100 Science Fiction and Fantasy novels but no solitude.

20k leagues

So today Amazon sent me an email with the intriguing subject line, “100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books to Read in a Lifetime.” I hit the link to see what books they deemed worthy for their list.

If you like scifi and fantasy, it’s fun to scroll through the list and count the books you’ve read. I included books I started but quit, since at least I tried them. Almost every author name was familiar to me, but I didn’t count that familiarity. For instance, I read Asimov’s Foundation series, but not I, Robot (which is on the list), so I did not count that.

My score? 37. Not bad, I think. How did you do?

We could quibble on some of their picks. Sad that they left out Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert Howard, but glad to see the versatile Dan Simmons made the cut. I thought it skewed toward more modern works, and the classifications were broad. C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a one of my favorites (the whole Narnia series is), but I’d call it ‘Christian allegory’ or a ‘children’s book.’ No big deal.

For much of my life, the science fiction section of the library and bookstore was a single entity. There was no real concept of fantasy as a separate genre. Again, that’s fine as there is usually a strong overlap in readers. It wasn’t until both genres grew so big that we began to divide them, and even carve subsections like ‘epic fantasy’ and ‘cyberpunk.’

Still, it’s fun to look over the 100 and remember books we read in our youth, and others we missed and can now add to our lists.

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