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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • 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 Brave New World.
      • 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?