Need Something to Read? Just Answer the Questions and Follow the Arrows

Are you in the mood for some speculative fiction, but not sure what to read? Look no further than SF Signal’s guide to NPR’s top 100 fantasy and science fiction books. There’s something for everyone. Click on the picture to find the original in all its massive glory, and let me know which book the chart led you to. I was led to The Codex Alera by Jim Butcher. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Mr. Butcher. I guess I’ll trust the chart and check it out.

8 comments so far

  1. Ing | Monday, 3 October 2011, 12:13 pm |

    I dunno about this chart.

    I took the fantasy side, of course. First it led me to Stephen King (no thanks, I’m not a fan), then to the magical animals (where I’ve already spent plenty of time with Watership Down and Pern), then to alternate history (where I’ve already met Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, and have zero desire to try the romance offering). And after all that, where else did I finally end up? Stuck between Conan the Barbarian and Drizzt. Uh…yeah.

    There are some books in there that I figure I ought to try — the offerings from Brandon Sanderson, Robin Hobb, and that Rothfuss guy — but my chart choices didn’t lead that way.

    Maybe what this really says is that I should step outside my usual reading rut and see what else is out there.

    I got a kick out of the way they worded some of their choices, though. Just reading the chart was fun.

  2. Ben | Tuesday, 4 October 2011, 9:29 am |

    Yeah, some of the choices are kind of strange, but in their defense they didn’t come up with their own books. They had to work with what they were given (NPR’s top 100). They did a pretty good job of making it entertaining, didn’t they?

    Maybe you should get out of your comfort zone a little bit, Ing! Have you actually read any Stephen King, or Conan novels? Maybe they rock!

    OK, I admit, I have zero interest in trying King’s Dark Tower series. I’ve read enough about them to feel comfortable saying it’s not for me. But who knows? Maybe it really is good.

    Conan could be good, too. A few years back I decided to give the original Tarzan novel a try and actually enjoyed it quite a bit. The Conan novels are in a similar vein. Pulp fantasy with lots of action. I’ve been meaning to give the Conan books a try for a while. I know a number of people who really like them.

  3. Ing | Tuesday, 4 October 2011, 1:09 pm |

    I tried some Stephen King books — The Dark Tower being one of them — many years ago, and just didn’t enjoy his stories. That was a long time ago, so my tastes might have changed…but considering how much good stuff goes unread, I don’t feel like Stephen King really needs me to give him a second chance. I’ll continue looking elsewhere for my reading enjoyment, and plenty of other people will continue stuffing money into SK’s bank account.

    Back in my teens I read the original Tarzan (and a series of sequels), as well as Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars series. Got a huge kick out of them. I’d rather revisit those than bother with Conan, I think.

    If only George R.R. Martin would actually finish the Game of Thrones series…

  4. Ben | Tuesday, 4 October 2011, 1:13 pm |

    Hah! He’ll never finish. He’s taking longer for each book. The last one was 6 years. And he’s not getting any younger. At the rate he’s going, he’ll be 82 before he finishes.

    You’d do better to try some of the ones you already mentioned… Rothfuss, Hobb, and Sanderson. In that order.

  5. Jeff | Wednesday, 5 October 2011, 8:24 am |

    I loved reading the chart too. I’m afraid that’s as far as I got. I probably won’t read almost any of the books that my many choices took me to. Not that they don’t look interesting, I just don’t spend that much time reading and I always end up reading business/self help books instead of fiction. Although some could argue that the business genre is fiction. :)

  6. riotimus | Friday, 7 October 2011, 6:50 pm |

    The reading chart was entertaining. I have to say that while I haven’t read all the Conan books, I’ve read enough to say that the original stories by Howard are a must read. Some author that I love said once that he looked at fantasy as a spectrum with Tolkien at one end and Howard at the other. For the life of me I can’t recall if it was GRR Martin, Tad Williams, or David Drake who said it, but I think it is true. Some of the spin offs aren’t that great.

    I have to come to Drizzt’s defense. I think he is great. I also have never read any author who handles descriptive action scenes with the skill that Salvatore manages throughout that series. There was a time that I mistakenly attributed all of the good things about his books to Forgotten Realms and went on an FR reading binge. After slogging through a dozen crappy novels by as many authors under that umbrella, I recognized him as an exception in that crowd.

    I’m afraid Martin is going to die before he finishes. I wonder who the publisher will hire to tie up his loose ends.


  7. Ben | Saturday, 8 October 2011, 7:43 am |

    See, Riotimus is a Howard advocate! That must mean something. I read a few Forgotten Realms books in high school. I remember thinking at the time that they were pretty good, but not good enough to make me want to read any more. I wish I could remember which ones. I know they weren’t written by Salvatore. Maybe I’ll have to give ol’ Drizzt a try.

  8. riotimus | Saturday, 8 October 2011, 11:03 am |

    On the whole, I don’t think anyone would read them if it weren’t for the exceptional artists they have doing their covers.

    The biggest problem I had with FR novels is that they read like the transcription of a RPG. You could actually play the game in so much less time and save yourself a lot of disappointment. While there are moments in Salvatore’s FR books that feel a little like that, the stories are really propelled by the depth of the characters instead of a saga-like series of battles.


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