Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Literary matters

Michael Dirda

If you like books — and I have to assume you do, or why would you be reading this blog? — I invite you to read my interview with Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize winning books critic for the Washington Post.

You can also read my feature story about Thomas Wolfe fan Aldo Magi. He's a very serious fan, arguably more serious about Wolfe than I am about Robert Anton Wilson.

Special bonus for readers of this blog: Mr. Dirda has shared his list of his 10 favorite science fiction novels with me (limited to writers in English, one book per writer) and so I pass it on to you:

1. The Time Machine, H.G. Wells.
2. The Purple Cloud, M.P. Shiel.
3. Last and First Men, Olaf Stapledon.
4. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester.
5. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller Jr.
6. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. LeGuin.
7. The Drowned World, J.G. Ballard.
8. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick.
9. Dune, Frank Herbert.
10. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe.


chas said...

That's a very "classic" list.

supergee said...

Yeah, I was disappointed. I know he likes some of the freakier writers, like Sheckley and Sladek.

Oz Fritz said...

Numbers 4,5 and 9 are also on my top 10 list. Number 8 would get an honorable mention. I would choose Ubik or 3 Stigmata to represent P.K. Dick.

fyreflye said...

These oldies but goodies are still among the very best. If there are any you haven't read yet get to it! And The Time Machine is indeed the greatest sf novel ever written.

fyreflye said...

And by the way, Tom, it's "rein in," not "reign in." And Dawn Powell's mentioned book is The Locusts Have No Kin.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

@fyreflye Thanks, got those fixed now. "The Time Machine" is great, but I sure love "The War of the Worlds."

@supergee I think he went with novels rather than short story collections. I'm going to try to do my own list soon.

@Oz Fritz, I haven't read "Ubik" yet, but I have to go with "High Castle" over "Palmer Eldritch." I really loved "The Man in the High Castle" when I reread it again recently. Incidentally, does "Stranger in the Strange Land" strike you as the most obvious omission?

@Chas, He's really big on keeping the "classics" alive.

Oz Fritz said...

@Tom, I agree "Stranger in a Strange Land" is an obvious omission. I probably would have had it at #1. "Neuromancer" by William Gibson also seems an obvious ommision - maybe it's not "classic" enough.