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Great Science-Fiction & Fantasy Works

Science-fiction & fantasy literature: a critical list with discussions.

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Possible Books


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“‘The Observer will decide’, I said.”

– Kiteworld,
Keith Roberts

Why These Are Not Yet in the Lists

Regrettably, I have in recent years been spared little time for further development of this site. While I hope and expect that I will be returning to a heavier commitment to it soon now, in the meantime I thought to augment the site a bit with a list of some books yet-unlisted here but by authors already in the lists.

The attentive visitor to this site will have noticed that the main lists already contain books not yet read by me—all duly marked with a # sign before the title—and so may wonder why the particular unread books here are not also in those lists. Well, there are some authors who are so good that anything by them can be trusted; and there are others who, if not “for the ages”, are both acceptably good and consistent. Works by either sort may, in my opinion, be recommended unread, subject to two provisos: first, that the recommender—me, in this case—makes it clear that the recommendation is based on repute, not an actual reading; and second, that the book eventually be read and, if regrettably it be necessary to remove it, be removed. Such, in my opinion, are the # books now in the lists.

There remain quite a number of authors who can at least on occasion rise to acceptable quality, as evidenced by their being represented in these lists at all, but whose output shows significant variations in quality (“quality” always, of course, meaning “quality as I perceive it”). That category naturally includes a number of writers of middling ability, who can now or then hit the bell; but it also includes a nontrivial number of authors of presumed excellence who nevertheless—to me—seem capable of producing occasional potboilers or worse along with their better work.

Let us get one thing clear: this is emphatically not a list of “marginal” works of dubious quality. It is simply a list of works not yet read and evaluated, and (so far as I can tell) of unpredictable quality. So, while it doubtless contains some marginal work (possibly even some drek), it likely also contains not a few wondrous gems. I put it forth simply so that should anyone come to this site looking for some thoughts on where to expand their current reading acquaintance they can have the regular lists—necessarily limited by what one man can read in a given span—augmented by at least plausible suggestions about authors who have already proved, whether once or repeatedly, that they are capable of producing worthwhile reading. Note also that these are by no means complete bibliographies of these writers, even just with the field of speculative fiction.

I also want to make a second thing quite clear: this is also emphatically not a complete bibliography of each of the authors listed here. Some of these authors have huge numbers of works in our fields, and I have not tried to list each and every yet-unread work by those authors. Rather, I have tried to present a reasonable-length sampling of their yet-unread (by me) output as a suggestion (both to you and to myself) of what of theirs to try next. If you want complete bibliographies, go to the Internet SF Database site.

I have, in a few cases, included some limited comments about the author, but only as an aide-memoire, not as any sort of definitive analysis.

And I say yet again: I really don’t know much about any of these books save that their respective authors have produced at least some work of merit.

(Remember also that there is also a page here about other candidate authors, not yet represented here but pending consideration.)

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The List

In these listings:

The standard marks on this site also apply, notably that a * after a book title indicates that it is a collection of tales, not a novel.

The key distinction in these lists is that a title that is not boldfaced is a work that I am not sure qualifies as either science-fiction or fantasy. (It may also happen that a title that is boldfaced is not either, since I am going by general repute, not actual reading experience.)





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This page was last modified on Tuesday, 13 October 2020, at 11:32 pm Pacific Time.