Science Fiction and Fantasy Classics I Still Have Not Read

National Public Radio held a survey to determine the Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books.  It was a great list, full of wonderful novels that I enjoyed reading over the years.  As a sci-fi buff, most of the titles were very familiar to me.  Yet, it also made me realize how many classic stories I still haven't had the chance to experience.  I was browsing through the science fiction section of a Barnes and Noble store with a friend recently and we both commented how many books in the genre were in print, far too many for any single human being to read in their lifetime. 

Here are the ones that have been on my "to-read" list for a long time.  They are giants in the fields of speculative fiction, yet for whatever reason I have not had the opportunity to pick them up.  I bow my head in shame!

The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey - This always sounded like a fun series about an alien world with intelligent firebreathing dragon creatures who have telepathic bonds with their riders.  I'll likely check out at least the original trilogy -- Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and The White Dragon -- but if they live up to the hype there are over a dozen other books in the saga beckoning to be read.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - So many people have told me how much they love this book.  I feel guilty that I've never read it.  I always thought it fell in the military sci-fi subgenre, which was never the most compelling for me, but the premise sounds intriguing -- human kids are trained to be future space fleet commanders to defend Earth against alien invaders.  The story has inspired comic book adaptations, sequels, and video games, and a movie adaptation has been in development for years and will no doubt make it to the big screen eventually. 

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman - This award-winning novel from 1976, according to Wikipedia, dealing with "the inhumanity of war and of bureaucracy, and of the psychological effects resulting from time dilation space travel (a soldier returns home after centuries away)."  Sounds pretty darn interesting to me!  Why I've never bothered to read it I'll never know.

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin - Here's another award-winner that seems to be on everyone's "best science fiction" lists.  It's an interplanetary saga full of political intrigue and adventure, so I will eventually get to read it myself instead of just hearing everyone else talk about it.

The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson - My brother-in-law raves about this series -- Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars.  Terraforming a dead planet into a live one has always been a fascinating science fiction premise, and apparently no one else has come close to doing it better than Robinson.

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley - I'm a big fan of the King Arthur mythology, so there is no excuse why I haven't read this reimagining of the legend from the point of view of the female characters.  A well-received television mini-series aired on TNT in 2001, but I haven't seen that either.

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein - I'm a huge Heinlein fan, but for some reason I never read this one.  It sounds incredible -- a lunar colony rebels against Earth. 

Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke - Morgan Freeman has been attached to bring this story to life on the big screen.  I have to read it first!  The plot deals with the arrival of a mysterious, enormous alien ship to Earth's solar system.

Ringworld by Larry Niven - Here's another classic that I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never read.  Humans that live multiple centuries, deep space travel, future technology, great characters -- everything you could want in a science fiction epic is allegedly here,

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan - The only thing keeping me from starting this famous fantasy saga is knowing that it consists of thirteen mammoth-sized novels (not counting the prequel or the companion book), and at least one more is on the way, written by Brandon Sanderson.

Are there classics (whether science fiction or other genres) that you always wished to read but never got around to doing so?  Let me know.

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