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Great Science-Fiction & Fantasy Works

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

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Guilty Pleasures: Literary Potato Chips For The Gourmet Reader

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“This rot-gut wasn’t never within a million parsecs of Tellus, but it ain’t bad—not bad at all.”

– Gray Lensman,
E. E. “Doc” Smith

Haute Cuisine v. Potato Chips

I expect this section’s title says it all. Gourmets are choosy about what they consume, and that is so for both gastronomic and literary gourmets. But it remains so that every once in a while even the most fervently discriminating gastronomic gourmet gets into a mood when only a great big bag of greasy potato chips will satisfy; and so also it is for literary gourmets. So: here are some bags o’ chips for you.

These being what they are, there are no pages for their authors (excepting those few who have pages for other, more literate works listed elsewhere on this site); but each title below is a link to an AbeBooks search for copies of that work or collection of works.

This is not, nor is it intended to be, a comprehensive list of books of this general sort: there are simply too many. Moreover, this is an area where the tastes of discriminating readers are likely to vary far more than they will for the sorts of books this site focusses on. I suspect that many of the authors (and their works) that I class as one-star in the main lists might seem to some other readers to be mere “guilty pleasures”, while some of what I list here will seem sheer trash with no redeeming features. It is, I suspect, all a matter of how one’s sense of humor works, and Heaven knows that’s variable enough.

(A few of the things listed below are not really literary potato chips: those few are decent reads that do not fully qualify—usually by reason of wooden prose—for the main lists here. Most notable are the works of Olaf Stapledon, whose work I recommend almost solely for the wild expansiveness of his imagination. But Zolloco, The Woman and the Raven, and the old classic Land of Snergs are worthwhile entertainment.)

(This list has much overlap with, but does differ from, that of the “campy stuff” on the “Specialty Lists” page here.)

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Some Literary Bags of Potato Chips

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