Ok so this list expanded from top 5’s to top 10 and perhaps the great irony of this list is I thought I had read a lot more Sci-Fi and Fantasy Novels than I have. Truth be told I actually have not read that much which kind of makes this list in a way silly. Because I am just ranking the books I’ve read out of a relatively small sample size. Nonetheless I will simply explain why I think you should read them
10. Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkien)- If I were you and I saw Lord of the Rings at #10 on a list I’d be skeptical. It is epic and I don’t need to say much about it. I think it is an amazing story and maybe had I read it before I saw the movies it would rank higher. I think it deserves to be in my Top 10 but I think I’ve read a lot of books I’ve enjoyed more. And I’ve never read any of the Harry Potter books yet. And maybe will never.
9. Dune (Frank Herbert)- I’m sure you are thinking that I have taken many people’s favorite Fantasy and favorite Sci-Fi books and ranked them towards the end on purpose. I appreciated the world building of Dune. I didn’t love the main character, but the book is epic and kept me very engaged.
8. The Sparrow (Mary Doria Russell)- For someone who can be prone toward the melancholic, I do not love sad books. I can admit when they are well written and gripping but it is hard for me to rank them on a list that I would like to read them again. This book is painful at times to read and requires a lot of work because of the getting a grasp on the religious world order of things. I have wanted to read the sequel Children of God but it feels imposing still after reading this book.
7. A Canticle for Leibowitz (Walter M Miller Jr.) A story of cycles after a nuclear fallout near a monastery. The book is fascinating in that it relies less on main characters and more on how things progress after a nuclear fallout. The book is sad but also a little silly. It also does reference Scripture. It is philosophical and enjoyable and I would read it again which is the marker of what got this book the 7 spot.
6. The Screwtape Letters (CS Lewis)- I saw the play, I read the book, it’s an easy book to read twice. I think it is extremely unique which is why I love the book. I also think it is funny in its own right. I think I rank this book so high because of it’s easy and it’s concept. It felt like it was written with relative easy and the content still holds up as relevant.
5. Project Hail Mary (Andy Weir)- My goodness this book is great. I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s funny, it will make you cry, and it is very entertaining and original. The surprise character you meet is super endearing through the way it is written and the ending is wonderfully unique. It is probably the best popular science fiction gets honestly, though I haven’t read The Martian. There is a lot of Sci-Fi I still haven’t read which is why I needed to change what this list was originally. The book club I am in is entirely women and me and many of them also seem to love the book even though some of them have not read much from the genre.
4. The Hobbit (JRR Tolkien)- I read The Hobbit after I read the Lord of the Rings and I honestly think doing it that way made me enjoy The Hobbit more than if I would have read it first. I loved my experience reading The Lord of the Rings because I watched the movies after I finished them. But there was something about reading The Hobbit that felt like a new fresh experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. I also like the light heartedness of Bilbo Baggins. It’s also shorter so no excuse not to read it if you are going to pick something of Tolkien’s (I’m starting The Silmarillion which I feel like is the last thing of Tolkien’s I desire to read).
3. Fall of Hyperion (Dan Simmons)- I will be honest, I’m making this list from greatest to least so it might seem unfair to group all of The Chronicles of Narnia together but not all of Hyperion and its two other sequels Endymion and the Rise of Endymion together. Fall of Hyperion is a sequel that picks up where Hyperion left off and it is just as good, some could argue better. It satisfies in its ending and built up enough good will to get two more sequels out of it which in their own right were very enjoyable and honestly could have made this list.
2- The Chronicles of Narnia (CS Lewis) I know this is a children’s series, but I did not read it until I was an adult. I read it during a stretch of being almost 2 months between jobs and I can honestly say the series sustained me. Now I would rank the books but I don’t know if it would be helpful. I think it is worth reading as a whole in its entirety. It’s beautiful allegory, but also it is just a good story of the human condition.
1- Hyperion (Dan Simmons) Truth be told, I don’t know if it was the time or season in which I read it but I don’t know if I have ever read a book I was so immersed in and captivated me so much with tales converging of all the main characters. The book feels like 6 different stories in one, but they are all written so well and build towards something amazing and inconclusive. It requires that you read the sequel Fall of Hyperion. For a 496 page books, it builds you up to read an even longer book to find its conclusion. And I can honestly say it’s worth it. The book kept me immersed and without a doubt had me wanting to read the sequel.