Back in early November "The Guardian" ran a poll of readers to determine the top 20 geek books written in English since 1932. This list has been doing the rounds of the litblogs lately, with the bloggers indicating which of the books they had read by "emboldening" the titles. The results and my entries are given below.
1. The HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- Douglas Adams
2. Nineteen Eighty-Four -- George Orwell
3. Brave New World -- Aldous Huxley
4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? -- Philip Dick
5. Neuromancer -- William Gibson
6. Dune -- Frank Herbert
7. I, Robot -- Isaac Asimov
8. Foundation -- Isaac Asimov
9. The Colour of Magic -- Terry Pratchett
10. Microserfs -- Douglas Coupland
11. Snow Crash -- Neal Stephenson
12. Watchmen -- Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
13. Cryptonomicon -- Neal Stephenson
14. Consider Phlebas -- Iain M Banks
15. Stranger in a Strange Land -- Robert Heinlein
16. The Man in the High Castle -- Philip K Dick
17. American Gods -- Neil Gaiman
18. The Diamond Age -- Neal Stephenson
19. The Illuminatus! Trilogy -- Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson
20. Trouble with Lichen - John Wyndham
Which says more about my lifetime's reading patterns than anything else probably.
Of the unread books, Stephenson's books were published as follows: Snow Crash 1992, The Diamond Age 1995, and Cryptonomicon 1999; the Gaiman dates from 2001, the Coupland from 1995, with the oldest being The Illuminatus trilogy from 1975.
There are reasons for this. Until the early 1980s I basically read all the sf I could get my hands on. After that time (my mid-20s) my literary tastes started to change and I moved away from sf to other things. I still go back to visit every now and then, but I drank too deeply from that well in my youth and it takes a lot to drag me back.
By the way, the Illuminatus trilogy was around when I was reading a lot of sf and I was aware of it. At the time it looked like a load of crap, and let me tell you, I read a lot of crappy books back then. I reckon if I went and checked it out now I'd have the same opinion.