Blatant blog-fodder, but hey: the Guardian is doing a series on 1000 novels everyone must read, and today they reached science fiction and fantasy (and horror). Don’t worry, I’m not going to post the whole list — Martin’s done that, if you’re interested — but here are the links:
- Part one (Adams to Golding)
- Part two (Haldeman to Okri)
- Part three (Palahniuk to Zamyatin)
- The best dystopias by Michael Moorcock
- Radical reading by Roz Kaveney
- Imagined worlds by Susanna Clarke
- The best gothic novels by Patrick McGrath
- The best of JG Ballard by Toby Litt
- Top 10 trivia: novels that predicted the future by Andrew Crumey
I’m not sure to what extent the novels on the sidebar lists count towards the total; I assume Crumey’s list, at least, is separate, given that it overlaps with the main list and other sidebars, and I hope that, say, Susanna Clarke’s picks count towards the total, because they’re rather canonical, though I have no idea whether they’re counting The Chronicles of Narnia as one entry or seven. In a way I wish they’d done the whole thing as individual lists because that would make it easier to track the preferences of the nominators, though there are no real surprises (i.e. the vast majority of the genre-published books are picked by genre-published writers: Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Eric Brown, and Keith Brooke). The other nominators make plenty of interesting (or perhaps challenging) picks — Darkmans; The Blind Assassin; The Unconsoled — and there’s plenty to argue with in the list itself, which presumably is the point of the exercise. As Martin says, the idea that The Years of Rice and Salt is the Kim Stanley Robinson novel that everyone should read before they die is barmy, ditto Greg Bear and Darwin’s Radio; The Einstein Intersection is almost certainly not the essential Delany, ditto Calvino and The Baron in the Trees. And as ever, I’m sure you could come up with another list, just as long, comprised entirely of books omitted from this one. But, all things considered, not bad. I’ve read about a third.
5 thoughts on “List of the Day”
No Greg Egan, no Paul McAuley, no Terry Pratchett (surprisingly!), etc etc… and some strange choices for the authors they do include – Ken McLeod’s The Night Sessions? No The Stone Canal or something?
Pratchett’s there, in Susanna Clarke’s fantasy series list. In theory, all of the Discworld book are included, though whterhe as one entry or however many there are isn’t, as Niall says, clear.
But yes, The Night Sessions seems an odd MacLeod to choose.
This selection also seems to have been made on a different basis to the other 6 installments of the 1000. It’s more obviously representative – one book for a range of authors and 2 for for ‘important’ people like Banks, Dick etc. The categories of the other sections are weird eg war & travel (!?): we came, we saw, we conquered! (section includes Crryptonomicon – so Stephenson makes it up to 2 out of the 1000). The first installment on Love had some really odd choices too!
The division into genre lists and topic lists has a whiff of disingenuousness about it — clearly The Forever War could just as well go on the war list, and The Time-Traveler’s Wife just as well on the love list. But the selections are, as you say, sufficiently odd that I don’t mind too much.
(Relatedly, I note that Verne and Vonnegut crop up in war and travel … along with The Island of Doctor Moreau.)