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Topic: Just for Fun - 50 Essential Books

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Subject: Just for Fun - 50 Essential Books
Date Posted: 1/23/2013 4:43 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2007
Posts: 1,502
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As valid or invalid as these lists tend to be.  I've only read about a dozen, though I may have forgotten a dozen more.

Date Posted: 1/23/2013 6:48 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
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I've read thirteen, and other books by the authors of four or five more. It seems the usual sort of thing -- overwhelmingly skewed to the white and male. There was one -- Acme Novelty Library #19 -- that I have never even heard of, and Scott Westerfeld's Uglies seems odd to me, but other than that the list seems pretty boring.

Date Posted: 1/24/2013 11:17 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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Hm. 19 read.  Another 3 sitting on Mt. TBR.  And 2 or 3 more that I do eventually want to read, but don't own yet.  6 where I've read other books by the same author.

Seems pretty standard for this type of list.  It's a little too heavy on the 60's and 70's.  Which, of course, makes it a bit heavy on post-apocalyptic books and male authors.

Of all the Vonnegut books he could have included, he picked Sirens of Titan? Granted, that particular novel was a HUGE influence on Douglas Adams, right down to the hero gallivanting around in his bathrobe, but it's not his best or most well-known book.

Some of the summaries seem off kilter. Like Nor Crystal Tears -- "Imagines the Humanx Commonwealth where humans exist alongside aliens." It makes no mention at all that it's a first contact novel about the founding of the Commonwealth.

Or, the summary for Earth Abides -- "Written shortly after Hiroshima, this post-apocalyptic novel imagines the rebuilding process." I guess it's technically correct, but it makes it sound as if it's a nuclear apocalypse, not a virus.  And the point of the novel has very little to do with the rebuilding process - quite the opposite.  It questions how much of the trappings of civilization are truly necessary.

Makes me wonder if the list author has actually read these books recently.


Last Edited on: 1/24/13 11:18 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/26/2013 3:42 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2008
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I've only read 19. I know they make a lot of best lists but I hated A Canticle for Leibowitz and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

Subject: Tom Hl.
Date Posted: 1/29/2013 2:58 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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Well, I've read 32 of these, with most of my gaps in the 50s and early 60s.  The list strikes me as just one person's opinions -  whose preferences would have been influenced by their personal experience in reading them.    Nothing wrong with that; I have my own opinions too.  But there are a couple of oddballs in there.  I think a more objective list might be the Locus Reader's polls at http://www.locusmag.com/2012/AllCenturyPollsResults.html


Last Edited on: 1/29/13 3:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/29/2013 7:09 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
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I read 18 of those.

I think the list could be vastly improved.

Where's the women?

Date Posted: 1/31/2013 10:59 AM ET
Member Since: 10/16/2008
Posts: 19
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Read 20 as with all lists - some I agree with, some I scrathced my head at and some I wanted to yell at the computer. But I will probably look up some that I haven't read - It's an interesting way to check out new books!


Date Posted: 2/6/2013 11:36 AM ET
Member Since: 4/15/2010
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Only 2...

1984 and A Wrinkle in Time

Date Posted: 2/6/2013 11:36 AM ET
Member Since: 4/15/2010
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I will say the covers to those old sci-fi books are fun!

Date Posted: 2/15/2013 12:17 AM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2009
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Sue B.  You didn't care for "Do Android's Dream...", and I can't say I cared for that or any of Dick's books,  But, have you read "Android's Drean" by Scalzi?  

Last Edited on: 2/15/13 12:18 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/16/2013 6:30 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2008
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I looked up Andriod's Dream. That looks interesting. I haven't read it yet.

Brad -
Date Posted: 2/19/2013 7:11 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
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I think I like that list Tom posted more.  I especially like how it lists novellas and novelettes, which I need to read more of (so as to fill out my challenge).  I've done very well in the Top 20 of that list, having read 14 of them (didn't finish all 14, currently reading Childhood's End).

Date Posted: 3/10/2013 6:10 PM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2009
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I just looked at the list, and scored 28.  I would agree with some of the other posters in wondering why some of the books are on the list and why others are not.   I recal, a few years ago C.J. Cherryh suggesting that SF is one of the few genres in which previous works are important.  An example would be Asimov's Three Laws of Robitics, which is stiill referenced in SF (and non-SF books), or Heinlien's "Starship Troopers", which is still influencing writers both in a straightforth manner, or as something top parody.  You can read m,ysteries and not miss a thing by not having read Hammett, or Westerns and never heard of Zane Gray, but to fully appreciate SF you really need to have read some of the stuff from the early last half of the 20th.   All that being said, MY list would have been very different. 

Last Edited on: 3/10/13 6:11 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/11/2013 5:28 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
Posts: 5,091
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I've read 21 of those books, and I agree that the list is odd. I thought Nor Crystal Tears was awful, myself, and I can't fathom why it would make the lsit. Tastes vary. Oddly I somehow have never read Brave New World. That seems to me to be one of those books that you ought to read once just because it's so much a part of the culture.

A few more from Tom's list that I haven't read. Off to add to my reminder list.

*Shakes fist at Susan and Tom*

Last Edited on: 5/11/13 5:43 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/11/2013 2:03 PM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2009
Posts: 1,407
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I've read at least 35 of them, but it could be more; I've been reading Sci-Fi since the 50s!  My list would look quite different, but I imagine all of ours would.

Date Posted: 10/10/2013 10:17 PM ET
Member Since: 1/2/2010
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I read 19 of them and other books by 6 of the other authors.  Not many of the ones I read would I recommend to someone else to read.  Myabe 6 out of the list.   Three of them on the list I read for a class in Sci Fi in college.  None of the three was from an author I had read before and I haven't read any of their stuff since.  That was a LOOONNNNNGGGGGG time ago.  I agree there are several names missing from the list and several on the list that I've never heard of.  I'm mostly into military related Sci Fi and there is very little of it in the list.

Date Posted: 11/1/2013 8:42 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
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I've read 16, or so, of them. Can't always remember that far back, as I've also been reading sci-fi since the 50s. I would hope everyone has read Alas Babylon, it is truly a classic.  If you like the earlier authors, I have a bunch on my bookshelf.