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January 22nd, 2009


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03:30 pm - Guardian's 150 SF novels
The Guardian have been posting '1000 books everyone must read' in instalments by genre this week. This has made me realise how much I dislike what they call 'state of the nation' novels. For some reason they infuriate me. But how much I love the books in the SF and Fantasy list. Of the 150 books on the list I have read 75, and many of them are among my most favourite novels.

I have bolded those I really loved. Many of the others I just haven't got round to reading yet.

Douglas Adams : The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Brian Aldiss : Non-Stop
Isaac Asimov : Foundation
Margaret Atwood : The Blind Assassin
Margaret Atwood : The Handmaid's Tale
Paul Auster : In the Country of Last Things
JG Ballard : The Drowned World
JG Ballard : Crash
JG Ballard : Millennium People
Iain Banks : The Wasp Factory
Iain M Banks : Consider Phlebas
Clive Barker : Weaveworld
Nicola Barker : Darkmans
Stephen Baxter : The Time Ships
Greg Bear : Darwin's Radio
William Beckford : Vathek
Alfred Bester : The Stars My Destination
Ray Bradbury : Fahrenheit 451
Poppy Z. Brite : Lost Souls
Charles Brockden Brown : Wieland
Algis Budrys : Rogue Moon
Mikhail Bulgakov : The Master and Margarita
Edward Bulwer-Lytton : The Coming Race
Anthony Burgess : A Clockwork Orange
Anthony Burgess : The End of the World News
Edgar Rice Burroughs : A Princess of Mars
William Burroughs : Naked Lunch
Octavia Butler : Kindred
Samuel Butler : Erewhon
Italo Calvino : The Baron in the Trees
Ramsey Campbell : The Influence
Lewis Carroll : Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll : Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There

Angela Carter : Nights at the Circus
Angela Carter : The Passion of New Eve
Michael Chabon : The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
GK Chesterton : The Man Who Was Thursday
Arthur C Clarke : Childhood's End
Susanna Clarke : Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (feel like double-bolding this)
Michael G Coney : Hello Summer, Goodbye
Douglas Coupland : Girlfriend in a Coma
Mark Danielewski : House of Leaves
Marie Darrieussecq : Pig Tales
Antoine de Sainte-Exupéry : The Little Prince
Samuel R. Delaney : The Einstein Intersection
Philip K. Dick : Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Philip K. Dick : The Man in the High Castle (should have been Scanner Darkly)
Thomas M. Disch : Camp Concentration
Umberto Eco : Foucault's Pendulum
Michel Faber : Under the Skin
John Fowles : The Magus
Neil Gaiman : American Gods
Alan Garner : Red Shift another double-bold
William Gibson : Neuromancer
William Golding : Lord of the Flies
Joe Haldeman : The Forever War
M. John Harrison : Light

Nathaniel Hawthorne : The House of the Seven Gables
Robert A. Heinlein : Stranger in a Strange Land
Frank Herbert : Dune
Hermann Hesse : The Glass Bead Game
Russell Hoban : Riddley Walker
James Hogg : The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner
Michel Houellebecq : Atomised
Aldous Huxley : Brave New World
Kazuo Ishiguro : The Unconsoled
Shirley Jackson : The Haunting of Hill House
Henry James : The Turn of the Screw
PD James : The Children of Men
Richard Jefferies : After London; Or, Wild England
Gwyneth Jones : Bold as Love
Franz Kafka : The Trial
Daniel Keyes : Flowers for Algernon
Stephen King : The Shining
Frederik Pohl & CM Kornbluth : The Space Merchants
Marghanita Laski : The Victorian Chaise-longue
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu : Uncle Silas
Ursula K. Le Guin : The Earthsea series
Ursula K. Le Guin : The Left Hand of Darkness
Stanislaw Lem : Solaris
Doris Lessing : Memoirs of a Survivor
MG Lewis : The Monk
CS Lewis : The Chronicles of Narnia
David Lindsay : A Voyage to Arcturus
Ken MacLeod : The Night Sessions
Hilary Mantel : Beyond Black
Richard Matheson : I Am Legend
Charles Maturin : Melmoth the Wanderer
Patrick McCabe : The Butcher Boy
Cormac McCarthy : The Road
Jed Mercurio : Ascent
China Miéville : The Scar
Andrew Miller : Ingenious Pain
Walter M Miller Jr : A Canticle for Leibowitz
David Mitchell : Cloud Atlas
Michael Moorcock : Mother London
William Morris : News From Nowhere
Toni Morrison : Beloved
Haruki Murakami : The Wind-up Bird Chronicle
Vladimir Nabokov : Ada or Ardor
Audrey Niffenegger : The Time Traveler's Wife
Larry Niven : Ringworld
Jeff Noon : Vurt
Flann O'Brien : The Third Policeman

Ben Okri : The Famished Road
George Orwell : Nineteen Eighty-four
Chuck Palahniuk : Fight Club
Thomas Love Peacock : Nightmare Abbey
Mervyn Peake : Titus Groan
Charlotte Perkins Gilman : Herland
John Cowper Powys : A Glastonbury Romance
Terry Pratchett : The Discworld series
Christopher Priest : The Prestige
Philip Pullman : His Dark Materials

François Rabelais : Gargantua and Pantagruel
Ann Radcliffe : The Mysteries of Udolpho
Alastair Reynolds : Revelation Space
Kim Stanley Robinson : The Years of Rice and Salt (should have been the Mars trilogy)
JK Rowling : Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Salman Rushdie : The Satanic Verses
Joanna Russ : The Female Man
Geoff Ryman : Air

José Saramago : Blindness
Will Self : How the Dead Live
Mary Shelley : Frankenstein
Dan Simmons : Hyperion
Michael Marshall Smith : Only Forward
Olaf Stapledon : Star Maker
Neal Stephenson : Snow Crash

Robert Louis Stevenson : The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Bram Stoker : Dracula
Rupert Thomson : The Insult
JRR Tolkien : The Hobbit
JRR Tolkien : The Lord of the Rings
Mark Twain : A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court
Kurt Vonnegut : Sirens of Titan
Horace Walpole : The Castle of Otranto
Robert Walser : Institute Benjamenta
Sylvia Townsend Warner : Lolly Willowes
Sarah Waters : Affinity
HG Wells : The Time Machine
HG Wells : The War of the Worlds
TH WHite : The Sword in the Stone
Gene Wolfe : The Book of the New Sun
John Wyndham : Day of the Triffids
John Wyndham : The Midwich Cuckoos
Yevgeny Zamyatin : We
Angus Wilson : The Old Men at the Zoo
Virginia Woolf : Orlando

A lot of the others I liked a lot. About the only one there that I have read and was actually disappointed by is Weaveworld - perhaps just not my kind of thing.

(12 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:ninebelow
Date:January 22nd, 2009 03:35 pm (UTC)
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This has made me realise how much I dislike what they call 'state of the nation' novels

I noticed your comment on nwhyte's journal. Those state of the nation ones were my favourites!
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 22nd, 2009 03:41 pm (UTC)
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You know how I was saying on snowking's post that I get a little thrill of recognition from the SF books; but the political novels made me feel pissed off. Even Vineland is the Pynchon novel that pisses me off. I like Vanity Fair and Shirley, to be fair.
[User Picture]
From:rparvaaz
Date:January 22nd, 2009 04:00 pm (UTC)
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I too love "state of the nation" novels...I am sure y'all are shocked!!!
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 22nd, 2009 04:02 pm (UTC)
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you two are obviously political animals
[User Picture]
From:rparvaaz
Date:January 22nd, 2009 04:06 pm (UTC)
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Guilty as charged. :)
[User Picture]
From:jekesta
Date:January 22nd, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
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I have been looking at the lists each day, and thinking more and more that I have just never read ANYTHING, but actually I've just read these ones and not all those other lists that were full of books that made me tired just thinking about them.

Having said that, I am completely disregarding this list as having ANY VALUE AT ALL because it doesn't have the mars trilogy on it. I turn out to be QUITE JUDGEY.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 22nd, 2009 03:53 pm (UTC)
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'books that make me tired just thinking about them' is a good way of describing some of those other lists. have you read Years of Rice and Salt? I liked it, but I loaned it to a Buddhist friend and she hated it, she gave it back to me with a shudder.
[User Picture]
From:jekesta
Date:January 22nd, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)
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I haven't. It took me a while to work out which one it is, but it's the one that I always pick up and think I should read because people love it and it's bound to be GREAT but then put down because it has history in it and stuff, rather than Mars. I will probably read it eventually and love it and be glad it is on this list, but I don't understand Red Mars not being there as well.
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From:several_bees
Date:January 22nd, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
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Interesting that when this sort of list doesn't consider things like Erewhon and The Man Who Was Thursday to be SF or fantasy, I get annoyed; but I'm also slightly put out when - as in this case - they're included. A kind of grumbly "look there are plenty of brilliant books in the genre without your having to bundle in bloody Orwell again to make it look respectable".
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 22nd, 2009 04:16 pm (UTC)
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I know just what you mean. I am not sure if SF fans are justified in feeling defensive, but I know I generally do :-)
[User Picture]
From:getawaywithit
Date:January 22nd, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
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There were some strange choices in there - it's great to see Ken MacLeod in there for instance (though why no Charles Stross?) but Night Sessions instead of anything from the Fall Revolution or Engines of Light? As for Rice and Salt over the Mars trilogy, that just smacks of someone wanting to look really contrarian but not wanting to really risk it by putting Icehenge or The Memory Of Whiteness on there.

And one book that better be in the 'war' section tomorrow go explain its absence from this list is Slaughterhouse-5 or I shall be having serious words with The Guardian...
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 22nd, 2009 06:12 pm (UTC)
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Yes, Rice and Salt is a strange choice, but perhaps trying to give an idea of the range of fantastic fiction? Slaughterhouse 5 is inexplicable unless they have it in tomorrow. you have been warned Rusbridger

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