Friday, September 9, 2011

NPR SciFi List

Startling Stories
August, 1952

NPR has came out with their list to the 100 best science fiction and fantasy books. I confess that I don’t even recognize some of the titles.
You can view them here.

NPR 100

I’m not knocking Heinlein, Bradbury or Asimov. They are giants.

But the problem with this list, outside of the fact it comes from NPR, is that it mixes fantasy and science fiction, which is like mixing a good scotch and a good Cabernet. The result will get you smashed but it really isn’t drinkable.

Besides,I haven’t heard of a whole bunch of these. And I’ve been reading and collecting since the third grade and have over 4000 magazines and quite a few books.

Does that make me an expert? Nope. But I do have a passable knowledge of the field.

“Dr Doolittle” anyone? “Tom Swift and his electric airplane?”

Any list of fantasy that doesn’t have Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, H. Rider Haggard, A.E. Merritt, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Clark Ashton Smith is fake.

And any list of science fiction that doesn’t have Jack Williamson, Edmond Hamilton, E. E. Smith, Phd., John W. Campbell, Sam Merwin, Jr., A. E. Van Vogt, Murray Leinster (Williams Jenkins), Leigh Brackett, Hal Clement, Poul Anderson, Phillip Jose Farmer, Alfred Bester, and Robert Silverberg is a sham.

How about T.L. Sherred? He didn’t write many but his, “E for Effort” has to rank as one of the best novella length scifi stories ever.

You want science fiction that will make your head ache? Read the “Collected Editorials of John W. Campbell.” The man had more ideas before breakfast than most writers have in a lifetime.

Scifi and fantasy is supposed to entertain and maybe, just maybe, educate the reader without him ever noticing. To be great it must leave the reader with a sense of wonder and awe at the universe. It must never accept realty as being 100% defined and always leave a feeling that something and someone is just beyond our view.

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