NPR probably doesn’t get enough credit for it, but I’ve always been impressed by the way the organization rebranded itself. Making NPR one of the central destinations for legitimate streaming of new albums and early, comprehensive interviews on new music has been a terrific way to position the organization on the leading edge of cultural consumption — it’s both servicey and makes NPR content more likely to get read. So I’m not surprised, but I am glad, to see that NPR’s ahead of its competitors in another important area: giving due praise to science fiction and fantasy.
This summer, NPR’s trying to identify the 100 best science fiction and fantasy novels out there. I think there’s a debate to be had about combining the genres, but I’m not going to throw down and have it here, especially since they’re establishing at least some guidelines by excluding paranormal romance and YA, with the promise that they’ll devote next summer to the latter. Instead, I’d say get over there and get in comments. This is a nice chance at high — or at least medium — culture acknowledgement of a genre that’s fighting hard for its legitimacy. I want this list to end up as strong as possible so everyone has to recognize. Off the top of my head, though I reserve the right to revise this later, I’d probably say Red Mars, Ender’s Game, The Mists of Avalon, Season of Mists (I am a sucker for anything Miltonian), and Cryptonomicon, if that counts.