In 2011, National Public Radio (NPR) polled listeners in hopes of identifying the most beloved works of science fiction and fantasy. The 100 finalists included such well-known works as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Books that may be lesser known to mainstream readers were also featured, such as the influential Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, as were works of highly regarded literature like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.
The list was topped, unsurprisingly, by J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. His supplementary work, The Silmarillion, also ranked within the top 50. The Lord of the Rings was joined in the NPR top 10 by fellow fantasy and science fiction classics like 1984 and Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, as well as modern works like A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin and American Gods by Neil Gaiman.