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Jim Baen’s Top 10 Science Fiction Books

David Drake created an Amazon list of Jim Baen’s Top 10 Science Fiction Books which Jim discussed with David shortly before Jim’s death. [via Isegoria]

  1. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
  2. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
  3. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller
  4. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
  5. Dune by Frank Herbert
  6. Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague deCamp
  7. Against the Fall of Night by Arthur C. Clarke
  8. Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
  9. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  10. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
About John DeNardo (13013 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

6 Comments on Jim Baen’s Top 10 Science Fiction Books

  1. A good list, except for the no 1 pic. Personaly I don’t think Foundation hasn’t aged well which is the litmus test for a classic.

    It’s a bit of a cliche but I have to give top marks to Dune. You have to respect a story where the main mode of transport is hitching a ride on a giant worm that craps pyschedelic drugs.

  2. I have a fond memory of Foundation. While the rise and fall of the Roman Empire thing was interesting, I remember warming to the idea of psychohistory.

    If it matters to make a best-of list, I thought Dune fared poorly on a re-read (back when I used to re-read books and didn’t have an overwhelming backlog of books waiting in the wings). The wonder was in the initial discovery, not the prose.

    The Heinlein pick is interesting as opposed to many others might pick (Stranger in a Strange Land or Stormship Troopers).

  3. I re-read Foundation recently, and it held up well for me. I’ll certainly read it again in the future. It’s nice and simple, told in a straightforward fashion, and yet it spans thousands of years and an entire galaxy without seeming to drag. That, and all three books together are smaller than some modern tomes with half the scope.

  4. I re-read the Foundation Trilogy two years ago and still found it excellent.

    From Baen, Drake and (Eric) Flint, I suggest the collection “The World Turned Upside Down”. It represents paradigm-shifting short works that the three of them read. Great collection. Heck, don’t listen to me, go read the review at The Eternal Golden Braid, the blog run by what’s-his-name.


  5. All good, solid, no-argument-here picks from Jim Baen. He knew the field as well as anyone; indeed, he helped define the field.

    I am glad to see CITIZEN OF THE GALAXY on this list. It is really Heinlein’s strongest work, and the least preachy.

    STRANGER IN A STRANGE BED has not held up on rereading for me. The inhabited Mars was out-of-date when he wrote it, and the social-sexual-religious mores portrayed in the book (may I say propagandized by the book?) have not stood the test of time. One cannot crack the pages without thinking: “How quaint! An artifact from the vanished civilization of the Summer of Love.”

    DUNE is still the book I would hand to any muggle if I wanted to introduce them to science fiction. Since our genre is entirely concerned with the new ideas and latest technologies of the unimaginable far future, of course we read mostly about the Late Roman Empire in Space where aristocrats fight with swords and daggers. But Frank Herbert handles all these themes adroitly, telling a griping tale of intrigue and religious revolution.

    He also lists solid contributions from Wells, Verne, and Clarke. Any top ten Best SF list lacking these names is not serious.

    Nothing by A.E. van Vogt? I am a little surprised. De Camp and Miller have done good work, to be sure, but are the books listed here more significant to SF than SLAN or WORLD OF NULL-A?

  6. “The World Turned Upside Down” had “Black Destroyer” in it by van Vogt. And Baen has got a new omnibus edition of van Vogt’s tales in the Linn sequence out. So he made that cut, at least.

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