SF List books

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SF List books

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1divinenanny
Aug 11, 2016, 2:29pm

Piggy banking on the other topic about SF Autobiographies is my question. I was wondering if people here know of more books that list SF (or SFF+H) books to read. Think 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die but SFF+H only.

So far I know of:
David Pringle - Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels
Damien Broderick & Paul Di Filippo - Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels 1985-2010
Maxim Jakubowski & Malcolm Edwards - The Complete Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy Lists
Baird Searles & Martin Last & Beth Meacham & Michael Franklin - A Reader's Guide to Science Fiction
Neil Barron - Anatomy of Wonder: Science Fiction

Related are:
Jo Walton - Among Others (the books referenced in this work of fiction)

Does anybody know of any more?

3dustydigger
Edited: Aug 12, 2016, 6:26am

Slightly off topic,but seeing David Pringle's name reminds me of one of my fave SF reference books,almost 20 years old now but still so very useful and enjoyable Science Fiction:the Definitive Illustrated Guide,which covers films,TV and authors,and has some excellent short articles on genres and themes etc. I found a brand new copy in a thrift shop for £1,($1.50!)
As for online lists I dont think worlds Without End can be beaten for its list resources. You can see this from my TBR list over there,a mere 265 books.... There's my SFF reading sorted for the next 6 years at least!

4divinenanny
Aug 12, 2016, 6:05am

Yeah.... That site is about 65% responsible for me having a (physical!) TBR of about 2000 books :D I need to be better in tracking my collection/reading on there, but I am watching those awards and lists :D

5dustydigger
Edited: Aug 12, 2016, 6:52am

>5 dustydigger: I keep my TBR severely in check by only putting the first in series on the list. I can ignore all the rest till I have to read book 2 etc! :0)

6divinenanny
Aug 12, 2016, 8:42am

>5 dustydigger:
My TBR is mostly governed by what I find at thrift stores, so sometimes I get part 2 (or 3 or 4) because it is cheap and I can see myself liking part one. And sometimes I get a later part without realising it is part of a series (like The Uplift War, now I am on the hunt for Sundiver). But still, without later parts in a series, I think it is still about 1800 books. But for me it is as much about the collecting and the potential for one day reading them as it is about the reading itself.

7lansingsexton
Aug 12, 2016, 5:25pm

>1 divinenanny: I assume there's a substantial crossover, but you should add Jo Walton's What Makes This Book So Great.

9bookzen
Aug 13, 2016, 1:23am

What a great question!

Most of the following books come at the question of lists sideways. These aren't lists, but histories of science fiction. I added quite a few titles to my wishlists reading these.

I will highly recommend two books by the late, very much missed, Bud Webster.

Anthropology 101: Reflections, Inspections and Dissections of SF Anthologies
Past Masters and Other Bookish Natterings

He has other books of interest* 41 Above the Rest: An Index and Checklist for the Anthologies of Groff Conklin, but those are the two that I have read.

*OK. Of interest to me :)

I really enjoyed The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction by Justine Larbalestier.

John J. Pierce published a critical history of science fiction in four books. Long out of print academic texts (Read. Expensive.), they are worth tracking down through the public library.

Foundations of Science Fiction: A Study in Imagination and Evolution
Great Themes of Science Fiction: A Study in Imagination and Evolution
When World Views Collide: A Study in Imagination and Evolution
Odd Genre: A Study in Imagination and Evolution

And on the TBR pile (And the only actual book of lists)

I picked up a used copy of Urania's Daughters: A Checklist of Women Science Fiction Writers, 1692-1982 (Starmont reference guide) by Roger C. Schlobin

Happy Reading!

10divinenanny
Aug 13, 2016, 5:13am

>7 lansingsexton: & >8 davisfamily:
I am not usually one for reading reviews and critiques, mainly because I am not so 'strict' as most reviewers. Is Jo Walton generally positive in her reviews/essays in this book? The title makes me think so... I know I should just go and read one or two on Tor, but you two seem to love this book ;)

>9 bookzen:
Histories of SF would be my next question, so thanks a lot for your list!

One that is also on my wishlist (but seems overly expensive, even second-hand) is Anatomy of Wonder: A critical guide to Science Fiction by Neil Barron. Maybe wait for another re-issue/reprint.

11RandyStafford
Aug 13, 2016, 9:54am

>9 bookzen: The Pierce works are good and old enough that libraries are starting to get rid of them -- which is how I picked them up about a year ago at a reasonable price.

James Gunn's The Road to Science Fiction #1 has a reading list.

12LisaMorr
Aug 14, 2016, 1:57pm

13divinenanny
Aug 14, 2016, 2:36pm

>12 LisaMorr:
Online there are a lot of lists (check https://www.worldswithoutend.com/lists.asp). But there is just something about a hard copy list with also a good argumentation on why a book is chosen. Thank for the tip though (the NPR list is already in my own lists/awards system I use to find (new to me) books to collect.

14artturnerjr
Aug 14, 2016, 4:02pm

>3 dustydigger:
>4 divinenanny:

Worlds Without End is a great online resource for SF fans. The Science Fiction Awards Database (http://www.sfadb.com/) is another one, particularly the following pages:

http://www.sfadb.com/TableC1
http://www.sfadb.com/Citations_Directory
(for lists of great speculative fiction books)

http://www.sfadb.com/TableA1
http://www.sfadb.com/Anthologies&Collections_Directory
(for lists of great SF short stories and novellas (I am slowly working my way through the Table A1 list))

15divinenanny
Aug 14, 2016, 4:12pm

>14 artturnerjr:
Ooooh nice. I am on an anthology collecting bender at the moment, so that is a great source list! And that citations directory is gold, thank you!

16davisfamily
Aug 14, 2016, 4:54pm

>10 divinenanny:
Yes she is positive, she is writing about books she rereads.
She really digs into the writing style and story, telling you why the book is worth a reread.
Go check out a couple of her essays on tor.com to get a feel for what she is trying to do.
I also really enjoyed these because she wrote about a ton of books I haven't read..... yet.

17artturnerjr
Aug 14, 2016, 6:03pm

>15 divinenanny:

My pleasure. Nice to find someone who is able to geek out on those the way that I do. :)

18divinenanny
Aug 15, 2016, 2:38am

>16 davisfamily:
Ooooh nice. I thoroughly enjoyed Among Others and thought the love she has for SF works shone through.

>17 artturnerjr:
Oh you have no idea ;) I have my own SQL database (with PHP frontend) in which I not only keep track of what I own and read, but also lists and awards, giving each listing, nomination and win a score to make one master list of 'best of the best' books. By entering the lists and awards that reflect what I want to read and collect, this gives me a good starting point for finding older works I didn't know. And it is a good opportunity to learn about database design, programming etc.

19Cecrow
Edited: Aug 15, 2016, 1:19pm

501 Must-Read Books has helped me in several categories to focus on some big names I've neglected. I'm not fully confident in its SF selections (#352-401), which leans heavily on the very old and not necessarily classic, but it does have an interesting and wide selection of authors:

352. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
353. Hothouse, Brian Aldiss
354. Brain Wave, Poul Anderson
355. I, Robot, Isaac Asimov
356. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
357. The Crystal World, J.G. Ballard
358. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
359. Who Goes There?, John W. Campbell
360. The Invention of Morel, Adolfo Bioy Casares
361. Planet of the Apes, Pierre Boulle
362. The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury
363. The Sheep Look Up, John Brunner
364. A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
365. Erewhon, Samuel Butler
366. Cosmicomics, Italo Calvino
367. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke
368. A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder, James De Mille
369. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Philip K. Dick
370. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer
371. Neuromancer, William Gibson
372. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
373. Dune, Frank Herbert
374. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
375. Two Planets, Kurd Lasswitz
376. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. LeGuin
377. Solaris, Stanislaw Lem
378. Shikasta, Doris Lessing
379. The Stepford Wives, Ira Levin
380. Out of the Silent Planet, C.S. Lewis
381. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
382. Dwellers in the Mirage, Abraham Merritt
383. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter Miller
384. Ringworld, Larry Niven
385. Time Traders, Andre Norton
386. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
387. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, Edgar Allan Poe
388. Inverted World, Christopher Priest
389. The Green Child, Herbert Read
390. The Laxian Key, Robert Sheckley
391. City, Clifford D. Simak
392. Donovan's Brain, Curt Siodmak
393. Lest Darkness Fall, L. Sprague De Camp
394. Last and First Men, Olaf Stapledon
395. More than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
396. Slan, A.E. Van Vogt
397. A Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Jules Verne
398. Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
399. The Island of Dr Moreau, H.G. Wells
400. Islandia, Austin Tappan Wright
401. The Day of the Triffids, John Wyndham

Edit: added the touchstones

20divinenanny
Aug 15, 2016, 9:29am

>19 Cecrow:
Thanks for the list. 501 Must Read books is one of the books I have on order at the moment :D

21Cecrow
Aug 15, 2016, 10:44am

I've gained a lot from it, but like any list I think the 501 has its flaws. I still like it enough that I created a (not terribly popular, lol) group around it.
https://www.librarything.com/groups/501mustreadbooks

22dustydigger
Aug 15, 2016, 12:16pm

Interesting and very quirky list! Only read 31 of these,with 5 more already on my TBR. Several more are a bit difficult to locate for free,and for once on such a list there are books I havent heard of at all!( 360,368,382,389,400)
Looked at your ''group''. Wish I wasnt so busy I would be tempted to join you. Would do quite well on the SF and kids sections,but I dont read memoirs or history stuff,nor much general fiction,so I'd not get too far with it.lol. I've only read 110 altogether,not much of a showing really! :0)

23Darth-Heather
Aug 15, 2016, 1:25pm

>21 Cecrow: ok, you got me.... I can't resist listmaking :) There are several categories that I haven't explored at all, so it's good to have these suggestions on where to start.

24Cecrow
Edited: Aug 15, 2016, 1:33pm

>22 dustydigger:, lists can be rewarding for what they bring to light that way. Before I looked this over for the first time, I'm sorry to tell you I'd never heard of Ballard, Bester, Brunner or Simak. I didn't know Doris Lessing had written SF. The 501 has proven similarly rewarding in other categories.

But every list ought to come with a footnote. For this one: I've presented this SF portion to LT before, and someone wisely commented they can't see what it's getting at. It doesn't appear to actually comprise the best of all the classic masters, and it's questionable whether it highlights what proved to be the most influential going forward. It may capture where SF was, but not necessarily where it went. Outside of Neuromancer and Handmaid's Tale, everything else predates 1980.

>23 Darth-Heather:, it is a (sad?) addiction of mine as well. ;)

25rshart3
Aug 15, 2016, 5:07pm

Anatomy of Wonder is a great resource, though even the latest ed. is a bit dated. New edition, please!

26divinenanny
Aug 16, 2016, 2:29am

>23 Darth-Heather:, >24 Cecrow:
I love lists because they give me ideas where I never though to look. Especially outside of SF, but in SF too. All lists have their biases and flaws, but if you take those into account, they can be wonderful recources. Another fan here!

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