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Worlds Without End Blog

New Book Lists for a New Year: The Defining SF Books of the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s Posted at 7:30 AM by Dave Post

Dave Post

So a few weeks ago we added 5 great new book lists to WWEnd and we’re finally getting around to telling you about them.  The Defining SF Books of the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s are lists by James Wallace Harris a friend of WWEnd and the creator of The Classics of Science Fiction list which is one of our most popular lists.  No stranger to lists is he.

We found these lists some time ago on Jim’s Auxiliary Memory blog and we’ve been working with him the last few months to get all the books added to our site and build out the lists.  (A special thanks to our Uber Users for the data entry!)  Jim wrote up some great short intros to each of the lists and we’ve included links over to his blog so you can read the original articles where he explains his reasons and methodology for picking these books.

Each of these lists is representative of the best remembered books from the decade and each is divided into 2 sections.  The first section is a selection of 12 books that might/could/should be remembered and read into the 22nd century.  These are taken from the list proper and are the books that have influenced the genre for years.  These are books with real staying power.  You’ll recognize most of them as widely acknowledged genre classics and many of them come from the SF Masterworks series.

The second part of each list are books grouped by year published.  These vary in length from year to year.  Some years, like 1968, are particularly strong and have as many as 26 books while others, like 1978, fall a little short and have as few as 3 books total.  As usual, if you’re a WWEnd member you can see at a glance just how many from each decade you’ve read and of course a lot of these are new to the site so you may find some books that you’ll need to tag as read or add to your reading list.

If you’re looking to read a sampling from each decade you can simply focus on the top 12 books from each list.  Those 60 books alone are a good cross section of what the genre had to offer for those fifty years.  If you want to read deeper into a specific decade these lists are a great place to find recommendations. In fact, one WWEnder has just started a Roll-Your-Own Reading Challenge based on the 50s list.  Check out The Definitive 1950s SF Reading Challenge if you’re ready to dive into the first list.  And, by the way, there are currently 31 other challenges to chose from too so you’re sure to find something to strike your fancy for 2015.

A huge thank you to Jim Harris for creating the lists and for his help in implementing them on WWEnd.  We think you’re really going to like these new lists.  Read on!





Jim Harris   |   06 Jan 2015 @ 09:14

Y’all have done a fantastic job with these lists. I love looking at them on your site with the book covers. I was too lazy to put up all those covers, which is a shame because seeing the covers makes me want to reread old friends and discover new ones.

Dave   |   06 Jan 2015 @ 10:43

They turned out really nice overall. I really like a cover gallery for browsing lists and awards. It’s just like being at the bookstore where the cover art is the first thing to catch your eye and inspire further investigation. I love the larger covers for the top 12 lists especially. Draws a lot of attention to them. It was a lot of fun getting these ready.

Scott Laz   |   06 Jan 2015 @ 12:56

These lists are especially useful for the earlier decades, when the current plethora of awards hadn’t been developed, making books from that era less likely to get highlighted on WWEnd. And the yearly focus helps remind us of things outside the “usual suspects” that show up on the lists of classics. A nice addtion to the site!

Buck Ward   |   06 Jan 2015 @ 14:58

I had discovered Auxiliary Memory and these lists a while back, and was pleased to see them added to WWE.

Hosk   |   09 Jan 2015 @ 06:42

Great idea splitting the SF books into era’s.

I like to read different books, e.g. the next books is different from the last. This makes it easier to find and select different Sci Fi books.

It’s also a real pleasure to look at the different era lists, you have done a good job of organising and displaying them.

Great work

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