Doesn't your heart beat faster to see the cover of an Iain Banks Culture novel? Well, mine does.
Inspired by Michael Dirda's list of ten favorite science fiction books, and by Ann Leckie's interesting list, I decided to do my own "top ten" list.
What I quickly ran into was that many of the best SF books I ever read were not, in fact, novels. But that when I started including story collections, I had to bump too many novels off my list.
So what I've done is compile two lists: One of ten favorite SF novels (that's the list that "competes" with Dirda and Leckie) and one that lists collections. I've made no attempt to pick the "best" books or most influential books or whatever. There are my favorites, and in many cases are books I've read more than once. For Gene Wolfe and Dan Simmons and Philip Jose Farmer, I've picked single titles, but I'm really referring to the series as a whole (The Book of the New Sun, Hyperion-Endymion, Riverworld.)
Ten favorite novels
1. The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells.
2. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein.
3. Tau Zero, Poul Anderson.
4. This Immortal, Roger Zelazny.
5. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick.
6. Hyperion, Dan Simmons.
7. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer.
8. Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson.
9. Islands in the Net, Bruce Sterling.
10. Excession, Iain M. Banks.
Ten favorite SF story collections
1. Dangerous Visions, Harlan Ellison, editor.
2. I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, Harlan Ellison.
3. The Dying Earth, Jack Vance.
4. The Book of Philip Jose Farmer, Philip Jose Farmer.
5. Nine Hundred Grandmothers, R.A. Lafferty.
6. The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury.
7. Mixed Feelings, George Alec Effinger.
8. The Sentinel, Arthur C. Clarke.
9. Gene Wolfe's Book of Days, Gene Wolfe.
10. The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Vol. 1, Robert Silverberg, editor.