When I saw the title of this post by K.W. Colyard, I felt my usual reaction of mild curiosity mixed with scepticism. A reader of SF since the 1950s, I’ve found most commentary of this kind disappointingly superficial, and sometimes outright wrong.
What a surprise was in store for me.
Kristian Wilson Colyard is an SF writer herself, as well as being books feature writer for Bustle magazine, and involved in other occupations. From her website I would guess she’s a Millennial. I couldn’t find her on Amazon, so maybe she hasn’t produced a novel yet.
Colyard has read at least as much SF from the ‘golden age’ (which I define today as 1945 – 1965) as me, and from 1980 on, far more. Her brief summaries of the books here are startlingly thoughtful, relevant and interesting.
She says her writing includes online ‘listicles‘, which is what I assume we have here. Online writing experts tell you that these lists should be kept to 10, to avoid wearing out the modern reader.
Ms Colyard ignores this advice with a vengeance – so I have to warn you, this is a list of 54 books, and when she finishes, refusing to stop, she starts on a second list of the possible most influential books for the future. I’m not sure the post has an ending.
In the 54 books alone, at least half of them are books I haven’t read. Am I ashamed of that, or disappointed? Not at all. All my life I’ve known that I will never succeed in reading all the SF written in SF’s golden age alone, especially when I can’t help reading newer books as well. Here I’ve discovered many new ‘must reads’.
Do I want to argue with her choices? Strangely (for I am one of the most argumentative people you could ever meet), there is hardly anything she says that I would dispute.
If you want to read more about Kristian Wilson Colyard herself: