Tuesday 20 March 2012

Masterworks of Science Fiction and Fantasy

A few years ago, I decided that I would attempt to read the 100 greatest books of science-fiction and fantasy.  I spent weeks searching the internet, compiling lists, and checking on the winners of the Hugo and Nebula. Then, once I got my list together, I set off reading.  But I didn’t make it very far...
The problem was I didn’t enjoy most of the books I was reading. In several cases, I found the topic, or the author’s views, distasteful. Other books I found wearying because of the style of prose.  So the project ground to a halt.
It’s my own fault, mind you. Most of these books I should have realized I wasn’t going to enjoy just by reading the blurb. But I forced myself to read them out of some misguided sense of intellectual expansion.
Now, having had some time to reflect on the experience, I have realized that my intent was a good one, but my methodology was flawed.  The only person who can determine if a book is a classic is me (that is to say ‘the individual’).  Other people can suggest and even argue, but I am the final, and only important, arbiter.
So, I am re-launching my quest to read the 100 greatest books of science-fiction and fantasy. However, this time, it is only after I have read a book that I will know if it is (or is not) on the list.  To get myself started, I have made a list of all the books on my shelf that qualify for the title.  I have probably read others, but either I have forgotten them, or can’t remember them well enough to know if they qualify.
19 down - 81 to go.
Masterworks of Science Fiction and Fantasy
1. The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester
2. The Demolished Man – Alfred Bester
3. Anubis Gates – Tim Powers
4. The Forever War – Joe Haldeman
5. The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
6. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
7. Speaker for the Dead – Orson Scott Card
8. The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
9. The Lost Fleet (Series) – Jack Campbell
10. A Canticle for Leibowitz – Walter Miller Jr.
11. Hyperion & Fall of Hyperion – Dan Simmons
12. Harry Potter (Series) – J. K. Rowling
13. Frankenstein – Mary Shelly
14. The Savage Sword of Solomon Kane - Robert E. Howard
15. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
16. Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham
17. World War Z - Max Brooks
18. Rendezvous with Rama – Arthur C. Clark
19. The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward – H. P. Lovecraft

1 comment:

  1. hmm, I may hunt a few of these down myself. Those on your list that I have read I really like, so I may see what the others are like :)