Sunday, 27 November 2005

Geek books

The Guardian's Technology blog has hosted a wee vote on the top twenty 'geek novels.' I confess to having read nine of the twenty, six of which would be among my all-time favourites.

So I must be thirty percent geek. How 'bout you?

List below. [Hat tip Pukeko]

1. The HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy—Douglas Adams 85% (102)
2. Nineteen Eighty-Four—George Orwell 79% (92)
3. Brave New World—Aldous Huxley 69% (77)
4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?—Philip Dick 64% (67)
5. Neuromancer—William Gibson 59% (66)
6. Dune—Frank Herbert 53% (54)
7. I, Robot—Isaac Asimov 52% (54)
8. Foundation—Isaac Asimov 47% (47)
9. The Colour of Magic—Terry Pratchett 46% (46)
10. Microserfs—Douglas Coupland 43% (44)
11. Snow Crash—Neal Stephenson 37% (37)
12. Watchmen—Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons 38% (37)
13. Cryptonomicon—Neal Stephenson 36% (36)
14. Consider Phlebas—Iain M Banks 34% (35)
15. Stranger in a Strange Land—Robert Heinlein 33% (33)
16. The Man in the High Castle—Philip K Dick 34% (32)
17. American Gods—Neil Gaiman 31% (29)
18. The Diamond Age—Neal Stephenson 27% (27)
19. The Illuminatus! Trilogy—Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson 23% (21)
20. Trouble with Lichen – John Wyndham 21% (19)


  1. 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14

    Nine is enough geekiness for me

  2. 12 Only. But watchmen is really very uber-geek. I'm not even sure it is a novel; they call it a graphic novel to distinguish it as a grown up comic book, but only to the same extent that you would have to call Tintin comics graphic novels also.

    Watchmen is another quasi-freedom themed "graphic novel" from Alan Moore, I'm a fan. He also did V for Vendetta, which is fantastic.

    I've pretty much avoided all the rest, although I intend to read Nineteen Eighty-Four when I have the time.

  3. Sixteen out of 20. I've avoided Watchmen because I understand is extremely horribly violent. Alan Moore also wrote from Hell made into a film starring Johnny Depp which was pretty mediocre apart from the Trippy absinthe sequence

  4. 14 out of 20 - 1 (all time favourite series, shame about the filum), 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20. For some reason I've never got around to Neal Stephenson. I got Snow Crash out of the library yet but had to return it before I could read it.

    And I still can't really code.

    ps - is that really you PC? you look remarkably like a youngish Geoffrey Rush in that shot

  5. Haha. Is that Geoffrey Rush in 'Shine,' or in 'Quills'? :-)

    And FWIW, my six are 1, 2, 3, 8, 15, 19.

    Agree about the TV series of 1 -- bloody shame. Radio series was brilliant though. Haven't seen the film.

    2 is a little over-rated, but still great for all that. 3, 4, 5 and 7 are okay, but they rather overdo the one idea they have, none of which have the strength to carry their stores IMO.

    The first 2/3 of 15 is fantastic, then unfortunately it turns to shit. Other Heinlein is better, but good to see him on the list.

    19 is brilliantly sharp, as is the 'Schrodinger's Cat Trilogy,' which I might just pull out now to re-read over the summer. :-)

    Other 'geek' books and authors I've enjoyed are all the rest of Heinlein, Vernor Vinge, J. Neil Shulman, Richard Brautigan, Philip Roth, Thomas More's 'Utopia,' Aldous Huxley's 'Island,' Defoe's 'Robinson Crusoe,' Umberto Eco's 'Foucault's Pendulum,' AN Wilson's 'The Old Men at the Zoo,' Evgeny Zamyatin's 'We,' and Ayn Rand's 'Anthem.'

    Anyone else shared similar enthusiasms about similar titles??

  6. Make Tea Not War: "I've avoided Watchmen because I understand is extremely horribly violent"

    Then you've been extremely horribly misinformed. There is some violence, but its pretty scarce overall. Its essentially a murder-mystery about costumed superheros (yeah, they laugh about that in the comic too) with heavy political themes. Bear in mind that it is an comic created for a mature audience, so what little violence there is is of a graphic nature.

    But there is also full frontal nudity of both genders, sex scenes, homosexuality, lesbianism, drug use, genetic engineering and cigarette smoking if that helps offend you :-)

  7. 1,2,4,6,7,8,9,14,15,20.

    Yep, guilty of geekness!

  8. >also full frontal nudity of both genders, sex scenes, homosexuality, lesbianism, drug use, genetic engineering and cigarette smoking if that helps offend you.

    No, no, I'm fine with all of those. It's really just violence I don't like:)

  9. I've read at least 75% of these. And I disagree with the list. No Stephen Baxter? Peter Hamilton? Come one guys.

  10. Make Tea Not War: "No, no, I'm fine with all of those. It's really just violence I don't like:)"

    Then, I dare say, you would enjoy the book. Or at least go read Transmetropolitan

  11. 19/20. Sign of a mis-spent adolescence, that lasted. Haven't read that last John Wyndham book.

    Though Neal Stephenson doesn't deserve that much kudos: 3/20? Ha!

    And if you're talking geek, what about Hofstadter's "Godel Escher Bach"? Or Kernigan and Ritchie? Hmmm?

  12. i can't believe no one has read the Wyndham book! i can't remember anything about it except that it was very very good ;-)

  13. I've read 1, 2, 6, 9, 12 and 15. I live with a a comic collecting husband - so read Watchmen. How could I not?


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