Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

Lists, Beautiful Lists

with 14 comments

As I mentioned early the Guardian are doing a list of the 1000 best novels broken down into seven slightly odd categories. They’ve just reached science fiction and fantasy. Having seen their crime and comedy lists I knew this was likely to be a somewhat strange selection and so it proves but it is a pretty interesting and high quality group of novels of the fantastic. Here is the list in full (bold for read):

Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979)
Brian W Aldiss: Non-Stop (1958)
Isaac Asimov: Foundation (1951)
Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid’s Tale (1985)
Margaret Atwood: The Blind Assassin (2000)

Paul Auster: In the Country of Last Things (1987)
JG Ballard: The Drowned World (1962)
JG Ballard: Crash (1973)

JG Ballard: Millennium People (2003)
Iain Banks: The Wasp Factory (1984)
Iain M Banks: Consider Phlebas (1987)

Clive Barker: Weaveworld (1987)
Nicola Barker: Darkmans (2007)
Stephen Baxter: The Time Ships (1995)
Greg Bear: Darwin’s Radio (1999)
William Beckford: Vathek (1786)
Alfred Bester: The Stars My Destination (1956)
Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

Poppy Z Brite: Lost Souls (1992)
Charles Brockden Brown: Wieland (1798)
Algis Budrys: Rogue Moon (1960)
Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita (1966)
Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Coming Race (1871)
Anthony Burgess: A Clockwork Orange (1960)
Anthony Burgess: The End of the World News (1982)
Edgar Rice Burroughs: A Princess of Mars (1912)
William Burroughs: Naked Lunch (1959)
Octavia Butler: Kindred (1979)
Samuel Butler: Erewhon (1872)
Italo Calvino: The Baron in the Trees (1957)
Ramsey Campbell: The Influence (1988)
Lewis Carroll: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871)

Angela Carter: The Passion of New Eve (1977)
Angela Carter: Nights at the Circus (1984)
Michael Chabon: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (2000)
Arthur C Clarke: Childhood’s End (1953)
GK Chesterton: The Man Who Was Thursday (1908)
Susanna Clarke: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (2004)
Michael G Coney: Hello Summer, Goodbye (1975)
Douglas Coupland: Girlfriend in a Coma (1998)
Mark Danielewski: House of Leaves (2000)
Marie Darrieussecq: Pig Tales (1996)
Samuel R Delaney: The Einstein Intersection (1967)
Philip K Dick: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)
Philip K Dick: The Man in the High Castle (1962)
Thomas M Disch: Camp Concentration (1968)
Umberto Eco: Foucault’s Pendulum (1988)

Michel Faber: Under the Skin (2000)
John Fowles: The Magus (1966)
Neil Gaiman: American Gods (2001)
Alan Garner: Red Shift (1973)
William Gibson: Neuromancer (1984)
Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Herland (1915)
William Golding: Lord of the Flies (1954)
Joe Haldeman: The Forever War (1974)
M John Harrison: Light (2002)

Nathaniel Hawthorne: The House of the Seven Gables (1851)
Robert A Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)
Frank Herbert: Dune (1965)

Hermann Hesse: The Glass Bead Game (1943)
Russell Hoban: Riddley Walker (1980)
James Hogg: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824)
Michel Houellebecq: Atomised (1998)
Aldous Huxley: Brave New World (1932)
Kazuo Ishiguro: The Unconsoled (1995)
Shirley Jackson: The Haunting of Hill House (1959)
Henry James: The Turn of the Screw (1898)
PD James: The Children of Men (1992)
Richard Jefferies: After London; Or, Wild England (1885)
Gwyneth Jones: Bold as Love (2001)
Franz Kafka: The Trial (1925)
Daniel Keyes: Flowers for Algernon (1966)
Stephen King: The Shining (1977)
Marghanita Laski: The Victorian Chaise-longue (1953)
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu: Uncle Silas (1864)
Ursula K Le Guin: The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)
Ursula K Le Guin: The Earthsea series (1968-1990)
Stanislaw Lem: Solaris (1961)

Doris Lessing: Memoirs of a Survivor (1974)
CS Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia (1950-56)
MG Lewis: The Monk (1796)
David Lindsay: A Voyage to Arcturus (1920)
Ken MacLeod: The Night Sessions (2008)
Hilary Mantel: Beyond Black (2005)
Michael Marshall Smith: Only Forward (1994)
Richard Matheson: I Am Legend (1954)
Charles Maturin: Melmoth the Wanderer (1820)
Patrick McCabe: The Butcher Boy (1992)
Cormac McCarthy: The Road (2006)
Jed Mercurio: Ascent (2007)
China Miéville: The Scar (2002)

Andrew Miller: Ingenious Pain (1997)
Walter M Miller Jr: A Canticle for Leibowitz (1960)
David Mitchell: Cloud Atlas (2004)

Michael Moorcock: Mother London (1988)
William Morris: News From Nowhere (1890)
Toni Morrison: Beloved (1987)
Haruki Murakami: The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (1995)
Vladimir Nabokov: Ada or Ardor (1969)
Audrey Niffenegger: The Time Traveler’s Wife (2003)
Larry Niven: Ringworld (1970)
Jeff Noon: Vurt (1993)
Flann O’Brien: The Third Policeman (1967)

Ben Okri: The Famished Road (1991)
George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-four (1949)
Chuck Palahniuk: Fight Club (1996)

Thomas Love Peacock: Nightmare Abbey (1818)
Mervyn Peake: Titus Groan (1946)
Frederik Pohl & CM Kornbluth: The Space Merchants (1953)

John Cowper Powys: A Glastonbury Romance (1932)
Terry Pratchett: The Discworld series (1983- ) (Well, I’ve read at least twenty of them…)
Christopher Priest: The Prestige (1995)
Philip Pullman: His Dark Materials (1995-2000)
François Rabelais: Gargantua and Pantagruel (1532-34)
Ann Radcliffe: The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794)
Alastair Reynolds: Revelation Space (2000)
Kim Stanley Robinson: The Years of Rice and Salt (2002)
JK Rowling: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997)
Salman Rushdie: The Satanic Verses (1988)
Joanna Russ: The Female Man (1975)
Geoff Ryman: Air (2005)
Antoine de Sainte-Exupéry: The Little Prince (1943)

José Saramago: Blindness (1995)
Will Self: How the Dead Live (2000)
Mary Shelley: Frankenstein (1818)
Dan Simmons: Hyperion (1989)
Olaf Stapledon: Star Maker (1937)
Neal Stephenson: Snow Crash (1992)
Robert Louis Stevenson: The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)
Bram Stoker: Dracula (1897)
Rupert Thomson: The Insult (1996)
JRR Tolkien: The Hobbit (1937)
JRR Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings (1954-55)

Mark Twain: A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court (1889)
Kurt Vonnegut: Sirens of Titan (1959)
Horace Walpole: The Castle of Otranto (1764)
Robert Walser: Institute Benjamenta (1909)
Sylvia Townsend Warner: Lolly Willowes (1926)
Sarah Waters: Affinity (1999)
HG Wells: The Time Machine (1895)
HG Wells: The War of the Worlds (1898)
TH White: The Sword in the Stone (1938)
Angus Wilson: The Old Men at the Zoo (1961)
Gene Wolfe: The Book of the New Sun (1980-83)
Virginia Woolf: Orlando (1928)
John Wyndham: Day of the Triffids (1951)
John Wyndham: The Midwich Cuckoos (1957)
Yevgeny Zamyatin: We (1924)

So I make 60 that out of 149 which is considerably better than the 15 or so I was averaging for the other lists. There are some interesting books on there I’ve never heard of like Pig Tales. There are some selections which probably won’t seem to make much sense with a coupel of years hindsight like The Night Sessions. There are several writers who don’t appear for their most important book, the maddest of which must be the choice of Years Of Rice And Salt instead of Three Colours Mars. All in all, a nice chewy list though.

The Guardian have now published the full list of all one thousand books.

Written by Martin

22 January 2009 at 15:06

Posted in books

Tagged with , , ,

14 Responses

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  1. Straneg indeed.

    Adam Roberts

    22 January 2009 at 15:13

  2. Argh. I make this same typo all the time (second only to constantly transposing be/me and by/my.) I can’t count the numebr of times I’ve had to delete the words “Straneg Horizons”.

    But yes, straneg and you can’t even blame it on the tyrany of the mainstream (see John Sutherland’s bonkers “Crime” selections) because JCG and Eric Brown make some rum old choices as well. M John Harrison was allegedly involved in drawing up this list but I’m not at all clear in what capacity.

    Martin

    22 January 2009 at 15:31

  3. [...] and fantasy (and horror). Don’t worry, I’m not going to post the whole list — Martin’s done that, if you’re interested — but here are the [...]

  4. It may be that 100 titles is simply not enough. That said, and bearing in mind that I’m notorious for wanted to claim everything since Antonius Diogenes as genre, not even I would claim that Gargantua and Pantagruel counts as SF.

    Adam Roberts

    22 January 2009 at 16:57

  5. ‘…notorious for wanting to claim …’

    This site is haunted, I tell you, by the finger-nudging Poltergeist of Typo.

    Adam Roberts

    22 January 2009 at 16:58

  6. Do you have the list of the titles for the other categories?

    Joe

    22 January 2009 at 23:29

  7. I couldn’t be bothered to cut and paste all the other ones but they are available in poll format here.

    Martin

    22 January 2009 at 23:52

  8. Thanks, that’s a big help.

    Joe

    23 January 2009 at 00:29

  9. It’s definitely an interesting list – there’s a few books on there that I love that I’ve not heard anyone mention for ages: Vurt, The Insult and Red Shift (which I now need to find my copy of it, Weirdstone of the Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath, as I’d forgotten their existence).

    I’ve read 50-some of them, which is quite impressive compared to my normal record with ‘best’ lists.

    cowfish

    24 January 2009 at 01:57

  10. I just checked the Guardian list and there’s no Tolkein or LeGuin on there. Where did you get this list from?

    Nick

    24 January 2009 at 09:03

  11. The Guardian list is in eight parts. See here for links to all of them.

    Martin

    24 January 2009 at 10:00

  12. [...] actually say something a bit more substantive. I think awards are great for much the same reason lists are great. These [...]

  13. [...] Thanks to Martin Lewis for posting the list on his blog. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Summing Up: The [...]

  14. [...] Marie Darrieussecq (translated as Pig Tales by Linda Coverdale) since it appeared on that Guardian 1000 novels list last year. Unfortunately it is out of print in this country but popping into my local second-hand [...]


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