book from the sci-fi grandmasters like Jack Williamson (the timeless classic "The Humanoids" http://www.amazon.com/Humanoids-Novel-Jack-Williamson/dp/0312852533 [amazon.com] and it's sequel, etc.) or Clifford Saimak ("Cemetery World" http://www.amazon.com/Cemetery-World-Clifford-D-Simak/dp/0399110712 [amazon.com] etc.).

Where is the man! (1)

Herkum01 (592704) | about 3 years ago | (#37768218)

Nothing by Glen Cook?

And the half-serious series from Jim Butcher? WTH?

an advertisement (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 3 years ago | (#37768266)

this is just an Amazon ad, every selection you make in that 'interactive' char ends up with an Amazon link.

A demo of why flowcharts aren't always a good idea (1)

Rhodri Mawr (862554) | about 3 years ago | (#37768270)

There are some surprising omissions and poor categorizations in there. For instance:
The Belgariad (Eddings) is reached by following the Sword and Sorcery - NO option and the 'five or six books enough for you' - YES option (rather than the No - I shall require at least ten option) when in fact there are 12/13 books set in the Belgariad universe.

If you're going to include Thomas Covenant in the fantasy section, you should without doubt include Donaldson's far superior Gap Series in the Sci-Fi section.

There are plenty of other inconsistencies, omissions and strange categorizations of books. I shan't bore you with them. I admire the effort put in, and it's not an awful flowchart per se, but I think that it most usefully demonstrates the limitations of a flowchart or tree diagram and that it isn't the best way to categorize books.

Why So Serious? (2)

pz (113803) | about 3 years ago | (#37768446)

I know that people get very passionate about their Science Fiction writing, but reading some of the responses here you'd think that there was some massive, genocidal weapon aimed to exterminate SF readers.

Get a grip, people.

It's a list. Did you vote? Remember, your favorite author, well, it might not be everyone else's favorite author. The list is based on what people voted for.

Personally, although I've heard of many of these titles, I've read only a small handful, the rest being on my list of things to do when that precious free time returns at some point in the unknown future. And I thought the flowchart was really very entertaining and insightful. Well done, I say! Hear, hear, I say -- perhaps this list will result in a few more people picking up a classic Science Fiction book and reading it, perhaps even enjoying it. Is that really so bad?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?