If you were asked to name the top Science Fiction and Fantasy titles of all time, what would your list be? That’s what NPR asked its viewers and almost 5,000 people replied via the NRP site alone.
And now they’ve composed the list of several hundred titles. Reading this list is quite nostalgic and it makes me wonder how influential the current young generation of readers were in creating this list? Thankfully, not overbearing. Some authors will make the list no matter what, because they deserve to and will always.
Writers like Isaac Asimov. How can an author who wrote I, Robot (yes, it was a book before it was a movie) and Foundation (both are on the list), among many, many others. Asimov was one of our most prolific authors of all time. I guess I’m getting old. The Caves of Steel is on the best list, one I had to look up.
Robert Heinlein, who admittedly wasn’t a literary genius, however, he influenced generations (and still is) with his politics through writing. He covered the gamut, from what they call kids books, Have Space Suit Will Travel as one of my favorite titles, Starship Troopers which was made into a fun movie, through his wildly adult Stranger in a Strange Land and Time Enough for Love. And what was voted as Heinlein’s fave book? The Cat Who Walked Through Walls, a latecomer to the Heinlein legacy and not his best book by a long shot. The Number of the Beast is on the list.
Arthur C. Clarke, in spite of his personal scandal which really through me off his books, is indeed warranted to be on this list. His 2001: A Space Odyssey made cereberal history and rightly on the list. “Hal” is forever in the stuff of nightmares. And Childhood’s End made the list, so there are some intelligent beings living outside the walls of my home.
Harlan Ellison is a master story teller and consumate writer. His stories chill you to the bone, make you cry, laugh, and just basically feel. His words on the page are art in themselves. He’s written over 1,000 short stories, movies, TV Shows (Star Trek, Twilight Zone, many others), novellas, and books, though not as many books as we would like. Perhaps his mind runs too fast for his fingers. Ellison has won more awards for imaginative literature than any other living author. Deathbird Stories is not one I would have thought on a list, but anything by Ellison is a masterpiece to “the best of.” Deathbird Stories: A Pantheon of Modern Gods is a 1975 collection of short stories written by Harlan Ellison over a period of ten years addressing the theme of modern-day “deities” that have replaced the older, more traditional ones. It’s widely considered Ellison’s best book, and therefore, wisely made the list. Still, I will always remember Ellison for the novella-made-movie A Boy and His Dog.
The list goes on with William Gibson, Fritz Leiber (now who can forget Fafhrd and The Grey Mouser?), C. J. Cherryh (mother of a local artist), Stephen R. Donaldson, Frederik Pohl, Margaret Atwood (but she doesn’t write Science Fiction, or so she says), John Varley, Ursula K. LeGuin, the gorgeous Ray Bradbury, Robert Silverberg, Larry Niven, Kurt Vonnegut, Terry Pratchett, Maron Zimmer Bradley, Orson Scott Card, Connie Willis, Clifford D. Simak (one of my faves), Lois McMaster Bujold, and of course, Jules Verne and H. G. Wells.
I can’t name them all here. You can find this illustrious list here.
Who is your favorite all time Science Fiction and Fantasy author?