NPR has released its list of the top 100 science fiction and fantasy novels/series, as voted on by the public from a jury-curated list of 237 finalists, itself culled from public nominations of even more novels. Old Man’s War is on the list, which is pretty nifty. Thank you to those of you who voted for it.
By and large it’s a pretty good list of books, with some very conspicuous omissions that tell us more about the voters of the poll than the books under consideration. A list of the top 100 science fiction/fantasy novels without entries by Brin, Brunner, Butler, Cherryh, Delany or Silverberg (to name some obvious names; there are of course others) is going to have fans of various stripes shaking their heads. These sorts of lists exist as much to make people talk as much as to attempt to quantify the field. This list will certainly do that.
As a conversation starter, and to encourage others to do the same, allow me to list 10 books/series from the finalists list not on the NPR Top 100 list I’d have found room for on my personal Top 100 list. In no particular order:
The Acts of Caine series, Matthew Woodring Stover
Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart
Grass, Sherri Tepper
Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
Lord Valentine’s Castle, Robert Silverberg
Earth, David Brin
The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi
Little Fuzzy, H. Beam Piper
The Vlad Taltos series, Steven Brust
Kindred, Octavia Butler
Your list from the finalists not in the final list? Put them in the comments.