RogerBW's Blog

100 SF&F Books You Should Consider Reading 30 January 2019

Borrowed from Dr Bob, here's James Nicholl's list of Books You Should Consider Reading.

No highlight means I've read it. italics means I've encountered it in some other form (e.g. an anime or film adaptation). code emphasis means I've read something else by the same author. bold means I might read it… or I might not. And of course there are some individual comments.

  • The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison] (2014) (I still think the Hugo should have gone to this or Ancillary Sword)
  • The Stolen Lake by Joan Aiken (1981) (read a lot of Aiken when young)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa (2001-2010) (seen the anime)
  • Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō by Hitoshi Ashinano (1994-2006) (seen the anime)
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985) (seen the film, read other Atwood, really not a fan of her style)
  • Stinz: Charger: The War Stories by Donna Barr (1987) (read Horsebrush)
  • The Sword and the Satchel by Elizabeth Boyer (1980) (heard the name)
  • Galactic Sibyl Sue Blue by Rosel George Brown (1968) (not even heard the name)
  • The Mountains of Mourning by Lois McMaster Bujold (1989)
  • War for the Oaks by Emma Bull (1987) (enjoyed it a lot at the time, but not sure how well it would stand up now)
  • Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler (1980) (didn't get on with Xenogenesis)
  • Naamah's Curse by Jacqueline Carey (2010) (what I've heard of her writing doesn't appeal)
  • The Fortunate Fall by Raphael Carter (1996) (never heard of)
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (2015)
  • Red Moon and Black Mountain by Joy Chant (1970) (never heard of)
  • The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas (1980) (heard the name)
  • Gate of Ivrel by C.J. Cherryh (1976) (not by my lights the best Cherryh, but OK I suppose)
  • Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (2015) (not as great as everyone said it was, but not bad)
  • Diadem from the Stars by Jo Clayton (1977) (never read any Clayton as far as I know; should I?)
  • The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (1973) (heard of them, never read)
  • Genpei by Kara Dalkey (2000) (heard the name)
  • Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard (2010) (I often feel ambivalent about de Bodard's short fiction but should try something longer)
  • The Secret Country by Pamela Dean (1985) (heard the name)
  • Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany (1975) (probably more work than I want to put in to fiction)
  • The Door into Fire by Diane Duane (1979) (didn't love it as much as many people did but did like it)
  • On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis (2016) (never heard of)
  • Spirit Gate by Kate Elliott (2006) (never heard of)
  • Enchantress From the Stars by Sylvia Louise Engdahl (1970) (never heard of)
  • Golden Witchbreed by Mary Gentle (1983) (might give this another go)
  • The Dazzle of Day by Molly Gloss (1997) (never heard of)
  • A Mask for the General by Lisa Goldstein (1987) (never heard of)
  • Slow River by Nicola Griffith (1995) (heard the name)
  • Those Who Hunt the Night by Barbara Hambly (1988)
  • Winterlong by Elizabeth Hand (1990) (heard the name)
  • Ingathering by Zenna Henderson (1995) (in different collections)
  • The Interior Life by Dorothy Heydt (writing as Katherine Blake, 1990) (a superb book that should be better known)
  • God Stalk by P. C. Hodgell (1982) (another superb book that should be better known)
  • Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson (1998) (heard the name)
  • Zero Sum Game by S.L. Huang (2014) (this has been on my to-read pile for ages)
  • Blood Price by Tanya Huff (1991) (heard the name)
  • The Keeper of the Isis Light by Monica Hughes (1980) (never heard of)
  • God's War by Kameron Hurley (2011) (didn't like)
  • Memory of Water by Emmi Itaranta (2014) (never heard of)
  • The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin (2015)
  • Cart and Cwidder by Diane Wynne Jones (1975)
  • Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones (2014) (heard the name)
  • Hellspark by Janet Kagan (1988) (already on my to-reread pile)
  • A Voice Out of Ramah by Lee Killough (1979) (never heard of)
  • St Ailbe's Hall by Naomi Kritzer (2004) (never heard of)
  • Deryni Rising by Katherine Kurtz (1970) (doesn't stand up well given what came later, though it's all right in itself)
  • Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner (1987) (heard the name)
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (1962) (probably I should read it now before everyone thinks the film is the canonical version)
  • Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier (2005) (never heard of)
  • The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin (1974)
  • Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (2013)
  • Don't Bite the Sun by Tanith Lee (1979) (heard the name)
  • Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (2016)
  • Wizard of the Pigeons by Megan Lindholm (1986)
  • Adaptation by Malinda Lo (2012) (never heard of)
  • Watchtower by Elizabeth A. Lynn (1979) (heard the name)
  • Tea with the Black Dragon by R. A. MacAvoy (1983) (very good indeed, but do NOT bother with the sequel)
  • The Outback Stars by Sandra McDonald (2007) (never heard of)
  • China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh (1992) (heard the name)
  • Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre (1978) (unexpected gem of the Hugo-Nebula Reread)
  • The Riddle-Master of Hed by Patricia A. McKillip (1976) (heard the name)
  • Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees (1926) (never heard of)
  • Pennterra by Judith Moffett (1987) (never heard of)
  • The ArchAndroid by Janelle Monae (2010) (never heard of)
  • Jirel of Joiry by C. L. Moore (1969) (I prefer the Northwest Smith stories)
  • Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (2016) (editor of good and psychedelic Lovecraft anthologies, writer of ditto stories)
  • The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy (1989) (never heard of)
  • Vast by Linda Nagata (1998)
  • Galactic Derelict by Andre Norton (1959)
  • His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (2006) (I feel unenthused)
  • Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara (1993) (never heard of)
  • Outlaw School by Rebecca Ore (2000)
  • Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor (2014) (heard the name)
  • Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce (1983) (heard the name)
  • Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy (1976) (heard the name)
  • Godmother Night by Rachel Pollack (1996) (never heard of)
  • Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti (1859) (heard the name)
  • My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland (2011) (Ashley recommended this and I plan to give it a try)
  • The Female Man by Joanna Russ (1975) (heard the name)
  • Stay Crazy by Erika L. Satifka (2016) (never heard of)
  • The Healer's War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (1988)
  • Five-Twelfths of Heaven by Melissa Scott (1985) (I generally like Scott, though this is the first of a series; I might have recommended Trouble and Her Friends or The Armor of Light instead)
  • Everfair by Nisi Shawl (2016) (never heard of)
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)
  • A Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski (1986) (heard the name)
  • The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart (1970)
  • Up the Walls of the World by James Tiptree, Jr. (1978) (heard the name)
  • The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (1996) (heard the name)
  • The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge (1980) (heard the name)
  • All Systems Red by Martha Wells (2017)
  • The Well-Favored Man by Elizabeth Willey (1993) (might well re-read this)
  • Banner of Souls by Liz Williams (2004)
  • Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson (2012) (never heard of)
  • Ariosto by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (1980)
  • Ooku by Fumi Yoshinaga (2005-present) (never heard of)

I'm certainly not planning to read everything I've bolded; I often disagree with Nicholl's preferences anyway. Thoughts and recommendations welcome.

Tags: reading

  1. Posted by John Dallman at 10:44am on 30 January 2019

    Swordspoint really is good, The Snow Queen rather less so.

  2. Posted by Chris Bell at 11:58am on 30 January 2019

    I re-read Lud-in-the-Mist last year because I couldn't remember one of the rhymes, and got hooked in again again. You have heard of it; I have mentioned it more than once.

    At least five of your unread, possibly more, are on our shelves in paper form.

  3. Posted by Robert at 10:15pm on 30 January 2019

    The Dark is Rising sequence is a foundation piece for a number of my friends. It was winning awards when I was in grade school so it was acceptable fantasy and allowed by parents.

    In particular I recall the third and fourth books Greenwitch and The Grey King being very good. I should pull those down from the shelf.

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