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Science Fiction: the 100 Best Novels [Paperback]

David Pringle

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Book Description

Nov 1987
This lively and authoritative guide will app eal to both newcomers and connoisseurs of the genre. Informa tive and readable, Pringle''s choices focus on landmarks by k nown artists and also unearth the talents of those that are lesser known. '
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers Inc (Nov 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881843466
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881843460
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 12.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,837,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read yourself out of here... 2 April 2000
By William Ramos - Published on
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.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not many like this 25 Aug 2004
By B. PERKINS - Published on
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I owe a great deal to David Pringle 25 May 2007
By E. Von Ray - Published on
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great essays, questionable choices 3 April 2001
By A Customer - Published on
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.
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beware this title... 30 May 2006
By thetwonky - Published on
First of all, be cautioned that this list was not the result of some poll or grading system based on genre 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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