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Worlds Without End Blog

The Classics of Science Fiction Posted at 9:05 PM by Dave Post

Dave Post

The Classics of Science Fiction

We’ve just added a new book list to WWEnd: The Classics of Science Fiction.

The Classics of Science Fiction list, compiled by James Wallace Harris and Anthony Bernardo, is an attempt to create a definitive list of the best Science Fiction books. Harris and Bernardo collected 28 different recommended and "best of" lists by noted fans, critics and writers and then cross-tabulated the lists to see which books showed up with the most frequency. The result is a ranked list of 193 books, each having seven or more citations.

This is a really extensive list with most of the usual suspects represented along with a few surprises.  Check out the list and use our BookTrackr to see how many you’ve already read. 

Also, be sure to visit http://classics.jameswallaceharris.com for more information including an extensive essay on the methodology used to create the list.

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5 Comments

Meridian   |   26 Oct 2010 @ 14:35

I thought it was easier to count the ones I hadn’t read: 97. Most of those are pre-1950 books. M

Dave Post   |   26 Oct 2010 @ 15:05

@Meridian: You’ve read half of ‘em. Impressive. I’ve only read 30 from that list so far. I’ve got about 20 more on my to-read list. There are a lot of pre-50′s in the list to be sure. I like that about the list. Most folks are looking for the latest and greatest and might forget about the old stuff.

Wintermute   |   26 Oct 2010 @ 22:17

I read the list author’s explanation / essay of how he selected the books. A fine read, the most interesting observation to me was that the list is primarily Anglo-American and that he has heard of a strong Russian / Soviet science-fiction tradition. Wow. I would love to know more about these classics in other languages, particularly the space-faring people of Siberia. The only well known Sci-Fi author I can think of, that is not an English speaker, is Stanislaw Lem, the author of Solaris and His Master’s Voice among many, many others. We must be missing out on so much! Do other cultures that venture into space have as developed a Sci-Fi body of work as GBR and USA? USSR? Maybe PRC? Or IND?

Dave Post   |   28 Oct 2010 @ 07:41

@Wintermute: I’ve always been interested in finding English translations of Russian and Polish SF. I agree that there must be tons of great SF that we can’t access. There is a new award for translated works that will debute in the Spring. Check out the Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Awards: http://www.sfftawards.org/

Wintermute   |   28 Oct 2010 @ 09:09

Dave, that is great news! Exactly what we need. I have not read the site yet but translated SciFi Awards is exactly what I had in mind. If they do it right this will be a very important new award, in my humble opinion.

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