NPR reader's survey for science fiction and fantasy books generated 60,000 ballots, but was reduced into a top 100 list. While this isn't my top 100 list, I think it merits itself as a to-do reading list.
This flow chart from SF Signal is fun. Click on it for a version you can read.
1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien--My husband has read this trilogy. In fact, he read it out lout to the kids for bedtime stories. Alas, I've only watched the movies.
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams--Fun, fun, fun. Everyone in the family has read some of these books. Okay, my husband read the whole series to my kids, out loud, as bedtime stories. I've only read the first few. Nevertheless, we all know about 42 and towels.
3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card--I loved Ender's Game, but I actually liked Speaker of the Dead better. My family doesn't get it, but I like the idea of honesty about the dead. I have more respect and understanding of my grandma when I know the bad along with the good.
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell--I read this in junior high, a few years before 1984. I was glad the actual year wasn't as bad. Or was it?
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov--Harry Seldon became the basis of my password for about ten years. (Don't bother trying it now. That was ages ago.)
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley--I read this in junior high, and I liked it. I didn't understand why anyone would take soma then. Now, man, give me soma. Back then I was wigged out about making humans into alphas, betas, ... Now, I still am.
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman--A friend recommended Neil Gaiman to me, but she suggested that I NOT start with this book. So, of course, I started with this book. This wasn't on purpose, mind you. It's just the first one that came in from the library. I LOVED it. My favorite part: Jesus had better hitchhiking results in the middle east than in the US.
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman--Fun, fun, fun. I must say, however, that I actually liked the movie better.
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell--I think I didn't read this until high school. I should probably read it again. I'd get more. Maybe I'll have my ten-year old read it and see what she makes of it.
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson--I read Neuromancer in the summer of 1989. I shall never read Gibson again, and it probably is not his fault. I had the worst depression of my life that summer and it took me the full summer to read Neuromancer and an Ursuala LeGuin book. I haven't read either of them since. I suspect the authors are good and it's just bad memories for me.
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore--It's on my husband's side of the bed. I've scanned some of the pictures but haven't had a chance to actually *read* it yet.
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov--I loved these short stories. Dr. Susan Calvin was totally cool and Il iked the robot gaining consciousness.
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein--I read this book in college, so it had the perfect timing for me. I think it made me more generous, and I'm okay with standing on the grass now. I'm still grossed out by Mike-soup, but I almost grok it.
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley--I enjoyed this book as a kid. I read it in junior high. My husband tried reading it to my kids as a bedtime story, and they didn't make it through the introductory letters.
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke--Okay, I had to read it twice to get it, but it eventually sunk in. Maybe I was too young the first time I read it.
25. The Stand, by Stephen King--I love a good apocolypse book. I lived in Boulder when I read it, so it was extra cool.
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey--The kids and I listened to this as a book on tape, and I totally loved the fact that the dragons had been genetically engineered.
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein--Women should totally be in charge of marriages, and are you worth the air you breathe?
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells--I don't remember a lot of The Time Machine, but I did read it once. My daughter recently read it and so much came back to me. I think it's time to re-read it.
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne--Fun. It's a must read if you want to "get" a lot of bad science fiction movies.
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells--I pretty much had the same experience with War of the Worlds as I did with The Time Machine.
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven--I want to be a Protector and have leather skin.
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin--See Neuromancer.
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke--This book made me think about it for days after I finished it. I read it when I was thinking about religion a lot.
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan--This was my frist wormhole book.
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks--I tried to read this. I made it half way through. I just couldn't get into it. The journalism style with the different interviews wasn't cohesive for me. I did, however, love the movie. Isn't that crazy?
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger--My husband and I both read this and liked it. I know he liked it because he read it in under a week, and Leon's a slow fiction reader. (He just can't block out the video games and stuff like that.)
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi--This was my first Scalzi book and it's the only book I remember the first line of--that's how awesome it was. And, I want a BrainPal.
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire--Ugh. I have tried twice to read this book and couldn't make it past the third chapter each time. The play was slightly more tolerable. Strangely, my husband loved it and read it quickly. Go figure.
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher -- I love the Dresden Files series, but I haven't read this series yet.
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov--This was my first Asimov book and it was great. I love that Daneel Olivaw remained in the background and showed up in Asimov's last book.
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis--This was my frist Connie Willis book and I enjoyed it, but it did take me a while to finsih. That's not surprising considering how big the book is. But, it was worth it.
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony--Okay, these were fun as a kiddo, but I stopped after about the tenth book. The coolest magical power? Urinating different colors.
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis