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Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels : An English-Language Selection, 1949-1984 Paperback – December 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf Pub; 2 edition (December 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786704810
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786704811
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,139,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Beginning with George Orwell's 1984 (1949) and ending with William Gibson's Neuromancer (1984), the editor of British sf magazine Interzone presents brief (two-page) essays on 100 books that he considers to be landmarks of the genre. Pringle freely admits his subjectivity in selecting these titles; nevertheless, most important sf authors are represented here, and a thought-provoking introduction makes a case for his omissions. Each essay provides a synopsis of the book, a brief history of the author, and, in most cases, a critical commentary. This is not intended as a definitive reference source; in fact, a bibliographic essay directs readers to more serious studies of the genre. A good introduction for the novice sf reader, this belongs in large libraries where books about science fiction are in demand. Jackie Cassada, Asheville-Buncombe Lib. System, N.C.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

David Pringle (1950 - ) David William Pringle is a Scottish science fiction editor. He served as the editor of the academic journal Foundation, from 1980 through 1986, during which time he became one of the prime movers of the collective which founded Interzone in 1982. By 1988, he was the sole publisher and editor of Interzone, a position he retained until selling the magazine in 2004. Interzone was nominated several times for the Hugo award for best semiprozine, winning in 1995, and in 2005, the Worldcon committee gave Pringle a Special Award for his work on Interzone. David Pringle has also written several guides to science fiction, including Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels, The Ultimate Guide to Science Fiction, and Modern Fantasy: The Hundred Best Novels. He lives in Scotland. --This text refers to the Digital edition.

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Customer Reviews

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All in all, a very nice job.
B. PERKINS
David Pringle has done an outstanding job in digging out the true 100 best novels of science fiction published between 1949-1985.
LIF Master
For a book like this, which is not necessarily meant to be read for enjoyment, that is rare.
E. Von Ray

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By William Ramos on April 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
I first bought this book as a student in 1987. At the time a friend had recommended three or four books of Science Fiction (by authors like Arthur C Clarke and Brian W Aldiss). When I bought David Pringle's guide to the 100 best SF novels from a small shop in London, it introduced me to a much broader scope of fiction. A fiction based on science (to varying degrees), that always had something important to say about us. David Pringle's guide takes us through the "golden age" of SF, the sixties and seventies "experimental" stage of SF and the best of the early eighties SF. Thanks to Mr Pringle, I have travelled back in time, viewed our planet from the future, witnessed history unravel itself from a different prospective, I have flown into space and witness the development and regression of the human race. Finally, I would like to mention one book recommended in this guide that almost changed my life (dramatic words yes, but I still think about this book 12 years later). That book is: Theodore Sturgeon's "More than Human". I would never have read that book if it were not for Mr Pringle's fine commentry.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By B. PERKINS on August 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
I suppose if you want to argue with the books that Pringle selects, you might give this 4 stars, but as far as what Pringle is trying to accomplish, I really haven't seen this book's equal. One of the biggest problems in reading s-f (or any genre fiction, I suppose) is that you have to wade through a lot of dreck in order to get to the good stuff.

Well, Pringle has selected a good beginning list of "the good stuff." He devotes the same two pages to each book, and doesn't seem to favor one school of s-f over another, giving the volume as a whole a very balanced feel.

Lastly, a couple of caveats: first, the book does limit itself to the time frame listed in the title, beginning with Orwell's 1984 and ending with Gibson's Neuromancer; it would be interesting to read Pringle's thoughts on the last twenty years. Lastly, Pringle's reviews contain "spoilers;" as he's trying to write thoughtful mini-essays on the books in his list, he occasionally refers to specific plot twists while discussing them.

All in all, a very nice job.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
I liked the essays he writes, and the book is certainly to be valued. But... I have some serious disagreements with his choices (admittedly to be expected to some degree). To sum it up, too British and too depressing. I am not a fan of post-Holocaust novels, and he dishes them out in droves.
I will agree with other reviewers that there are some gems in here that I would have not read otherwise (Alfred Bester, Cordwainer Smith, Ian Watson, Russel Hoban), but there are some nasty ones as well.
For a bit more mainstream choices, I recommend finding those novels which won both the Hugo and the Nebula. You'll even find 5 of the 17 on Pringle's list.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By thetwonky on May 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
First of all, be cautioned that this list was not the result of some poll or grading system based on genre accolades...it is simply the opinion of David Pringle, one man who admits this point in the book's introduction. Although I do believe Pringle really knows the genre including gems like Bernard Wolfe's Limbo and Malzberg's Galaxies.

But there are some dogs here, given the time period. Harrison's Centauri Device is thirty years behind its time reading like a scientific romance pulp with stock characters and is extremely unimaginative for the time it projects. Ian Watson's Miracle Visitors is just poorly written, despite some keen parody of the American lifestyle. Which brings me to my biggest complaint, the decidedly British slant of this book. It also seems Pringle tried too hard to include female authors (there is a sudden burst toward the latter years). Some titles have merit -Russ' Female Man for instance- but Carter's Heroes and Villains is quite forgettable. The greatest strength of this book is the inclusion of many books that I enjoyed that are on the bubble of the genre- Marge Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time and William Golding's The Inheritors are two outstanding novels.

Find this book, find some titles you may not have sought out yourself and then see how others view those titles, not only Pringle. After all, there are plenty of ways to research these titles on the internet.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. Von Ray on May 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
Like many others, my idea of science fiction was Star Trek or Star Wars and I had never even heard of most of the novels in this book. I have now read about half the titles critiqued in this fine book and many are now some of my favorite novels of any genre. Pringle does an incredible job of including well known works and almost impossible to find works. But they are HIS favorites and very subjectively chosen. That is fine with me because, although I may not totally agree with each and every title, Ive enjoyed each novel he has recommended. I cannot say enough how vital this book has been for me as a science fiction fan.

I should also say that David Pringle is a tremendous writer. For a book like this, which is not necessarily meant to be read for enjoyment, that is rare. It is clear from the first sentence that this was a piece of work done with great care and attention.
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