BOOKS P-T

 

 

 

ALEXEI PANSHIN

(Rite of Passage -- 1968 Nebula Award -- not read.)

 

FREDERICK POHL

 

*** Gateway --1978 Hugo Award and 1977 Nebula Award

*** Beyond the Blue Event Horizon

Both are unusual and stunning. A third volume "Heechee Rendezvous" is good but not quite up to the first two.  The same is true for a fourth volume "The Annals of the Heechee". I suspect that the first two are type C, while the second two are a pair of type C add-on's -- that is, a type A series made up of two pairs of type C's. Interesting.  But don't miss those first two.

The Reefs of Space (written with Jack Williamson)

A good story with some really original concepts and the single most chilling notion in science fiction (the "body bank"). This one will give you nightmares, as it did me. (Now published in one volume with two related, type-A novels as the "Starchild Trilogy". Only the "Reefs of Space", the first one, is good enough for this list.)

Man Plus --1976 Nebula Award

A surprising and surprisingly good story. I found a lot to like about it and really nothing to complain about! "Things are seldom what they seem..."

KIM STANLEY ROBINSON

(Red Mars -- 1993 Nebula Award.  Okay, but not wonderful.  Some good imagination, but I thought the story-telling was weak.)

 

(Green Mars -- 1994 Hugo Award.  Not read -- started but not finished...)

 

(Blue Mars -- 1997 Hugo Award.  Not read.)

 

J. K. ROWLING

Harry Potter (all of them)

 

(Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire -- 2001 Hugo Award!  How in the world did this get a science fiction award?  I really like the Harry Potter series -- they are fun, even if a lot of the conceptual fun is exhausted in the first book.  But there is plenty of evidence of Type C planning too.  But is it science fiction??  I think not.)

 

ROBERT J. SAWYER

(The Terminal Experiment -- 1995 Nebula Award.  Not read.)

 

(Hominids -- 2003 Hugo Award.  I liked it quite a lot -- but not quite enough for this list.  Interesting view of another culture, but somehow not satisfying.)

 

ELIZABETH ANN SCARBOROUGH

(The Healer's War -- 1989 Nebula Award. Not read.)

 

MICHAEL SHEA

(Nifft the Lean -- 1983 World Fantasy Convention Award.  Don't really know what to say. Four novelettes loosely about one character. Lots of imagination and one of the stories "The Fishing of the Demon-Sea" is really quite fine and sticks with you. But I found some of the others far less good. Maybe I just don't like pure fantasy.)

ROBERT SILVERBERG

(A Time of Changes -- 1971 Nebula Award.  A product of the late-60's, early-70's era, with love-power and mind-expanding drugs, which makes it feel dated to me. Quite well written. Not my cup of tea, but if you are into this sort of thing, try it.)

(Special mention needs to be made of his "Nightwings", a short novel sometimes published, along with two other parts, as a whole book of the same name. Only the first part is the really wonderful one.)

 

CLIFFORD D. SIMAK

 

(Simak is my favorite science fiction author. Usually, he has thought out very well where his stories are going. Some of his stuff falls below the standards of this list, and there are some that are just off the list. But then there are these real winners.)

 

*** Time is the Simplest Thing

Probably my single favorite science fiction novel -- not sure why, but I really love it.

*** Waystation --1964 Hugo Award

Another one I read and reread. Don't miss it!

*** The Goblin Reservation

It is awfully easy to shoot through this one as if it were comic book stuff -- you will see why.  But there is lots to think about and I find myself rereading it many times. Really recommended.

City

Cemetery World

Special Deliverance

The Highway of Heaven

The latter was published in 1986 at the age of 82! Some surprising twists. Not his best, but enjoyable.

DAN SIMMONS

(Hyperion -- 1990 Hugo Award.  I liked it -- it is part of a four-volume double, double.  The first two are a Type B story, as are the last two.  The two pairs make up a Type C series, sort of.  I found a lot to like, but was really bothered by a final lack of resolution of the central mystery of the four book set (that is: who or what was the Shrike?).  Unsatisfying, but I did read them all.)

CHRISTOPHER STASHEFF

*** The Warlock in Spite of Himself

Delightful! Now has many attempts at sequels (King Kobold, The Warlock Unlocked, The Warlock Enraged, The Warlock is Missing, The Warlock Wandering, King Kobold Revived, and more -- I have read five, so far) and a prequel (Escape Velocity. The ones I have read are not bad, but do not contain enough new conceptual material to meet the standards of the first one. Clearly, type A.

 

NEIL STEPHENSON

(The Diamond Age -- 1996 Hugo Award.  Not read.)

MICHAEL SWANWICK

(Stations of the Tide -- 1991 Nebula Award.  Okay, but not wonderful.)

SHERI TEPPER

(A very prolific writer, Tepper first came to my notice for her trilogy of trilogies (just below) but has since written a lot of stuff, some of it better than others, but always interesting.  My favorites are below.)

 

King's Blood Four

Necromancer Nine

Wizard's Eleven

A true type C(!) trilogy.  Part fantasy and part science fiction. But three good stories that make up one good larger story.

The Song of Maven Manyshaped

The Flight of Maven Manyshaped

The Search of Maven Manyshaped

Another trilogy, basically type C, on themes related to the first trilogy. Good, especially the second one.

Jinian Footseer

Dervish Daughter

Jinian Star-eye

Another related trilogy, somewhat more spotty than the above two, but I still found a lot to enjoy. More into the fantasy side, but still related to the first trilogy in story and theme.

The Gate to Women's Country

A Plague of Angels

Raising the Stones

These three are unrelated, but provide a superior sampling of several facets of Tepper's voluminous work.  I continue to read her stuff -- not always wonderful, but always interesting.

J. R. R. TOLKIEN

 

The Hobbit

*** The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King)

What can I say? Fantasy, but wonderful! Pure type B. Read The Hobbit first -- it is a free-standing preface to the trilogy. By now everybody knows about this and its magnificent, Academy-Award-winning movie version.  But read the books!