Monday, September 13, 2010

Declaring Victory!

I now declare victory in my project to read pre-1939 genre classics! Have I read everything even vaguely genre related published before 1939? No, but I've read all the stuff that I want to, and everything that has been pointed out to me as important and/or influential. Altogether this project consisted of 45 books over roughly four years. In retrospect that doesn't sound like much, but that was squeezed in between all the other reading and work and &c.

This list doesn't include a lot of the really big, well-known classics--mostly because I'd read them in college or high school. I didn't feel the need to re-read all the Verne and Wells, or to revisit Brave New World et. al. This project was all about filling in the gaps, getting acquainted with the lesser known but still important pieces of the history. For archival purposes I wanted to put together this list, and that way I'll be able to reference it as needed. The list is ordered in the reverse order that I read them, most recent first.

So what's next? The next big thing is the reading needed for the Egan book, and I'll be starting on that shortly. And of course I'm trying to stay on top of new short fiction for Salon Futura. But I'll also look to fill in a few gaps in my Golden Age reading (for instance I've never read Lest Darkness Fall or The Space Merchants). That's a much shorter list, and eventually I'll make my way to the New Wave, which will be another Major Undertaking.

1. The Greatest Adventure, John Taine, 1929
2. The Seeds of Life, John Taine, 1931
3. Sirius, Olaf Stapledon, 1944
4. Odd John, Olaf Stapledon, 1935
5. Lud-in-the-Mist, Hope Mirrlees, 1926
6. The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym, Edgar Allen Poe, 1838
7. The Hour of the Dragon, Robert E. Howard, 1936
8. At the Mountains of Madness, H. P. Lovecraft, 1936
9. The Shadow over Innsmouth, H. P. Lovecraft, 1936
10. The King of Elfland’s Daughter, Lord Dunsany, 1924
11. Lilith, George MacDonald, 1895
12. We, Yevgeny Zamiatin, 1921
13. The Book of Wonder, Lord Dunsany, 1912
14. The Princess and Curdie, George MacDonald, 1883
15. The Worm Ouroboros, E. R. Eddison, 1922
16. R. U. R., Karel Capek, 1920
17. Jurgen, James Branch Cabell, 1919
18. The Princess and the Goblin, George MacDonald, 1882
19. Phantastes, George MacDonald, 1858
20. Voyage to Arcturus, David Lindsay, 1920
21. The Man Who Was Thursday, G. K. Chesterton, 1908
22. The Nightland, William Hope Hodgson, 1912
23. The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer, ~1400 [Norton Critical Edition]
24. A Dreamer’s Tales, Lord Dunsany, 1910
25. The Ghost Pirates, William Hope Hodgson, 1909
26. The Sword of Welleran and Other Stories, Lord Dunsany, 1908
27. Dracula, Bram Stoker, 1897
28. The House on the Borderland, William Hope Hodgson, 1908
29. Kim, Rudyard Kipling, 1901
30. The Purple Cloud, M. P. Shiel, 1901
31. Utopia, Thomas More, 1561
32. Before Adam, Jack London, 1907
33. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, 1899
34. Looking Backward: 2000-1887, Edward Bellamy, 1887
35. A Martian Odyssey, Stanley G. Weinbaum, 1934
36. Science Fiction of the 1930’s, ed. Damon Knight
37. The Moon Pool, A. Merritt, 1919
38. Gladiator, Philip Wylie, 1930
39. Last and First Men, Olaf Stapledon, 1930
40. Star Maker, Olaf Stapledon, 1937
41. Galactic Patrol, Doc Smith, 1937
42. She, H. Rider Haggard, 1887
43. King Solomon’s Mines, H. Rider Haggard, 1885
44. Princess of Mars, John Carter, 1909
45. A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle, 1887

Of all of these the ones that I flat-out enjoyed the most were: King Solomon's Mines, everything by Stapledon, A Martian Odyssey, The Sword of Welleran and Others, and At the Mountains of Madness. The ones that I was simply glad to see the end of include: She, Galactic Patrol, The Moon Pool, everything by William Hope Hodgson, Lilith, and The Hour of the Dragon.

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