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RESULT: SFSignal Reader Challenge #1 – Top SF Books

And you thought I forgot. For those of you who have forgotten, a quick recap. And now on to the results!

1. Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos) by Dan Simmons – 7 votes

2. Dune by Frank Herbert – 6 votes

3. Use Of Weapons (Culture Series) by Iain M. Banks – 5 votes

4. Startide Rising (Uplisft Series) by David Brin – 4 votes

5. Neuromancer by William Gibson – 4 votes

6. The Left Hand Of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin – 4 votes

7. Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke – 4 votes

8. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – 4 votes

And a bunch more with 3 and 2 votes. This is an interesting mix, and it seems to follow the 10 year rule. I believe the ‘newest’ book listed is Hyperion. Out of the 8 listed above, I liked all of them except for Neuromancer (Gibson would rather play with words than write an actual story), while The Left Hand Of Darkness I found tedious in the extreme to read because it felt like I was reading a philosophy textbook. Otherwise, all the rest I hihghly recommend to anyone who hasn’t read them, with Hyperion and Use OF Weapons topping my recommndations.

All in all, there was a bunch of good stuff listed. I encourage everyone to go back to the orginal post and read through the comments and maybe find something you haven’t read yet! (Tim…. :D)

About JP Frantz (2323 Articles)
Has nothing interesting to say so in the interest of time, will get on with not saying it.

10 Comments on RESULT: SFSignal Reader Challenge #1 – Top SF Books

  1. Great. Another reminder of some of the cool books I haven’t read yet. :-S

  2. Or all the books I haven’t read… Sheesh I have priorities darned it!!!! (6)

  3. How can you call yourselves a sci-fi fans if you haven’t read EACH and every one of those gems? Even the overhyped Neuromancer is a must-read, even it is boring and woolly.

    To JP – I liked the Left Hand, maybe because it’s so refreshingly different from all those testosteron loaded high-octane space operas I read (and love) all the time.

  4. I read Consider Phlebas and found it horrible. I am gun shy about trying more banks (though I loved Wasp factory.)

    Not a big fan of Neuromancer either, but if any book on the list is overhyped it’s Ender’s Game. God. it’s awful. Two steps away from a Trek novel.

  5. Its really quite easy for me to consider myself a fan without having read every book on the list. The simple fact of the matter is that I am not as well read as other folks, but I am working to compensate for that, but it does not diminish my enthusiasm for these works. Furthermore, I pay good money… er well I think I have said enough and must now take my leave…

    Exits stage left!!! 😉

  6. joshua corning // March 21, 2006 at 9:07 pm //

    I read hyperion because it was on so many lists and i am not really impressed and even with 6 unresolved stories at the end I will not be reading the sequal.

    Jeff,

    Use of Weapons is a far better book then consider Phlebas. In fact I think “Plebus” it is one of his worse second only to “Against a Dark Background” (sci-fi i haven’t read much of his regular fiction).

    In “Consider Phebas” banks tried to write a book about someone who did not like or agree with (a theme I think) and I think he failed with Horza. In Use of Weapons I think he succeded, if not in making a likable character at least (although I liked him), in making a good story.

  7. Well, I just don’t call myself a “sci-fi” fan at all.

    But I have read all eight books in the top five list (trust a SF-related group to come up with a list like that!).

    And quite a few beyond those as well.

    Any “top xxx list” is going to be pretty subjective, especially when you have a small group to poll. How about keeping the original post on the site somewhere so that new visitors can come and cast a vote or four. We might get a new group of top fivers at some point.

    Not so much the titles, but I found the authors more interesting. If you go by authors and not books, it looks like we have more agreement than not.

    By the way, what the heck is Brin’s “(Uplisft Series)”? Have to pick that one up!

    😛

  8. Uh, Fred – surely you remember David Brin? His second book, Startide Rising was the winner of the 1993 Hugo, Nebula, and LOCUS award for best novel. That’s part of the Uplift Series.

    That ill-fated Kevin Costner movie titled The Postman is based on a decent book by Brin.

    One of his most recent efforts, Kiln People, was one I felt was fantastic (although with the perspective of history I’d probably change my rating to 4 stars.)

    Or, are you just making fun of JP for the typo?

  9. “Or, are you just making fun of JP for the typo?”

    Yep. Didn’t you know that I was SF Signal’s Resident Curmudgeon and Spelling Nitpicker?

    😀

  10. There are some excellent books listed there (top of the page) which it is hard to criticise – although I may make an exception for Hyperion (which I didn’t particularly like) and possibly Startide Rising (which is odd for me, since I usually like David Brin). Far and above the others though, there are one or two that stand out.

    “Use of Weapons” is a superb example of Iain Banks talent – although a little more “Wasp Factory” than most of his Culture novels. “Dune”, of course, is very well known and very well written but always was too little story and too much plot for my liking. “Neuromancer” suffers exactly the reverse – which is common for Gibson (too little plot and too much story). Both “Childhood’s End” and “Ender’s Game” are brilliantly plotted, well-told and superbly written and either could stand as an example of how SF should be done: but neither has the scope, breadth and sheer unadulterated talent that is in “Left Hand of Darkness”.

    Do I think “Left Hand” is the best SF story ever told? Of course not. I would be hard pushed to pick one favourite out of so many – I own more than 3,000 of them and have read far more! But there are some which do stand out and one, above all, is a long-standing favourite which does not seem to be in the list at all.

    Go out now and get hold of a copy of the “Rediscovery of Man” by Cordwainer Smith. Sure, its not exactly a novel, but what a book!

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