Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments
NOTE: use Perl; is on undef hiatus. You can read content, but you can't post it. More info will be forthcoming forthcomingly.

All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

use Perl Log In

Log In

[ Create a new account ]

ziggy (25)

ziggy
  (email not shown publicly)
AOL IM: ziggyatpanix (Add Buddy, Send Message)

Journal of ziggy (25)

Saturday July 22, 2006
07:24 PM

Best SF EVER!

[ #30385 ]

del.icio.us/popular is pointing to some random list of the 100 best SF Books EVER!.

The problem with this or any 100 best list is that the listing and ordering is totally random. Many of the books listed here are certainly among the 100 best SF books, but their relative rankings are totally out of whack. Some are darn good, but don't belong on a 100 best list. Others are classic SF, but not in the top 10, or much better than the lower 50.

All of which leads me to conclude that the world's best (and perhaps only) algorithm for creating a 100 best list is this: take a whole mess of candidates, throw them into a blender, do not put the top on, and see what sticks to the wall when you turn it on. Order the resulting mess from top to bottom, left to right.

The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
 Full
 Abbreviated
 Hidden
More | Login | Reply
Loading... please wait.
  • With top 100 lists I typically gauge the relative ranking in groups -- so 1-20 are basically ranked the same (as are 21-40, 41-60, etc.) and there's no use getting worked up over what's ranked 1 vs. 11. (Well, there's no use getting worked up about a top 100 list, but we're speaking relatively here.)
    • Even so, on this list, there are some books in the top fifth that certainly aren't, and some books that are in the bottom fifth that are much better than that. Two random examples: HHGTTG is much better than many of the 84 books that precede it on this list, and while Man in the High Castle may be PKD's best work, neither Valis nor The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch belong in the top 20.

      Day of the Triffids certainly belongs in the top 20, but so do War of the Worlds, the Time Machine, Neuromancer and Br
      • I personally prefer the Three Stigmata to the Man in the High Castle. But P.K.Dick is one of my favourite authors anyway :)

        Some other remarks... why is there only Red Mars and not the whole trilogy? Why is there any book by Heinlein? And P.J.Farmer wrote better books than the two that are listed.

        And about misclassifications: Alice in Wonderland is Sci-Fi? Duh. And what TF does the Upanishads do in this list?? why not the Bible and the Quran while they're at it.

        So top-100 lists are always so subjective...

      • Exactly! Comparisons should be made at the coarse level, not too granular.

        That said, one thing I just noticed is that the list is of the "science fiction books you just have to read" rather than the "best". So is the list focusing on impact or quality? And is it impact in the general culture or just in the SF culture?

  • This list [geocities.com] was my personal favorite, but is unfortunately defunct now. The list publisher was a hard working mathematician who collected votes via email and periodically used an iterative weighting algorithm to combine recency with longevity. The result was a fairly stable list of classics combined with new hits. The value of the list came from the large number of voters.

    Alas... Anyone want to volunteer to start up a voting list again? :-)