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The Grumpy Old Man
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August 2015
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The Grumpy Old Man [userpic]
Top 20 Geek Novels

The Jargon File has got a more well-rounded list of books every geek should know, but over at the Guardian website, Jack Schofield's Technology Blog entry on the top 20 geek novels is causing a bit of a stir among those in the blog-meme game.

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 suppose that makes me an 85% geek. I've read several of Banks' books (thanks to storme), but I've missed Consider Phlebas. I've read other Wyhdham books (thanks to aussienyc), but somehow missed Trouble with Lichen.

Question open to all, results viewable to all: is Microserfs worth reading? I've not read any Coupland.


I found Microserfs very readable and funny when I read it, but that was ten years ago. Dunno how dated it would feel now.

Good books on hacker culture are worth reading even if technology has surpassed them. I shall give Microserfs a try.

I highly recommend Kidder's "Soul of a New Machine" and Jenning's "Devouring Fungus" books (both non-fiction).

I really liked Microserfs. I think it dates well, as long as you know you're going to get a slice of life as it was then and not as it is now. I've tried some other Couplands on the strength of it but didn't like them very much. I also really liked Soul of a New Machine, for similar reasons. (I haven't read the Jennings books you mentioned but it sounds like I should.)

As for the rest of that list... Hmm, I think the only one I haven't read is American Gods. It's not exactly an adventurous list; almost everything on it is really famous, and will be enjoyed by most people. But most of them wouldn't make my personal top 20 list (probably only Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?).

...okay, and probably Hitchhiker's.

I'm not sure this is "books every geek should read" so much as "books every Libertarian geek should read", what with the Heinlein, Stephenson and Illuminatus!. But I guess there is a pretty strong Libertarian streak in the Slashdot type of geek.

(I disliked all those books except Snow Crash.)

I read Microserfs last year, and thought it was still funny. The ending was a bit off for me, but that's just me. Overall, even though some of the things have changed, I found enough that was familiar.