On Saturday I wrote about Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels, 1985-2010, revealing that I've read only 20 of the "best" novels as chosen by Paul Di Filippo and Damien Broderick. In the comments for that post Mike Totman mentioned the existence of a related book, Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels. Upon finishing The 101 Best Novels I suspected that I might in fact own the original David Pringle work, and sure enough it was sitting in the as-yet-unshelved nonfiction pile in my library. I read it Saturday afternoon to see if I'd read a substantial number of Pringle's choices for best SF novel written between 1949 and 1984.
While I haven't read a majority of Pringle's picks, I have managed to read over a third of his choices: 1984 (George Orwell), Earth Abides (George R. Stewart), The Martian Chronicles (Ray Bradbury), The Puppet Masters (Robert Heinlein), The Day of the Triffids (John Wyndham), The Demolished Man (Alfred Bester), Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury), Childhood's End (Arthur C. Clarke), Bring the Jubilee (Ward Moore), The Space Merchants (Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth), More Than Human (Theodore Sturgeon), The End of Eternity (Isaac Asimov), The Stars My Destination (Alfred Bester), The Death of Grass (John Christopher), The Door into Summer (Robert Heinlein), Alas, Babylon (Pat Frank), A Canticle for Leibowitz (Walter M. Miller), Rogue Moon (Algis Budrys), Hothouse (Brian W. Aldiss), The Man in the High Castle (Philip K. Dick), Way Station (Clifford D. Simak), Dune (Frank Herbert), Make Room! Make Room! (Harry Harrison), Flowers for Algernon (Daniel Keyes), The Dream Master (Roger Zelazny), Stand on Zanzibar (John Brunner), Nova (Samuel R. Delany), Camp Concentration (Thomas M. Disch), Heroes and Villains (Angela Carter), 334 (Thomas M. Disch), Walk to the End of the World (Suzy McKee Charnas), Michaelmas (Algis Budrys), The Ophiuchi Hotline (John Varley), Timescape (Gregory Benford) and Oath of Fealty (Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle).
35 out of 100 - not bad. As with The 101 Best Novels, several of Pringle's choices in The 100 Best Novels already exist in my library and I'll get to them soon: Mission of Gravity (Hal Clement), The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed (Ursula K. LeGuin), High-Rise (J.G. Ballard), Man Plus (Frederik Pohl), Neuromancer (William Gibson) and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Martian Time-Slip and Dr. Bloodmoney (Philip K. Dick).
Of the other books on Pringle's list, I find The Long Tomorrow (Leigh Brackett), The Inheritors (William Golding), A Case of Conscience (James Blish), Cat's Cradle (Kurt Vonnegut), Bug Jack Barron (Norman Spinrad), Tau Zero (Poul Anderson), Galaxies (Barry N. Malzberg), The Female Man (Joanna Russ), Engine Summer (John Crowley) and No Enemy But Time (Michael Bishop) most intriguing at this particular moment in my life.
Reading all these, at least, would enable me to cover more than half of Pringle's chosen ground. I wonder how many of these novels are still in print?