Some time ago, NPR posted a list of top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy posts. Personally, I quite like lists like these. Partially because of the “I wonder if that thing I like is on here” feeling, as well as providing me with a bunch of new things to read up on later. Some people out there get irate over the fact that this book is rated at a higher place than the other one. Those people a fickle fuckwads. The important thing is that it’s on there, and that’s often enough to get more people of the fact that it’s good. And that’s the important thing. It’s just another way of sharing the good titles around.
I’m just going through some of the titles on the NPR list and gush about them. Because that’s what I do. I sorta went and did that on Tumblr already, but I wanted to go a bit deeper this time. Feel free to gush along with me in the comments, or on Twitter, or anywhere else you can.
The Entire Top 5
They’re all a given. Although it’s nice to see Ice and Fire not just being listed, but also being listed this high for a change. Okay, I’m late to the Game of Thrones myself, I only started about half a year before the TV series started airing, but it does deserve to be up there. Even if I have a problem with having such a high claim for unfinished works. For that same reason, I’m not going to run ahead and say Breaking Bad is one of the best TV series made. Just one glance at Dexter shows why it’s a bad idea to get ahead of yourself like that.
Lord of the Rings deserves that first place. Although not so much for the quality of the writing, or the story. I have the same feeling for Lord of the Rings that I have with Star Wars now. Yes, it is good. And it did inspire and influence so much work that came after it. But it’s most certainly not the biggest and grandest thing out there. People will likely want my head for saying this because this is the internet and you’re only allowed one of the two extreme opinions on here, but it’s the truth. At least, it’s my truth. I like it, I respect it, I think everyone should be exposed to it, but it’s not the best thing out there.
Ender’s Game. This one is kind of a surprise, considering how many people have a problem with Orson Scott Card. Both with him as a person and his inability to write dialogue. Ender’s Game is good though, short, and bittersweet. I’d rate Speaker for the Dead higher if it wasn’t for the abundance of dialogue.
The Next 4 Books.
I haven’t read any of these. Well, except Brave New World by Huxley, and that one only recently. It was okay. I liked the ideas it expressed a lot more than the actual story. I have this problem with most of the proper science fiction books I’ve read. Most of the time I only keep reading them to see what other ideas are explored within the pages, rather than any real enjoyment. It’s like science fiction has created this barrier between exploration and enjoyment and refuses to let one touch the other, and Im’ trapped somewhere in between that barrier, divided about whether or not I want to keep reading.
Yeah, I’ve yet to read 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Foundation or Foundation. I suck, I know.
American Gods. What a book. Years ago I gave up on reading. Or well, I didn’t really give up on it, really. I kind of forgot it was a thing. I forgot all about how much I enjoyed both reading and writing. All I read was manga, stuff like Rurouni Kenshin, Death Note, Dragon Ball… That was about it, really. Then a friend let me borrow a Discworld novel, and I slowly got back into it. Some time after I picked up Good Omens, and I knew I wanted to keep reading again. Good Omens led to Neil Gaiman’s site, where he had American Gods put up for free.
I downloaded American Gods, read a single page… and half an hour later I was standing in a bookstore with a physical copy.
Shadow took me on his journey, and for the entire duration everything else did not matter to me. It was a feeling I had felt years before. A feeling I hadn’t had for a long time. And every other book after, I’d feel something similar. Reading has stayed with me ever since. And I owe it all to American Gods. What a book.
The Wheel of Time Series
As much as I’ve read of the series, as much as I want to keep reading the series, as much as I hope it keeps getting better, I’m afraid I’ll have to give the rest of the series after three books. The first book was okay as a start of the series. the second book was a step in the right direction: one leading away from “I’m reading Lord of the Rings”. The third made me realize that the first three books were pretty much the same book. How much more do we need to confirm that Rand is the Dragon reborn? It’s a sure thing from the start. It’s confirmed when he fights the bad guy in the sky. It’s confirmed with a sword of plot advancement (seriously, we didn’t need a full book for this).
It’s a good thing at least Matt and Perrin to made things interesting.
I wanted to read this very badly. I remember a friend sending me a .pdf of the whole comic. I read maybe three pages before closing it. As with American Gods, I was standing in a bookstore holding the real deal before the end of the hour. One of the better comics, oh sorry, graphical novels I’ve read. The movie held up, but missed too many important details. Personally, I liked V for Vendetta a lot more than this, but it’s still one of the more solid comic books I know.
Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat’s Cradle
I bought Slaughterhouse-Five right before I went on vacation and bought Cat’s Cradle as I was making my way back home. Cat’s Cradle is easily my favorite of the two titles, even if it lacked the impact that I felt from Slaughterhouse-Five. That might be because Slaughterhouse-Five was my introduction to Kurt Vonnegut.
So it goes.
I still feel like I should read more of his works.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
Very rarely have I read a book in one go and absolutely hated it. It’s only happened twice so far. The other one was Atlas Shrugged and that was well… Ayn Rand.
This one just felt vapid, vain, stupid. And I only felt the movie was watchable because of Harrison Ford, and that still wasn’t enough to keep me watching it until the end.
I don’t know what it is with this book that makes me feel this way. It’s just not good. At all.
The Dark Tower Series
Loved the first two books. Third was okay. Fourth was a flashback. Not a bad flashback, but I can’t stand flashbacks. I still need to finish reading the series. It’s Ka. It’s also the only thing by King that I’ve read. Well, those 4 books and On Writing. Although the only book I really want to read is The Stand.
Oh hey, that’s on the list too! cool.
The Sandman Series
My favorite comic book series. The first volume didn’t really do much for me. I digged the art, but I felt that there was a lot more that could be done with it.
Then the volumes after the first went ahead and explored that potential. Seasons of Mist is still my favorite volume. Lucifer grows tired and closes Hell, giving the keys to Dream. Even if American Gods is my favorite book, that is my favorite story of his.
A Lot of Books I Never Read
A Clockwork Orange, The War of the Worlds, and Ringworld are all on my to-read list still. There’s too much on there to begin with, and that list is always growing. At times I wish I was a faster reader, but then I’d spend less time with the books I love.
I never got what the deal was with this book. I always felt like it tried to hard to be something it wasn’t, but I could never put my finger on what it was. Then I saw The Princess Bride (still have to read the book) and it clicked. That’s the kind of fantasy Stardust tries to be. But for me, it falls short. I haven’t seen the movie, so I can’t comment on that.
If there’s any book that I’d consider the best introduction to Terry Pratchett, it’s Small Gods. One of the early books that really got the micture of satire, social commentary, and fantasy just right. The other one would be…
Also on the list. Moist Von Lipwig, a professional con man, and his struggle as he has to revive a failing post office in an era where a much more modern form of communications has already been achieved through the “Clacks Towers”. Making Money, the second book starring Moist, where he’s put in charge of the bank and royal mint, was fantastic as well.
The Sword of Truth
I’m really surprised this is on the list. It’s not very good. For the most part its Ayn Rand’s philosophy set up in the dark BDSM cellar of the fantasy genre. Or rather, it’s a philosophical journey of a young man who finds a magic sword, learns magic spells, and flies around on a dragon.
The Farseer Trilogy
Yes. Just. Yes.
Too few of the people I know have read this series, which is a damned shame. The Farseer Trilogy is one of my personal favorites in terms of fantasy. Then again, I do have a thing for assassin’s, so it’s not too surprising that the tale of the young bastard boy, FitzChivalry being dragged to Buckkeep and trained to be an assassin dragged me in the way it did.
That about wraps it up for me. Anyone else got any thoughts on what’s on the list?