Commentary: A “Top 100 Sci-Fi Audiobooks” List

September 16, 2012 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

Sci-Fi ListsLast year somebody* pointed out that a list of “The Top 100 Sci-Fi Books” (as organized by the Sci-Fi Lists website) was almost entirely available in audiobook form!

At the time of his or her compiling 95 of the 100 books were available as audiobooks.

Today, it appears, that list is approaching 99% complete!

I’ve read a good number of the books and audiobooks listed, and while some of them are indeed excellent, I’d have to argue that some are merely ok, and that others are utterly atrocious.

That said, I do think it is interesting that almost all of them are available as audiobooks!

Here’s the list as it stood last year, plus my added notations on the status of the missing five:

01- Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card – 1985
02- Dune – Frank Herbert – 1965
03- Foundation – Isaac Asimov – 1951
04- Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams – 1979
05- 1984 – George Orwell – 1949
06- Stranger In A Strange Land – Robert A Heinlein – 1961
07- Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury – 1954
08- 2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C Clarke – 1968
09- Starship Troopers – Robert A Heinlein – 1959
10- I, Robot – Isaac Asimov – 1950
11- Neuromancer – William Gibson – 1984
12- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick – 1968
13- Ringworld – Larry Niven – 1970
14- Rendezvous With Rama – Arthur C. Clarke – 1973
15- Hyperion – Dan Simmons – 1989
16- Brave New World – Aldous Huxley – 1932
17- The Time Machine – H.G. Wells – 1895
18- Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke – 1954
19- The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein – 1966
20- The War Of The Worlds – H.G. Wells – 1898
21- The Forever War – Joe Haldeman – 1974
22- The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury – 1950
23- Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut – 1969
24- Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson – 1992
25- The Mote In God’s Eye – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle – 1975
26- The Left Hand Of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1969
27- Speaker For The Dead – Orson Scott Card – 1986
28- Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton – 1990
29- The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick – 1962
30- The Caves Of Steel – Isaac Asimov – 1954
31- The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester – 1956
32- Gateway – Frederik Pohl – 1977
33- Lord Of Light – Roger Zelazny – 1967
34- Solaris – Stanisław Lem – 1961
35- 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea – Jules Verne – 1870
36- A Wrinkle In Time – Madeleine L’Engle – 1962
37- Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut – 1963
38- Contact – Carl Sagan – 1985
39- The Andromeda Strain – Michael Crichton – 1969
40- The Gods Themselves – Isaac Asimov – 1972
41- A Fire Upon The Deep – Vernor Vinge – 1991
42- Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson – 1999
43- The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham – 1951
44- UBIK – Philip K. Dick – 1969
45- Time Enough For Love – Robert A. Heinlein – 1973
46- A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess – 1962
47- Red Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson – 1992
48- Flowers For Algernon – Daniel Keyes
49- A Canticle For Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller – 1959
50- The End of Eternity – Isaac Asimov – 1955
51- Battlefield Earth – L. Ron Hubbard – 1982
52- Frankenstein – Mary Shelley – 1818
53- Journey To The Center Of The Earth – Jules Verne – 1864
54- The Dispossessed – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1974
55- The Diamond Age – Neal Stephenson – 1995
56- The Player Of Games – Iain M. Banks – 1988
57- The Reality Dysfunction – Peter F. Hamilton – 1996
58- Startide Rising – David Brin – 1983
59- The Sirens Of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut – 1959
60- Eon – Greg Bear – 1985
61- Ender’s Shadow – Orson Scott Card – 1999
62- To Your Scattered Bodies Go – Philip Jose Farmer – 1971
63- A Scanner Darkly – Philip K. Dick – 1977
64- Lucifer’s Hammer – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle – 1977
65- The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood – 1985
66- The City And The Stars – Arthur C Clark – 1956
67- The Stainless Steel Rat – Harry Harrison – 1961
68- The Demolished Man – Alfred Bester – 1953
69- The Shadow of the Torturer – Gene Wolfe – 1980
70- Sphere – Michael Crichton – 1987
71- The Door Into Summer – Robert .A Heinlein – 1957
72- The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K. Dick – 1964
73- Revelation Space – Alastair Reynolds – 2000
74- Citizen Of The Galaxy – Robert A. Heinlein – 1957
75- Doomsday Book – Connie Willis – 1992
76- Ilium – Dan Simmons – 2003
77- The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells – 1897
78- Have Space-Suit Will Travel – Robert A. Heinlein – 1958
79- The Puppet Masters – Robert A. Heinlein – 1951
80- Out Of The Silent Planet – C.S. Lewis – 1938
81- A Princess of Mars – Edgar Rice Burroughs – 1912
82- The Lathe of Heaven – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1971
83- Use Of Weapons – Iain M. Banks – 1990
84- The Chrysalids – John Wyndham – 1955
85- Way Station – Clifford Simak – 1963
86- Flatland – Edwin A. Abbott – 1884
87- Altered Carbon – Richard Morgan – 2002
88- Old Man’s War – John Scalzi – 2005
89- COMING SOON (October 15, 2012)Roadside Picnic – Arkady and Boris Strugatsky – 1972
90- The Road – Cormac McCarthy – 2006
91- The Postman – David Brin – 1985
92- NEWLY AVAILABLEStand On Zanzibar – John Brunner – 1969
93- VALIS – Philip K. Dick – 1981
94- NEWLY AVAILABLE The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age – Stanisław Lem – 1974
95- NOT AVAILABLE AS AN AUDIOBOOK – Cities In Flight – James Blish – 1955
96- The Lost World – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – 1912
97- The Many-Colored Land – Julian May – 1981
98- Gray Lensman – E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith – 1940
99- The Uplift War – David Brin – 1987
100- NEWLY AVAILABLEThe Forge Of God – Greg Bear – 1987

In case you were wondering, the list was compiled using the following criteria:

“A statistical survey of sci-fi literary awards, noted critics and popular polls. To qualify a book has to be generally regarded as science fiction by credible sources and/or recognised as having historical significance to the development of the genre. For books that are part of a series (with some notable exceptions) only the first book in the series is listed.”

The “Next 100″, as listed over on Sci-Fi Lists, has a lot of excellent novels and collections in it too, check that out HERE.

[*Thanks to "neil1966hardy" from ThePirateBay]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #134 – READALONG: The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon

November 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #134 – Jesse, Scott, Tamahome, Eric S. Rabkin, and Jenny talk about The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

Talked about on today’s show:
the upside-down dog cover, Jesse doesn’t like the cover, Eric finds hidden meaning in the cover, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is it mainstream or a mystery or YA?, Asperger’s or autism?, what is it like to be inside another person’s head?, generates tolerance, Elaine’s post on TED Talk: Elif Şafak on The Politics Of fiction, neurotypical characters, extraordinary abilities and extraordinary deficits, Constituting Christopher: Disability Theory And Mark Haddon’s by Vivienne Muller, Scott loves lists, the reader is ahead of the narrator, unreliable narrators, Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, The Speed Of Dark by Elizabeth Moon, mystery vs. family drama, Oedipus, “Sophocles not Freud”, Christopher Robin, (Winnie The Pooh), “there is something naively wonderful going on”, information vs. meaning, who did it? vs. why did it get done?, moving from what to why, Eric found the book joyful and uplifting, at the end?, abusive vs. human vs. murderous, PETA would not be pleased, “sometimes people want to be stupid”, Occam’s Razor, “now I know what box they fit into”, Cinderella, the Grimm Brothers, Jesse loves the infodumps, the asides are a highlight, where is Siobhan?, the Recorded Books audiobook version has a great narrator (Jeff Woodman), prime numbered chapters, are the pictures necessary?, Orion (the hunter in the sky), the most common word in the book is ‘and’, “he’s adding things up”, “this is a very true book”, “lies expand infinitely in all directions”, what Science Fiction and mystery look for, “sometimes people want to be stupid”, prime numbers are like life, rationalism vs. empiricism, Christopher yearns for uniqueness, right triangles, the appendix (is not in the audiobook), the brown cow joke, unreliable narrator, Conan Doyle’s beliefs, information vs. understanding, Harriet The Spy, dude don’t stab people, “a tag cloud of the novel”, Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., “Repent Harlequin!”, Said The Ticktockman by Harlan Ellison, sense of wonder, Toby the rat (Algernon), Uncle Toby, The Life And Opinions Of Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne, the poet “does not number the streaks of the tulip 18th century”, The History of Rasselas by Samuel Johnson, Candide by Voltaire, books inside books, Have Spacesuit, Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein, Three Men In A Boat by Jerome K. Jerome, Donald E. Westlake, Lawrence Block, Jo Walton’s Among Others, the third season of Star Trek, art making reference to itself, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, Star Trek‘s third season, Spectre Of The Gun, “we just need the skeleton to tell the story”, “most of the protagonists in Science Fiction novels don’t read Science Fiction”, Jenny’s review of Ready Player One, The Emperor Of Mars by Allen_Steele (audio link), standing the test of time, Jesse’s extended metaphor about winnowed books washing up on beaches 100 years later, Eric is reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, propaganda melodrama, Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart, Light In August by William Faulkner, the humanizing influence, comparing The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time with The Speed Of Dark, the novel’s form shapes the novel market, Jesse thinks series hurt readers, wondering what’s going to happen next vs. what idea is being explored, the value of series, the train trip, the maths exam, “the walls are brown”, in Science Fiction metaphors are real, clarified butter and clarified mother, the word “murder”, Julie Davis’s reading of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Carrot Juice Is Murder by Arrogant Worms, the fairy tale that is Sherlock Holmes, is the father good?, a clarified father, Jesse was tricked into reading this book, Jenny likes Margaret Atwood’s trilogy, “get ‘im Jenny”, Oryx And Crake, H.G. Wells didn’t need any sequels!, sequel is as sequel does, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, The Godfather, the market rules, the world building is the point (for series and authors), Agatha Christie, The Tyranny Of The “Talented” Reader, The Wheel Of Time by Robert Jordan, has Neuromancer by William Gibson passed it’s prime? (tune in next week to find out), Home Is The Hunter by Henry Kuttner, Jesse looks to books to deliver on ideas (not to make time pass).

Posted by Tamahome

The SFFaudio Podcast #103

April 11, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #103 – Scott, Jesse, Eric S. Rabkin and Luke Burrage talk about FOOD in Science Fiction and Fantasy. It is rather unpleasantly like being drunk.

Talked about on today’s show:
Luke’s got a twelve hour hunger, fairy tales, Fantasy, food sharing is coming to know the alien, what food is served in a Canadian restaurant?, Kwakiutl vs. Kwakwaka’wakw, pemmican, voyageurs, THE YELLOW PERIL podcast (The SFFaudio Podcast #051), Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Frankenstein’s creation was a vegetarian, Paradise Lost, Genesis, Cain vs. Abel, Eifelheim by Michael Flynn, the three stages of eating: veggies -> meat -> people, aliens, crazy vs. odd, inedia (fasting), breatharianism, Scott Pilgrim, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, inspired by spirits, Neuromancer, communion, puns, Foods of the Gods: Eating And The Eaten In Fantasy And Science Fiction (Proceedings Of The J. Lloyd Eaton Conference On Science Fiction And Fantasy Lite) edited by Eric S. Rabkin, Gary Westfahl and George Edgar Slusser, more puns, The Futurological Congress by Stanisław Lem, consuming books, The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, Michael Kandel, The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells, evolution and food, food in pill form, Tang, Firefly, Science Fiction: prediction of the future vs. sign of the future, jetpacks, capsulized food is symbolic, lembas is super-power bread, energy drinks, food as a representation of our relationships with our bodies, The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, yet more puns, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, food and pretty dresses, baking and bread have deep roots, Voyage To The Moon by Cyrano de Bergerac, no one ever sees a baker eating, food imagery, the centrality of bread in SFF only matches that of religion, the bread yes – the blood no, Osiris, Egypt, Greece, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams, The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe, List of races and species in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the babel fish, “it’s not the babel worm”, fish as a symbol, Pythagoras, professor smackdown, Tower Of Babel, food and sexuality, urban romance, Eat Prey Love, “man does not live by bread alone” vs. “forbidden fruit”, bread as technology, breadfruit, the garden of Eden, the tree of knowledge vs. the tree of immortality vs. the rubber tree, Trantor, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, Coruscant, Star Wars, Sam Parkhill, The Off Season by Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles, the best hot dog stand on Mars, The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus, the national food of America is the hot dog, the hot dog is the symbol of America, Manhattan, “hot dog stands all the way down”, meat paste, man as food, To Serve Man by Damon Knight, Alien, The Logic Of Fantasy by John Huntington, cannibalism, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut, The Genocides by Thomas M. Disch, The Screwfly Solution by James Triptree Jr., Beyond Lies The Wub by Philip K. Dick, further punning, vat grown meat, breeding animals to be less intelligent, a very meaty topic, Caviar by Theodore Sturgeon, vegetarianism, Fallen Dragon by Peter F. Hamilton, Luke is on the wrong side of meat history, being as unnatural as possible is what makes us human, a continuing journey towards humanity (marching on our stomachs?), social animals, mothers make food for you – witches make food of you, choosing not to eat meat vs. choosing to be monogamous, dolphin eating habits (are they porpoiseful eaters?), eating dolphin is out of line (for Luke), exploring the possibilities of empathy, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, empathy vs. compassion, Technovelgy.com’s entry on food, an overly inclusive notion of what constitutes invention, CBC Spark, visiscreens and visiplates, Ralph 124C 41+ by Hugo Gernsback, Minding Tomorrow by Luke Burrage, Technovelgy needs more wiki, Wikipedia is endlessly useful, automated restaurant, The Food Of The Gods by H.G. Wells, food has functions beyond just sustaining our bodies, George Birdseye, Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, coffee, sharing meals via Skype.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #095

February 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #095 – Jesse talks with Professor Eric S. Rabkin about an alternate history novel: SS-GB by Len Deighton.

Talked about on today’s show:
alternate history, Luke Burrage, “if it leaves a lasting impression that says something about its artistic character”, why write alternate history, Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, historical fiction, 1941 vs. 1978, what is the relationship between Science Fiction and detective fiction, tales of ratiocination, Fatherland by Robert Harris, the Fatherland TV movie, BBC audio drama, Philip K. Dick’s The Man In The High Castle, what would it be like under Nazi rule?, utopia vs. dystopia, fantasy, Dracula vs. Frankenstein, Karl Marx, “alternate history does what Science Fiction does without pretending to set it in a logical future – it sets it in a logical past”, racism, bureaucracy in 1978 London, Michael Caine, Operation Sea Lion, why did Len Deighton set SS-GB in 1941?, The Plot Against America by Philip Roth, are historical forces inevitable?, fate and destiny in alternate history, the great man vs. social forces, Adolph Hitler, Alexander The Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, Behold The Man by Michael Moorcock, Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp, the individual vs. the community, Douglas Archer, if there was a just war it was WWII, the Holocaust, collecting militaria, Spain’s fascist dictatorship, the tale of the great detective, Sherlock Holmes, John le Carré, Agatha Christie, complicated vs. simple (le Carré vs. Christie), fathers and sons, historical fiction, The Battle Of Britain, Inside The Third Reich by Albert Speer, Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, when you’re helping the bad guys aren’t you one of them?, King George VI is a MacGuffin, The King’s Speech, Mackenzie King, police are the most cynical people in the world, the role of ambiguity in fiction, Channel Islands, every fiction is alternate history, is history a collection of things that happened or is it forces and rules?, The Sun Also Rise by Ernest Hemingway, The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells, Startide Rising by David Brin |READ OUR REVIEW|, uplift, The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells, disarming puns, Arma virumque cano, “I can’t imagine anyone smarter than me”, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Remains Of The Day, Pavane by Keith Roberts, Catholicism, the Protestant Reformation, the Industrial Revolution, Inglourious Basterds vs. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Most Powerful Idea In The World by William Rosen, steam engines (and atmospheric engines).

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #087 – READALONG: Hyperion by Dan Simmons

December 20, 2010 by · 3 Comments
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #087 – Jesse talks with Gregg Margarite and Mark Douglas Nelson (two terrific LibriVox and iambik audiobook narrators) about the Brilliance Audio (Audible Frontiers) audiobook Hyperion by Dan Simmons.

Talked about on today’s show:
SciPodBooks.com (Mark Douglas Nelson’s audiobooks), Mark’s double understanding of Hyperion, “make it internally consistent”, Jurassic Park, living in forward and backward time, “The Scholar’s Tale”, setting reality aside, “why can’t stories be written in less than 600 (or 1100) pages”, “the nomenclature was great”, Hyperion made Gregg sad (it reminded him of Walmart), The Canterbury Tales, The Decameron, was Hyperion a near miss?, “The Priest’s Tale”, Robert Sheckley, if they were self contained stories would it have worked better?, The Fall Of Hyperion, comparing the Hyperion Cantos to Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld series, “The Diplomat’s Tale”, the stories get worse as you go along, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s Slaughterhouse Five |READ OUR REVIEW|, “The Soldier’s Tale”, making a link between sex and violence, Starship Troopers, Colonel Fedmahn Kassad is a good character, “The Poet’s Tale”, Martin Silenus (the Satyr) and Sad King Billy (William XXIII of the Kingdom of Windsor-in-Exile), “The Detective’s Tale” (the long goodbye), cybrids are very cool, John Keats, Ezra Pound, combining a hardboiled/noir detective story with William Gibson’s Neuromancer, talking to dolphins, narrator duties, you don’t fall in love with the client!, “when a detective‘s partner is killed he’s supposed to do something about it”. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, “The Scholar’s Tale”, Sol Weintraub, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Merlin sickness (Merlin’s disease), David Hume‘s explanation of miracles: a miracle would be “a transgression of a law of nature”, if speculative fiction exists this is what they were talking about, time debt, if anything can happen then I don’t care what happens, the story of Abraham and Isaac (the binding of Isaac), is Hyperion a religious book?, Abraham’s ethics were childish compared to Sol, The river Lethe (was one of the rivers in Hades – it was river of unmindfulness, The Green Odyssey |READ OUR REVIEW|, why was the windwagon late?, Agatha Christie’s Murder On The Orient Express and Ten Little Indians, what happened to the Templar?, We’re Off To See The Wizard, The Wizard Of Oz, the confrontation with the Shrike, it’s a grab bag of everything, Simmons must have been inspired by all sorts of sources, the half-hour blender metaphor, Gregg is upset we all came to the same (and correct) conclusion, Simmons set himself a Titanic task with Hyperion, where was the editor?, listening to a multi-voiced audiobook, Full Cast Audio, Hyperion‘s narrators (Marc Vietor, Allyson Johnson, Kevin Pariseau, Jay Snyder, Victor Bevine), having to fend off the legions of audiobook groupies, Gregg gets emails about the pronunciation of “prestidigitation”, the generic American sitcom accent, Norse mythology, Yggdrasil (the world tree), Stephen King’s the Dark Tower series and Kevin J. Anderson’s Saga of Seven Suns series, Kevin J. Anderson‘s writing secret (he goes hiking with a voice recorder), Frank Herbert’s Dune, David Lynch’s Dune, Dune Messiah is a let-down but it has the Golah!, Gregg wants a copy of The Orange-Catholic Bible, “would you be a Bene Gesserit or a Mentat?”, Gregg would be a Morlock, look elsewhere for a cannibal podcast, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle‘s Oath Of Fealty, Jonathan Swift‘s Gulliver’s Travels, Julie Davis of Forgotten Classics, Gregg says Julie is really a horse!

Posted by Jesse Willis

SFBRP: Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut

November 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Science Fiction Book Review Podcast Episode #110, of the Science Fiction Book Review Podcast, is a review of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.’s Slaughterhouse 5. Not so long ago I encouraged the host, Luke Burrage, to listen to a few audiobooks as a supplement to his paper and ebook reading. Now, whether he knows it or not, he’s become addicted to the medium. Indeed, check out his gushing admiration for the Blackstone Audio edition of Slaughterhouse 5 |READ OUR REVIEW|. It’s fun to hear just how much fun Luke is having talking about this book.

Luke uses the 5 star rating system. I am not generally a fan of scoring reviews in such a fashion, but it can be illuminating, at least to some degree if you personally know the reviewer. I’ve listened to Luke’s podcast, and he’s reviewed more than 100 SF books. Only two out of more than 100 have garnered a “5 out of 5 stars” rating. One of them is Slaughterhouse 5. Have a listen |MP3|.

Here’s the SFBRP podcast feed: http://www.sfbrp.com/?feed=podcast

Posted by Jesse Willis

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