Our previous installments, as seen in Google Groups:
For those who came in late, I'm an Senior Editor at the Science Fiction Book Club, and we've been doing a multi-year series of some great books of SF/Fantasy. We started in 2003 (our 50th Anniversary year) with 8 books from the '50s, and have continued, eight books for each decade, in the years since then. 2007 will be the year for the '90s.
I'll be reading for this series (or just looking over books I read not all that long ago, this time) over the summer, so now is when I'm gathering suggestions.
As usual, I'm hoping this will spark some general discussion (as well as giving me some datapoints), so I don't want to constrain things too much, but here are some of the considerations I'll have to take into account with the final list:
- I only have eight books to cover the whole decade.
- I want to choose books that club members are at least somewhat likely to buy.
- Books already in the club in another edition (or, probably, books that were in print in the last year or two) won't end up on my final list.
- All eight will be single books (novels, collections or anthologies) -- the SFBC does a lot of omnibuses, but not in this series.
- I'm trying not to repeat authors if at all possible, to give a fuller picture of the field.
- I'm not specifically choosing books to exemplify movements and trends in the field, but it would be great if it works out that way -- but, conversely, I won't be doing more than a book or two in any given area.
- I have no objection to using something that's part of a series, but a book needs to make sense on its own outside the context of the series.
- I'm generally looking for books published between 1990 and 1999, but I've bent that rule several times in the past, so books from 1989, 2000 or thereabouts aren't necessarily disqualified (but they should have a really good reason to be on the list).
Year One (2003): The 1950s
1 The Door Into Summer, Robert A. Heinlein
2 The Space Merchants, Frederik Pohl & C.M. Kornbluth
3 The City and the Stars, Arthur C. Clarke
4 Three Hearts and Three Lions, Poul Anderson
5 City, Clifford D. Simak
6 Under Pressure, Frank Herbert
7 The End of Eternity, Isaac Asimov
8 The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
Year Two (2004): The 1960s
9 To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer
10 Norstrilia, Cordwainer Smith
11 The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
12 The Dream Master, Roger Zelazny
13 Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
14 A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
15 The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. LeGuin
16 Rite of Passage, Alexei Panshin
Year Three (2005): The 1970s
17 Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
18 Gloriana, Michael Moorcock
19 The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
20 Her Smoke Rose Up Forever, James Tiptree, Jr.
21 Wild Seed, Octavia E. Butler
22 The Snow Queen, Joan D. Vinge
23 The Mote in God's Eye, Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
24 Deathbird Stories. Harlan Ellison
Year Four (2006): The 1980s
25 Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
26 The Anubis Gates, Tim Powers
27 Blood Music, Greg Bear
28 Mythago Wood, Robert Holdstock
29 Courtship Rite, Donald Kingsbury
30 Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
31 Schismatrix Plus, Bruce Sterling
32 Startide Rising, David Brin
So, what are the best books of the 1990s?