Here at SCy-Fy, we don’t often sit in judgement on books (not publicly, anyway); we ask a lot of questions and then some more. Today will be different.
The reason is that I have just finished reading the first 24 books in Gollancz’s SF Masterworks series. This is a goal I have had for some years, ever since I bought their copy of “Do Androids Dream” by Philip K. Dick and saw the 24 books listed in there.
So, just let me pull up a really uncomfortable judgement seat:
Right, here we go. Ratings follow the Goodreads system: 1 is very bad, 5 is very good.
- THE FOREVER WAR by Joe Haldeman – 3. LET DOWN BY THE LOVE STORY
- I AM LEGEND by Richard Matheson – 3. ALL YOU ZOMBIES
- CITIES IN FLIGHT by James Blish – 1. SILLY IDEA, BORING EXECUTION, IMO
- DO ANDROIDS DREAM by Philip K. Dick – 4. NOT BLADERUNNER, BUT STILL GOOD
- THE STARS MY DESTINATION by Alfred Bester – 5. TYGER TYGER!
- BABEL-17 by Samuel R. Delany – 3. INTERESTING IDEAS NOT LIVED UP TO
- LORD OF LIGHT by Roger Zelazny – 1. INDIAN MYTHOLOGY IS INTERESTING, BUT THIS…
- FIFTH HEAD OF CERBERUS by Gene Wolfe – 4. INTRIGUING. INVITES RE-READ
- GATEWAY by Frederik Pohl – 4. LET DOWN BY SEXIST ATTITUDES, OTHERWISE 5 STARS
- THE REDISCOVERY OF MAN by Cordwainer Smith – 2. SORRY, NO
- LAST AND FIRST MEN by Olaf Stapledon – 4. SO MANY IDEAS!
- EARTH ABIDES by George R. Stewart – 5. ANCESTOR OF MODERN POST-APOCALYPTIC
- MARTIAN TIMESLIP by Philip K. Dick – 2. UNINSPIRING PKD, THIS ONE
- THE DEMOLISHED MAN by Alfred Bester – 4. GOOD GOOD
- STAND ON ZANZIBAR by John Brunner – 1. UNREADABLE
- THE DISPOSSESSED by Ursula K. Le Guin – 4. NOT HER BEST, BUT STILL VERY GOOD
- THE DROWNED WORLD by J.G. Ballard – 4. GREAT PROSE AND IDEAS
- THE SIRENS OF TITAN by Kurt Vonnegut – 3. THE LAST ONE I READ; MEH
- EMPHYRIO by Jack Vance – 3. I LOVE VANCE, BUT THIS IS NOT HIS BEST
- A SCANNER DARKLY by Philip K. Dick – 5. BRILLIANT
- STAR MAKER by Olaf Stapledon – 4. IDEAS IDEAS!
- BEHOLD THE MAN by Michael Moorcock – 4. NEW WAVE STYLE
- THE BOOK OF SKULLS by Robert Silverberg – 1. INTERESTING IDEA, HATED THE CHARACTERS
- THE TIME MACHINE/WAR OF THE WORLDS by H.G. Wells – 4. SF FOUNDATION STONES
My vote for the best: A SCANNER DARKLY by PKD.
The turkey of the bunch: STAND ON ZANZIBAR by John Brunner, so here is a picture of a …one of these: