The SF Book Club's "The Most Significant SF & Fantasy Books of the Last 50 Years (1953-2002)"

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Put together by the Science Fiction Book Club.

  1. 1.

  2. 2.
    Foundation Trilogy
    by Isaac Asimov

  3. 3.
    by Frank Herbert

  4. 4.
    Stranger in a Strange Land (Remembering Tomorrow)
    by Robert A. Heinlein

  5. 5.
    A Wizard of Earthsea (The Earthsea Cycle, Book 1)
    by Ursula K. Le Guin

  6. 6.
    by William Gibson

  7. 7.
    Childhood's End
    by Arthur C. Clarke

  8. 8.
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
    by Philip K. Dick

  9. 9.
    The Mists of Avalon
    by Marion Zimmer Bradley

  10. 10.
    Fahrenheit 451
    by Ray Bradbury

  11. 11.
    Sword and Citadel (The Book of the New Sun, Vol. 2)
    by Gene Wolfe

  12. 12.
    A Canticle for Leibowitz (Bantam Spectra Book)
    by Walter M. Miller Jr.

  13. 13.
    The Caves of Steel (R. Daneel Olivaw, Book 1)
    by Isaac Asimov

  14. 14.
    Children of the Atom
    by Wilmar H. Shiras

  15. 15.
    Cities in Flight
    by James Blish

  16. 16.
    The Colour of Magic (Discworld Novels)
    by Terry Pratchett

  17. 17.
    Dangerous Visions : The 35th Anniversary Edition
    by Harlan Ellison

  18. 18.

  19. 19.
    The Demolished Man
    by Alfred Bester

  20. 20.
    by Samuel R. Delany

  21. 21.
    Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern - Volume 1)
    by Anne McCaffrey

  22. 22.
    Ender's Game (Ender Quartet)
    by Orson Scott Card

  23. 23.

  24. 24.
    The Forever War
    by Joe Haldeman

  25. 25.
    Gateway (Heechee Saga)
    by Frederik Pohl

  26. 26.
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1)
    by J.K. Rowling

  27. 27.
    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    by Douglas Adams

  28. 28.
    I Am Legend
    by Richard Matheson

  29. 30.
    The Left Hand of Darkness
    by Ursula K. Le Guin

  30. 31.
    Little, Big
    by John Crowley

  31. 32.
    Lord of Light
    by Roger Zelazny

  32. 33.
    The Man in the High Castle
    by Philip K. Dick

  33. 35.
    More Than Human
    by Theodore Sturgeon

  34. 37.
    On the Beach
    by Nevil Shute

  35. 38.
    Rendezvous with Rama
    by Arthur C. Clarke

  36. 39.
    by Larry Niven

  37. 40.
    Rogue Moon
    by Algis J. Budrys

  38. 41.
    The Silmarillion (Pre-Lord of the Rings)
    by J.R.R. Tolkien

  39. 42.
    by Kurt Vonnegut

  40. 43.
    Snow Crash (Bantam Spectra Book)
    by Neal Stephenson

  41. 44.
    Stand on Zanzibar
    by John Brunner

  42. 45.
    The Stars My Destination
    by Alfred Bester

  43. 46.
    Starship Troopers
    by Robert A. Heinlein

  44. 47.
    Storm Bringer (Elric Saga, Book 6)
    by Michael Moorcock

  45. 48.
    The Sword of Shannara
    by Terry Brooks

  46. 49.
    by Gregory Benford

  47. 50.
    To Your Scattered Bodies Go (Riverworld Saga, Book 1)
    by Philip Jose Farmer

This is a community list. You can contribute, edit, or help maintain it by adding it to your lists.
Created by Robot Co-op on Nov 30, 2005.


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From the source... — 5 years ago

I made a personal list from the source, I won’t make any changes :)

Where's Stranger in a Strange Land? — 6 years ago

That’s one of my all-time favorite SF books. It’s entertianing, well written, and like the best SF stories, has startling significance to our society and lives. It deserves to be here!

Slaughterhouse Five — 6 years ago

A masterpiece of a book,but its no Sci-Fi. Read it anyway.

The Sword of Shannara was terrible — 6 years ago

I own it and I can’t even finish the first 10 pages or so. Terrible sentence structure, run-on’s, fragments, it needs a good editor badly, and that’s just for starters

i think the list might be a little more useful if the sets of books were listed idividually so people could check them as they finish them. Good list over all though

Corrections — 7 years ago

Someone decided to add a bunch of new stuff to this list, which I deleted. This is a definitive list, if you want to have different books on it, make your own list.

sf has two components to its readership: — 7 years ago

one are the people who read it to be entertained. The other are the people who read it to be entertained and want it to also have literary content.

Both componets have the entertainment requirement. How people are entertained doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the type of writing.

Sword of Shannara was written to entertain. If you want your fantasy to be literary as well, read George Martin, Tolkien, or some such. But both are valid, whatever your particular taste may be.

Everyone doesn’t have to have the same taste or standards. If we did, sf probably wouldn’t exist as a genre at all!


Stormbringer — 8 years ago

I can’t take anything seriously as a best of anything with lines like:

“It was now a yellow morass of molten rock that, though cool, rolled about with a purposeful air.”

Rock? Rolling about with a purposeful air? What?

Kind of a weak list... — 8 years ago

I have problems with this list… it’s lacking in many, many regards.

Authors that are missing: George RR Martin, Glen Cook, Steven Eriksson. The list goes on and on.


Disappointing... — 8 years ago

No Lem?

I've looked at or skimmed all of these... — 8 years ago

I was an sf bookseller for a long while, after all. The ones that I checked that I’ve read but have not graded “worthwhile” or “not” I am certain I read, but not what I thought of them.

Mostly, this means I haven’t reread them in the past 10 years or so.


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