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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 Works web site!

You have apparently come to this page from a link on a search engine or another site. If this is your first visit here, I much recommend that you take a few minutes to look over the introductory material accessible via the red “Introductory” navigation block just below the pictures. An understanding of the purposes and principles of organization of this site will, I hope and believe, much augment your experience here, for this page and in general. You can simply click this link to get at the site front page, which, unsurprisingly, is the best place to start. Thank you for visiting.
Search, or just roll your cursor over the colored boxes farther below.
Click the “X” above to dismiss the Search results.

You are here:  Home  »  Introductory  »  Site Organization ( = this page)


Site navigation: place your cursor over a block below to see the pages list for that block.

Site Organization


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“Very well then—many other worlds are accessible to us through the Great Stone and from certain of these worlds we will obtain what we need.”
– The Lemurian Stone,
Stephen Hickman

Site Overview

As the Welcome page states, this site is at bottom simply a list of good science-fiction and fantasy authors and of good books by those authors, along with all sorts of possibly useful or entertaining subset lists. But it has grown in the making, and includes a lot I never originally contemplated. Having by now a huge page count, the site wants a little introductory explaining, so you can better hunt up what you may find of interest here.

I will, for convenience, here repeat the overview you should already have read on that Welcome page:

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

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Site Detail

There is a pretty complete Site Directory, which I have tried to organize logically, in the colored blocks atop this and every major page of this site.

(The incompleteness of the Directory is that it does not individually list all the many per-author pages—though it does of course include the pages from which you can easily get at them: the full Master List and the summary Authos List; there is also a complete book-titles list page for the stubborn).

But, even though the Directory is thus abbreviated, and color-coded and annotated, at a first glance it can appear daunting, so I’ll go through it here section by section for you.

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The “Introductory” Pages

Site Home Page

Welcome

Apologia

Site Organization

If you run your cursor over the red   Introductory   block near the top of any page of this site, you will see a drop-down menu as shown at the left. Here is some explanation of what each of those menu options leads to when clicked.


Site Home Page:

That, which you should already have read, is just a “Hello” and brief explanation of this site’s purposes and intentions.

Welcome:

That is a summary site overview and brief explanation of some mechanical details; you should already have read that page before coming to this one.

Apologia:

That page describes the criteria used to make these lists and discusses fiction in general and speculative fiction in particular, and you should have read it before coming to this page. It is lengthy, but I think it quite important to read in full before exploring this site. (It also explains the “stars” ranking system for authors.)

Site Organization:

This page.

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The “Authors” Pages

Author List

Master Authors/Books List

Specialty Lists

More Books

Other Candidate Authors

Golden Oldies

If you run your cursor over the blue   Authors   block near the top of any page of this site, you will see a drop-down menu as shown at the left.

This site is oriented toward authors, so these are the pages you will normally use as your targets. Although there are many authors of generally fine work who produce the occasional clunker, and many authors of indifferent or worse work who produce the odd gem, by and large it is by identifying writers of ability that we discover works of merit, and so this site is organized around the authors listed. The subheadings below tell you what’s what with each of those author-related pages.


Author List:

The summary Author List is just that: a bare list, alphabetical, with some preliminary commentary (and my rough ratings, from one to five stars, which ought not to be, and likely will not be, taken too seriously). That page is chiefly meant as a quick-reference list, just so you can see at a glance who is—so far—represented here and who not; it is not a page you are likely to want often.

Master Authors/Books List:

The real center of the site, its “sun”, is this full Books-by-Author Master Authors/Books List, showing all books considered on this site, organized by author.

The Individual Author Pages:

These, the “planets” to the Master List’s “sun”, are not shown individually in the “Authors” block owing to their numbers (one page per author); you would normally access them from one of the inclusive pages, usually the Master List, as described just above, but possibly also the summary Author List..

Each individual-author page not only repeats that author’s book list from the Master Authors/Books List, but also contains—or will eventually contain, as I get to each—some discussion of that author and, in a general way, the listed books by that author. I say “a general way” because my purpose on those individual-author pages is to give you a sense for the author—a taste, one might say, not a detailed and scholarly analysis—and I take pains to not disclose information about any book that might short-circuit your enjoyment and discovery of it (in short, “no spoilers”). Each also contains (or will in time contain) links to most of the other useful resources about that author available on the web or (as may be applicable) in print. As I said, I do not, owing to the length of the list, link those individual pages in the Directory, but they are linked at pretty much every place on this site that particular authors’ names are mentioned.

Specialty Lists:

While the author pages just described are the kernel of this site, there is also what some may find of the most immediate interest on this site, a page with various Specialty Sub-Lists of the authors, as shown below.

More Books:

Because I have not recently been able to give this site as much time as I would choose to, I have created a More Books page that lists other books yet unread by me by authors already present in these lists, which books I cannot say with reasonable certainty will, on reading, end up here; that doesn’t mean that they are “marginal” works, only that their authors are variable in the quality of their output—these lists very likely contain numerous gems. I have done this so that those who might occasionally drop in here looking for ideas on expanding their reading range may find some fresh material without having to wait on my slow reading pace.

Other Candidate Authors:

Just as there are likely more wonderful books by the authors in these lists than are listed here (as explained just above), there is assuredly some number of comparably fine authors not listed here at all yet (owing, again, to my being one mortal human). As with the list page described above, I want to give those who might occasionally drop in here looking for ideas on expanding their reading range some fresh material without their having to wait on my slow reading pace. I thus, after diligent research into the opinions of folk whose opinions are likely to be meaningful, prepared this list page of Other Candidates for these pages, including at least representative selections of titles by each.

I am working as best life allows at sampling works by these authors—as I type, I have about three dozen volumes on my library table by such yet-untested writers—and am trying to place them ahead of unread works by authors already on the lists. So many books, so little time…

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Golden Oldies:

The world of speculative fiction did not begin in the 19th century: it is at least a couple of millennia old. This page identifies and lists some of those works (currently, from the 2nd through the 16th centuries)—some still famous, some less well remembered.

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The “Books” Pages

All Listed Books

The Other Books

Overlooked Gems

Light-Hearted

Religiously Themed

For Younger Readers

100 Great Works

“Guilty Pleasures”

If you run your cursor over the orange   Books   block near the top of any page of this site, you will see a drop-down menu as shown at the left. Each option is a specialty list of some sort; here, more exactly, is some explanation of what those menu options lead to when clicked.


All Listed Books:

The All Listed Books page shows all titles recommended in this site’s Master List. It is really just for reference, and is not in my opinion of much immediate use: you are best advised to discover titles as you encounter them in context here and there on this site.

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The Other Books:

Besides the actual speculative-fiction books comprised in the main author and book lists here, there are a few others—by now, quite a few—cited here and there on this site, some closely related to this field (such as books of speculative-fiction criticism), some rather farther afield; if you have run across such a citation and want to see it again but forget just where you saw it, simply jump to the Other Books page, where that whole lot of odds and ends is collected in one place.

Overlooked Gems:

Overlooked Gems are speculative-fiction books of high merit now become too-little known.

Light-Hearted:

Light-Hearted Books are speculative-fiction books that are not necessarily comic or twee, but are certainly not terribly sober or solemn.

Religiously Themed:

Religiously Themed Books are speculative-fiction books involving real theology, not invented story-background religions.

For Younger Readers:

These are speculative-fiction books readable by, as it says, Younger Readers: from things to read to pre-schoolers up to and including “young adult” works. (But note well that I do not list any book on this site that I do not think literate adults could not read for pleasure.)

100 Great Works:

I have—perhaps unwisely—yielded to the temptation to throw in a version of an apparently mandatory in criticism “100 Best Books” list, except that I have made it a “100 Great Works” list, not a “100 Best Works” list (even my arrogance has limits), plus I have made it a list of “works”, not “books”; that difference is material, because I have used a rather expansive definition of what constitutes a “work” for these purposes (as explained on that page).

Guilty Pleasures:

Sometimes even gourmets just want a big bag of greasy potato chips. These are speculative-fiction works that are not of the sort the rest of this site is about, but that can be read for amusement; not (or not necessarily) what is, or once was, called “camp”, but, well, the literary equivalent of a big bag of potato chips—Guilty Pleasures.

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The “Miscellaneous” Pages

Musings

Obiter Dicta

Art and Illustration

Other Sites

Comments By Others

SF&F Movies

Your Host

If you run your cursor over the purple   Miscellaneous   block near the top of any page of this site, you will see a drop-down menu as shown at the left. Here is some explanation of what each of those menu options leads to when clicked.


Musings:

The Musings are a collection of pensées on science fiction and fantasy that have occurred to me from time to time; some of them augment or expand topics already covered in the Apologia, while others explore independent topics. The collection will grow as time passes, so if you find any of interest, it’s worth checking back occasionally to see if there’s anything new here.

Obiter Dicta:

Obiter dicta is what I call this collection of other thoughts, more peripheral than the Musings, that did not seem to fit well on any other site page. But on it—this miscellaneous of the miscellaneous—there are, for example, a list of some books listed here that you can download free; an explanation—for those who have insisted on skipping over the heavily recommended introductory material here—of why this or that “master” author is not listed here; a few premier general-reference speculative-fiction and general-literature web sites; and some other stuff.

Art and Illustration:

Though the topic of this site is words, art, too, can be a significant aspect of speculative thought, and a page of Science-Fiction & Fantasy Art and Illustration seemed a useful and interesting addition.

Other Sites:

On the theory that sites that link to this one are likely above the average to be of some interest to visitors here (and because it is an internet courtesy to reciprocate linking), there is a page of Other Sites, being all the sites that link to this site that I can readily discover.

Comments By Others:

Finally, there is a page of kindly Comments that visitors here have put up on their pages or mailed to me—those from recognized authorities in the field, including some authors, are especially pleasing, but they’re all delightful—there are few rewards to running a site like this, and these are they.

SF&F Movies:

While this site is dedicated to books, I thought it wouldn't hurt to cast a quick eye over speculative fiction in other media, hence this brief look at SF&F Movies.

Your Host:

And I have provided the also-traditional scant few words about Your Host on this site.

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The “Buying Books” Pages

About Online Book-Buying

The Science-Fiction Book Club

If you run your cursor over the green   Buying Books   block near the top of any page of this site, you will see a drop-down menu as shown at the left. Here is some explanation of what each of those menu options leads to when clicked.

About Online Book-Buying:

While people buy books online all the time, in vast quantities, there are still some useful tips and things to know About Online Book-Buying, and this page might well be useful to you.

The Science-Fiction Book Club:

The Science-Fiction Book Club is like most book clubs, but one especially nice thing about it is that they publish a lot of anthologies, making acquiring series works simple and relatively economical.

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Where Now?

Well, you should now know enough about the site to decide for yourself. I’d say perhaps either the Master Authors/Books List or perhaps the Specialty Lists page, which latter includes things like the highest-ranked, the Top 100, and suchlike. Or just poke around and explore.

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This page was last modified on Wednesday, 21 October 2020, at 6:00 pm Pacific Time.