Top critical review
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Good to Dip Into
on 11 May 2014
Conceived of as a sequel to David Pringle's Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels - 1949-1984, this book serves as a genre menu of some of the tastiest morsels of the last 25 years. I don't consider myself to be much of a science-fiction reader, maybe a handful of titles a year, but I was surprised to see that I have read 12 of the 101 titles in the book. As with all such "Best" lists, I'm sure there is plenty of debate to be had about those that are on the list and those that aren't -- but I have zero qualifications to weigh in on that angle.
Presented chronologically by publication date, each book is given a two or three page critical appraisal, positioning it and its author within the context of earlier writers and themes within science fiction. This can sometimes get a little highbrow, with references to Lacan, Freud, Jung, Marx, Jameson, and other thinkers and theorists (surprisingly, Barthes and Derrida are MIA). There are also plot summaries, many of which can stray deep into spoiler territory -- so beware.
I can't say that I've earmarked very many of the selections to go find and read (so far, the two I have are Richard Calder's Dead Girls, Mary Rosenblum's Chimera, and Michael Faber's Under the Skin), but it is proving to be a good way to acquaint myself with a number of books and authors I've heard of, but know nothing about. Recommended for casual science-fiction readers like myself, looking for an overview of contemporary science fiction.
Note: The book has one huge flaw, which is that the type is minuscule, either 6 or 7 point I believe. It doesn't matter how old you are or what your eyesight is, this is inexcusable design and typesetting.