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Books Sci-Fi

Flowchart Guides Readers Through the 100 Best SF Books 222

Hugh Pickens writes writes "T. N. Tobias writes that over the summer, over 60,000 people voted at NPR to select the top 100 science fiction and fantasy books of all time. The result? A list of 100 books with a wide range of styles, little context, and absolutely no pithy commentary to help readers actually choose something to read from it. Now SF Signal has come to the rescue with a 3800 x 2300 flowchart with over 325 decision points to help you find the perfect SF or Fantasy book to meet your tastes. Don't like to scroll? There's an interactive version that let's you answer a series of questions to find the perfect SF book."
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Flowchart Guides Readers Through the 100 Best SF Books

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  • by keytoe ( 91531 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @05:02PM (#37767132) Homepage

    You should try looking at the list - there are plenty of contemporary Sci Fi and Fantasy authors on it.

  • You might prefer such a strict definition of science fiction, but the list that is the topic of this Slashdot discussion contains not only books where science coexists with fantastical elements, but also outright fantasy. The term "Science fiction" is commonly used to encompass a wide range of genres.

    And it has been like that for a long, long time. Wolfe's sequence is hardly more fantastical than e.g. Olaf Stapledon's work, but the latter is regularly seen as a classic of science fiction (and not fantasy). Indeed, it was the prevalence of fantastical elements in Golden Age science fiction that led some to use the term "hard science fiction" to emphasize works that didn't stray from our understanding of physics.

  • by Kozar_The_Malignant ( 738483 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @05:33PM (#37767532)

    The lack of PKD on this list should be considered an embarrassment to the NPR marketing staff.

    I realize that clicking links in the submission is considered bad form here, but Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is in the upper right corner of the flowchart.

  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @05:37PM (#37767592)

    The term "Science fiction" is commonly used to encompass a wide range of genres

    Yeah, most recently as seen in video, Sci Fi is now wrestling, ghost hunting, and giant monster horror B movies. I am unimpressed.

    Much like "begging the question" is commonly used completely inappropriately, mostly as a pompous "filler" rather than what it actually means. Again, an emphatic and vigorous "eh".

    So back to Wolfe... am I right or wrong, the only thing sci fi about his book is likely to be playing with numbers so the date is in the future, and Maybe some Heinlein style wordprocessor search and replace work where absolutely nothing is changed but the word "telephone" is replaced with "videophone" and "India" is replaced with the word "Mars"? And there's sword fighting, feudal system, and maybe some magic? That's the impression I'm getting.

  • by rueger ( 210566 ) * on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @07:25PM (#37768966) Homepage
    It's been pointed out many times that SF&F actually outsells many of the books listed on say the NYT list of bestsellers. It's just that the editors of those lists exclude certain genres from what they will list. Harlequin romances for example.
  • by David_Hart ( 1184661 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @07:54PM (#37769226)

    I see a lot of complaining about the lack of newer Sci-Fi and Fantasy books in the list. This can be easily explained. It's not specifically because the older authors and series are more well known, though that is definitely part of it. The reason is simply that this was a NPR poll. If you stop for a second, you would realize that NPR's audience trends towards an older demographic. As such, they are more likely to select authors that they have enjoyed over the years. When you get older, you tend to have less time to read (unless you are and avid reader and make time) and are more likely to select books based on proven authors.

    Personally, I read a lot of Sci-Fi and fantasy when in university. I went to the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, NB, Canada and they had one of the largest Sci-Fi collections in Canada, if not the Northeast (ranked 10th in the world in 2009). I even got to read the special collection books as I worked as a temp in the library to make some money. It was cool having access and it is only recently, with the development of the kindle and the amazon bookstore, that I've gotten back into reading Sci-Fi and Fantasy as I now have access to more interesting stories than the popular Vampire/Magic/Star (Trek/Wars) that lined the shelves in most book stores.

  • Re:Why keep lumping? (Score:4, Informative)

    by LainTouko ( 926420 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @08:04PM (#37769280)

    1) They are the two main ways of doing "imagine if the world was different" fiction.

    2) Because of this, there is a large amount of very good fiction (less so in literature perhaps, which seems to attract the purer forms of each, but certainly in media generally) which combines the two. Drawing a line between them would be impossible.

    3) And combining the two is actually a quite good idea, because each counters the weaknesses of the other. Science fiction which gets too hard can lose drama by becoming unrelateable and missing dramatic opportunities which don't seem plausible enough, and fantasy which gets too soft can lose drama by making cause and effect too arbitrary, which undermines narrative.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling