Top 100 Speculative Books

This page is still under construction, but I’ve begun building…

As of this moment, the list below is my second draft, but it’s a good indication of the books that will appear on my final list. I’m only allowing myself one book per author [other notable books by the same author are in square brackets at the end of the selection]. If an author has created a series, I’ve usually listed the title of the series rather than just one of the books.

As with all lists, mine is purely subjective; personal decisions based on a combination of literary content, ‘historical significance,’ and reading pleasure. As of now, the list is not arranged in a completely accurate order, but the books in the top third will likely remain in the top third, those in the middle third will probably remain somewhere in the middle, and those in the bottom third will most likely remain close to the bottom third. A few of the books below may not survive until the final list; and, even when I’m finished (which may take quite a while), books could easily move several spots based on whim and mood-of-the-day. Some of the choices are included because of their influence on the world of readers and not necessarily my particular sensibilities (these works are likely to appear near the bottom of my list).

          1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien (1954-55). [The Hobbit]
          2. The Glass Bead Game (aka Magister Ludi), Herman Hesse (1946)Solaris_Stanislaw_Lem_
          3. Ficciones, Jorge Luis Borges (1956 (English Ed 1962)). [Collected Fiction]
          4. The Dispossessed, Ursula K. Le Guin (1974). [The Left Hand of Darkness]
          5. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (1994-5 (English Ed. 1997)).
          6. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquéz (1967)
          7. Solaris, Stanislaw Lem (1961 (English Ed. 1970)). [A Perfect Vacuum]
          8. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (2004). [Number9Dream]
          9. The Once and Future King, T.H. White (1958). [The Book of Merlyn]
          10. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell (1949). [Animal Farm]
          11. Watership Down, Richard Adams (1972).
          12. The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, Michael Chabon (2007).Star_Maker
          13. Riddley Walker, Rusell Hoban (1980). [The Medusa Frequency]
          14. The Complete Stories, Franz Kafka
          15. Never Let Me Go,  Kasuo Ishiguro  (2005)
          16. Star Maker, Olaf Stapledon (1937). [Last and First Men]
          17. Stars in my Pocket Like Grains of Sand, Samuel R. Delany. [Dhalgren]
          18. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe (1980-83). [The Fifth Head of Cerberus]
          19. Perdido Street Station, China Mieville (2000). [The Scar, The City & The City]
          20. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll (1865)
          21. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick (1962). [A Scanner Darkly]
          22. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon (1953)evgheni_zamiatin_we
          23. The Wind-Up Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi (2009)
          24. Cosmicomics, Italo Calvino (1965 (English Ed. 1968)).
          25. American Gods, Neil Gaiman (2001). [The Sandman Series]
          26. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller (1960)
          27. We, Yevgeny Zamyatin (1988 (English Ed. 1924))
          28. Dune, Frank Herbert (1965).
          29. The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox, Barry Hughart (1984 – 1990)
          30. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood (1985). [Oryx and Crake]
          31. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (1953). [The Martian Chronicles]
          32. The Road, Cormac McCarthy (2006)834518
          33. The Possibility of an Island, Michel Houellebecq
          34. Flatland, Edwin Abbott (1884)
          35. Voss, Patrick White (1957)
          36. Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut (1963). [Slaughterhouse Five]
          37. The Player of Games, Iain M. Banks (1990). [Use of Weapons]
          38. Hyperion, Dan Simmons (1989).
          39. City, Clifford D. Simak (1952). [Way Station]
          40. Air: Or, Have Not Have, Geoff Ryman (2005)Hyperion_cover
          41. The Speed of Dark, Elizabeth Moon (2002)
          42. The Time Machine, H.G. Wells (1895). [The War of the Worlds]
          43. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley (1931)
          44. Neuromancer, William Gibson (1984). [Count Zero]
          45. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman (1974).
          46. The Picture of Dorion Gray, Oscar Wilde (1890)
          47. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner (1968).
          48. Dying Inside, Robert Silverberg (1972). [A Time of Changes]
          49. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert A. Heinlein (1966).
          50. Cyteen, C. J. Cherryh (1988). [The Farseer Trilogy]0575079789_02_LZZZZZZZ
          51. Little, Big, John Crowly (1981)
          52. Watchmen, Alan Moore (1985). [V for Vendetta]
          53.  A Mirror for Observers, Edgar Pangborn (1954)
          54. Gateway, Frederick Pohl (1977)
          55. The Female Man, Joanna Russ (1975)
          56. The Dying Earth, Jack Vance (1950-84). [Lyonnese]
          57. Her Smoke Rose Up Forever, James Tiptree Jr. (1990)
          58. A Fire Upon the Deep, Vernor Vinge (1991). [A Deepness in the Sky]
          59. Roadside Picnic, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky (1972 (English Ed. 1977))
          60. Gun, with Ocassional Music, Jonathan Lethem (1994). [She Crawled Across the Table]
          61. Schizmatrix, Bruce Sterling (1985)
          62. Altered Carbon, Richard Morgan, (2002). [Thirteen]
          63. Duncton Wood, William Horwood (1980). [The Stonor Eagles]sations of the tide cover
          64. Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke (1953). [Renezvous with Rama]
          65. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card (1985). [Speaker for the Dead]
          66. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov (1951-53).
          67. The Hichhicker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams (1978-80).
          68. His Dark Materials, Philip K. Pullman (1995-2000)
          69. Nostrilia, Cordwainer Smith (2003)
          70. The End of Mr. Y, Scarlett Thomas (2006)
          71. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley (1983)
          72. Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafón (2001).
          73. Stations of the Tide, Michael Swanwick (1991). [Vacuum Flowers]
          74. Mars Trilogy, Kim Stanley Robinson (1993 – 1996)bob-small
          75. China Mountain Zhang, Maureen F. McHugh (1992). [Necropolis]
          76. Grimus, Salman Rushdie (1975)
          77. At the Mountains of Madness, H.P. Lovecraft (1931)
          78. Snow Crash, Neil Stephenson (1992)
          79. Dreamsnake, Vonda N. McIntyre (1978)
          80. The Gorgenghast Trilogy, Mervyn Peake (1946-59)
          81. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Stephen R. Donaldson
          82. The Dragonriders of Pern, Anne McCaffrey
          83. Kai Lung’s Golden Hours, Ernest Bramah(1922)
          84. Ringworld, Larry Niven (1970)
          85. Inverted World, Christopher Priest (1974)
          86. Light, M. John Harrison (2002). [Nova Swing]House_of_leaves
          87. River of Gods, Ian McDonald (2010). [The Dervish House]
          88. Winter’s Tale, Mark Halprin (1984)
          89. House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski (2000)
          90. Alas, Babylon, Pat Frank (1959)
          91. The Chronicles of Amber, Roger Zelazny (1970 – 1991)
          92. The Last Unicorn, Peter Beagle (1968)
          93. Earth Abides, George R. Stewart (1949)
          94. The Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling (1997 – 2007)
          95. The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordon (1990 – 2013)
          96. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson (1954)
          97. A Case of Conscience, James Blish (1958)
          98. A Song of Ice and Fire, George R.R. Martin (1996 – )Earth_02
          99. The Revisionists, Thomas Millen (2011)
          100. The Stars My Destination (aka Tiger! Tiger!), Alfred Bester (1953)


Preliminary Statistics (revealing my prejudices):

Genre… Fantasy (17); Science Fiction (55); Fiction/Literature (25); Other (3)

Authors… Women (13); Men (87); Translations into English (10)

Decade of publication… pre-1940 (10); 1940s (3); 1950s (15); 1960s (13); 1970s (16); 1980s (15); 1990s (14); 2000s (14)


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