Adam Whitehead rediscovered David Langford’s SFX list of Top 20 Pre-1990 SF Novels:

  1. The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
  2. Little, Big by John Crowley
  3. The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke
  4. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. Pavane by Keith Roberts
  6. Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
  7. Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake
  8. Dune by Frank Herbert
  9. Blood Music by Greg Bear
  10. Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys
  11. The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
  12. The Owl Service by Alan Garner
  13. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick
  14. Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
  15. The Affirmation by Christopher Priest
  16. Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart
  17. Cyteen by C.J. Cherryh
  18. Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks
  19. Gateway by Frederick Pohl
  20. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

More interesting to me was the list of The 10 Worst Pre-1990 SF Novels:

  1. Ralph 124C41+ by Hugo Gernsback
  2. They’d Rather Be Right by Mark Clifton and Frank Riley
  3. March of the Robots by Rev. Lionel Fanthorpe (writing as Leo Brett)
  4. The Number of the Beast by Robert Heinlein
  5. Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard
  6. O-Zone by Paul Theorux
  7. The Troglodytes by Nal Rafcam
  8. The Eye of Argon by Jim Theis
  9. The Black Star by Lin Carter
  10. Flight by Vanna Bonta

I’ve had the misfortune of reading through Battlefield Earth when I was younger and more tolerant. I’m thinking these days, I’m less likely to finish a book that gives me a bad reading experience. My recollection of Battlefield Earth is that the first 500 pages(!) were OK, but then the main protagonist died off and the remaining 500 pages(!) centered on financing problems involving shark-like alien bankers. Good grief!

So what’s the worst book you ever read?

Filed under: Books

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!