Another meme doing the rounds of the blogosphere, Facebook and Live Journal, sent to me courtesy of Liam Proven…. Simply list fifteen books that have affected you most, will always stay with you, etc. Off the top of your head – well, in less than fifteen minutes. Here’s mine, in order of year of publication…
1 The Undercover Aliens, AE van Vogt (1950)
2 Starman Jones, Robert Heinlein (1953)
3 The Alexandria Quartet, Lawrence Durrell (1957 – 1960)
4 the Dorsai trilogy, Gordon R Dickson (1959 – 1971)
5 Dune, Frank Herbert (1965)
6 Dhalgren, Samuel Delany (1975)
7 The Ophiuchi Hotline, John Varley (1977)
8 The Right Stuff, Tom Wolfe (1979)
9 The Space Mavericks, Michael Kring (1980)
10 Where Time Winds Blow, Robert Holdstock (1982)
11 Kairos, Gwyneth Jones (1988)
12 Metrophage, Richard Kadrey (1988)
13 Iris, William Barton & Michael Capobianco (1990)
14 Take Back Plenty, Colin Greenland (1990)
15 Coelestis, Paul Park (1993)
Many of these books are my favourites, and I’ve read them several times. In fact, I reread a bunch of them a couple of years ago as a reading challenge – see here.
Others…. The Heinlein is the first true sf novel I recall reading – a friend lent it to me at school. So it’s effectively the book that turned me into a sf fan. And The Alexandria Quartet is the book that turned me into a fan of Durrell’s writing – for evidence of this see here and here.
Although I recently reread the Dorsai trilogy and was disappointed, I still remember loving it as a young teenager. Iris was the first book I read by Barton and Capobianco. I went on to read their solo novels, and Barton has remained a favourite sf writer ever since.
The Space Mavericks is the novel which kicked off the whole Turkey Shoot thing. Turkey Shoot was a short-lived fanzine dedicated to sf “turkeys” – i.e., really bad sf novels – which I wrote and published back in the early 1990s. It was almost celebrated in its day. I can still remember some of The Space Mavericks‘s more memorable lines – “you can never mistake a museum building because of the way they build them” and “the green fur more than anything made it look like a Terran gorilla”.