It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

… it just has to sound plausible

So you think you know good sf?


So the Guardian wants to know what are our favourite sf novels. And up pop the usual suspects. Sigh. I can’t be bothered to post yet another rant on the topic. Instead, I will point you at these previous posts of mine:

The Ten Best Science Fiction Books… Ever
The Best Science Fiction Series
The Best SF Novels Since 1990

And for all you Foundation and Lensman fans:

The Worst Science Fiction Series

6 thoughts on “So you think you know good sf?

  1. Ian, I know you don’t like Asimov but…would you really put him in the same category as E. E. Doc Smith?

    The Foundation series…okay probably not beautifully written but you could hardly call it mindless escapism (like Lensman), could you?

    • Structurally, the Lensman series is quite interesting – I once heard John Clute compare its structure to that of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, which is much, much further than I would go.

  2. Oh, and regarding the Guardian poll, I thought the nominations, judging by the comments below, were quite varied. Yes, the usual suspects cropped up but I thought they were quite varied. A large range of deserving classics (as well as those not quite so well deserving) were mentioned. Quite a few modern SF books/authors mentioned as well.

    I didn’t think it was that infuriating…

    • No, you’re right. There was quite a wide variety of titles suggested. It just continues to amaze me when people name the Lensman and Foundation books. I react automatically…

      • Foundation and Lensman* are important from the point of view of development of the genre. I have copies of both, and both were important to me in the development of my appreciation of the whole span of sf. But I would never call them great writing, or even promote them as “good sf” to someone outside the genre. I think a lot of fans have to learn to pitch their messages to their audiences, rarther than either getting off on a “gosh wow” trip for anything with “sf” on the cover, or alternatively allowing their critical views to be too influenced by other peoples’ opinions.

        * no, not your worst nightmare title surely?

  3. I see they’ve put up the results of everyone’s nominations. No attempt to aggregate the results though…

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