48 Essential SF Novels

Via Andrew Wheeler
Paul McAuley recently listed the 48 books (from 1818 through 1984, for “not quite arbitrary reasons”) that he considers essential.
As with the usual protocol with memes of this kind, titles in bold are books I’ve read, titles in italics are books I own but haven’t read yet, and books struck through are books I completely disagree with.


Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus MARY SHELLEY 1818
Journey to the Centre of the Earth JULES VERNE 1863
After London RICHARD JEFFRIES 1885
The Time Machine HG WELLS 1895
The House on the Borderland WILLIAM HOPE HODGSON 1912
We YEVGENY ZAMIATIN 1924
Brave New World ALDOUS HUXLEY 1932
Star Maker OLAF STAPLEDON 1937
1984 GEORGE ORWELL 1949
I, Robot, ISAAC ASIMOV 1950
The Martian Chronicles RAY BRADBURY 1950
The Dying Earth JACK VANCE 1950
Childhood’s End ARTHUR C CLARKE 1953

The Space Merchants CM KORNBLUTH & FREDERIK POHL 1953
Tiger! Tiger! ALFRED BESTER 1956

The Death of Grass JOHN CHRISTOPHER 1956
The Seedling Stars JAMES BLISH 1957
The Midwich Cuckoos JOHN WYNDHAM 1957
Starship Troopers ROBERT A HEINLEIN 1959
A Canticle for Liebowitz WALTER M MILLER JR 1959
Solaris STANSLAW LEM 1961

Hothouse BRIAN ALDISS 1962 (partially read a fraction of the work)
A Clockwork Orange ANTONY BURGESS 1962
Cat’s Cradle KURT VONNEGUT JR 1963

Martian Time-Slip PHILIP K DICK 1964
Dune FRANK HERBERT 1965
The Crystal World JG BALLARD 1966
Flowers For Algernon DANIEL KEYES 1966
Lord of Light ROGER ZELAZNY 1967

Nova SAMUEL R DELANY 1968
Pavane KEITH ROBERTS 1968
The Left Hand of Darkness URSULA K LE GUIN 1969
Roadside Picnic ARKADY AND BORIS STRUGATSKI 1969
334 THOMAS M DISCH 1972
Dying Inside ROBERT SILVERBERG 1972
The Fifth Head of Cerberus GENE WOLFE 1972
Ten Thousand Light Years From Home JAMES TIPTREE JR 1973
The Forever War JOE HALDEMAN 1974
Inverted World CHRISTOPHER PRIEST 1974
The Female Man JOANNA RUSS 1975
Arslan MJ ENGH 1976
The Ophiuchi Hotline JOHN VARLEY 1977
The Final Programme MICHAEL MOORCOCK 1968
Kindred OCTAVIA BUTLER 1979
Engine Summer JOHN CROWLEY 1979
Timescape GREGORY BENFORD 1980

Neuromancer WILLIAM GIBSON 1984
Divine Endurance GWYNETH JONES 1984