SF writers choose their favorites

I love hearing about which books and authors writers themselves love or feel influenced by. I am that annoying person at author readings who asks that timeworn and tested question that some authors love and others avoid: What are you reading? I even asked Tim Gunn when I met him. Yes, nerd factor supreme.

So, of course, I was thrilled when this article rolled out on the Guardian in which science fiction writers shared their favorite science fiction works.

Plus, sometimes only a writer can rave about a book in a way that makes you want to read it. Here is William Gibson on Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination:

TSMD is still as much fun as anything I’ve ever read. When I was lifting the literary equivalent of weights, in training for my own first novel, it was my talisman: evidence of how many different kinds of ass one quick narrative could kick. And that sheen of exuberant postwar modernism? They just aren’t making any more of that.

After a few upcoming booktalking presentations, I am resolving to read almost exclusively science fiction and fantasy this summer. I am definitely steering some of my reading to books and authors on this list.

What are your science fiction favorites, and why?



About the Author:

Misha Stone is a readers' advisory librarian with The Seattle Public Library. Follow her on Twitter at @ahsimlibrarian.

1 Comment on "SF writers choose their favorites"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. astockwell@lcer.org' Anne Stockwell says:

    I’m sure you will get a lot of recommendations for novels, but some of the best science fiction and fantasy I have ever read is in the “Year’s Best” anthologies of short stories and novellas edited by Gardner Dozois. I’ve discovered many great writers in these – Vandana Singh comes to mind but there are many more. That said, two of my favorite novels are Ursula LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, and Nancy Kress’ Beggars Trilogy (starts w/ Beggars in Spain). LHOD because Leguin creates an amazingly textured world, Winter, reminiscent of Europe’s feudal past, but with one great difference: this world is populated by apparent humans who , most of the time, are sexual neuters; periodically, however, they enter a state called “kemmer” where they become emphatically male or female, with a strong sex drive, and in this state they reproduce. The action begins with the arrival of Genly Ai, an observer from the Ekumen (a sort of Galactic-scale United Nations, or EOC), and is seen through his eyes. Genly is tasked with determining if the civilization of Winter is advanced enough to become a member of the Ekumen. LeGuin’s use of Genly, and his encounters with the people of Winter, to explore her themes gives a surprising intimacy to the story.
    Kress’ Beggars Trilogy Reads like Ayn Rand if Ayn Rand could actually write, and if Rand were less monomaniacally devoted to her political cause and were willing to explore some grey areas. The time is the near future, and humanity has been divided into three tiers by genetic modification, which can be used to enhance human ability to a moderate extent (these people are called “mules” because they become society’s workhorses), or more radically, as in the case of “the sleepless,” who never need to surrender their consciousness — what could you do, what could you learn, with one third more time? And, significantly, what will the unmodified do with their lives?

Post a Comment