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Great Science-Fiction & Fantasy Works

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

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“The whole narrative is permeated with the odour of
joss-sticks and honourable high-mindedness.”

– The Wallet of Kai Lung,
Ernest Bramah

Notes

· This is not a complete bibliography of each of the listed authors. It is a list of the books of each that I know and like. Omission of a given book may mean I didn’t think highly enough of it to include it or may simply mean that I haven’t read that book.

· Each author name below is a link to a page here about that author. That page will contain the same list of the author’s books as does this page, plus a brief discussion of the author and those books. Those discussions are introductory, not profound analyses: they are only meant to help you rank the author and the books on your personal “to-read” list. (Right now, though all the author pages are there, the discussions are missing from some; I am completing them as I can.) The “stars” after each author name indicate my rough assessment of that author’s overall literary merit.

· A # after the writer’s name signifies a quite limited output, at least in the fields of science fiction and fantasy (but not necessarily overall); often that output will comprise but a single book.

· All listed books are novels or collections of stories each about the same few characters unless the listing is followed by an asterisk (*), in which case they are collections of unrelated stories.

· Each book title below is, in turn, a link to a page at ABEBooks (if you don’t know who they are, click the link) showing all editions of that book currently available, new or used, and from which page you can—obviously—buy a copy of any such edition.

· For some books, I link and refer to what I term a “preferred edition”. An edition can be the preferred one for a given book for any of several reasons; perhaps the commonest is that it is an omnibus of several related works, making it more convenient and usually less expensive than those works bought separately. Another reason might be that a given edition has special or extra material (such as the several “Annotated” works or, for example, the Gormenghast omnibus with several extensive critical essays included. Or the book might include especially good illustrations long associated with the text. You get the idea.

· For a few authors—those of high quality with many works—I have included some books that I have not myself read, purely on the strength of authorship; each such book is marked with a “hash sign” (#) in front of the title. I intend to get to those books as quickly as resources—such as time—allow, though many are unavailable or available only at extortionate prices.

· This site is premised on speculative-fiction works suitable for literate adults. Nonetheless, you will find some books listed here that are nominally “young adult” or even “children’s books”. That is because I feel that those particular books are readable for enjoyment by literate adults. That is especially true of the “children’s” classics, such as those by Lewis Carroll, Frank Baum and successors (notables from Gore Vidal to Salman Rushdie have praised the Oz books), E. Nesbit, J. M. Barrie, George MacDonald, and too many more to name. In this list, I have marked out what are supposedly “young adult” books with a [YA], and have noted “children’s books”.

· You might want to also look at the listings on the two pages bullet-listed below, which are of authors and books not yet read here but which appear, for various reasons—typically, many strongly positive reviews by sources I consider credible—to be plausible candidates for these lists:

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The Authors:




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This page was last modified on Thursday, 15 October 2020, at 5:01 pm Pacific Time.