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The all-time best sci-fi books, films, TV shows and stories

Sci-Fi Lists is dedicated to bringing you quality lists and concise reviews of science fiction's all-time top books, films, TV shows and short stories. The Top 200 Sci-Fi Books list is the flagship of the site, but lists have also been compiled for movies and television with the aim of being the most statistically reliable of their type found anywhere on the net. All lists are regularly updated to include new sources of information that become available, including results from the relevant Sci-Fi Lists online polls.

The Book List
Awards - 20; Published critics - 38; Popular polls - 15; Other lists - 53
A statistical survey of sci-fi literary awards, noted critics and popular polls. To qualify a book has to be generally regarded as science fiction by credible sources and/or recognised as having historical significance to the development of the genre. For books that are part of a series (with some notable exceptions) only the first book in the series is listed.
(Updated 21 August 2007)

The Film List

Published critics - 22; Popular polls - 13; Other lists - 77
A statistical survey that includes data from noted critics and popular polls. The qualification rules are similar to those used for the books list and for statistical purposes films in a series are treated in tallies as stand-alones. Exceptions to this rule include the Star Wars trilogies.
(Updated 2 September 2007)

The Television List
Experts polled - 11; Published critics - 6; Popular polls - 9; Other lists - 90
Based on data gathered from a statistical survey and a direct poll of sci-fi television experts - including critics, editors and website managers. Shows often classified under other genres but containing significant and notable sci-fi content (e.g. The Avengers & The Wild, Wild West) qualify for inclusion on the list.
(Updated 29 September 2007)

The Short Fiction List
Popular polls - 3; Published critics - 2; Awards - 6
A very difficult list to start owing to the lack of published data. Locus, Nebula and Hugo award information helped formulate the original list. A couple of ageing polls also helped out, but it was site visitor interest that kept it going. The online poll and visitor feedback are the main sources for updating this list, which generates more than its fair share of healthy debate.
(Updated 2 September 2007)

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Techies & Terrorism

The Aremac Project
by Gerald M Weinberg
2007 (Little West Press)

Lincoln Child - Deep Storm

Literary Status

Four Novels of the 1960s
by Philip K Dick
2007 (Library of America)

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Computer hall of famer Jerry Weinberg proves a natural at writing sci-fi in this breakneck techno-thriller.

The FBI gets interested when grad students Tess Myers and the nerdy but somewhat brilliant Roger Fixman develop a machine that can take snapshots of memories. As an interrogation device it may be the vital component in combating terrorists threatening Chicago's famous landmarks.

With double-dealing agents, atypical terrorists and a dash of humour Weinberg's proficiency in physics and communication sciences comes to the fore. As with all good thrillers readers are kept guessing for a while until it comes time to sit back, hold on and enjoy the final run home.

The novel is divided into ninety chapters averaging about four pages each. This makes for a feast of ideas that come at a pace that is sure to keep the pages turning.

Bargain hunters can now purchase four of Philip K Dick's greatest 60s novels in one 'virtually' unbeatable volume.

Much to the chagrin of more than a few literary snobs, the Library of America has decided that PKD's best work can match it with the best. This, of course, won't come as a surprise to the legion of sci-fi fanatics that seemingly hang on his every word.

All four novels included are currently on the Sci-Fi Lists all-time Top 100. In order they are
The Man in the High Castle (1962), The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1964), Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) and UBIK (1969).

Once describing himself as a "flipped-out freak", these novels alternatively feature fairly straight alternative history, drugged-out metaphysically challenging humour, an early version of cyberpunk and tripped-out time-travelling… all not to be missed.

Children of Men (DVD)

Fertile Ground

Children of Men
2006 (109m)
Universal Studios

Stargate Atlantis - S2 (DVD)

Getting Better

Stargate Atlantis - Season 2
2007 (900m)
MGM Entertainment

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Based on the novel by British mystery master P D James, Children of Men is a searing tale of social collapse.

It is the year 2027. Human fertility is a thing of the past and the fate of humankind may rest with one woman. When an African 'fugee' becomes pregnant the leader of a pro-immigration insurgency (Julianne Moore) embroils her ex-husband in a plot to get the woman to the Human Project scientists working to cure infertility.

Deft direction by Alfonso Cuarón keeps the pace humming while taking a few swipes at nuclear proliferation, terrorism and anti-immigration advocates along the way. The bleak scenario is broken up by some light relief from Michael Caine as ageing hippie dope-dealer Jasper Palmer.

Well-deserving of its three Oscar nominations,
Children of Men is a stirring example of what serious sci-fi is all about.

The 2005-06 season of sci-fi action series Stargate Atlantis saw it stepping out of the shadow of its lauded parent  show.

For the uninitiated,
Atlantis is a spin-off of the hugely successful SG-1 series. Using stargates to travel around the cosmos in the blink of an eye, a team is sent to the Pegasus Galaxy to try and unlock the secrets of the city of the Ancients. Largely cut off from Earth, they must find their own solutions to the problems they face.

The biggest problem faced is the Wraith, a fearsome enemy which feeds on other sentient beings in vampire-like fashion. Season Two features the ongoing development of a retrovirus that in theory could humanise the Wraith.

While the wryly humorous Lt Col John Sheppard (Joe Flanigan) remains the star of the show, the addition of Ronon Dex (Jason Momoa) was an excellent casting move.

of sci-fi TV shows and movies now available for download
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Flatland the Film (DVD)

Dimensional Treatise

2007 (83m)
Flatland Productions

2006 Awards - NovelsSHOP
W) Spin - Robert Charles WilsonBuy at Amazon USABuy at Amazon UK
Accelerando - Charles StrossBuy at Amazon USABuy at Amazon UK
Learning the World - Ken MacLeodBuy at Amazon USABuy at Amazon UK
Old Man's War - John ScalziBuy at Amazon USABuy at Amazon UK
W) Camouflage - Joe HaldemanBuy at Amazon USABuy at Amazon UK
Air - Geoff RymanBuy at Amazon USABuy at Amazon UK
Polaris - Jack McDevittBuy at Amazon USABuy at Amazon UK
John W Campbell
1) Mindscan - Robert J SawyerBuy at Amazon USABuy at Amazon UK
2) Spin - Robert Charles WilsonBuy at Amazon USABuy at Amazon UK
3) The Summer Isles - Ian R MacLeodBuy at Amazon USANot available at Amazon UK
1) Accelerando - Charles StrossBuy at Amazon USABuy at Amazon UK
2) Olympos - Dan SimmonsBuy at Amazon USABuy at Amazon UK
3) Spin - Robert Charles WilsonBuy at Amazon USABuy at Amazon UK
Philip K Dick
W) War Surf - M M BucknerBuy at Amazon USABuy at Amazon UK
Natural History - Justina RobsonBuy at Amazon USABuy at Amazon UK
Arthur C Clarke
W) Air - Geoff RymanBuy at Amazon USABuy at Amazon UK
Accelerando - Charles StrossBuy at Amazon USABuy at Amazon UK
Banner of Souls - Liz WilliamsNot available at Amazon USABuy at Amazon UK
Learning the World - Ken MacLeodBuy at Amazon USABuy at Amazon UK
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo IshiguroBuy at Amazon USABuy at Amazon UK
Pushing Ice - Alastair ReynoldsBuy at Amazon USABuy at Amazon UK

Destined for cult status, Ladd Ehlinger Jr's Flatland is a triumph over big budgets and modern extravagances.

For those of us who revelled in the offbeat animated flicks the 60s and 70s offered up this film is a welcome respite. Based on the late-19th century novel by mathematician Edwin A Abbott,
Flatland is a tale aimed at exploring the very possibilities of existence.

The hero is A Square, a lawyer in a politically turbulent two-dimensional world run by circles. In a dream sequence he tries to explain the nature of existence to the inhabitants of a one-dimensional world to whom he appears omnipotent. Given this, the animation is basic 2D until A Square is visited by a powerful sphere who takes him to an amazing 3D world.

With virtually no budget to speak of Ehlinger pulls off a masterstroke of invention. Maths and animation combine to show that inter-dimensionality can always go one better.


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