My reading diet for the last 23 years has consisted almost solely of science fiction and fantasy. It's not that I dislike other genres. I don't. I can sit down and read mysteries, adventure etc. quite happily. The problem is that for every book from outside sf that I read, that's time that I could have spent reading one sf book. And since I didn't start reading in the '50s, when it was just about possible to read every sf book written, I am over 30 years behind already. A sad thought, isn't it.
That said, the last few years I've slowed down. I can no longer read a book a day
So what are my favourite sf books?
Number one on my list has to go to Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card. It is the only book I have given a 10 to in the Top 100 SF list. I enjoy Card's writing immensely, with the exception of the Tales of Alvin Maker series. Some of my other favourites include :
- Lord Valentine's Castle, Robert Silverberg
- The Last Herald Mage Trilogy, Mercedes Lackey
- The Bloody Sun (Darkover Series), Marion Zimmer Bradley
- The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Witches of Karres, James H. Schmitz
- The Demon Princes series, Jack Vance
- Magician, Raymond E. Feist
- Born to Exile, Phyllis Eisenstein
- Ivory, Mike Resnick
- The Gods Themselves, Isaac Asimov
- Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay
- The Instrumentality of Mankind, Cordwainer Smith
- With a Single Spell, Lawrence Watt-Evans
This list is by no means exhaustive. It leaves out a lot of authors that I enjoy reading, including L. Sprague de Camp, Anne McCaffrey, Gordon R. Dickson, David Eddings (well, The Belgariad anyway), a few I have probably just forgotten, and plenty of recent ones that I just haven't bothered adding. It also leaves out a number of authors who are regarded as greats, but of whom I have not read enough to find a top class book, such as Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke and Frederik Pohl.
At one stage I was trying to work my way through the SF Top 100 List, an expensive and time-consuming process. Because I've slowed down my reading, the Top 100 list has changed a bit since I started. At last count (9 July 2009) I had read about 40 of the then current Top 100 books. I'm counting on the fact that the collective taste of the SF Net community is fairly good.