Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Snowy day meme thingy

In the blogosphere, people do these "meme" things all the time. I personally didn't have a very clear idea until just now what "meme" meant, when I looked it up in the OED: "A cultural element or behavioural trait whose transmission and consequent persistence in a population, although occurring by non-genetic means (esp. imitation), is considered as analogous to the inheritance of a gene." (I posted that for all of y'all who, like me, may have bandied the word about without knowing exactly what it meant.)

The following is a list of SF and Fantasy books created by someone at The Guardian who thinks to be complete you must read all of the following. I picked this meme up at the Cornell Booksellers site. I'm not as well-read as the Voice of Cornell is but I'm highlighting what I've read just for fun. I'm meme-ing like crazy here - watch me!

1. Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979)

2. Brian W Aldiss: Non-Stop (1958)
3. Isaac Asimov: Foundation (1951)
4. Margaret Atwood: The Blind Assassin (2000)
5. Paul Auster: In the Country of Last Things (1987)
6. Iain Banks: The Wasp Factory (1984)
7. Iain M. Banks: Consider Phlebas (1987)
8. Clive Barker: Weaveworld (1987)
9. Nicola Barker:
Darkmans (2007)
10. Stephen Baxter: The Time Ships (1995)
11. Greg Bear: Darwin’s Radio (1999)
12. Alfred Bester: The Stars My Destination (1956)
13. Poppy Z Brite: Lost Souls (1992)
14. Algis Budrys: Rogue Moon (1960)
15. Mikhail Bulgakov:
The Master and Margarita (1966)
16. Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Coming Race (1871)
17. Anthony Burgess: A Clockwork
Orange (1960)
18. Anthony Burgess: The End of the World News (1982)

19. Edgar Rice Burroughs: A Princess of Mars (1912)
20. William Burroughs: Naked Lunch (1959)
21. Octavia Butler: Kindred (1979)
22. Samuel Butler: Erewhon (1872)
23. Italo Calvino: The Baron in the Trees (1957)
24. Ramsey Campbell: The Influence (1988)
25. Lewis Carroll:
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
26. Lewis Carroll:
Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871)
27. Angela Carter: Nights at the Circus (1984)
28. Michael Chabon:
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (2000)
29. Arthur C Clarke: Childhood’s End (1953)

30. GK Chesterton:
The Man Who Was Thursday (1908)
31. Susanna Clarke: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (2004)
32. Michael G Coney: Hello Summer, Goodbye (1975)
33. Douglas
Coupland: Girlfriend in a Coma (1998)
34. Mark Danielewski: House of Leaves (2000)
35. Marie Darrieussecq: Pig Tales (1996)
36. Samuel R Delaney: The Einstein Intersection (1967)
37. Philip K. Dick: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)
38. Philip K Dick: The Man in the High Castle (1962)
39. Umberto Eco: Foucault’s Pendulum (1988)

40. Michel Faber: Under the Skin (2000)
41. John Fowles:
The Magus (1966)
42. Neil Gaiman: American Gods (2001)

43. Alan Garner: Red Shift (1973)
44. William Gibson: Neuromancer (1984)
45. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Herland (1915)
46. William Golding: Lord of the Flies (1954)

47. Joe Haldeman: The Forever War (1974)

48. M John Harrison: Light (2002)
49. Robert A Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)
50. Frank Herbert: Dune (1965)

51. Hermann Hesse: The Glass Bead Game (1943)
52. Russell Hoban: Riddley Walker (1980)
53. James Hogg: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824)
54. Michel Houellebecq: Atomised (1998)
55. Aldous Huxley: Brave New World (1932)

56. Kazuo Ishiguro: The Unconsoled (1995)
57. Shirley Jackson: The Haunting of Hill House (1959)
58. Henry James:
The Turn of the Screw (1898)
59. PD James: The Children of Men (1992)
60. Richard Jefferies: After London; Or, Wild England (1885)
61. Gwyneth Jones: Bold as Love (2001)
62. Franz Kafka: The Trial (1925)

63. Daniel Keyes: Flowers for Algernon (1966)

64. Stephen King: The Shining (1977)

65. Marghanita Laski: The Victorian Chaise-longue (1953)
66. Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu: Uncle Silas (1864)
67. Stanislaw Lem: Solaris (1961)

68. Doris Lessing: Memoirs of a Survivor (1974)
69. David Lindsay: A Voyage to Arcturus (1920)
70. Ken MacLeod: The Night Sessions (2008)
71. Hilary Mantel: Beyond Black (2005)
72. Michael Marshall Smith: Only Forward (1994)
73. Richard Matheson: I Am Legend (1954)

74. Charles Maturin: Melmoth the Wanderer (1820)
75. Patrick McCabe: The Butcher Boy (1992)
76. Cormac McCarthy: The Road (2006)

77. Jed Mercurio: Ascent (2007)
78. China Miéville: The Scar (2002)
79. Andrew Miller: Ingenious Pain (1997)
80. Walter M Miller Jr: A Canticle for Leibowitz (1960)

81. David Mitchell:
Cloud Atlas (2004)
82. Michael Moorcock: Mother London (1988)
83. William Morris: News From Nowhere (1890)
84. Toni Morrison:
Beloved (1987)
85. Haruki Murakami: The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (1995) 86. Vladimir Nabokov: Ada or Ardor (1969)
87. Audrey Niffenegger: The Time Traveler’s Wife (2003)
88. Larry Niven: Ringworld (1970)

89. Jeff Noon: Vurt (1993)
90. Flann O’Brien:
The Third Policeman (1967)
91. Ben Okri:
The Famished Road (1991) 92. Chuck Palahniuk: Fight Club (1996)
93. Thomas Love Peacock: Nightmare Abbey (1818)
94. Mervyn Peake: Titus Groan (1946)

95. John Cowper Powys: A Glastonbury Romance (1932)
96. Christopher Priest:
The Prestige (1995)
97. François Rabelais: Gargantua and Pantagruel (1532-34)
98. Ann Radcliffe: The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794)
99. Alastair Reynolds: Revelation Space (2000)
100. Kim Stanley Robinson: The Years of Rice and Salt (2002)
101. JK Rowling: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997)
102. Salman Rushdie: The Satanic Verses (1988)
103. Antoine de Sainte-Exupéry:
The Little Prince (1943)
104. José Saramago:
Blindness (1995) 105. Will Self: How the Dead Live (2000)
106. Mary Shelley: Frankenstein (1818)

107. Dan Simmons: Hyperion (1989)

108. Olaf Stapledon: Star Maker (1937)
109. Neal Stephenson: Snow Crash (1992)

110. Robert Louis Stevenson:
The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)
111. Bram Stoker: Dracula (1897)

112. Rupert Thomson: The Insult (1996)
113. Mark Twain: A
Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court (1889)
114. Kurt Vonnegut: Sirens of Titan (1959)
115. Robert Walser: Institute Benjamenta (1909)
116. Sylvia Townsend Warner: Lolly Willowes (1926)
117. Sarah Waters: Affinity (1999)
118. HG Wells: The Time Machine (1895)
119. HG Wells: The War of the Worlds (1898)

120. TH White: The Sword in the Stone (1938)
121. Gene Wolfe: The Book of the New Sun (1980-83)

122. John Wyndham: Day of the Triffids (1951)

123. John Wyndham: The Midwich Cuckoos (1957)

124. Yevgeny Zamyatin:
We (1924)

Having read a grand total of 27 of this list of 124, I have to conclude that I'm not extremely well read. I will defend myself by noting that SF and Fantasy are genres I'm only really coming to now.

I will also say that I would happily be less well read in exchange for having avoided the worst book on this list - not, I'm not going to disparage The Road - Flowers for Algernon is what I'm talking about. Flowers for Algernon was so bad it made me angry. I would read The Road 20 times in a row to have avoided ever reading Flowers for Algernon! Gah! Okay, maybe only 10 times in a row.

I'm happy to see We on this list for I think of all the dystopic novels it's still the best. And of course, Cloud Atlas had to be there. But I find it shocking and offensive that a Harry Potter with it's precious writing and sitcom pacing made it on to this list and none of Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy did; indeed, this omission makes me wonder why I took this list seriously at all. Le sigh.


Bellezza said...

Come see what you won~

Dull Mental Racket said...

I find it best to never take any "Top 10/100" lists seriously.

They're handy when you're out of things to read/watch/listen to though.

Yuri... said...

I watch movies all the time, and have tried to watch the perennial #1 - Citizen Cane - on several occasions. I just can't do it. People are just too diverse in their interests and experiences to make any one such list authoritative...

DreamQueen said...

Indeed, DMR and Yuri, you are right. I'm not sure what I was thinking. Except that it was an excuse to display my righteous indignation.

Andrew said...

Of course lists are ridiculous when it comes to any art! It's not the list that's important it's the "righteous indignation" that's the whole purpose of the exercise--and to a lesser extent, flaunting how well read you are. Having said that, I can't tell you how much I share your feelings about Harry Potter even hitting the list...

DreamQueen said...

Andrew: I thought you might understand my shock and despair over the Harry Potter thing...