Top 20 Geek Novels?

The Guardian has published a list of the Top 20 Geek novels. (More specifically “the best geek novels written in English since 1932.”) The list seems mostly correct to me except for the omission of the Lord of the Rings and perhaps To Your Scattered Bodies Go. One of the books on the list was a life changing and mind altering experience for me (The Illuminatus Trilogy!).

Watchmen was the only graphic novel to make the list. I would have added Sandman as well, though it’s arguably not a novel. (That might well have made the list if it had been included in the initial survey). I might have added Gravity’s Rainbow and Starship Troopers too. Stranger in a Strange Land was a choice in the survey, but I don’t think it’s as much of a geek novel as Starship Troopers. Ringworld was also an obvious omission.

Rick Cook’s Wizard’s Bane may not be as famous as the other selections (or, in all honesty, as well written) but it does have the distinction of being the only novel ever written about the Forth programming language. If that doesn’t qualify it as a geek book, I don’t know what does. Also omitted but worthy of mention is a straight, non-sci fi novel: Ellen Ullman’s The Bug, probably the only novel ever written (or that ever will be written) about a fencepost error.

I’ve already read 16 or 17 of the 20. I’m not sure whether or not I’ve read Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle. It sounds vaguely familiar. Possibly I read it when I was too young to understand or appreciate it. In either case, I promptly logged into the Brooklyn Public Library to reserve the three or four I hadn’t read.

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