Saturday, November 17, 2007

"aliens with lasers fighting a bunch of knights with swords"

I love a good fantasy/science fiction novel but my knowledge about the genre is quite limited. But the topic came up with a couple of friends, and I ended up recommending Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea series and Gregory Maguire's Wicked (not typically fantasy/SF but it is sometimes placed in those bookshelves). Others I read include Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman, Mervyn Peake's glorious Gormenghast series and a wee bit of Neil Gaiman. I never know - are they science fiction or fantasy? I always thought Ursula Le Guin's work is categorised as fantasy yet in this Q&A session, The Guardian calls her work science fiction. Curious.

When talking about Le Guin, I realised that while I've read and absolutely love that one series, I've only scratched the surface of her bibliography. So I've decided to try out two books from The Annals of the Western Shore, which I managed to find at the library at work. Le Guin recommends reading China MiƩville. I think I'd like to read more from this genre, but I'm not sure what else to include. I've flipped through some other random books shelved under scifi/fantasy and while plots seem interesting, they tend to be let down by rubbish writing. So I'm not sure what else to try. Any suggestions?

4 comments:

jenny moon said...

I highly recommend Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age. We seem to share a few common interests, and although I am not a big sci/fi reader I found this book to be mesmerizing. Maybe you will too.

Vanessa said...

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. (hefty but excellent)

The Stolen Child, by Keith Donohue. (a bit of magic set in modern day)

Dark Lord of Derkholm, by Diana Wynne Jones. (the fantasy world as a sort of tourist destination, makes fun of fantasy stereotypes - hilarious)

The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle. (beloved classic, sensitively written)

olduvai said...

Thank you both! I'll have to check those recommendations out.

Vanessa - you reminded me that I actually have a copy of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell which I've yet to touch!

Jenny Moon - thanks for stopping by

Vanessa said...

Try this too - http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16159971&ps=bb3

Nancy Pearl's choices are pretty good. And if you like more lists, check out her "Book Lust" series (they have these in Borders).