Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy

Top Science Fiction and Fantasy
[ss = short stories; a number (1) denotes position in a series]
** - latest additions

These are my favorite books in all literature, especially at the top level, like the top 100 - several of these authors (Clarke, Card, Le Guin, Wolfe, Bester) should have Nobel prizes for literature, they are better than half of those winners. I increased this list beyond 100 to list all those I'd recommend - just missing the cutoff is Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land; though famous, he has much better books, without "grok".

Cover of the original 1953 hardcover
which sold 210,000 copies in 2 months

1. Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke
2. The Claw of the Conciliator (2) by Gene Wolfe
3. Red Prophet (2) by Orson Scott Card
4. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
5. The Shadow of the Torturer (1) by Gene Wolfe
6. The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
7. Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
8. The Year of the Quiet Sun by Wilson Tucker
9. Ender's Game (1) by Orson Scott Card
10. The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
11. A Time of Changes by Robert Silverberg
12. Floating Worlds by Cecilia Holland
13. Seventh Son (1) by Orson Scott Card
14. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1) by Arthur C. Clarke
15. The Telling by Ursula K. le Guin
16. The Long, Loud Silence by Wilson Tucker
17. Starburst (ss) by Alfred Bester
18. Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
19. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
20. Gateway (1) by Frederick Pohl

21. SF Hall of Fame, Volume 1 (ss anthology)
22. In the Ocean of Night by Gregory Benford
23. Red Mars (1) by Kim S. Robinson
24. The Space Merchants by C.M. Kornbluth & F. Pohl
25. The Persistence of Vision (ss) by John Varley
26. Island of Dr. Death & Other Stories (ss) by Gene Wolfe
27. Stations of the Tide by Michael Swanwick
28. Jog Rummage by Grahame Wright (his only book, published posthumously)
29. SF Hall of Fame, Volume 2-B (ss anthology)
30. The Ophiuchi Hotline by John Varley
31. Hiero's Journey by Sterling E. Lanier
32. The Wind's Twelve Quarters (ss) by Ursula K. Le Guin
33. Missing Man by Katherine MacLean
34. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
35. Gate of Ivrel by C.J. Cherryh
36. Best of Fritz Leiber, The (ss) by Fritz Leiber
37. A Mirror For Observors by Edgar Pangborn
38. The Last Starship From Earth by John Boyd
39. The Haunted Stars by Edmund Hamilton
40. Fata Morgana by William Kotzwinkle
41. An Alien Heat (1) by Michael Moorcock
42. Titus Groan (1) Mervyn Peake
43. Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds**
44. Green Mars (2) by Kim S. Robinson
45. A Few Last Words (ss) by James Sallis
46. Pavane by Keith Roberts
47. Healer’s War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
48. The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth
49. Hyperion (1) by Dan Simmons
50. Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick
51. Sundog by B.N. Ball
52. To Your Scattered Bodies Go (1) by Philip José Farmer
53. Bring the Jubilee by Ward Moore
54. Way Station by Clifford D. Simak
55. The Unconquered Country by Geoff Ryman
56. American Gods by Neil Gaiman**
57. The Big Time by Fritz Leiber
58. Camp Concentration by Thomas M. Disch
59. Dragon's Egg by Robert Forward
60. The Man In the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
61. Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys
62. Rite of Passage by Alexei Panshin
63. Slan by A.E. Van Vogt
64. The Book of Skulls by Robert Silverberg
65. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
66. Jack of Shadows by Roger Zelazny
67. Mayflies by Kevin O'Donnell, Jr.
68. Macrolife by George Zebrowski
69. Startide Rising (1) by David Brin
70. Red Moon and Black Mountain by Joy Chant
71. Slow River by Nicola Griffeth**
72. Several Perceptions by Angela Carter
73. Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock
74. Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm
75. Bug Jack Barron by Norman Spinrad
76. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
77. Neverness by David Zindell**
78. The Many-Coloured Land by Julian May
79. The Word For World Is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin
80. Grass by Sheri S. Tupper**
81. Venus Plus X by Theodore Sturgeon
82. The Fall of Hyperion (2) by Dan Simmons
83. Legends From the End of Time (4) (ss) by Michael Moorcock
84. Light by M. John Harrison**
85. Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
86. Nightwings by Robert Silverberg
87. The Godmakers by Frank Herbert
88. The Sparrow (1) by Mary Doria Russell
89. Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
90. The Martian Chronicles (ss)by Ray Bradbury
91. A Canticle For Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller
92. Triplanetary (1) by E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith
93. The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke
94. Best Short Stories of J.G. Ballard
95. The Fellowship of the Ring (1) by J.R.R. Tolkien
96. Timescape by Gregory Benford
97. A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge
98. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (this became the movie "Blade Runner", a title bought from an unrelated novel)
99. San Diego Lightfoot Sue (ss) by Tom Reamy
100. Michaelmas by Algis Budrys
101. Double Star by Robert E. Heinlein
102. The Cassini Division by Ken McLeod**
103. Involution Ocean by Bruce Sterling
104. Blind Voices by Tom Reamy
105. The Best of C.M. Kornbluth (ss) by C.M. Kornbluth
106. The Falling Woman by Pat Murphy
107. Nine Princes in Amber (1) by Roger Zelazny
108. Norstrilia by Cordwainer Smith
109. Good Neighbors & Other Strangers (ss) by Edgar Pangborn
110. The Compass Rose (ss) by Ursula K. le Guin
111. The Hobbitt by J.R.R. Tolkien
112. The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard
113. On the Beach by Nevil Shute
114. E.T.: The Book of the Green Planet by William Kotzwinkle
115. Walkers On the Sky by David J. Lake
116. Living Way Out by Wyman Guin
117. Speaker for the Dead (2) by Orson Scott Card
118. A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick
119. Chronopolis (ss) by J.G. Ballard
120. Vermilion Sands (ss) by J.G. Ballard
121. The Best of Robert Silverberg (ss) by Robert Silverberg
122. Little, Big by John Crowley
123. The Voices of Time (ss) by J.G. Ballard
124. Children of God (2) by Mary Doria Russell
125. Nine Hundred Grandmothers (ss) by R.A. Lafferty
126. City by Clifford D. Simak
127. The Leeshore by Robert Reed
128. The Dark Beyond the Stars by Frank M. Robinson
129. The City and the City by China Mieville**
130. Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card
131. More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon

Series with titles making the list
Orson Scott Card's Tales of Alvin Maker (aka Hatrack River) consists of: (1) Seventh Son (2) Red Prophet (3) Prentice Alvin (4) Alvin, Journeyman
Orson Scott Card's Ender's Series consists of: (1) Ender's Game (2) Speaker for the Dead (3) Xenocide

Gene Wolfe's Urth of the New Sun consists of: (1) The Shadow of the Torturer (2) The Claw of the Conciliator (3) The Sword of the Lictor (4) The Citadel of the Autarch

Michael Moorcock's Dancers at the End of Time consists of: (1) An Alien Heat (2) The Hollow Lands (3) The End of All Songs (4) Dancers at the End of Time (ss)

Dan Simmon's Hyperion consists of: (1) Hyperion (2) The Fall of Hyperion

Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy is (1) Red Mars (2) Green Mars (3) Blue Mars

Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast Trilogy is (1) Titus Groan (2) Gormenghast (3) Titus Alone [PBS made an excellent mini-series of this, a 10-yr project of the producer's]

[I thought both Frank Herbert's Dune series, and J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings Trilogy to be overrated, each is long and boring in comparison to the series above, each goes downhill after the beginning. Filmed versions are much better: Peter Jackson's Rings Trilogy, and the SF Channel's Dune mini-series are both excellent, more rewarding than the reading.]

Arthur C. Clarke was the greatest visionary - he wrote "2001" for Stanley Kubrick because he couldn't film "Childhood's End" with limited film technology of the time; he also co-created radar during WW2, and was the first to predict global telecom satellites.

Gene Wolfe is perhaps the best writer stylistically (a true "writer's writer"), Ursula K. Le Guin probably the best overall and most humane novelist, Orson Scott Card (a former Shakespearean) is the best storyteller, and Alfred Bester was the most innovative, but alas, he wrote the least.

Philip K. Dick's nightmarish vision of a bleak, violent police state future has unfortunately been the most prophetic. His stories became the films "Blade Runner" and "Minority Report", and recently, "Adjustment Bureau", with Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, perhaps the most like Dick of all the films as it plays with normal material reality.

Anthony Burgess' now classic "A Clockwork Orange", was autobiographical, an exorcism of a true event that happened to him and his wife. Later editions have a much-needed language glossary appendix, for all you malchicks and devotchkas, viddy it well, it's real horrorshow. The entire book is told through the mind of Alex, so all the syntax mirrors his dialogue, trying to read I got a pain in me gulliver.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

SF-Fantasy Award Winners Ranked

This is my ranking for all the SF and fantasy books I've read that won awards. Most won Hugo (fan) or Nebula (writers) awards. I'm trying to read all these first, sometimes others look interesting.

The others listed are World Fantasy, British SF, P.K. Dick Award (novels), Arthur C. Clarke Award, and John Campbell Award. I'm not listing awards with a political bias, such as feminism or libertarian themed awards, which exist. [I have one: if there was an award for a black protagonist, they wouldn't be able to give it every year.  The Year of the Quiet Sun is the first one I read, published in 1970, winner of a retro John Campbell Award, very deservedly even if belated. Kevin McLeod's Cassini Division has a black female protagonist - stop the presses!]

I would only recommend the first 76 of these (Riddley Walker is the cutoff).

Many of these (the bottom third) I found to be boring, political propaganda, even if I agreed with the politics or economics, "zzzz..." For me a novel has to have good pace, not be long just to be wordy or "epic". In fact, in my top 20, the first really lengthy novel is Connie Willis' time travel masterpiece Doomsday Book, then each of the Mars trilogy by Kim Robinson is also a bit long. For me, tell the story, and get it out, already..

The number (2) denotes the sequence order within a series.. don't read a (2) before the (1), unless you just live life with reckless abandon..

** = newest additions

This is a great book. If written 2000 years ago,
it would be 'scripture', but it's even better.
Part of the New Mythos being created for our time

  1. Red Prophet (2) - Card, Orson Scott
  2. Claw of the Conciliator (2), The - Wolfe, Gene
  3. Left Hand of Darkness, The - Le Guin, Ursula K.
  4. Shadow of the Torturer (1), The - Wolfe, Gene
  5. Lord of Light - Zelazny, Roger
  6. Year of the Quiet Sun, The - Tucker, Wilson
  7. Ender's Game (1) - Card, Orson Scott
  8. Demolished Man, The - Bester, Alfred
  9. A Time of Changes - Silverberg, Robert
  10. The Telling - Le Guin, Ursula K.
  11. Flowers For Algernon - Keyes, Daniel
  12. Gateway (1) - Pohl, Frederick
  13. Red Mars (1) - Robinson, Kim S.
  14. Stations of the Tide - Swanwick, Michael
  15. Missing Man - MacLean, Katherine
  16. Doomsday Book - Willis, Connie
  17. A Mirror For Observors - Pangborn, Edgar
  18. Last Starship From Earth, The - Boyd, John
  19. Fata Morgana - Kotzwinkle, William
  20. Green Mars (2) - Robinson, Kim S.
  21. Healer's War, The - Scarborough, Elizabeth Ann
  22. Hyperion (1) - Simmons, Dan
  23. Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said - Dick, Philip K.
  24. To Your Scattered Bodies Go (1) - Farmer, Philip José
  25. Way Station - Simak, Clifford D.
  26. Unconquered Country, The - Ryman, Geoff
  27. American Gods - Gaiman, Neil**
  28. Big Time, The - Leiber, Fritz
  29. Camp Concentration - Disch, Thomas M.
  30. Man In the High Castle, The - Dick, Philip K.
  31. Rite of Passage - Panshin, Alexei
  32. Forever War, The - Haldeman, Joe
  33. Startide Rising (1) - Brin, David
  34. Slow River - Griffeth, Nicola**
  35. Behold the Man - Moorcock, Michael
  36. Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang - Wilhelm, Kate
  37. Many-Coloured Land, The (1) - May, Julian
  38. Word For World Is Forest, The - Le Guin, Ursula K.
  39. Fall of Hyperion, The (2) - Simmons, Dan
  40. Nightwings - Silverberg, Robert
  41. Sparrow, The (1) - Russell, Mary Doria
  42. Earth Abides - Stewart, George R.
  43. A Canticle For Leibowitz - Miller, Walter M.
  44. Fellowship of the Ring (1), The - Tolkien, J.R.R.
  45. Timescape - Benford, Gregory
  46. A Fire Upon the Deep - Vinge, Vernor
  47. Double Star - Heinlein, Robert E.
  48. The Cassini Division - McLeod, Ken**
  49. Blind Voices - Reamy, Tom
  50. Falling Woman, The - Murphy, Pat
  51. Walkers On the Sky - Lake, David J.
  52. Speaker for the Dead (2) - Card, Orson Scott
  53. Little, Big - Crowley, John
  54. Stranger in a Strange Land - Heinlein, Robert E.
  55. More Than Human - Sturgeon, Theodore
  56. City and the City, The - Miéville, China**
  57. City of Truth - Morrow, James**
  58. Brute Orbits - Zebrowski, George
  59. Only Begotten Daughter - Morrow, James**
  60. Blue Mars (3) - Robinson, Kim S.
  61. Uplift War, The (3) - Brin, David**
  62. Fifth Head of Cerberus, The - Wolfe, Gene
  63. Bridge of Birds - Hughart, Barry
  64. This Immortal - Zelazny, Roger
  65. Moving Mars - Bear, Greg
  66. Man Plus - Pohl, Frederick
  67. Time Ships, The - Baxter, Steve
  68. Snow Queen, The - Vinge, Joan
  69. Blackout/All Clear - Willis, Connie**
  70. Forever Peace (2) - Haldeman, Joe**
  71. Altered Carbon - Morgan, Richard K**
  72. Wanderer, The - Leiber, Fritz
  73. Beggars in Spain - Kress, Nancy**
  74. Fountains of Paradise, The - Clarke, Arthur C.
  75. Our Lady of Darkness - Leiber, Fritz
  76. Riddley Walker - Hoban, Russell**
  77. Ringworld - Niven, Larry
  78. Born With the Dead - Silverberg, Robert
  79. To Say Nothing of the Dog - Willis, Connie**
  80. Downbelow Station - Cherryh, C.J.
  81. No Enemy but Time - Bishop, Michael
  82. Software - Rucker, Rudy
  83. Beyond Apollo - Malzberg, Barry N.
  84. Embedding, The - Watson, Ian
  85. Mythago Wood - Holdstock, Robert**
  86. Fairyland - McAuley, Paul J.**
  87. Rendezvous With Rama - Clarke, Arthur C.
  88. Falling Free - Bujold, Lois McMaster
  89. Dispossessed, The - Le Guin, Ursula K.
  90. Dune (1) - Herbert, Frank
  91. Watchtower - Lynn, Elizabeth A.
  92. Permutation City - Egan, Greg**
  93. Calcutta Chromosone, The - Ghosh, Amitv**
  94. Take Back Plenty - Greenland, Colin**
  95. Einstein Intersection, The - Delany, Samuel R.
  96. Starship Troopers - Heinlein, Robert E.
  97. Cosmicomics - Calvino, Italo
  98. Return of the King, The (3) - Tolkien, J.R.R.
  99. Terminal Experiment, The - Sawyer, Robert J.**
  100. Darwin's Radio - Bear, Greg**
  101. Hothouse - Aldiss, Brian W.
  102. Babel-17 - Delany, Samuel R.
  103. Dreamsnake - McIntyre, Vonda
  104. Gods Themselves, The - Asimov, Isaac
  105. Neuromancer - Gibson, William**
  106. They'd Rather Be Right - Clifton & Riley
  107. Foundation - Asimov, Isaac
  108. A Case of Conscience - Blish, James
  109. Among Others - Walton, Jo**
  110. Alteration, The - Amis, Kingsley
[I usually find popular works, i.e. Dune, to be as mediocre as you'd expect to gain a public consensus of approval - think about it a minute.. the new one is Game of Thrones, no different than the historical French six-novel series of 13th century monarchy they are based upon - Martin admitted it already.. hey: throw in a dragon or unicorn, it suddenly becomes "fantasy", lol.. or, throw in a detective, it becomes "mystery/noir" and a potential best-seller if you remove the SF elements, i.e. James Sallis.. who is excellent in either genre, read Cypress Grove and you'll see] 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Top 100 Mainstream Fiction

[Updated June 2014]

Top Mainstream Fiction (ss = Short Stories)

** = latest additions

A gripping mystery that borders on
fantasy but is a romance at its heart

1. The Magus by John Fowles
2. Women In Love by D.H. Lawrence
3. Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins
4. Mila 18 by Leon Uris
5. Steps by Jerzy Kosinski
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy**
7. The Confession of a Child of the Century by Thomas Rogers
8. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
9. Stop-Time by Frank Conroy
10. I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier
11. Going After Cacciato by Tim O'Brien
12. Black Spring (ss) by Henry Miller
13. The Nigger of the Narcissus by Joseph Conrad
14. In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash (ss) by Jean Shepherd (parts filmed as "A Christmas Story")
15. Mysteries by Knut Hamsen
16. Perfume by Patric Suskind
17. Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote
18. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
19. Ourselves by Jonathan Strong
20. Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Acts (ss) by Donald Barthelme
21. Sexus (The Rosy Crucifixion, Pt. 1) by Henry Miller
22. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
23. Horseman, Pass By by Larry McMurtry (filmed as "Hud")
24. All My Friends Are Going to be Strangers by Larry McMurtry
25. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
26. Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski
27. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone
28. The Reader by Bernard Schlink
29. Dog Soldiers by Robert Stone (filmed as "Who'll Stop the Rain")
30. White Noise by Don DeLillo
31. Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon
32. Shane by Jack Schaeffer
33. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
34. Winged Pharoah by Joan Grant
35. The Shadowboxer by Noel Behn
36. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
37. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
38. Outcast of the Islands by Joseph Conrad
39. The Centaur by John Updike
40. The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
41. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston
42. Birdy by William Wharton
43. A Few Last Words (ss) by James Sallis
44. A History of Luminous Motion by Scott Bradfield
45. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
46. Something of Value by Robert Ruark
47. Hunger by Knut Hamsen
48. The Wanderer (or the End of Youth) by Alain-Fournier
49. Seven Days in May by F. Knebel & C. W. Bailey
50. The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry
51. The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
52. House of Incest by Anais Nin
53. Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys
54. Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels
55. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
56. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
57. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
58. The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
59. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
60. The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles
61. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
62. The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence
63. Plexus (Rosy Crucifixion 2) by Henry Miller
64. Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories (ss) by Jean Shepherd
65. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
66. The Things They Carried (ss) by Tim O'Brien
67. Setting Free the Bears by John Irving
68. Cypress Grove by James Sallis**
69. Advise and Consent by Allen Drury
70. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
71. Lost Horizon by James Hilton
72. Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella (filmed as "Field of Dreams")
73. Therese Raquin by Emile Zola
74. The Locked Room (3) by Paul Auster
75. The Murder of Roger Akroyd by Agatha Christie
76. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
77. A Confederate General from Big Sur by Richard Brautigan
78. The Bushwhacked Piano by Thomas McGuane
79. Tike and Five Stories (ss) by Jonathan Strong
80. Michael Strogoff by Jules Verne
81. The Long-Legged Fly by James Sallis**
82. Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
83. Delta of Venus (ss) by Anais Nin
84. Diva by Delacorta
85. Mutiny on the Bounty Nordoff & Hall
86. The Fixer by Bernard Malamud
87. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
88. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
89. Three Short Novels by Joseph Conrad
90. Fade by Robert Cormier
91. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
92. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
93. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
94. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
95. Scorpio Rising by R.G. Vliet
96. The Hunt For Red October by Tom Clancy
97. My Darling, My Hamburger by Paul Zindel
98. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
99. Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawar Jvabvala
100. Death Will Have Your Eyes by James Sallis

Best of the Rest
101. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
102. Maggie Cassidy by Jack Kerouac
103. Rock Springs by Richard Ford
104. The List of 7 by Mark Frost
105. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
106. Uhuru by Robert Ruark
107. Anywhere But Here by Mona Simpson
108. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
109. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
110. City of Glass (New York Trilogy 1) by Paul Auster
111. Midnight Cowboy by James Leo Herlihey
112. Running Dog by Don DeLillo
113. Almayer's Folly by Joseph Conrad
114. The Story of O by Pauline Réage
115. The Universal Baseball Assoc., J. Henry Waugh, proprieter by Robert Coover
116. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
117. Equilibrium by Tonino Guerra
118. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
119. The Siege of Salt Cove by Anthony Weller [I grew up with Anthony 3 doors up on my street; he is also a guitarist with a music degree and CDs out!]
120. Long Division by Anne Riophe
121. King Rat by James Clavell
122. Edisto by Padgett Powell
123. House of Pomegranates & Other Tales (ss) by Oscar Wilde
124. Big Sur by Jack Kerouac
125. Last Summer by Evan Hunter
126. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
127. Running Out by Christopher Brookhouse
128. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

My favorite novelists are (1) Larry McMurtry (2) Joseph Conrad (3) Henry Miller. Conrad is amazing, a Pole writing in English! McMurtry is without doubt America's greatest in history, though perhaps Cormac McCarthy is a new contender; I must read his complete works, at least the western novels.

Henry Miller's sprawling stream-of-consciousness and uncensored language were decades ahead of the public and helped shape the 20th century's lifestyle. In spite of his distractions, his multi-cultured philosophy posits a more universally humanitarian treatment of each other than has been shown in our history. Jonathan Strong has written two of the best romances: Tike and Ourselves, both uncompromising, short, and honest. Knut Hamsen deserved his Nobel, Hemingway did NOT, and doesn't everyone wish Harper Lee had written more novels than just To Kill a Mockingbird?

The Great White Hope by Howard Sackler
Play It Again, Sam by Woody Allen
The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds by Paul Zindel
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee

The Back Country by Gary Snyder
Regarding Wave by Gary Snyder
Left Out in the Rain by Gary Snyder
Ariel by Sylvia Plath
Flowers of Evil by Baudelaire
Collected Poems of Kenneth Patchen
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Bratsk Station by Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Selected Poems of Frederico Garcia Lorca
Collected Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins
One Hundred Poems from the Japanese, trans. by Kenneth Rexroth

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I recently completed my 1000th book, since age 12 anyway, that's when I started logging them (no textbooks). I decided that it was time to get the best of them out on the net. I actually know two people who still read!

Lists posted to date (scroll down for these)

  • Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Top 100 Mainstream Fiction
  • Favorite Non-fiction

I've read more fiction than non-fiction, and only slightly more sf-fantasy than mainstream. Each type has its positives and negatives, but I'd have to agree with those who say that "science fiction is the new mythos", more imaginative and visionary than mainstream, and perhaps leading us forward into the next stage of evolution. Many Nobel-winning scientists say they read science fiction to get an idea of "what is possible", and even direct their current work accordingly.
If you can read this, the blog may be for you!

... William Lawrence "Jose" Sinclair, aka Jman ...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Top 50 Non-Fiction Books

Top Non-Fiction Books [This includes religion, essays, humor, philosophy, history, biography, etc.]
Updated: March 2013

1. The Way of Life by Lao Tzu
2. The Immense Journey by Loren Eiseley
3. The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts
4. We Were Soldiers Once, and Young by Moore & Galloway
5. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (NEW listing)*
6. Magpie Rising by Merrill Gilfallan
7. Buried Alive by Myra Friedman
8. The Way of the Initiate by Roy Eugene Davis
9. Metropolitan Life by Fran Leibowitz
10. The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell
11. The Unexpected Universe by Loren Eiseley
12. Cosmic Consciousness by Richard M. Bucke
13. The Dilbert Future by Scott Adams
14. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
15. The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson
16. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer
17. The Diary of Che Guevara by Ernesto "Che" Guevara
18. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
19. The Golden Thread by Natalie Banks
20. The Master Game by Dr. Robert S. de Ropp

21. The Fifth Miracle by Paul Davies
22. The White Lantern by Evan S. Connell
23. The Politics of Experience by R.D. Laing
24. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
25. Rants by Dennis Miller
26. The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
27. Questions and Answers by Manly P. Hall
28. Light Elements by Judith Stone
29. The Honeymooner's Companion by Donna McCronan
30. Song of God (Bhagavad-Gita) trans. By Prabhavananda & Isherwood
31. The Messianic Legacy by Baigent, Leigh, & Lincoln
32. Notes by Eleanor Coppola
33. The Psychic Healing Book by Amy Wallace
34. Notes From a Small Island by Bill Bryson
35. The Vatican Connection by Richard Hammer
36. Remember: Be Here Now by Baba Ram Dass
37. The Killing Zone by Frederick Downs
38. The Mormon Murders by S. Naifeh, S. & G.W. Smith
39. The Way of Chuang Tzu by Thomas Merton
40. Everything But Money by Sam Levinson
41. Lawrence of Arabia by Anthony Nutting
42. Morning of the Magicians by Pauwels & Bergier
43. Stupid White Men by Michael Moore
44. Ace of Spies by Robin Bruce Lockhart
45. The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
46. The Book of Lists #2 by I. Wallace, I & D. Wallechinsky
47. Dave Barry's Guide to Guys by Dave Barry
48. Crazy English by Richard Lederer
49. What the Dogs Have Taught Me by Merrill Markoe
50. Social Studies by Fran Lebowitz
51. The Magic of Believing by Claude M. Bristol
52. Write If You Get Work: Best of Bob & Ray by Bob Elliott & Ray Goulding
53. Hollywood Babylon by Kenneth Angers
54. Veeck - As in Wreck by Bill Veeck & Ed Finn
55. What the Bible Really Says by Manfred Barthel
56. Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot by Al Franken

*The Devil in the White City is a new listing, a fascinating story of the Chicago Columbian Exposition (World's Fair) of 1893, juxtaposed with the story of a mass murderer taking advantage of the fair to lure many lonely women to their death at his hands. Leonardo DiCaprio bought the film rights in 2010, and a film will follow shortly (wrote this in March of 2013). Since he usually works with Martin Scorsese, I hope that Marty will be the director. It seems that Dicaprio would be the architect Burnham, in charge of putting together the fair, but he apparently wants to play the murderer, a part better suited for Daniel-Day Lewis.

Loren Eiseley is an amazing writer, a scientist with appreciation of the mysterious and miraculous; read all of his books (Immense Journey is his first, a great place to start), including his biography, A Fox at the Edge of the Woods by Gale E. Christianson, which was his description of mankind, "having emerged from the wilderness, we are now separate from it, and actually fear it, like a fox at the edge of the woods."

All of Joseph Campbell's books and television series on PBS are worth experiencing, and they'll help you understand all religions and cultures, as well as myths and parables.

Bill Bryson is the funniest non-fiction writer, once you start, you'll read all of his, the three of his I've read all made this list (#13, 14, 33). He's an American who emigrated to England, where "they don't destroy everything from the past to build strip malls" (from Thunderbolt Kid, about growing up in the American midwest, similar to Jean Shepherd from another generation).

Alan Watts wrote The Wisdom of Insecurity near the end of his life to "clear up confusion caused by my other books"; it's a succinct philosophy of wisdom that everyone should read: "the only constant is change, if you become rooted in anything, it will eventually change..."

We Were Soldiers Once is the most harrowing war book I've ever read, and its far better than the Mel Gibson film based on it.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Time Magazine's Top 100 Novels

Time Magazine's list of the best 100 novels of all time.. of course, they never get science fiction right. They included Philip K. Dick's "Ubik" over his Hugo-winner "The Man in the High Castle". They neglected Arthur C. Clarke's "Childhood's End", and Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Left Hand of Darkness", and Robert Heinlein's (admittedly inferior but popular) "Stranger in a Strange Land", which usually makes lists. Anthony Burgess' "A Clockwork Orange", which is in the top 40 of the Library Association top 100 list, did make the list, justifiably so - the book is even better than Kubrick's terrific film, all the writing is from the mind of Alex, so it's all in his vernacular. "viddy this, and viddy it well, oh my brothers. it's real horrorshow".

The complete Time Magazine list

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

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