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Great Science-Fiction
& Fantasy Works

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

The "Great Science-Fiction & Fantasy Works" Site Update Log:

Note that each page on this site has (and always has had) a last-change date down near the bottom of the page, so you can quickly check if anything you're reading is newly changed.

The primary task at the moment is to flesh out the individual-author pages; at present, each page exists and does have a list of the books by the subject author that are recommended on this site. Ultimately, each author listed here will have on her or his page a brief explanation of why I rank that author as I do, along with what I hope will be a sufficient amount of quoted material to illustrate my points and give you at least a taste of the style (or styles) of each.

Significant Changes:

(Note that actions concerning individual books normally are not logged here, for brevity: only larger-scale changes, such as adding, deleting, or re-ranking an author, or significant changes to page mechanics, are logged.)

28 July 2012: Added Keith Roberts' three "Kaeti" books.
24 July 2012: Added China Miéville's book Kraken and Walker percy's book The Thanatos Syndrome.
26 November 2011: Added Kate Wilhelm and her book Cambio Bay.
26 November 2011: In a burst of catching up, added: Tod Davies and her book Snotty Saves the Day; Frank Baker and his book Miss Hargreaves; Michal Ajvaz and his books The Other City and The Golden Age; Stella Benson and her book Living Alone; Samantha Hunt and her book The Invention of Everything Else; Josh Emmons and his book The Loss of Leon Reed; and Walter Moers and his book The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear.
3 March 2011: Added author Andy Duncan and his book Belulahatchie.
13 November 2010: Added author Jeffrey Ford and added his trilogy "The Well-Built City".
10 August 2010: Upgradeded author Kathryn Davis to 3 stars and added her book Hell.
26 May 2010: Added author Robert Aickman and his book Cold Hand in Mine.
24 January 2010: Added author Alasdair Gray and his book Unlikely Stories, Mostly.
22 January 2010: Eliminated alternative titles as separate book listings and established "canonical" titles with redirects at the alternates (now, for example, Alice in Wonderland redirects to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.)
20 January 2010: Added author James Thurber and his book The White Deer.
20 September 2009: Added the "Guilty Pleasures" page.
20 September 2009: Added author Susann Cokar and her book Mirabilis.
2 September 2009: Added author Lydia Millet and her book Oh Pure and Radiant Heart.
23 July 2009: Added author John Connolly and his book The Book of Lost Things.
3 May 2009: Added author Rhys Hughes and his book Nowhere Near Milkwood.
4 April 2009: Added author Michael Fessier and his book Clovis.
1 April 2009: Added author Michael Frayn and his book Sweet Dreams.
1 April 2009: Combined the two Apologia pages into one, as most now have high-speed internet (but left the old two parts for those who don't).
29 March 2009: Upgraded Michael Cisco to 3 stars (after reading The Golem).
3 March 2009: Added on the "general store" of speculative-fiction books.
26 February 2009: Added M. A. Foster's "Book of the Ler" trilogy; upgraded Foster to three stars.
15 September 2008: Launched forums.
8 September 2008: Added Nikolai Gogol and his Collected Tales.
2 September 2008: Added pagetop jump-to-search link.
16 August 2008: Added Walker Percy and his novel Love in the Ruins.
12 August 2008: Updated the lists on the specialty-lists pages (religious, for younger readers, light-hearted, overlooked).
27 July 2008: Finished updating author links for authors with articles (and a few others).
21 July 2008: Updated Glen Cook article (included newer Garrett books).
4 April 2008: Added Louis DeBernieres and his novel The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts.
3 April 2008: Added Michael Cisco and his novel The Divinity Student.
15 February 2008: Added Kathryn Davis and her novel The Thin Place.
15 February 2008: Added Joan Aiken and her story collection Not What You Expected.
15 January 2008: Added Martin Amis and his book Other People; changed Paul Auster from 2 to 3 stars and added his book In the Country of Last Things.
9 November 2007: Added Kingsley Amis and his book The Green Man;
30 October 2007: Added "Authors in Translation" list to "Authors: Lists" page.
25 October 2007: Added author Graham Joyce and his book The Facts of Life; moved unread-Joyce list from "Possibles" to "From Listed" page.
19 August 2007: Added Robert Irwin and his book The Arabian Nightmare; added Candas Jane Dorsey and her book A Paradigm of Earth; added Jan Mark and her book The Ennead; removed some "possibles".
3 February 2007: Mystery/crime books series pages; added Yellowthread Street page.
2 February 2007: Mystery/crime books series pages; added Continental Op, Sherlock Holmes, Solar Pons, Gervase Fen, Father Brown, and Precious Ramotswe pages.
1 February 2007: Mystery/crime books series pages; added Adam Dalgliesh and Philip Marlowe pages.
31 January 2007: Mystery/crime books series pages; added Mr. Campion and The Saint pages.
30 January 2007: Mystery/crime books series pages; added Nero Wolfe, Peter Wimsey, Roderick Alleyn pages.
29 January 2007: Started mystery/crime books separate series pages; added Inspector Maigret page.
10 January 2007: Added author Penelope Lively and her novel The House in Norham Gardens.
27 December 2006: Refreshed SF Book Club (and other clubs) page so links all now work.
22 December 2006: Added author Stepan Chapman and his book The Troika.
17 December 2006: Added page for author Nancy Kress (already listed for The Prince of Morning Bells).
17 December 2006: Revised and updated the "young-readers", "religiously themed", and "light-hearted" lists pages.
17 December 2006: Completely re-did and improved Abebooks used-book search;
re-did and improved Amazon new-book search;
re-did Site Directory coloration & layout, and site-layout explanation page.

17 December 2006: Massive overhaul and updating of "Preferred Editions" page.
12 December 2006: Added "Musings" section, and first four musings (#4 as draft);
added author Robertson Davies and his book Murther and Walking Spirits.

5 December 2006: Added author Peter Ackroyd and his novel First Light.
1 December 2006: Major revisions to the Scumware page;
re-formatted Scumware and Amazon-Message pages as pilot for site re-design.

27 November 2006: Did some serious updating of the "related sites" link page.
21 November 2006: Added author Charles Kingsley and his title The Water Babies;
correspondingly adjusted the "Possibles" page. Did some further slight adding and fixing to author-links page.

20 November 2006: Added author Timothy Findley and his title Pilgrim;
added author Thomas Palmer and his title Dream Science;
correspondingly adjusted the two "Candidates" pages.

18 November 2006: Did some further adding and fixing to author-links page.
17 November 2006: Finally broke out pages for Damon Knight and Keith Laumer (long listed with one book each).
added Christopher Morley and his novel Thunder on the Left; updated "Author Lists" accordingly. Did some adding and fixing to author-links page.

9 November 2006: Added author Lucius Shepard and his title Kalimantan;
correspondingly adjusted the two "Candidates" pages.

1 November 2006: Added author John Collier and his title Fancies and Goodnights;
added author Jack Cady and his title The Jonah Watch;
correspondingly adjusted the two "Candidates" pages.

25 October 2006: Added author M. A. Foster and his title Waves;
added author D. G. Compton and his title Chronocules;
correspondingly adjusted the two "Candidates" pages.

2 October 2006: Added author Michel Tournier and his title The Four Wise Men;
correspondingly adjusted the two "Candidates" pages.

8 August 2006: Added author Paul Theroux and his title Millroy the Magician.
Have been adding to and adjusting the two "Candidates" pages.

31 July 2006: Added author Roald Dahl and his title Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; correspondingly updated pages "Books For Younger Readers" and "The Light-Hearted".
Somewhat updated pages of "candidate" books (by deleting some found unacceptable after reading).
Added "100 Greats" list page.

16 July 2006: Added many new edition listings for listed books.
Repaired book-display page for buying of books.

12 July 2006: Added entire new page, "Unrated Books by Rated Authors", which title is self-descriptive.
9 July 2006: Added entire new page, "Candidates", listing authors and some of their books that seem likely to eventually make the full lists. Correspondingly updated various associated pages.
Added in many yet-unread but surefire books by authors already on the lists.

8 July 2006: Added author Christopher Priest, and The Prestige (with more to follow).
Have added several books, by various authors, over time past, but cannot now recall which.

28 July 2005: Converted all pages to php, so as to be able to block bandwidth-sucking email-spammers.
23 May 2005: Added some info (finally!) on Grahame Wright.
9 May 2005: Added Norman Spinrad's (Child of Fortune.
21 February 2005: Added authors Colson Whitehead (The Intuitionist and John Wyndham (Out of the Deeps).
2 February 2005: Fixed it so that the correct date is reported for log updates.
23 October 2004: Added author Susanna Clarke and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell; added Mark Helprin's Memoir from Antproof Case to "Borderland" book list.
26 August 2004: Added author Umberto Eco and Baudolino.
12 August 2004: Various minor stylistic page changes over time. Added AdSense. Added better Google search capability.
18 April 2004: Added author Robert Nathan and Portrait of Jennie.
15 April 2004: Jiggled some (invisible to visitors) HTML to try to get more meaningful page titles and descriptions; cleaned up several bad internal links in the process.
11 April 2004: Added S. P. Somtow as a distinct author (with cross-references to Somtow Sucharitkul).
8 April 2004: Accomodated goofy Amazon divisional discrepancies so UK edition pages will properly return reader reviews. Bless their pointy little heads.
6 April 2004: Re-did individual-edition pages by making first page encountered short (for fast loading) and giving visitor option of loading longer page with all editorial/reader reviews.
3 April 2004: Reformatted all base pages; touched up several for content, and seriously re-wrote the "Site Organization" page for, one hopes, more clarity. Broke site front page into two pages--a short true front page, and the new "Welcome" page for the rest of what was on the longer old front page.
31 March 2004: Added author Norman Spinrad and his book The Void Captain's Tale.
28 March 2004: Added "Where Was" page, listing all books cited anywhere on the site that are not part of the master science-fiction and fantasy book lists.
26 March 2004: Somewhat reworded standard template for individual-author pages. Fixed "Douglas Adams" page apparently corrupted during automated updating. Fixed many niggly errors in book files, especially newly added ones.
23 March 2004: Caught change in XML server address for Amazon Japan, so results for them should be OK now. Converted individual-edition pages (massive number) to site-page URLs.
22 March 2004: Separated single php book-search page back into six divisional shtml pages to facilitate faster loading.
21 March 2004: Re-did site front page to try to better explain how to enter the site properly; changed the Site-Explanation page to--I hope--make it clearer. Added section to Obiter Dicta listing some good books that "read like" speculative fiction but aren't.
19 March 2004: Converted "last modified" statements to reflect Time Zone correctly.
15 March 2004: Upgraded E. T. A. Hoffmann to three stars on the strength of his wonderful novel Kater Murr (The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr), which is itself 4-star or so.
14 March 2004: Slightly revised front page and all page bottoms to better point out non-compliant (i.e. IE) browsers and suggest Firefox.
12 March 2004: Substantially updated "general" (non-books) Amazon search pages for all divisions, to accord with newly added shops at several divisions.
2 March 2004: All site pages now XHTML 1.0 compliant (except the one with quoted DBCS Japanese text, which is otherwise compliant); added Ted Chiang to author list.
29 February 2004: Massive style/format remake (though minimal content change) of individual-author pages; all now XHTML 1.0. Also tweaked master authors/books list for appearance and readability.
27 February 2004: "Promoted" Ian McDonald to 2 stars (maybe more later); re-did, and also updated to XHTML 1.0, the "young readers" and "religiously themed" pages.
28 February 2004: Fixed Amazon France to accomodate Amazon's latest needless page-format diddle; listings should again appear in full and correct (starting late pm today, Pacific Time).
26 February 2004: Updated "humorous/Light-hearted" page, and made it XHTML 1.0 while at it.
24 February 2004: brought yet more pages up to XHTML 1.0 standard.
23 February 2004: fixed some "editions" errors and updated "full list" page to match the revised "preferred editions" page.
22 February 2004: very seriously updated editions page, and also converted it to XHTML.
19 February 2004: converted more pages to XHTML 1.0. Somewhere a few days ago forgot to log the addition of the "Reviews" page, comments about this site from credible commentators.
18 February 2004: converted yet more pages to XHTML 1.0, including the master list and the "writers" alpha subpages of it.
16 February 2004: converted some more pages to XHTML 1.0.
15 February 2004: have begun transition from HTML 4.01 to XHTML 1.0, with a few pages done; settled on 1.0 because 1.1, though readily achieved, formats reduced fonts peculiarly.
14 February 2004: added Art/Illustration site list to obiter dicta page.
11 February 2004: updated "About Me" page a bit; added "Comments" page; revised log (this) page a bit; changed wallpaper on book-related pages; checked and converted to HTML 4.01 standard.
9 February 2004 : cleaned up countless trivial HTML errors, so everything validates.
8 February 2004 : further reworked "Bookmark Me" and consequently drastically changed the Site Directory at the bottoms of all pages.
7 February 2004 : greatly reworked the "Bookmark Me" site-explanation page.
6 February 2004 : added Alexa-toolbar download facility.
4 February 2004 : Added "donate" buttons (and explanatory page).
31 January 2004 : Finally much updated the "international buying" page on shipping costs; added Science-Fiction Book Club info page; updated "scumware" page somewhat.
30 January 2004 : Added general access to all Amazon products, by national division; materially revised Project Gutenberg info in Dicta and updated PG list.
26 January 2004 : Added William Hope Hodgson author essay; added Shirley Jackson & Hill House to listings.
25 January 2004 : Added to dicta list of excellent general web references; revised formats of "Author Links" and "Links To Me" pages.
22 January 2004 : Drastically revised the look (but not content) of the front page.
17 January 2004 : Much expanded M. John Harrison author write-up.
16 January 2004 : Fixed silly error returning wrong book prices from Amazon France.
12 January 2004 : Created "younger readers" book-list page.
11 January 2004 : Separated out other-site links onto a page separate from the author links.
10 January 2004 : Augmented several existing write-ups; especially expanded Tolkien page to include critical works & Christopher Tolkien compendia.
3 January 2004 : Added Gerard F. Conway; added several books by authors already listed; corrected list of Cabell "Biography" books; miscellaneous.
12 September 2003 : Added Mikhail Bulgakov & The Master & Margarita.
7 September 2003 : Updated "scumware" page and numerous bad links on "links" page.
6 September 2003 : Added author write-up of Michael Chabon.
28 August 2003 : Added David Mitchell & Ghostwritten.
20 August 2003 : Added Terry Carr & Cirque; upgraded Magnus Mills to 4 stars.
17 August 2003 : Added Magnus Mills & Three to See the King.
11 August 2003 : Added Midori Snyder & The Innamorati.
28 July 2003 : Added other 3 Amazon divisions, including Search pages; went to new book-page format.
3 July 2003 : "Promoted" Angela Carter to 3 stars, based on Nights at the Circus.
22 June 2003 : Added Keith Roberts.
21 June 2003 : Added Mark Helprin & Winter's Tale.
17 June 2003 : Found and corrected my idiot error causing individual-edition pages to fail.
early June 2003 : Switched to using direct access (AWS) to Amazon for searches and individual-edition pages.
6 May 2003 : Found and corrected idiot Amazon code error causing UK book-buying to fail.
23 April 2003 : Established true domain
4 April 2003 : Switched book-buying to reliance on Amazon's AWS real-time data.
7 March 2003 : Made "editions" entries for the over-common children's books.
27 February 2003 : Added E. B. White to Authors (& Stuart Little to books).
19 February 2003 : Added Thomas M. Disch to Authors (& Camp Concentration to books).
18 February 2003 : Made massive changes to the book-page process; most of those will be invisible to visitors, except that a number of silly errors were cleaned up in the process.
7 February 2003 : Experimentally replaced FreeFind search with Google site search.
6 February 2003 : Updated "links to this site" list on Links page.
1 February 2003 : Added authors Michael Chabon, Mary Pope Osborne.
21 October 2002 : Added page on ScumWare.
17 October 2002 : Finally made the long-worked-on radical change to the buy-book pages!
23 September 2002 : Fixed several names by inserting middle initials normally used.
20 September 2002 : Added several omnibuses to the editions page.
16 September 2002 : Added in a number of new titles or Amazon listings for authors extant here.
8 September 2002 : Added in all Amazon Canada listings.
6 September 2002 : Added in Amazon Canada listings that equate to U.S. & U.K. listings.
1 September 2002 : Became an Amazon Canada affiliate; added three Amazon open-search pages.
31 August 2002 : Replaced impossible "Essentials" page with (incomplete) "Preferred Editions" page; added some titles (various authors) soon to be released.
18 August 2002 : Added author John Gardner.
17 August 2002 : Renamed a few pages; cleaned up some page defects.
16 August 2002 : Merged U.S. and U.K. booklists into one.
14 August 2002 : Revised all page wallpapers; fixed SSI includes to show incorrect URL use.
10 August 2002 : Broke out separate page on international book buying; added Project Gutenberg list and Search on obiter dicta page.
9 August 2002 : Added SSI per-page date/time modified code (which is presently reporting times 3 hours later than the correct value).
8 August 2002 : Started much-revised "essentials" page.
6 August 2002 : Added Gary K. Wolf; converted site wholly to SSI pages to allow easy changes in Site Sirectory.
5 August 2002 : Re-wrote many general-information pages; added Site Explanation page.
2 August 2002 : Converted used-book references to one-click full ABE lists (by price).
1 August 2002 : Added Caroline Stevermer's When the King Comes Home.
18 July 2002 : On re-reading, upgraded Peter Hanratty to two stars, added E.T.A. Hoffmann.
28 June 2002 : Added P. L. Travers (the Mary Poppins books).
24 June 2002 : Added Farewell Horizontal to K. W. Jeter list.
25 May 2002 : Added Jorge Luis Borges as a five-star writer.
27 March 2002 : Changed URL to (from
23 March 2002 : At long last, added M. John Harrison page (and more books by).
17 February 2002 : Added single large all-authors page.
11 February 2002 : On further reading and consideration, remover Kathryn Grant.
19 January 2002 : Cleaned up some details; added many more books and several authors: J. M. Barrie, Angela Carter, George Alec Effinger, Max Jacob, Douglas Jerrold, James Stephens, Edward Whittemore, and Oscar Wilde.
4 January 2002 : Added site-search facility.
2 January 2002 : Massive revision of site layout and format.
28 December 2001 : Added more Sean Russell books.
1 August 2001 : Added Sean Russell to lists.
22 July 2001 : Added John M. Ford to lists.
17 July 2001 : Put Amazon links on all Books and Individual-Author pages; added Amazon/UK book pages.
13 July 2001 : Added Neil Gaiman to lists.
12 July 2001 : Added a number of Brian Stableford titles.
23 June 2001 : Added Kenneth Grahame individual-author page.
14 June 2001 : Added Avram Davidson individual-author page.
5 June 2001 : Added Glen Cook individual-author page; split by-author into 3 pages.
30 May 2001 : Added page on English usage (only linked on obiter dicta page).
21 May 2001 : Expanded Steven Millhauser listing.
14 May 2001 : Added China Miéville listing; slightly update Jonathan Carroll page.
13 May 2001 : Added Amazon and used-bookfinder links; separated by-title pages.
5 May 2001 : A lot of minor fix-up, clean-up.
29 April 2001 : Expanded several listings.
10 April 2001 : Expanded C.J. Cherryh listing.
9 April 2001 : Added Daniel Pinkwater listing.
28 March 2001 : Added Suzy McKee Charnas listing.
11 March 2001 : Added Jonathan Carroll individual-author page.
3 March 2001 : Added a few books by already listed authors.
25 February 2001 : Fixed defect on all author pages that corrupted two links each.
23 February 2001 : Expanded the Jonathan Carroll books list considerably.
7 February 2001 : Updated No-Page authors list on Links page.
27 January 2001 : Added G.K. Chesterton individual-author page.
27 January 2001 : Added James Blaylock individual-author page.
24 January 2001 : Revised Brian Stableford up to three "stars."
13 January 2001 : Added alternative "vanilla" front page & link to monitor-adjust page.
6 January 2001 : Added entry for Franz Werfel.

To-Do List:

This list is roughly but not exactly in my personal priority order.

  • All undone 4-star individual-author pages
  • All 3-star individual-author pages
  • All 2-star individual-author pages
  • All 1-star individual-author pages

You loaded this page on Thursday, 9 July 2020, at 03:56 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:
 a quick site overview and some mechanical details
 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:
 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
 read this if nothing else whatever
    Change Log
 what was done when
    Your Host:
 a comically little about me
 you can help support this site
 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:

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