November 18th, 2006

livre d'or

That SFBC list

Can't resist lists...

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The most fun thing to do with a list like this is to note the glaring omissions. I'm going to talk about books that seem like they ought to be on the list rather than books that I think are better, which means books that are a major influence on SF and fantasy and the culture in general. The list really needs HG Wells, say The Time Machine or War of the Worlds (I've only read the latter), and Jules Verne, perhaps 20000 leagues under the sea or Journey to the centre of the earth. Probably HP Lovecraft and ER Burroughs too, even though the latter is a crap writer; they helped to define the basic expectations of what SF means. Leaving out Brave New World pretty much makes the list worthless right there.

It may be just my prejudice but I would have thought Day of the Triffids ought to get a mention (though personally, I like The Chrysalids and The trouble with lichen better). 1984 and The handmaid's tale I guess are excluded because people argue about whether they're "really" SF, but if On the beach counts then they ought to.

Gaiman I assume missed out because they're too snobby to include graphic novels, and Sandman is clearly the main reason Gaiman is so important. But even something like Neverwhere would have made a lot of sense.

And, you know, something published in the last ten years wouldn't be so much to ask! I nominate Accelerando and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, but I'm not necessarily up to the minute with recent SF/F.
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