Top 100 Sci-Fi, Fantasy Novels…

According to NPR’s summer reader survey, these are the top 100 Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels.  My biggest issue here is that they call some of these novels, but they’re actually multiple books in a series.  So… there’s a bit of fudging here.  I may lose some serious geek cred on this list.  I’ll admit that I don’t particularly like true, straight forward sci-fi.  I find it a bit dry and difficult to deal with.

Bold = ones I’ve completed
Italics = ones I’ve attempted/partially finished

More than 60,000 ballots were cast in our annual summer reader’s survey — click here to see the full list of 100 books, complete with links and descriptions. Below is a printable list of the top 100 winners. And for even more great reads, check out the complete list of 237 finalists.

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien

2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card

4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert

5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin – I’m on book 5 now.  Counting this as a yes.

6. 1984, by George Orwell

7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov

9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman

12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan – I gave up in book 8, when I couldn’t recall anything of importance after book 5.

13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell

14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson

15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore

16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov

17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein

18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss

19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick

22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King

24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke

25. The Stand, by Stephen King

26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson

27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury

28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut

29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman

30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess

31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein

32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams

33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey

34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein

35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller

36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells

37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne

38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys

39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells

40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny

41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings

42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley

43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson

44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven

45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin

46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien

47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White

48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke

50. Contact, by Carl Sagan

51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons

52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman

53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson

54. World War Z, by Max Brooks

55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle

56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman

57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett

58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson

59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold

60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett

61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind

63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke

65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson

66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist

67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks

68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard

69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb

70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger

71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson

72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne

73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore

74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi

75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson

76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke

77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey

78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin

79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury

80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire

81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson

82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde

83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks

84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart

85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson

86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher

87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe

88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn

89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan

90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock

91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury

92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley

93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge

94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov

95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson

96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis

98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville

99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony

100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis


Yeah, I have quite a bit of reading I should be doing.  o.O

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  1. Rachel says:

    I feel my grip on the SciFi novel world slipping….

    That said, I have only read 3 of those on the list – “The Time Travelers Wife”,  “I am Legend” and “The Stand” (which I have read about 20 times, lol, I love it that much).  I have read bits and pieces of others for a SciFi English class I took in highschool though.

    I do have the entire Shannara series in hardcover on a shelf, but have only made it 60 pages into the first novel!  I have seen more of the movies that were made from these novels though….I need to start reading more!

  2. Erin Wilburn says:

    I see you have “Neverwhere” as attempted/unifinished….I’m trying to get through it right now, myself.  And I usually like Gaiman, but this just isn’t doing it for me.  Hmmm.

  3. Basykes says:

    Have you read any David Gerrold?  Definitely not dry.  Eye-rollingly funny in spots.  Try “Flying Sorcerers,” written with Larry Niven, if you can find it (old book).  One very long shaggy dog story.

  4. Lillian says:

    So I voted in this survey because I think that SciFi/Fantasy is probably my favorite genre because it totally lets me escape (although I do love me a good Ellery Queen or a Perry Mason mystery). I have probably read near half of these but am excited to start a list of the rest!

    I’m sure you’ve got a list to read, but I would highly recommend:
    1) Dragonflight / Dragonriders of Pern Series – Anne McCaffrey (one of my favorite series of all time)
    2) Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card; I read this in high school when we got to choose between that book and something else (just as good that I read later, of course).
    3) Slaughterhouse-Five – Vonnegut; OMG, we read this in high school senior year and it’s a total experience (just like any Vonnegut). I love it – Billy Pilgrim is one of my favorite time-travelers of all time.
    4) Stardust – Neil Gaiman; first book I read by him and I love the movie. This book took me only a couple of hours to read and I was cracking up the entire time. It’s adorable and lovely.
    5) The Farseer Trilogy – Robin Hobb; I was introduced to this author last summer and devoured the two trilogies my friend gave me (this one and The Tawny Man). I’ve never come across such an engaging fantasy told IN THE FIRST PERSON. She does a fantastic job and I’ve read two (three?) other trilogies by her – I am trying to find the next one!

    Childhood’s End – Arthur C Clarke; my father gave me his copy to read when I was 13 or 14 and it was eye-opening…this is a pretty creepy book but well-worth it. Have a fluffy book nearby though for afterward!

    Some personal notes:
    1) I’m sad that the Heralds of Valdemar (Mercedes Lackey) didn’t make this list but it totally should have! …just as fantastic as Dragonriders of Pern. This is my “go to” universe when I need a break from life; doesn’t matter that I’ve read most of them half a dozen times…
    2) I just started reading Kate Elliott and I love her “Jaran” series – amazing writing and although the series is 4 books (and counting), the first novel absolutely stands alone as a beautiful story.

    …I don’t know if you subscribe to the cakewreck’s geek blog, but they posted there the other day about favorite scifi/fantasy series – I’m looking forward to starting a new reading list!!!

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