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I was recording today’s episode of The Readers and Simon and I talked about challenges. I don’t really do challenges. There are so many out there that I could join in but it’s not really my thing. Simon though was talking about his Persephone Project and something clicked. Why not have a personal, self-directed reading project of my own?

Since I’ve not been accepting review copies on mass (a few sneak in the house but I’m OK with that) I’ve had a chance to really tackle the shelves and one thing I’ve been doing is organising. Simple things like putting all the books by the same author together unless they are Vintage Classics or SF Masterworks whose spines make a great sight.

And one thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve got a small batch of SF Masterworks (The Body Snatchers, Gateway, Roadside Picnic and The Forever War) that are currently unread and I’ve not really read that many more books in that cannon. Strangely, after I had this moment I saw on Graeme’s blog that he has near enough a shelf to tackle of his own.

Now, part of my anxious state is that I’m feeling a little lacking in older works as well as being behind on what’s current. So what better solution than giving myself the challenge of reading at least one SF Masterworks a month?

I asked twitter what they’d choose so I’ve selected another four to those above:

  • Flowers for Algernon
  • Rendezvous With Rama
  • Lord of Light
  • Babel-17 

They are already on their way.

I think that these eight are a good mix to get me started but I wonder what the others will be? I’ve got a minimum of four to find. Any suggestions?

13 Thoughts on “A SF Masterworks Challenge?

  1. Laura Caldwell on 27 November, 2012 at 8:45 pm said:

    I have no suggestions for you because I have not read any SciFi since my teen years-which were almost 40 years ago. However, as an ardent listener to the Readers Podcast, I thought that your possible read along could reintroduce me to SciFi. The only one of the books that you list that I have read is Flowers for Algernon, which was so many decades ago I would have no recollection of it except that the movie came up yesterday in a conversation I had (I have not seen the movie.) Seven of the eight books you have listed are available from my public library (no Babel-17) so I would be willing to try them. PS I did love Ready Player One-not exactly a SciFi, and I do read Fantasy and recently read Mythago Wood, which I also loved. (I gave up Lavondyss half way through-just can’t stand Tallis.)

    • Gav Reads on 28 November, 2012 at 9:28 pm said:

      Glad you loved Mythago Wood and thanks for popping over and leaving a comment. I know Simon loves Flowers so excited to be reading that. I’ll blog reviews as I get through them and I’m sure I’ll be talking about them on The Readers. Let me know if you give any of them a go!

  2. Tau Zero by Anderson: I found that mind blowing when I first read it years ago. Excellent hard SF from a master.

    Demolished Man by Bester: This is quite something. How do you commit a murder when the cops are telepathic. I found it a bit dry at first but then the story sucked me in.

  3. This is a great idea! I should do something similar with the fantasy masterworks, though I need to put a proper dent in TBR tower first :) Good luck, Gav!


  4. Richard Matheson’s “I am Legend” and Ursula K. Leguin’s “The Lathe of Heaven” were two SF Masterworks I’ve read this year and they have both been fantastic.
    “Dune” by Frank Herbert is an obvious choice but if you haven’t read it, go for it.

    P.S.: I’m doing a very loose challenge to read all the SF Masterworks as well, but with no time constrictions or any stress put on myself. It’s really just a list to go to when you want something you know is going to be good, solid science fiction. :)

    • Gav Reads on 28 November, 2012 at 9:26 pm said:

      That’s true about being a solid list. I think that film put me off I Am Legend. Anything like the film? And Dune, is it dry?

      • Haven’t watched the film yet but I’m told the ending is different. It’s a very short book and it’s really gripping.

        I found Dune dry at times and I sort of hated the writing style – but that’s just taste. The story and the scope of it is awesome. I see why people call it a must-read (even though I preferred Dune Messiah).

        • Oooh, I listened to The Readers podcast today and came right on over to recommend I Am Legend. It’s much, much less cheesy than the film and yes, the ending is completely different. Definitely worth a read! (And it’s not very long which is always good for a challenge).

  5. Bob Blough on 28 November, 2012 at 7:12 pm said:

    Read “Dying Inside” by Robert Silverberg and “The Book of the New Sun” by Gene Wolfe if you haven’t already. Other great ones are “A Canticle for Leibowitz” by Walter M. Miller,Jr., “The Child Garden” by Geoff Ryman, “The Stars my Destination (or Tiger Tiger)” by Alfred Bester and “Doomsday Book” by Connie Willis. If you haven’t read them already. Good reading. I hope you enjoy all that you read!

    • Gav Reads on 28 November, 2012 at 9:24 pm said:

      I always want to read Gene Wolfe. I read The Stars My Destination. It’s amazing. I’m slightly wary about Connie Willis as I’ve heard some interesting things about her liberal use of historical fact?

  6. Pingback: SFMC Review: The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney (@gollancz) | Gav Reads

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