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60 Essential SF reads, aka A Bunch of Books by Women, a Genderqueer (?) Person, and John Scalzi. I have no idea what John Scalzi did to place himself in such exalted company, although having read Old Man's War, I can't say it seems to have been his writing, really.

I have read 20 of the authors represented and 17 of the specific books suggested, which mostly tells me the people who wrote the list did a decent job of choosing which of an author's books people were most likely to have read, as opposed to all those lists that have something other than Pern as McCaffrey's representative book.

Bold = read, italics = read another book by the same author
Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
Primary Inversion by Catherine Asaro
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear
Flesh and Spirit by Carol Berg
Chime by Franny Billingsley
Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop
Tithe by Holly Black
The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett
Cordelia's Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold
War for the Oaks by Emma Bull
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
Synners by Pat Cadigan
Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Survival by Julie E. Czerneda
Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
King's Dragon by Kate Elliott
Black Sun Rising by C.S. Friedman
Slow River by Nicola Griffith
Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly
Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge
Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
The God Stalker Chronicles by P.C. Hodgell
Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
Valor's Choice by Tanya Huff
God's War by Kameron Hurley
The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Daggerspell by Katharine Kerr
The Steerswoman by Rosemary Kirstein
Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
Deryni Rising by Katherine Kurtz
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Ash by Malinda Lo
Warchild by Karin Lowachee
Legend by Marie Lu
Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey
Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre
The Thief's Gamble by Juliet E. McKenna
Sunshine by Robin McKinley
His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
Diving into the Wreck by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
The Female Man by Joanna Russ
Old Man's War by John Scalzi
A Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski
The Grass King's Concubine by Kari Sperring
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
City of Pearl by Karen Traviss
Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree, Jr.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge
Farthing by Jo Walton
The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

A few of those people/books are on my immediate to read list - I have The Cloud Roads on hold at the library as we speak - and some I've never heard of. A few authors I didn't bold because I'd only read short stories, not novels.

Overall, this list MUCH better represents my reading interests than your average "X Import Books" list, as I usually never get as high as 30% on them. Of those I've read, Tam Lin and Sunshine are all-time favorites, and The Raven Boys, The Dispossessed, and A Wrinkle in Time are all very good. (I think. I actually don't know if A Wrinkle in Time is good. L'Engle is so unique that I have trouble comparing her in any useful fashion with anyone else.)

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comment here or there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 13th, 2016 12:52 am (UTC)
Did you read the rest of The Raven Boys quartet? I've heard mixed things about the last one (have not read beyond the first myself yet because I decided to wait until the entire series was out).

The Daughter of the Blood trilogy by Anne Bishop is reallllly weird and intense. I was only fourteen when I read it and wayyy too innocent to understand a lot of what was going on because there is SO MUCH SEX. And sexual slavery. And rape. I keep thinking I need to re-read them now that I'm older and would understand it all, but when I tried a year or two ago I couldn't finish the first one. Still, I'm glad I read them and would maybe recommend them? The world-building is really fascinating (albeit also a little annoying because the society is both matriarchal and corrupt, and IIRC the two are depicted as pretty linked). The trilogy as a whole certainly had an amazing ending that has stayed with me for years.

I haven't read that Scalzi, but his Red Shirts is fantastic if you're a Trekkie. An utter delight.

I haven't read Tithe, but I've read a few other of Holly Black's books, and I have to admit (I say "have to" because she's friends with Cassie Clare, so it pains me) she's really, *really* good. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was one of the best books I read last year.

This is such a cool list!
Aug. 13th, 2016 04:05 pm (UTC)
I got partway into the second Raven Boys book and got bored, alas. :(

Is the Daughter of the Blood trilogy the one you were telling me about with all the weird, um, hierarchy stuff? And some kind of sorting system? If so, I've heard a lot about it from other places, too. :D

I will keep an eye out for that Holly Black book!
Aug. 13th, 2016 07:16 pm (UTC)
Relieved. I am currently bored in the middle of the second Raven Boys, wondering whether it's just me. Not so much, apparently.

I was also going to say the same about the Coldest Girl in Coldtown, which I'd recommend much more unreservedly than Seanan Macguire (though I've finally got into that series, and enjoying the first Newsflesh [as Mira Grant] at the moment). I might have to add this list to my SFF reading list. Served me well for a year now!

Aug. 13th, 2016 07:22 pm (UTC)
I got to the part where they were sneaking onto the farm and all the cows were asleep, and I just couldn't be bothered anymore. :( Bummer, as I quite liked the first one.

You know, I tried a Seanan McGuire novel once and was so deeply unenthused that I put it down after maybe 20 pages and have never tried again. I don't remember which it was.

How IS your SFF reading list going? Have you made a post with the original list and your progress/thoughts?
Aug. 13th, 2016 07:40 pm (UTC)
I have got further (the cow explanation is quite weird and fun) but I dunno. I don't feel very driven to get to the end somehow.

Really didn't get along with the first Toby Daye novel but I'm glad I persevered. There's quite a lot of fun there, and in Mira Grant. Incryptid series, not so much for me.

I don't think I have posted more than the odd note on where I am and what's been fun. I've annotated the list in dropbox (real name account, so, ugh), but not more. I've greatly enjoyed so much of it, but discovered I don't love high fantasy (all those peasant lads with higher destiny) or some classic sci fi either. Stopped dead in the middle of Foreigner, paralysed with not caring very much. It has been a great motivator to read way more in this area, though.
Aug. 13th, 2016 07:49 pm (UTC)
Oh man, I BARELY finished Foreigner, and it was a struggle. So much overthinking of every small thing! So passive all the time! The narrative voice was just exhausting. I'm told I might like her Chanur series better, though, or possibly Cyteen.

I mostly don't get on with high fantasy, either. It all feels kind of same-y to me, despite the variety of settings.
Aug. 13th, 2016 08:00 pm (UTC)
I have quite enjoyed chasing round our bookshops trying to work out what is Fiction, what is SFF and what is Young Adult. So much bad shelving.

Massive dis-recommend btw to Deborah Harkness and her millennia-old vampires who do yoga and lecture humans on fine wine. There's some fun plot, but omg so much exposition. Like Harry Potter but if all the sweets/Quidditch/Hogwarts geography wasn't inventive or funny.
Aug. 13th, 2016 08:04 pm (UTC)
I'd not heard of Harkness, but I will definitely keep this in mind. :P
Aug. 14th, 2016 05:41 pm (UTC)
Newsflesh!! I'll be curious to hear what you think about that trilogy once you finish it. I never finished the third after obsessively reading the first two, but it was for specific personal reasons (not because it was bad!). Think I might need to give it another try one of these days. I'm really eager to try her other Mira Grant series, about parasitology. I liked the first Incryptid book well enough but wasn't enthusiastic enough to continue the series, and I couldn't get past the first few chapters of Toby Daye, again for personal reasons (the fish thing and lack of bodily autonomy/loss of literally years of her life squicked me out SO MUCH). But one of my closest friends whose taste I normally agree with LOVES the Toby Daye books, so I feel like I really need to make myself read them.

I think I might have recced Coldest Girl when you put out that call for recs a while ago? Maybe? I'm so glad you liked it!!! :DDD
Aug. 14th, 2016 05:43 pm (UTC)
I think it must be because I can't think of another book I would have talked about in that regard!

The first two books of Black's Curse Workers series are also *really good.* The third one was a disappointing ending to the trilogy IMO, but I liked the first two enough that I would still probably recommend it as a whole. It's mafia (which I don't normally care for) + magic, and the world-building is really interesting.
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