Reading Through the [Alleged] Best 100 Science Fiction Books- #1-5 scores and comments

duneI’m a huge science fiction fan, but realize I haven’t read a lot of those works considered classics or greats. I decided to remedy that, and found a list online of the Top 100 Science Fiction Books. The list is determined by vote from sci-fi fans online, so it may change over time. I am going off the order of the list as it was when I first saw it. Each book will receive a grade between F and A+ as well as very brief comments. I’m interested to read what you think about these books as well. We’re kicking off here with the top 5 science fiction books according to the fans. There will be very minor spoilers in some of these.

1. Dune by Frank Herbert Grade: A+
“Certainly one of the best novels ever written, Dune’s depth is astonishing. The characters are captivating, and the reader is put directly into their minds frequently. The book’s message is also thought-provoking on many levels–theological, scientific, ecological, and more. A true masterpiece of the genre.”

2. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card Grade: A+
“Card manages to make you get inside characters’ heads in ways no other author can. There is a reality to the characters that leads to empathy even for the ‘bad guys.’ A shocking twist at the end makes you want more. It’s science fiction at its best.”

3. The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov Grade: C-
“The overall plot is good, but my toddler’s board books have deeper characters than are featured here. It is extremely hard to care about any of the goings-on when not a single character is given depth or even has energy directed towards them by the writer. I know it’s a classic, but I’ve read them twice and don’t think I’ll bother again.”

4. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams Grade: A
“Hilarious and wry, Adams presents a shockingly nihilistic view of the universe. Although we laugh for the whole ride, the implications make me want to weep. It’s a vision of the future that is funny–yes–but it is also horrifying, in its way. It envisions a universe in which we don’t matter, nor does anything else, really.”

5. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A Heinlein Grade: A
Stranger in a Strange Land manages to capture the feeling of ‘alien-ness’ utterly, but stumbles slightly at the end, when Heinlein allows his own time period to take control of the plot too completely. It takes some digesting. The small stumble does little to take away from the overall power of the book.”

What do you think? Which are your favorites? Are you surprised at any of the scores or what is on the list? Share your thoughts in the comments.


J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

Reading through the [Alleged] Best 100 Science Fiction Books- Check out more posts in this series as I continue.


5 thoughts on “Reading Through the [Alleged] Best 100 Science Fiction Books- #1-5 scores and comments

  1. I have read all the books above, but not Dune. I have heard though that the original novel is great, but the sequels lack the same luster. And I like the saying, “Fear is the mind killer.”

    • J.W. Wartick says:

      Dune is a masterpiece. The sequels are uneven. The more of them I’ve read the more I’ve enjoyed them, though, particularly the prequels. Dune can stand alone though.

  2. Is Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun trilogy on the list? If you liked Dune U would probably like that as well. Wolfe is a Christian by the way, Catholic, like R. A. Lafferty who also wrote some great stuff, some of it quite intriguing and trippy like Fourth Mansions.

  3. Dune — I’ve never read this, but I have seen the movie. To be honest, the movie was insufferably dull. I was bored within the first thirty minutes. The only reason I continued watching was because I’m an obsessive completionist, and Patrick Stewart and Sting were in it. I seriously hope the book is better than the movie.

    Ender’s Game — I saw the movie and enjoyed it. I don’t remember actually reading the book, but so much of the movie was familiar that I’m almost positive that I read the book in school, I just don’t remember it.

    The Foundation Trilogy — I’ve never read these, but I would like to one of these days.

    Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — Very fun books, and hilarious, as you mention. I’m guessing the nihilstic view of the universe is due to Adams’ atheism, and it’s a shame that Adams’ “puddle argument” is proposed by atheists as a serious challenge to the Teleological Argument. At any rate, the books were a joy to read, and I even thought the movie was pretty good.

    Stranger in a Strange Land — Another one I’ve wanted to tackle for a while, but haven’t actually read.

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