Thursday, 8 July 2010

News:// SF & Fantasy Masterworks Reading Project

I'm strangely drawn to reading projects or challenges and by drawn to I mean I like to start them full of enthusiasm and then fail miserably because I have a terminally low attention span. I'm still considering reading through the Hugo winners but it'll have to wait until I've at least made a dent in the book mountain my wife is hidden behind.

A bunch of SF&F book bloggers are undertaking the slightly crazy project of reading and reviewing all the books in both the SF and Fantasy Masterworks series. They are undoubtedly great collections of genre books, I do think they tend to concentrate on older works and the obvious 'grandmasters' but this is fairly common in any list of classic science fiction or fantasy. I'm passionate about new science fiction and I spend a fair amount of time promoting newer works to friends both online and off who tend to run into the same recommendations of classic texts that are not always in my opinion the best introduction to the genre though they may be important.

Anyway I'm getting a bit off topic, thought I'd continue the meme I spotted at the Speculative Scotsman.

Books in bold I've read, italicised I own but haven't read.

I'll do the fantasy list if I can find a list that's easy to copy&paste but for now the SF Masterworks:

I - Dune - Frank Herbert
II - The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin
III - The Man in the High Castle - Philip K. Dick
IV - The Stars My Destination - Alfred Bester
V - A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter M. Miller, Jr.
VI - Childhood's End - Arthur C. Clarke
VII - The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress - Robert A. Heinlein
VIII - Ringworld - Larry Niven
IX - The Forever War - Joe Haldeman
X - The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham

1 - The Forever War - Joe Haldeman
2 - I Am Legend - Richard Matheson
3 - Cities in Flight - James Blish
4 - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick
5 - The Stars My Destination - Alfred Bester
6 - Babel-17 - Samuel R. Delany
7 - Lord of Light - Roger Zelazny
8 - The Fifth Head of Cerberus - Gene Wolfe
9 - Gateway - Frederik Pohl
10 - The Rediscovery of Man - Cordwainer Smith

11 - Last and First Men - Olaf Stapledon
12 - Earth Abides - George R. Stewart
13 - Martian Time-Slip - Philip K. Dick
14 - The Demolished Man - Alfred Bester
15 - Stand on Zanzibar - John Brunner
16 - The Dispossessed - Ursula K. Le Guin
17 - The Drowned World - J. G. Ballard
18 - The Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
19 - Emphyrio - Jack Vance
20 - A Scanner Darkly - Philip K. Dick

21 - Star Maker - Olaf Stapledon
22 - Behold the Man - Michael Moorcock
23 - The Book of Skulls - Robert Silverberg
24 - The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds - H. G. Wells
25 - Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes
26 - Ubik - Philip K. Dick
27 - Timescape - Gregory Benford
28 - More Than Human - Theodore Sturgeon
29 - Man Plus - Frederik Pohl
30 - A Case of Conscience - James Blish

31 - The Centauri Device - M. John Harrison
32 - Dr. Bloodmoney - Philip K. Dick
33 - Non-Stop - Brian Aldiss
34 - The Fountains of Paradise - Arthur C. Clarke
35 - Pavane - Keith Roberts
36 - Now Wait for Last Year - Philip K. Dick
37 - Nova - Samuel R. Delany
38 - The First Men in the Moon - H. G. Wells
39 - The City and the Stars - Arthur C. Clarke
40 - Blood Music - Greg Bear

41 - Jem - Frederik Pohl
42 - Bring the Jubilee - Ward Moore
43 - VALIS - Philip K. Dick
44 - The Lathe of Heaven - Ursula K. Le Guin
45 - The Complete Roderick - John Sladek
46 - Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said - Philip K. Dick
47 - The Invisible Man - H. G. Wells
48 - Grass - Sheri S. Tepper
49 - A Fall of Moondust - Arthur C. Clarke
50 - Eon - Greg Bear

51 - The Shrinking Man - Richard Matheson
52 - The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch - Philip K. Dick
53 - The Dancers at the End of Time - Michael Moorcock
54 - The Space Merchants - Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth
55 - Time Out of Joint - Philip K. Dick
56 - Downward to the Earth - Robert Silverberg
57 - The Simulacra - Philip K. Dick
58 - The Penultimate Truth - Philip K. Dick
59 - Dying Inside - Robert Silverberg
60 - Ringworld - Larry Niven
61 - The Child Garden - Geoff Ryman
62 - Mission of Gravity - Hal Clement
63 - A Maze of Death - Philip K. Dick
64 - Tau Zero - Poul Anderson
65 - Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C. Clarke
66 - Life During Wartime - Lucius Shepard
67 - Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang - Kate Wilhelm
68 - Roadside Picnic - Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
69 - Dark Benediction - Walter M. Miller, Jr.
70 - Mockingbird - Walter Tevis

71 - Dune - Frank Herbert
72 - The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress - Robert A. Heinlein
73 - The Man in the High Castle - Philip K. Dick
74 - Inverted World - Christopher Priest
75 - Kurt Vonnegut - Cat's Cradle
76 - H.G. Wells - The Island of Dr. Moreau
77 - Arthur C. Clarke - Childhood's End
78 - H.G. Wells - The Time Machine
79 - Samuel R. Delany - Dhalgren (July 2010)
80 - Brian Aldiss - Helliconia (August 2010)

81 - H.G. Wells - Food of the Gods (Sept. 2010)
82 - Jack Finney - The Body Snatchers (Oct. 2010)
83 - Joanna Russ - The Female Man (Nov. 2010)
84 - M.J. Engh - Arslan (Dec. 2010)

So more than I thought but still quite low. I'll be looking forward to the reviews.


  1. Ack! Where to start. I've easily read half of those, but many so long ago I can barely remember them.

    I went on a Philip K. Dick spree about a year ago and read many of his major works. He can be difficult to get into. All the delusion, parallel dimensions and general paranoia...

    You should read the Forever War, as I think I mentioned in a previous comment, I read it during a MilSF binge that included Starship Troopers, Old Man's War and Armor.

    Earth Abides is one of my go-to books. I re-read it regularly. A nice, under-stated, post-apocalypse book. Along the lines of Alas Babylon, but with far fewer survivors.

    All those HG Wells should be available over at Gutenberg. The Invisible Man is probably the most relevant read, because it's more of a psychological treatment. I still love the rest of his books but the science is a bit comical to a modern reader.

    Thanks for the comment over at my blog, BTW. I'm still fighting the urge to discard a story as soon as I can discern its features. It's an Uncanny Valley thing. I have to learn to fight the revulsion I feel and keep tending it, until it becomes fully-formed.

  2. Oh, know what would bring a stack of readers to this blog? Reviewing some of the, hundreds of short stories that are put on blogs by amateurs every week.

    There are a number of writing challenges I've participated in, and dozens more I haven't. Strategically reviewing stories by key writers in the scene will get blogged about and garner eyeballs.

    Just a thought. You've such a well put together blog, more people should read it.

    This comment will self-destruct in...

  3. I've got a lovely complete edition of the Haldeman War books sitting on my shelf. Been meaning to crack it a few times.

    I think Invisible Man is one of the last Wells books I've yet to read, have it on my phone and ereader so I'll get round to it eventually. Have a lovely complete edition of all his short stories which I bought years ago, that's a great read.

    Philip K Dick I like but I have to be in the mood for. I've read a fair few but I'm not sure I could binge on him.

    Earth Abides I've actually read a fair bit of but haven't yet finished, not sure why, must have been distracted by something shiny. Have the audiobook so I may well listen to it.

    I'm slowly working my way backwards through your fiction. Generally I'm really enjoying it, that story just stood out so far. I'll keep on reading as time permits though. Very readable style generally though, is it all self taught?

    Really like you ideas for the blog, I might need a few pointers as I mostly read short fiction on the larger magazine sites. Need to think of a label to keep it organised and have a look around to see what is being written but it should also keep content flowing if I'm reading short fiction. Quite a niche area which I like too, yes damn it I think it might work. :)

    Thanks for the comments, to be honest this blog is still a bit of an experiment so I'm happy to try some different directions as long as it keeps me reading. If you want to contribute any posts, particularly if I get this idea up and running, let me know and I'll get you included as an author.

  4. 52 Stitches publishes a short horror story by a different author each week. At the end of the year the 52 stories are gathered into a book.

    Mad Utopia is the nerve centre for the #fridayflash movement. Around 70-90 flash fiction (sub 1000 word) stories get posted each week. The link is for the last report, and there are usually genre tags on individual stories as applicable.

    Friday Flash Fiction runs a slightly different, more intimate, contest most Fridays. There are 8 or 9 regular contributors, some of whom submit starter sentences, then they vote. The most popular one is used as the start for the contest entries. I say contest, but it's really a challenge - there are no winners or losers.

    Three Word Wednesday uses, um, three words as a writing prompt then the links to any stories are posted in the comments. Can be prose or poetry, and some people post ridiculously fast. I had some of my best inspiration here for some reason.

    That's a start anyway.