One thing that science fiction fans love is a good list of great books. There’s something very satisfying about poring over a list like the SF Masterworks or The Classics of Science Fiction to see which ones we’ve read and which we’ve missed. We get to determine for ourselves if the list creators got it right with their selections and there is endless opportunity to speculate, and argue about, the books we’d have put on the list if only we’d been consulted.
There are some great lists out there for us to choose from and many are covered here on WWEnd for your edification. Each list has its own slant and biases built in and because we often don’t agree with their contents, or we just want to fill a particular niche that’s underserved, we just keep making more.
I’ve been making an effort to read more women authors this last year or so and the first thing I did was go looking for a list. I found many to choose from but ultimately none were quite what I wanted. The answer was to make my own list: Award Winning Books by Woman Authors. Like the name indicates it’s just a simple list of all the winning books by women from the 10 awards we cover here on WWEnd. Of course, that’s a pretty easy list to make. All I had to do was poll the database and post the results. A useful list and good start but I wanted more.
Then along comes this great list called the SF Mistressworks by SF/F writer and blogger Ian Sales on It Doesn’t Have to be Right…. This list is exactly what I was looking for and a great fit for WWEnd. The goal of his list is to highlight great works by women authors that are worthy of the attention given to those books on the SF Masterworks list – which is a bit thin on women authors. Ian turned his list into a meme and it took off across the internets – a clear indication of the quality of the list and of the un-tapped desire for such a list.
Says Ian: "I’ve used my own taste in novels, awards shortlists, recommendations by various folk, and some judicious online research to generate the list." He goes on with this caveat: "I can’t guarantee I’ve picked a writer’s best book, or indeed that any of the books on the list that I’ve not read myself are in any way ‘classic’." Fair enough. As with all lists it’s not perfect but some real effort went into it and the result is pretty impressive. All the usual suspects are in there but there are many authors and titles you’ve probably never heard of too. Plenty of room to branch out and try someone new.
The list of 90 books is restricted to SF works with only one book per author and a cut-off date of 2000. He’s got a 21st Century SF Mistressworks list in the works so don’t get too upset if you don’t find the most recent authors and books in the list. We had about half of these books in our database already and I spent the last week adding the others – not to mention some 30-odd new authors!
Take a look at the list and see how you fare. If you’re a WWEnd member you can use BookTrackr™ to tag the ones you’ve read. What books would you add to it? What books would you replace for your favorite authors?
Many thanks to Ian Sales for the great list.
You can probably guess from my avatar that I’m excited about this movie coming out. Cap looks the part and I love the costume (though it’s not featured in this trailer) and Hugo Weaving as Red Skull is spot on. The Tommy Lee Jones voiceover is greatness: "They will personally escort Adolf Hitler to the gates of hell."
I found this funny vid over at Topless Robot and thought I’d share it here. This is some really great editing and it’s even funnier because there’s no dialog. I’m looking forward to part 2.
Take a look at this amazing info graphic by artist Ward Shelley over at Places & Spaces. Shelley has mapped out the history of Science Fiction in a fascinating amorphous tentacular blob that takes you through the development of the genre from Gilgamesh to New Space Opera with hundreds of famous and sometimes unexpected stops in between.
The paths twist and turn and branch out through the long years in a hypnotic pattern of movements and cultural change. The many genres of fiction that derive from the same roots of "Fear and Wonder" disappear into their own universes leaving us to wonder what those places might look like.
There is so much detail here you could pore over it for hours and still find great new things. The example books on this chart alone would make a titanic reading list! Take a look and tell us what you think.
Thanks to Wintermute for the tip.
The Shortlist for the 2011 Arthur C. Clarke Award has been announced. The nominees are:
- Zoo City – Lauren Beukes (Angry Robot)
- The Dervish House – Ian McDonald (Gollancz)
- Monsters of Men – Patrick Ness (Walker Books)
- Generosity -Richard Powers (Atlantic Books)
- Declare – Tim Powers (Corvus)
- Lightborn – Tricia Sullivan (Orbit)
Congrats to all the nominees. The winner will be announced at SciFi London on April 27th. So, how does this list compare to yours? Declare made the rounds once already when it was first published in the US in 2001 winning the 2001 WFA and being nominated for the Locus Fantasy and Nebula the same year.