The Guardian’s Top 20 Geek Novels

We know online polls don’t necessarily mean too much. Actually, most polls of any kind tend to be meaningless anyway.

As such, I’m not about to discuss the validity of this particular poll [Top 20 Geek Novels] or the interpretation of the results [Top 20 Geek Novels – Results!], and instead I’m just gonna see how many of these books I’ve actually read.

So far, 132 people have voted for the best geek novels written in English since 1932, in spite of Survey Monkey‘s rubric saying free polls were limited to 100 responses. The top 20 is therefore as follows, with the numbers in brackets showing the number of votes.

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

I’ve read some of the top books on the list, while there’re some I’ve been meaning to read for ages but have never got round to yet – books like Asimov’s Foundation series, and the classic graphic novel Watchmen.

Others I’ve yet to get my hands on are Microserfs, Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, Stranger in a Strange Land, The Diamond Age and Trouble with Lichen.

Anyway, this list comes at a good time for me – I’ve been actively increasing the size of my personal library now with the latest addition being DBC Pierre’s Vernon God Little. At least lists like this make a good reference point for future titles I should look out for that appear to be timeless in nature.

Any other recommendations?


10 thoughts on “The Guardian’s Top 20 Geek Novels”

  1. I’ve read only 1 šŸ˜› I haven’t read many geek books, but there was this sci-fi book I like. It’s called The Second Angel by Philip Kerr. But be warned, it uses tons of footnotes to explain it’s world.

  2. Neuromancer, The Colour of Magic, Snow Crash, Consider Phlebas, American Gods for me. I have a few others at home, but haven’t got the chance to read them.

    Oh, and American Gods is seriously overrated.

  3. No fantasy? LOTR mana? eh? eh? eh?

    Oh, and COLOR OF MAGIC? That’s not even REMOTELY close to Pratchett’s best books lar , despite being the first Discworld book and all.

    And I’d put Dune and Foundation above Dirk’s Android Sheep… but that’s just me.

    Poll is flawed! poll is flawed! haha

  4. 1984 us the only book on that list I’ve read. I’m not sure if I should feel illiterate or not; perhaps having bought and read both volumes of “Lost Tales of Middle Earth” could be a swing factor?

  5. george orwell’s 1984 is the only book i’ve read in that list of twenty. so this means i’m no geek, right? right? anyway, i’m planning to read wil wheaton’s book… maybe i’ll become a geek.

  6. If I were to take the poll seriously I’d be ashamed to say I’m not geek enough, as I’ve only read the most popular one, Hitchhiker’s. (or: I’m pleased to have read the #1!) But I’ve been meaning to read many of them for a long time: Neuromancer, 1984, and Watchmen, especially.

    For Dune, I’ve played the games and poured over all the Wikipedia articles. Good enough? =)

  7. Dune; whole series is fantastic, not just the first one.

    Foundation; really cool and should be read when you’re in your schooling years. Opens your mind up to possibilities. ^_^

    I, Robot; very interesting. Actually anything Robotic or Foundation is quite interesting.

    The rest of the books I’ve been meaning to read, but have yet to find the time to do so. I’ve gotten most of them from the MPPJ library, if anyone has a card. ^_^

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