I’m a life-long fan of science fiction, mostly as a reader but occasionally as a book reviewer. Way back, when dinosaurs walked the earth, I even took a couple of science fiction literature classes.
And, as readers of this blog well know, I love nothing better than a good list of books.
So combining all those passions is a big win for me.
Take a look at this, from io9, A syllabus and book list for novice students of science fiction literature.
I’ll list the books here, but please head over to the io9 post for the rationales for chosing each book.
WHAT THIS LIST IS AND ISN’T
There are a few things to keep in mind about this syllabus for SF 101: Introduction to Literature.
It is not comprehensive. It is intended to introduce the novice student of SF literature to the major themes in the genre, as well as books and authors who are representative of different eras in SF lit (including the present day). So you’ll find a mix of old and new here, as well as fan favorites tucked in among more literary authors.
Back in the mists of time, I used to teach literature and American Studies at UC Berkeley, so I have some experience putting together course materials for university classes very much like one. (In fact, there are a few books on here that I used to teach.) What educators aim to do in overview courses is expose students to the broadest possible set of examples of a genre, not just the “canon.” It is in this spirit that I chose the books on this list.
The original list is divided up into themes/sections, but I’m just doing a raw listing here. Another reason to head over to io9!
- Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
- The Time Machine, H. G. Wells
- A Princess of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs
- “At the Mountains of Madness,” H.P. Lovecraft
- Herland, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
- Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
- 1984, George Orwell
- The Man In the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
- The Female Man, Joanna Russ
- I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
- Neuromancer, by William Gibson
- Saturn’s Children, by Charles Stross
- “Who Goes There,” John W. Campbell
- Lilith’s Brood, by Octavia Butler
- The Secret City, by Carol Emschwiller
- Triplanetary, E.E. “Doc” Smith
- Downbelow Station, C.J. Cherryh
- The Sparrow, Maria Doria Russell
- Consider Phlebas, Iain M. Banks
- Orlando, Virgina Woolf
- Stranger In A Strange Land, Robert Heinlein
- Dhalgren, Samuel Delaney
- The Dispossessed, Ursula LeGuin
- Anathem, Neal Stephenson
I’ve read 16/24. How about you?
Also, really do check out the comments on the post — any list like this is sure to generate some debate and this one is no exception.