A guide to NPR’s top 100 sci-fi and fantasy books

Over the summer National Public Radio compiled a list of the 100 top science fiction and fantasy books, based on listener nominations. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings came in first place.

Well, in a sharp departure from the norm, NPR failed to provide any contextual analysis for the list. It was a list, and nothing more.

But wait, the folks at SFSignal.com have come to the rescue; they’ve developed a flowchart to help you figure out which book is right for you.

Below is a just a miniature representation of the actual flowchart, which you can check out in all its glory here.


Is your favorite on the list? Which is it? Which great sci-fi or fantasy book failed to make the list? Let us know…

  • Daniel Pinkerton

    Wonderfully funny, and yet helpful. Whoever designed this has wit, a good sense of organization, and a love for the field. I am still trying to figure out some of the more obscure comments. “Funny hats” for THE DIAMOND AGE?

  • Karen Wills

    Fun and apt! but, a bit guy-heavy and definitely missing some all time favorites, notably most stories in which the central struggle is as much interior/psychological as between external “good and evil”… such as:

    — Patricia McKillip, “The RIddle Master of Hed” trilogy

    — Ursula LeGuin’s Earthsea series (“A Wizard of Earthsea” and ff…)

    — John Crowley’s “Little, Big” and Aegypt series

    — Julie Czerneda’s Clan cycle, particularly the “Species Imperative” series

    — under “mystery” (far right), add China Mieville’s “The City, The City”…

    — under humor, Michael Moorcock’s “Dancers at the End of Time” and Connie Willis’ short stories, “Impossible Things”

  • d.m. rotach

    sigh… Anne McCaffrey’s Dragons are sci-fi, honest! especially the later you get into the series!

  • Dr.Whom

    Very nice! I’ve read … oh, I wasn’t counting, but lots of those, maybe most.

    I couldn’t help noticing, though, that they left one “L” out of the title of _The Illustrated Man_.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Dr. Whom: Consulting Linguist, Grammarian, Orthoëpist, and Philological Busybody