Friday, August 02, 2013

NPR's sci fi/fantasy list - read the usual suspects

NPR has put out a list of the top 100 science fiction and fantasy novels.

I looked at the list with interest, having been a fan of such fiction for a long time.

I was bemused to find I had read only 33 of the 100 books on the list. Hmm. I need to do more reading!

There are a couple of givens. J. R.R. Tolkien made it with The Lord of the Rings. And C. S. Lewis made it with his science fiction trilogy. Tolkien's The Silmarillion also made the list, which pleased me.

And Walter Miller's great A Canticle for Leibowitz made it.

But there were a number of missing titles - including anything by Chesterton. I consider The Man Who Was Thursday or The Napoleon of Notting Hill better than some of the titles on the list.

Other notable missing titles include Tolkien's The Hobbit, and Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters. I could also put in a word for Lewis's Till We Have Faces - his retelling of the Cupid and Psyche myth.

Or how about A Case of Conscience by James Blish, about a race on another planet that is completely moral and ethical with no belief in or sense of God or religion? Or anything by Madeleine L'Engle (A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, or A Swiftly Tilting Planet)?

To be fair, maybe the people selection decided L'Engle's books, or Narnia, or even The Hobbit children's books and that's why they didn't pick them. But I'd argue that they are still better than some of the other books on the list. Oh well: All such lists are subjective.

It's an interesting list and a good conversation/debate starter. What titles would other folks include that would be of interest to Chestertonians?

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