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Great Science-Fiction
& Fantasy Works

science-fiction & fantasy literature:
a critical list with discussions

Welcome to the "Great Science-Fiction & Fantasy" Site

"This is the circus of Dr. Lao.
We show you things that you don't know.
We tell you of places you'll never go.
We've searched the world both high and low
To capture the beasts for this marvelous show
From mountains where maddened winds did blow
To islands where zephyrs breathed sweet and low.
Oh, we've spared no pains and we've spared no dough;
And we've dug at the secrets of long ago;
And we've risen to Heaven and plunged Below,
For we wanted to make it one hell of a show.
And the things you'll see in your brains will glow
Long past the time when the winter snow
Has frozen the summer's furbelow.
For this is the circus of Dr. Lao.
And youth may come and age may go;
But no more circuses like this show!"

--The Circus of Dr. Lao,
Charles G. Finney




A Request

There is, at the bottom of this and most pages of this site, a Site Directory--but I ask that before you start sampling the meat of this site you bear with me through two steps: first, this short page, which deals briefly with a few mechanical details; then, an admittedly lengthy Apologia (to which I will guide you when we finish our business on this page), where I set forth how and why I hope this site will be useful to you, a setting forth that necessarily includes my ideas about quality in literature in general and in science fiction and fantasy specifically. That is not--or not primarily--an exercise in vanity: it is information essential to an understanding of why certain science-fiction and fantasy authors and books are or are not included on this site, and that is why you really need to read it first.


A Quick Overview

We can, if crudely, compare this site with a solar system:

  • the centrum, the "sun" of this site, which has spawned the rest and about which that rest revolves, is a master list of science-fiction and fantasy authors of quality, and their notable works;

  • the "planets" of this solar system are author pages, one per author, that each carry the book list for that author as given in the master list, but also carry (or will all in time carry) an essay about that author with some comments on the listed books by that author, as well as links to useful further resources about that author available elsewhere on line;

  • orbiting each such auctorial "planet" as "moons" are individual book pages, one page per listed book by the corresponding author; those pages do not further discuss the books they represent (though they may point out preferred editions) but are about availability of the book--each edition currently available new (if any) is listed, with publication and price data in several currencies, plus there is (whether the book is currently available new or not) always a link to an Abebooks listing of all used copies of the book currently available on the internet;

  • the solar-system analogy now gets a bit strained, for those book-page "moons" often themselves have "moonlets" orbiting them, which moonlets are individual edition pages : one page for each particular edition of that book still available new from a given Amazon national division--and, while each such edition-at-division "moonlet" page carries up-to-the-minute price and availability information, it also has, whenever they are available, all editorial and reader reviews of the book appearing on Amazon;

  • and there is an "asteroid belt" of miscellaneous pages more or less directly related to science fiction and fantasy literature, plus a few "comets"--pages more peripherally related, but still circling the same conceptual sun as the rest.

All this is explained in much more detail--with discussions keyed to a tabular and color-coded Site Directory--on a page we will come to soon. But for all of that, at bottom this site is simply a list of good authors and good books by those authors: in short, any author or book listed on this site is one I think a civilized reader likely to enjoy. (And I continue to add authors and books to the lists.)


Those Mechanical Details

These are things minor but not altogether unimportant:

» Navigation: I have assumed that you know how to work your web browser, and so have not cluttered up your screen with childish navigational frames, or Back or Home button images. Each site page has a nearly complete Site Directory--links to all pages except the many individual-author and individual-book pages--located a little above the page bottom (and in each such Directory there is also a free-form site-search box).

» "Best Viewed With": This site uses no frames, Java, Javascript, Flash, or other such inventions of the Devil: just honest, standard HTML (now virtually all XHTML, version 1.0)--thus any standards-compliant browser will display it perfectly. If your browser does not present it correctly--for instance, if you see strange-looking text alignments or misalignments--then that browser is not standards-compliant (can you spell Micro$oft?) and you should get the fully compliant (and free) Firefox browser instead.

» Graphics: At the risk of seeming humdrum, I have elected not to waste your download time with large amounts of colorful and exciting but irrelevant graphics. I hope that you will be more interested in the wine than the bottle.

» Buying Books: Because people who read about books often want to buy books, this site facilitates seven ways in which you can easily buy books direct from here: new through any of the six national divisions of Amazon (U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, France, or Japan), or used, from any of the vast horde of on-line used-book sellers represented by Abebooks. (That last is important, because too many of the books I list here are, sad to say, now out of print.) My being an affiliate of all those Amazons has two consequences: one is, of course, that you can buy from whichever location you prefer direct from these pages; the other is that, since the stocks of the several operations do not by any means coincide, some books not available new through one division can be obtained through another. Each book listed here is one-click linked to a list of all editions available new (if any) and to all editions available used through Abebooks (which is normally all editions ever published). You can even check out the Science-Fiction Book Club from here. And I have also added in a sort of "general store" of speculative-fiction books, for those wanting to see what else is currently out there.

» ScumWare!: Whether or not you go on to visit the rest of this site, please at least do yourself the favor of looking at the page on scumware. It's vile stuff that you may well have on your computer right now without knowing it.

» Links: I go to some trouble to try to assure that all the many links on these pages are up to date: I have created software that, once a day, tabulates all the links on this site (and my other sites) and checks each to see that it connects properly. If it doesn't, it adds the dubious link to a list I look at daily. Still, "valid" connects can nonetheless lead to changed or dummy pages, so if you find a link that doesn't seem to work the way I lead you to expect, please report it to me. Thank you.

» Me: If, after becoming well familiar with this site, you feel that you need to know more about the "webmaster"--what a comically pretentious term!--there is a trifle about your host on a short page listed in the Site Directory at the bottom of each site page.

» "Science Fiction & Fantasy": If you are wondering if a literate writer really needs to repeat the terms "science fiction" and "fantasy" and "literature" as often as they appear on this page, the answer is No; but nowadays one needs to cater to the vagaries of automated search-engine spiders, which have not critical perceptions as fine as yours--and this explanation provides three more uses each of the terms "science fiction" and "fantasy" and "literature"--how droll it all is!


Some Thanks:

Several persons have been kind enough to assist with the preparation of this site by patiently reviewing draft versions of the various pages and, with equally great patience, pointing out the many defects of grammar, syntax, diction, and felicity in those drafts. The many defects that yet remain are not owing to any failing on those reviewers' parts but to my innate stubbornness about taking good advice.

Mr. Gerald E. Smyth was so especially giving of his time and effort that I must single him out for my highest thanks. His insights have not saved me from all the errors of my idiosyncratic ways--no one and nothing could--but they have made this site a deal better than it otherwise would have been.


And Now:

Click here to continue on to the Apologia.

Note!

A certain portion of the visitors to any web site will be season ticket holders to Short Attention Span Theater. If you choose to bypass the recommended introductory material, I cannot stop you; as noted, a directory of the entire site--intended as a convenience to returning visitors--is at your disposal on every page. This site, however, was designed for civilized readers, not for the MTV generation: if what I have to say in the Apologia seems to you wrongheaded or tedious, all you need do is leave. But you ought to always--as a courtesy if nothing else--come into a new site in the way its designer intended. (All that is sometimes summarized in the phrase best known by its acronym: RTFM.)





You loaded this page on Friday, 19 December 2014, at 10:01 GMT
it was last modified on Thursday, 1 January 1970, at 00:00 GMT


Site Mechanics:

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Site Directory:

 The site's Front Page


(essential one-time reading)
Introductory Material:
    Welcome:
 a quick site overview and some mechanical details
    Apologia:
 the criteria used to make these lists
      (A long page, so also available in two parts for those with slow internet connections.)
            · Apologia: Part 1
            · Apologia: Part 2
    Site Organization:
 what's where, and why

 

(the heart of the site)
The Authors:
    Author List
 (just a lightly annotated list of the authors here--not the best place to start)
    Master Authors/Books List
 (the centrum of this site, but a big page--there are alpha subpages available)
   A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
    Specialty Lists:
 several author "sub-lists" (such as the 5-star greats)
    Author Links:
 links to useful external pages or sites for each listed author
    More Books:
 yet-unread candidate books by authors already in these lists
    Other Candidates:
 authors, and books, that--pending actual reading--seem likely candidates for these lists

 

(typically gotten to
by author)
The Books:
    All Listed Science Fiction & Fantasy Books
 (a long file to download)
    Preferred Editions:
 for those books having such (a work in progress)
    The Other Books:
 all cited books not in the master fiction list, collected in one place
    Overlooked Gems of Science Fiction & Fantasy:
 wonderful works sadly under-known
    Light-Hearted Science-Fiction & Fantasy:
 there's more than you might think
    Religiously Themed Science Fiction & Fantasy:
 something the field handles wonderful well
    Science Fiction & Fantasy For Younger Readers:
 a selection from these lists of appropriate works
    100 Great Works of Science Fiction & Fantasy:
 using an expansive definition of "works"
    "Guilty Pleasures" of Science Fiction & Fantasy:
 sometimes even gourmets just want a big bag of potato chips

 

(new, used--find any book, anywhere in the world)
About Buying Books From Here:
    Buying Books New:
 · about buying books from Amazon
 · searching for new books at any Amazon division
 · international book-buying considerations
    Buying Books Used:
 searching for used books anywhere in the world
    Our Speculative-Fiction "General Store":
    About the Science-Fiction Book Club:
 info & online signup



(often the most interesting part of any site)
Miscellaneous Topics & Info:
    Musings:
 an ever-growing collection of, yes, musings
    Obiter Dicta:
 collected miscellaneous
    "That Other Genre":
 crime/mystery fiction
    Science-Fiction & Fantasy Art and Illustration:
 online galleries of diverse works
    Other Sites:
 sites that have noticed this one
    The English Language:
 a few thoughts on its modern rape
    Scumware!
 read this if nothing else whatever
    Change Log
 what was done when
    Your Host:
 a comically little about me
    Donate:
 you can help support this site
    Comments:
 some things said about this site by others

 

(on- or off-topic, there's a forum here for you)
The Discussion Forums on This Site:
    The Forums:
 the forums "front page", with a menu of forums--or jump to one direct:

Site Info:

owl logo This site is one of The Owlcroft Company family of web sites. Please click on the link (or the owl) to see a menu of our other diverse user-friendly, helpful sites.       Pair Networks logo Like all our sites, this one is hosted at the highly regarded Pair Networks, whom we strongly recommend. We invite you to click on the Pair link (or their logo) for more information on getting your site or sites hosted on a first-class service.
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