Comments: SF book meme

You made it all the way through the Silmarillion?

I'm impressed.

I fell asleep about 10 pages in and never picked it up again.

Posted by Harvey at November 17, 2006 03:01 PM

That's the reaction that I've heard from lots of people. You have to wade through about 40-50 pages of the creation of the world stuff before you get into the mythos of the Tolkienverse. Without that background, the whole Silmarillion doesn't make sense.

Actually, the Silmarillion makes sense out of a lot of the "historical" references through the LOTR, which was kind of cool. The next time I reread the trilogy, I had a better understanding of what was happening.

Posted by physics geek at November 17, 2006 03:21 PM

And why is the first Harry Potter listed? HP didn't become a juggernaut from which all flee until the fourth book in the series. The Book of the New Sun is listed as one work.

On the other hand, Cordwainer Smith gets a short story anthology counted as a novel. As does Harlan Ellison, plus a collection of stories by other people that he edited. Why not "Astounding/Analog, 1953-2002"?

It's not a bad list for "most influential." Just needs to be better defined. And, since it's "most influential," not "best" or "favorite," there needs to be more unreadable stuff. "Influential" lists always have more unreadable stuff.

Of the few books you haven't read, I'd recommend starting with New Sun, followed by Rogue Moon and Cities in Flight. If you haven't read any Cordwainer Smith, throw him in there.

Posted by Bob Hawkins at November 17, 2006 04:51 PM

I've read several Cordwainer Smith short stories and thought that they were great. I'l take a gander as soon as I can grab a copy.

Posted by physics geek at November 17, 2006 10:01 PM

Ellison's "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream", seemed to me to be much more important.

I kept looking for Orwell's "1984", especially with the parallels in current events.

Nope, sorry, can't buy this list, and the only one I HAVEN'T read is, "The Book of the New Sun" by Wolfe (which I plan to rectify ASAP).

But then the SF Book Club has never been known for it's literary (as opposed to commercial) acumen. Some of the crap they've put out makes Herbert's, "Battlefield Earth", look like Shakespeare.

Posted by nofile404 at November 19, 2006 02:28 PM

They left out

The Retief stories

Commander Grimes and the Rim stories

Startide rising by Brin

Various Pournell/Niven works

David Drake's stuff

Barry B Longyear, (The circus world series)

The Marching Morons by Kornbluth

All of the Xanth books

Finally, how bout the ones you hate? My personally worst author is Philip K Dick. His books are ones you can't put down, you have to fling them in the trash with great force.

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