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Top 100 Science Fiction Books

Many scientists cite various things as igniting the initial spark that led them to research. As you might imagine, inspirational parents and science teachers, Star Trek, and natural talent for math and the sciences are important influences. But for me and lots of others, it was good old science fiction that first got us yearning to learn more about the universe.

Now, National Public Radio has compiled a list of their listeners' top 100 favorite SF and fantasy books. I'm sure the collection will be a bit skewed based on the demographics of NPR listeners, but after a quick look I can see that a lot of my favorites are on it. I plan to pick up at least a few of the ones listed that I haven't gotten around to.

Fantasy isn't my thing so much, that sort of stuff has always seemed more escapist than inspirational to me. But even I've read many of the ones that made the NPR list. I suppose we all need a little escape from time to time.

So if you're a SF/fantasy fan in search of something new (to you anyway, lots of these books are very old) take a moment to peruse the list.

On the other hand, if you have kids, nieces, nephews, or others in your life who could use a little nudge toward a life of science, you can't go wrong buying them a few of these tried and true SF tomes. If they aren't turned into little scientist-wanna-be types, then at least you can give them a vacation from reality with Lord of the Rings or The Princess Bride.

One note of warning, some of the best SF books can be racy at times, so you might want to wait 'til the kiddies are a bit older before handing them a copy of Stranger in a Strange Land, for example.

I, however, read that and lots of other "adult" SF books in middle school. I'm none the worse for wear, and I feel like that was the perfect time to get me excited about science, regardless of a few blue chapters in the midst of great writing. Use your best judgement (and run it by their parents, if the kids aren't yours.)


  1. It's an interesting list. Obviously no 2 sci-fi buffs could ever agree exactly on the order of merit.

    Still its a pretty good list and most things that should be there, are there.

    As I understand it, its a popularity list rather s peer group assessment of literary merit.

    I've been reading sci-fi for well over 50 years now and in recent times decided it was time to give something back to the genre:

  2. Good to see Brandon Sanderson at No. 43. He's one of my all time faves and has been an inspiration to me!

  3. Don't see an entry for a recent book entitled "Gator Tango and the Higgs Boson"
    Book written by Peter Martel
    The title submitted into a search engine like Google yields a short summary.
    It's a science fiction book.
    Peter Martel (author)


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