Saturday, 23 April 2011

The Gollancz Fifty

Awesome news: to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary, the folk at Gollancz compiled a list of the 50 best science fiction and fantasy novels they've published (keep in mind that last part, since there are a few very obvious missing names).  Guess who made it!

Howard may not have broken the SFX reader's poll, but it's fantastic he made it here.

Science Fiction

A Case of Conscience by James Blish
Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
Brasyl by Ian McDonald
The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Dune by Frank Herbert
Fairyland by Paul McAuley
The Female Man by Joanna Russ
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Flood by Stephen Baxter
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Gateway by Frederik Pohl
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon
More than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
Pavane by Keith Roberts
Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
Ringworld by Larry Niven
Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
Tau Zero by Poul Anderson
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
The Separation by Christopher Priest
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts


Beauty by Sheri S. Tepper
Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie
Book of the New Sun (Vol 1&2) (Vol 3&4) by Gene Wolfe
The Book of Skulls by Robert Silverberg
Conan Volume One by Robert E. Howard
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
Elric by Michael Moorcock
Eric by Terry Pratchett
Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin
The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Little, Big by John Crowley
Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees
Memoirs of a Master Forger by William Heaney
Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
The Runes of the Earth by Stephen Donaldson
Something Wicked this Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance
Viriconium by M. John Harrison
Wolfsangel by M. D. Lachlan

Now, even though I want to stress how cool it is to see Howard represented, the list is still something of a weird one.  The most obvious is why they chose Conan Volume One over the Complete Chronicles of Conan: surely the latter is far more useful, especially considering it has all the stories.  Conan Volume One lacks some of the absolutely quintessential Conan tales: "Beyond the Black River," The Hour of the Dragon and "Red Nails" being the most glaring omissions.  It seems utterly ridiculous that Gollancz would pick an incomplete volume that never actually got around to Volume Two, when they've already printed a perfectly good, and complete, collection in the Complete Chronicles of Conan.  And Conan Volume One was printed after the Complete Chronicles to boot, so one can't blame timing issues.  Yet Gollancz put both Gene Wolfe's New Sun collection (four stories in two books) as a single entry: surely they could've done that for the single edition of Conan?  Or do they actually believe that all the best stories are collected in Volume One, and that any missing aren't worth consideration?  Bizarre.

The Howard entry isn't the only odd decision. Is it even worth including Terry Pratchett when the only book available to vote for is Eric (which was fun, but far from his best work)?  Why is I Am Legend in the fantasy section when it is pretty clearly science fiction?  They picked Last and First Men over Star Maker?  Why... and I could go on.  Very odd list altogether.

Still, it's a list that deigns to include Howard and Stapledon, so it's worthwhile in some senses.  Best of all, you can vote!  You can probably guess who I voted for...


  1. I voted for HGW and REH. I'm afraid I was rather unimpressed with the rest of the lists.

    (and no, I don't want email newsletters from a publisher pimping SFX rag, er, mag, thenk yew)

  2. Interesting, Tex. I voted for Wells in the SF section too. REH of course in fantasy.

  3. I would've voted for HGW, but I tactically voted for Stapledon. He needs more love, I think.

  4. (I had a big post all typed up, but the Internet Gremlins ate it. Greedy wee malkies.