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Science Fiction & Fantasy Books That Make You Dumb

The Books That Make You Dumb website correlates the most-read books by college students with the average SAT/ACT scores listed for that college. The result is a pretty chart that shows books (color coded by genre) on a “dumb/smart” scale.

I’ve taken the science fiction & Fantasy results from the sorted graph and show them here. Perpetuating the unscientific method that the website uses, the resulting list of science fiction books, from “Dumb” to “Not-so-Dumb”, are:

  1. Wicked by Gregory Maguire.
  2. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.
  3. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.
  4. Dune by Frank Herbert.
  5. Eragon by Christopher Paolini.
  6. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
  7. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.
  8. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.
  9. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut.
  10. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.
  11. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

[via O’Reilly Radar]

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

15 Comments on Science Fiction & Fantasy Books That Make You Dumb

  1. Interesting… apparently my reading level lags several hundred points behind my SAT score. 🙂

  2. Wondering where the Dresden books puts me…

  3. You missed the book Fahrenheit 451, the mere reading of which (according to this analysis) makes one dumber than not reading at all. Total silliness but I bet the analysis will stir up a ton of debate in the coming days.

  4. Dune matches Eragon? The mind reels. And jigs.


  5. After going to their site, I notice a lot of the “dumber” books are the sort that would be assigned for reading in an average English class. What its likely showing is that people that only read what they’re assigned do worse than those that do outside reading.

  6. How the hell does “Eragon” make it to the middle of the list? The mind reels indeed.

  7. // January 27, 2008 at 1:04 pm //

    I think FYROM makes a great point. I’d love to see all the numbers used to create this graph.

  8. Did you notice that they have a whole other category of SF books? They call it “Dystopian.” It includes not only Fahrenheit 451, but also Anthem, A Clockwork Orange, 1984, and Animal Farm.

  9. Hmmmm…no, I didn’t notice that…

  10. Odd that The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are so far separated. I read them as one complete series (which was the way they were published, in that four-in-one boxed set).

  11. Never mind. Looking more closely, they’re only about 50 points apart. Not much of a difference, I guess.

  12. Maybe I am geekily over-analyzing, but I would think that the type of books you read might affect the reading part of the SAT, but not the math scores…and their chart shows combined.

  13. There’s actually a few more SF&F books that aren’t in the Science Fiction/Fantasy color as they’re under other genres such as Farenheit 451 and Animal Farm under “Dystopian”, A Wrinkle in Time and The Giver under “Children’s Lit”, etc. but overall it’s an LOL.

  14. These people have their correlation reversed!

    Come on, this is less of a case of books that make you dumb, then the kind of books that people at various levels of perceived intelligence read. The Chronicles of Narnia are not perceived as intellectually challenging, so they attract people with lower skills. The same thing goes with the disparity between The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings

    On the other hand, Atlas shrugged was near the top, which probably follows it’s general publicity that it is a major egghead work, attracting people who think they are smart enough to read it (although if you are actually smart enough to read it, then you are most likely smart enough to avoid it.)

  15. Logan Starrider // February 9, 2008 at 3:53 pm //

    Did anyone, anyone happen to notice that the books listed are supposed to be the readers “Favorite” books? Not their only source reading. One of my favorite books is “I know why the caged bird sings”. Why? Because of where I come from. Do I dare to believe that anyone who doesn’t read it is more or less intelligent then someone who has read the complete works of W. Shakespeare? No. (I own, and have read the complete works).It is one of my favorites because it strikes a chord with me. That’s it.

    Reading any books makes you smarter.


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