Open Thread: Pick Your Poison... In Easy Flowchart Form!

Via Work Friend:
This is a flowchart based on the results of an NPR poll regarding the Top 100 SciFi/Fantasy novels.
Click to enlarge.

What's your poison?
I ended up at Sunshine, which I own but haven't read yet (no eBook format yet, *sob*).


Michael Mock said...

Read Sunshine. Read it now. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It has only one, single flaw: there isn't a sequel.

Samantha C said...

So sharing this on facebook! I wound up at Mists of Avalon, haven't read yet but have heard fantastic things. Maybe it's time to give it a go.

....maybe after I finally finish the latest Song of Ice and Fire book sitting there 4/5 done for weeks now, poor thing

redcrow said...

Hmm... Looks like I'm incredibly picky poison-picker. I already read The Eyre Affair, dying suns and impaling demons sound equally uninspiring for me, The Mists Of Avalon was too heavy on Guinevere-bashing for my tastes ("let's make her an awful person and give her an awful life!"), and - what if my ideal pet is a *cat*? (If I chose a dragon, it'd be Temeraire, but they don't offer this option. Pern? No, thanks.)

But maybe I'll read Neverwhere, if I ever find a translation.

Kimberly Evans said...

I ended up with The Legend of Drizzt which I have read, along with the next 4 books in the series.
Cool chart!

Will Wildman said...

I am amused that down in the left corner, "Like stories about orphaned farm boys?" only has a No option, which in turn leads to "Tough" and stories about orphaned farm boys. Also that saying no to dystopian fiction gets "Sounds like you need a good allegory" and leads to Animal Farm. Tricksy.

I tried following it to a few suggestions, but by the time it gets to specific final questions and books, the font has gone all blurry and illegible, and the only book covers I can recognise are those I've read or rejected already.

Really, this flowchart is basically what my brain looks like as I try to pick my premise for NaNoWriMo. Maybe I should try using something similar to make my decision...

redcrow said...

>>>by the time it gets to specific final questions and books, the font has gone all blurry and illegible

There's a link to the bigger and clearer picture somewhere on TheMarySue, where I first saw it. (Ana, if I link to it, will my comment end up in the spam?)

Ana Mardoll said...

Redcrow, post away! If you get caught in the filters, I'll liberate you. :D

Here's a direct link that may not be active forever:

redcrow said...

Dav said...

I ended up with the Mists of Avalon. (Scanning upwards, I see I am in good company.) I have to admit, the few Marion Zimmer Bradley books I read were . . . not quite my cup of tea. They were part of the Darkover series. Anyone read both and can tell me whether it's worth checking out MoA?

I loved Neverwhere; I even watched the Doctor-Who-y series on BBC.

I do not think I agree that Frankenstein is horror, at least not in the sense that I'd use the word for genres. It's less horror than, say, Animal Farm or Lord of the Flies.

redcrow said...

(Oh, and you'd probably still have to download the picture and open it in Paint or Photoshop, but at least it's not blurry when you try to enlarge it.)

Gelliebean said...

Redcrow: yes, yes, yes, read Neverwhere! I loved it so much that I have a hard copy, a Kindle copy *and* the audio book on MP3.

I think I love this chart - Half the books I've already read, and half of the rest were already on my to-read list... :-D Of course, the first time I followed it through I landed at "Kushiel's Dart," and I already have all of that series that has come out in paperback. :-P

chris the cynic said...

I thought you had it narrowed down to three things.

Pthalo said...

well, being an only slightly picky reader, I ended up with a long list of books.

Anathem by Neal Stephenson (Sci fi and fantasy? both -> future -> math geek)

backtracked to the beginning:

The Last Unicorn - Peter S Beagle (Fantasy -> not Harry Potter -> not a newbie -> not arthur -> not modern -> not western -> animals -> unicorn)

backtrackted to not a western:

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrel (not animals -> revisionist -> warring magicians)

backtracked to not animals:

Stardust - Neil Gaiman (not revisionist -> not a series -> not pirates)

backtracked to not revisionist:

Sword of Truth - Terry Goodkind (series -> finished -> not swords and sorcery -> long -> good vs evil -> seeker of truth)

backtracked to long:

Chronicles of Amber - Roger Zelazny (more complicated than good vs evil -> earth in the shadows)

The Malazan Book of the Fallen Sries- Steven Erikson (backtracked to more complicated -> weaving timeline)

backtracked to start:

Contact - Carl Sagan (scifi -> not cyberpunk -> space -> not war -> fatherly aliens)

backtracked to not cyberpunk

The Dispossessed - Ursula LeGuin (not space -> not underground -> politics -> communism)

Anna said...

I almost immediately got The Eyre Affair, which is actually one of my favourite books. This chart wins.

Dav said...

Sword of Truth - Terry Goodkind (series -> finished -> not swords and sorcery -> long -> good vs evil -> seeker of truth)

Oooh boy. You . . . might want to read some of the reviews before tackling this one. The focus changes dramatically over the course of the series, and if you start it as light reading, you might be in for some surprises as to the change in tone. And philosophy.

Rikalous said...

There's a lot more to the Hyperion Cantos than an impaling demon. For example, the first book is a Canterbury Tales type situation, which includes things like the Detective's Tale, a noir story where the dame is a recreation of John Keats, and the Scholar's Tale, where the scholar's daughter starts aging backwards while he begins having dreams that tell him to recreate the sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham.

Ana Mardoll said...

Randomly, I don't consider Frankenstein to really be horror, either, but then again I didn't really LIKE it. I don't care for the literary technique of addressing the reader with little moral interludes.

hapax said...

Meh. I first saw this a few days ago on the Tor site, and I appear to be the only person who hates this chart.

One of the drawbacks of being a professional Book Recommender, I suppose. I look at lists of "If you like X, you'll like Y" and usually start twitching; they always seem to rely too heavily on subject matter and tropes, and not enough on what we call in the trade "Appeal Factors" -- i.e., what made THIS particular reader like THIS particular book. Sometimes it's subject, but often not the subject you'd expect (e.g., I know an awful lot of children who loved the Harry Potter books not for the fantasy, but because they were "school stories" or "friendship stories") but often it's something else entirely: Plot-driven vs character-driven vs setting-driven vs idea-driven? Tone? Style? Voice?

Meanwhile, if I see one more list that puts HIS DARK MATERIALS as the "perfect" read-alike for HARRY POTTER, I might be driven to metaphorical violence. (I mean, I love both series, but... REALLY?)

I think there is an alteration on this chart, btw. When I first saw it, it had THE MAGICIANS as the read-alike for Harry Potter. NAME OF THE WIND is still an awful, awful recommendation, but it's not *nearly* as bad as THE MAGICIANS...

(fwiw, I think I've read about two thirds of the books on the chart, and know enough about the rest to know that I don't want to. But I do suggest SUNSHINE for you; it sports McKinley's gorgeous prose and serves as a lovely antidote to TWILIGHT, both in sensible worldbuilding (not to mention a really fascinating description of vampire sex) and in avoiding the icky, plus it will make you crave cinnamon rolls)

Ana Mardoll said...

I love McKinley books. I wish more of them were available in eBook form -- all her backlog is still unavailable. If they don't convert her library soon, I may have to suck it up and read on paper. Quelle horror. (Did I spell that right?)

Samantha C said...

For those having trouble reading the flowchart, a handy interactive version

redcrow said...

Well, if they try to recommend something as being about "impaling demons", it's not exactly my fault if I get no desire to check further. "A noir story where the dame is a recreation of John Keats" would grab my interest.
That's why I prefer long, in-depth reviews (with spoilers, if possible).

redcrow said...

I wouldn't say I hated it, but it didn't work for me - not enough options, not enough details.

Anna said... it will make you crave cinnamon rolls

That comment on its own is enough to make me crave cinnamon rolls.

depizan said...

I think it's got serious problems, but I think most of these kind of charts have serious problems.

Though putting Bujold's Vorkosigan saga after "I have no sense of humor" just boggles my mind. The Culture series (found after maybe instead of no to humor) sounds more serious (one of the reasons I've never read them).

Pthalo said...

Dav, thanks for the heads up about Sword of Truth. I've looked at some reviews and I really don't like anything by Ayn Rand -- I read some of her stuff and I can sympathise with where she was coming from but I disagree with her. And I'm not sure I could stomach a long series of objectivism.

And somewhat else mentions that every female characters gets raped and/or beaten up, which is one thing that bothered me about a Song of Ice and Fire -- though the main thing that bothered me about a Song of Ice and Fire was that I wasn't interested in all of that politicking and trying to capture the throne and I mostly wished I could skip all the bits that weren't about Arya and Jon and the undead guys up north. and the puppies. well, and the dragon girl is cool too. So I got bored of it.

So I'll cross that off my to read list.

depizan said...

And miss the chicken that was no chicken, but evil incarnate? Why would you want to do that?

Seriously, though, the Sword of Truth books are awful. The first few are oddly readable for how bad they are in retrospect, but after that, it's all downhill. You might enjoy some of the snarking on it about the web, though. (The chicken thing *points up* really is from one of the books. Yes, really.)

Rikalous said...

I have no doubt that plenty of writers could make a scene with an evil chicken work. It's like the way that Clint Eastwood made "Get off my lawn" sound badass.

Dav said...

I never made it to the chicken, honestly.

The books are terrible, but I thought the author was going for something very interesting, where the books start with very stereotypical tropes, and the main character goes from backwoods hero to king to tyrant. I kept expecting the big reveal, you know "But now you have BECOME the thing which you hate!" So I pushed through. It turns out that I was setting my expectations WAY too high.

TW: Violence against kids. V gubhtug gur cneg bs gur svefg obbx jurer bhe ureb xvpxf gur wnj bs na rvtug (?) lrne byq tvey naq funggref vg jnf n ovt cbvagre gb gur funqbj fvqr gb qrirybc bire gur erfg bs gur frevrf, ohg ab, nccneragyl jr jrer fhccbfrq gb fvqr jvgu uvz ba gung.

depizan said...

Actually, I never made it to the chicken, either. Like you, once I realized that the author didn't see what was wrong with his hero, I chucked the series.

@ Rikalous

I think the fact that it is possible to make the mundane - like a chicken - frightening, but Goodkind failed utterly is why the chicken scene is so infamous. Hell, Monty Python's Vorpal Bunny is more frightening than Goodkind's chicken, and that scene is hilarious.

Rikalous said...

Buh. I knew about the series mainly because of the "riding down the evil pacifists" scene, but I thought it was just the later books that got all weird and Rand-y. That's from the first book?

Ana Mardoll said...

@Dav, buh?? I mean, seriously? This is presented as a Heroly Thing To Do? o.O

Post a Comment