21 June 2011

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books


The folks at NPR are asking for summer suggestions of "The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books", from which they will compile a final list.

There are 1,850 comments and counting right now. Plenty of the sorts of books that have inhabited such lists for decades (The Foundation Trilogy, Dune, Stranger in a Strange Land, Lord of the Rings, etc.), but also lots of idiosyncratic choices, which is, I think, exactly what such a list should get -- indeed, I would love them to get so many eclectic comments that it's impossible for a list of fewer than 534 titles to be created from it.

In that spirit, I submitted two lists:
The Odyssey by Homer
Hamlet by Shakespeare [though, on reflection, I think if I were to do it again I'd put Twelfth Night here]
The Double by Dostoyevsky
The Castle by Kafka
Orlando by Woolf

The Course of the Heart by M. John Harrison
We Who Are About To by Joanna Russ
The Return to Nevèrÿon series by Samuel R. Delany
The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad
The Affirmation by Christopher Priest
Since those two lists are so obviously inadequate and incomplete, I thought about making more -- lists of books not originally written in English, lists of books only by x,y,z type of person, lists of books starting with the letter M, etc. When it comes to lists, two is not enough, and neither is infinity.

But I very much enjoyed fantasizing about what would happen in the brain of someone who sat on a beach through the summer and read all of those books...

No comments:

Post a Comment