45 Great 20th Century SciFi/Fantasy Novels

Columns: RANK and point values (PTS) explained below; READ year is most recent reading (red color indicates read since August 2011 retirement, “+” indicates at least one earlier reading). See also 113 Great 20th Century Novels (titles italicized here appear on it at number indicated in parenthesis) and 46 Great 20th Century Crime Novels.

RANK PTS READ TITLE AUTHOR
1 23,5,10 2013+ Nineteen Eighty-Four (2) George Orwell
2 16,6,2 2014 Dune Frank Herbert
3 15,4,4 2012 A Clockwork Orange (38) Anthony Burgess
4 15,3,7 2012+ Brave New World (16) Aldous Huxley
5 14,6,0 2013 The Left Hand of Darkness Ursula K. Le Guin
5 14,6,0 2013 The Dispossessed Ursula K. Le Guin
7 14,5,1 1988+ Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury
8 13,5,0 2017 Cat’s Cradle Kurt Vonnegut
8 13,5,0 2014 A Canticle for Leibowitz Walter M. Miller Jr.
10 13,4,3 2011 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams
10 13,4,3 2015+ Slaughterhouse-Five (62) Kurt Vonnegut
12 13,3,6 2003+ The Lord of the Rings (29) J.R.R. Tolkien
13 12,5,0 2013 Flowers for Algernon Daniel Keyes
14 12,4,1 The Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury
15 11,5,0 The Forever War Joe Haldeman
15 11,5,0 Ringworld Larry Niven
15 11,5,0 Rendezvous with Rama Arthur C. Clarke
18 11,4,0 The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch Philip K. Dick
18 11,4,0 2011 The Man in the High Castle Philip K. Dick
20 11,3,4 1995 The Handmaid’s Tale (109) Margaret Atwood
21 10,4,0 2011 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Philip K. Dick
21 10,4,0 Childhood’s End Arthur C. Clarke
21 10,4,0 A Fire Upon the Deep Vernor Vinge
24 10,2,5 <1987+ Animal Farm (33) George Orwell
25 9,4,1 Neuromancer William Gibson
26 9,4,0 The Gods Themselves Isaac Asimov
26 9,4,0 Ender’s Game Orson Scott Card
28 9,3,1 2013 Ubik Philip K. Dick
28 9,3,1 2015 Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein
28 9,3,1 Snow Crash Neal Stephenson
31 8,3,0 Way Station Clifford D. Simak
31 8,3,0 The Stars My Destination Alfred Bester
31 8,3,0 The Shadow of the Torturer Gene Wolfe
31 8,3,0 2017 The Puppet Masters Robert A. Heinlein
31 8,3,0 2014 The Moon is a Harsh Mistress Robert A. Heinlein
31 8,3,0 The Foundation Trilogy Isaac Asimov
31 8,3,0 The End of Eternity Isaac Asimov
31 8,3,0 The Diamond Age Neal Stephenson
31 8,3,0 The Demolished Man Alfred Bester
31 8,3,0 The City and the Stars Arthur C. Clarke
31 8,3,0 2014 Starship Troopers Robert A. Heinlein
31 8,3,0 Stand on Zanzibar John Brunner
31 8,3,0 Old Man’s War John Scalzi
31 8,3,0 More Than Human Theodore Sturgeon
45 8,2,3 Gravity’s Rainbow (82) Thomas Pynchon
19th century pioneers of the genre
Journey to the Center of the Earth Jules Verne
2016+ Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea Jules Verne
2015+ The Time Machine H.G. Wells
2014 The Island of Doctor Moreau H.G. Wells
2014 The Invisible Man H.G. Wells
2015+ The War of the Worlds H.G. Wells

 

I lost the links to the sources I used to compile this list. It was composed similarly to my 113 Great 20th Century Novels and 46 Great 20th Century Crime Novels lists. Read the notes at the bottom of the crime list to get the best idea of this list’s provenance (here I used the “Nebula Award” and sci-fi and fantasy sources) and its scoring system.

I added the six books by Jules Verne and HG Wells to the bottom of this one, since I am quite a newbie to science fiction and any survey of the genre can be in improved by their addition.

The 20th century list of 45 novels includes the works of only 29 different authors. Robert Heinlein and Philip K Dick place four each, while Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke each weigh in with three.

See also