Wednesday, 29 November 2006

captain's log supplemental

Further to the previous post re top 50 sf and fantasy books:

- I don't know how the list was come up with. Sometimes dodgy lists have titles which all turn out to be published/distributed/sold by the list-presenter, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. It seems a well-rounded list, which suggests it's not a 'readers votes' list (no ballot-stuffing by Discworld- and Potter-lovers), although the high placing of Mists of Avalon (and Sword of Shannara's presence) is a bit perplexing.

- I notice that titles 11-50 are in alphabetical order of title, so I guess the first ten are the 'top ten' and these are 'the rest'.

- Like Alex, there are some books on the list I'm just not sure if I've read or not. Alex recommends I Am Legend in particular, which I've read good things about before and must seek out.

- The only book on the list I started but couldn't get anywhere with was big fat Dune. Wizard of Earthsea is the only book on the list I haven't read but own.

- I note it isn't a 'best' list but 'most significant', which is quite a different thing. A book can be significant and important but not very good, like Frankenstein, say. Or Duchamp's fountain, which is significant and important in the history of art, but is rubbish - indeed, not even art (therein lying the importance of it being accepted as art).

- A lot of the best science fiction is short stories, I think, so won't appear on these kinds of lists (apart from Dangerous Visions). Robert Sheckley's novels were ordinary compared to his splendid short stories - probably my favourite science fiction writer, if push came to shove.

Dear me, just another list for me to keep and try to work my way through.

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