Lord Byron’s Novel: The Evening Land by John Crowley

William Morrow, 2005, 472 p

Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land

Lord Byron, of course, never wrote a novel – except perhaps the beginnings of one. Or, if he did, it is lost to the mists of time. Crowley’s conceit here is that Byron completed it, and that his daughter, Ada Lovelace, “the first computer programmer,” burned it due to her batty mother’s insistence, but, before she did so, encrypted it in a series of numbers. Those numbers have turned up in papers belonging to Viscount Ockham, Ada’s son. A website called strongwomanstory has gained access to these and sent a reporter to look them over. This aspect of Crowley’s novel is related in a series of emails and letters between the reporter “Smith” and her mother “Thea” but expands to include her father. Smith’s relationship with her father is much the same as Ada Lovelace’s with hers – sexual indiscretions resulting in estrangement – except the modern story holds the promise of reconciliation. Included in these exchanges is the observation that Ada’s story contains ‘a monster parent, but it’s not her father-it’s her mother’ and the observation about Byron’s notorious lack of punctuation, “Printers in those days could punctuate. Imagine. Now hardly anybody can.”

It would of course be impossible to proceed with this scenario were the “novel” by Lord Byron not to appear in these pages and it does take up by far the largest part of the book. Crowley has done an impressive job in ventriloquising the poet’s voice even if at one point he does have Byron pre-echo Tolstoy with the thought, “Happy endings are all alike; disasters may be unique.” Its protagonist, Ali, born in Albania as the result of a liaison with a wandering British aristocrat, Lord Sane, is in young adulthood sought out by his father to become heir to the Sane estate, somewhere in Scotland. This tale, The Evening Land, is as Gothic as you could wish, involving a gruesome death, misplaced accusations, possible amnesia, an impersonator, a clandestine seduction – everything you would expect from a book with such supposed origins and complete with the verisimilitudinal inclusion of archaic spellings such as dropt for dropped, segar for cigar and soar’d for soared. We are also given Ada’s commentary on the text of The Evening Land, in the form of “her” notes on each chapter, wherein she wonders if her father could ever have imagined a family not riven by disputes. (There is, too, a respect in which, notwithstanding the fact that The Evening Land’s contents bear resemblances to incidents in Byron’s life, this overall endeavour might be said to be more about Ada than Byron.)

Then we have the wonderful cover illustration featuring Caspar David Friedrich’s painting Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog,) and the rough-cut page edges making the book resemble one from the early 19th century show a pleasing attention to detail.

Crowley came to my attention back in the 1970s with books such as Little, Big, Aegypt (I note here the appearance in the text of The Evening Land of the spelling Æschylus,) and Engine Summer but dropped off my reading register till I noticed this book. I’ll be looking for more of him now though.

Pedant’s corner:-
In the back cover flap blurb: “Wanderer Above a Sea of Fog” (Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog.) Otherwise: “‘into whose recognizance’” (recognisance – I doubt Byron would have used USian spellings, others, such as honour, are rendered in the British way. Plus recognizance is a US legal formulation rather than a Scottish one,) “‘these lands and goods was truly yours’” (were,) “Kendals drops” (Kendal drops,) Bachus’ (Bachus’s.)

Another List

This is a list of top 100 Science Fiction And Fantasy books from the website at NPR BOOKS to which I was directed via Ian Sales‘s blog. I got to it too late to take part in the poll NPR ran where you were to choose your favourite ten.

The usual applies; bold I’ve read, italics means I own but have not yet read it. ???? means I may have read it when I was (very) young but can’t actually remember.

The Acts Of Caine Series, by Matthew Woodring Stover
The Algebraist, by Iain M Banks
Altered Carbon, by Richard Morgan

American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman
Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
Animal Farm, by George Orwell
The Anubis Gates, by Tim Powers

Armor, by John Steakley
The Baroque Cycle, by Neal Stephenson
Battlefield Earth, by L Ron Hubbard
Beggars In Spain, by Nancy Kress
The Belgariad, by David Eddings
The Black Company Series, by Glen Cook
The Black Jewels Series, by Anne Bishop
The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

Bridge Of Birds, by Barry Hughart
The Callahan’s Series, by Spider Robinson
A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M Miller
The Cat Who Walked Through Walls, by Robert Heinlein
Cat’s Cradle , by Kurt Vonnegut
The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
The Change Series, by SM Stirling
Childhood’s End, by Arthur C Clarke
Children Of God, by Mary Doria Russell
The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny

The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R Donaldson
The City And The City, by China Miéville
City And The Stars, by Arthur C Clarke

A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
The Coldfire Trilogy, by CS Friedman
The Commonwealth Saga, by Peter F Hamilton
The Company Wars, by CJ Cherryh
The Conan The Barbarian Series, by Robert Howard
Contact, by Carl Sagan
Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
The Culture Series, by Iain M Banks
The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
The Day of Triffids, by John Wyndham
Deathbird Stories, by Harlan Ellison

The Deed of Paksennarion Trilogy, by Elizabeth Moon
The Demolished Man, by Alfred Bester
The Deverry Cycle, by Katharine Kerr
Dhalgren, by Samuel R. Delany
The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson
The Difference Engine, by William Gibson & Bruce Sterling
The Dispossessed, by Ursula K LeGuin
Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick.

Don’t Bite The Sun, by Tanith Lee
Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
Dreamsnake, by Vonda McIntyre
The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert

Earth, by David Brin
Earth Abides, by George R Stewart
The Eisenhorn Omnibus, by Dan Abnett
The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
Eon, by Greg Bear
The Eyes Of The Dragon, by Stephen King
The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
The Faded Sun Trilogy, by CJ Cherryh
Fafhrd & The Gray Mouser Series, by Fritz Leiber
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
The Female Man, by Joanna Russ
The Fionavar Tapestry Trilogy, by Guy Gavriel Kay.
A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
The First Law Trilogy, by Joe Abercrombie
Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
The Foreigner Series, by CJ Cherryh
The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov

Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
The Gaea Trilogy, by John Varley
The Gap Series, by Stephen R Donaldson
The Gate To Women’s Country, by Sheri S Tepper
Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
The Gone-Away World, by Nick Harkaway
The Gormenghast Trilogy, by Mervyn Peake (two only, the third is tbr)
Grass, by Sheri S Tepper
Gravity’s Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon
The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End of The World, by Haruki Murakami
The Heechee Saga, by Frederik Pohl
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
The Hollows Series, by Kim Harrison
House Of Leaves, by Mark Danielewski
The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov ????
The Illuminatus! Trilogy, by Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson
The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
The Incarnations Of Immortality Series, by Piers Anthony
The Inheritance Trilogy, by NK Jemisin
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
Kindred, by Octavia Butler
The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
Kraken, by China Miéville
The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
Last Call, by Tim Powers
The Last Coin, by James P Blaylock
The Last Herald Mage Trilogy, by Mercedes Lackey – never read it.
The Last Unicorn, by Peter S Beagle
The Lathe Of Heaven, by Ursula K LeGuin.
The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K LeGuin

The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by RA Salvatore
The Lensman Series, by EE Smith
The Liaden Universe Series, by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
The Lies Of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lync.
Lilith’s Brood, by Octavia Butler
Little, Big, by John Crowley
The Liveship Traders Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
Lord Of Light, by Roger Zelazny
The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by JRR Tolkien (one only)
Lord Valentine’s Castle, by Robert Silverberg
Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

Lud-in-the-Mist, by Hope Mirrlees
The Magicians, by Lev Grossman
The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
The Man In The High Castle, by Philip K Dick.
The Manifold Trilogy, by Stephen Baxter
The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury ?????
Memory And Dream, by Charles de Lint
Memory, Sorrow, And Thorn Trilogy, by Tad Williams
Mindkiller, by Spider Robinson
The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
Mordant’s Need, by Stephen Donaldson
More Than Human, by Theodore Sturgeon
The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
The Naked Sun, by Isaac Asimov

The Neanderthal Parallax Trilogy, by Robert J Sawyer
Neuromancer, by William Gibson
Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
The Newsflesh Trilogy, by Mira Grant
The Night’s Dawn Trilogy, by Peter F Hamilton
Novels Of The Company, by Kage Baker
Norstrilia, by Cordwainer Smith
The Number Of The Beast, by Robert Heinlein
Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
On Basilisk Station, by David Weber
The Once And Future King, by TH White
Oryx And Crake, by Margaret Atwood
The Otherland Tetralogy, by Tad Williams
The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
Parable Of The Sower, by Octavia Butler
The Passage, by Justin Cronin
Pattern Recognition, by William Gibson
Perdido Street Station, by China Miéville
The Prestige, by Christopher Priest

The Pride Of Chanur, by CJ Cherryh
The Prince Of Nothing Trilogy, by R Scott Bakker
The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
Rainbows End, by Vernor Vinge
Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C Clarke
Replay, by Ken Grimwood
Revelation Space, by Alistair Reynolds
Riddley Walker, by Russell Hoban
The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E Feist
Ringworld, by Larry Niven

The Riverworld Series, by Philip Jose Farmer
The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
The Saga Of Pliocene Exile, by Julian May
The Saga Of Recluce, by LE Modesitt Jr
The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
The Sarantine Mosaic Series, by Guy Gavriel Kay
A Scanner Darkly, by Philip K Dick
The Scar, by China Miéville

The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
The Shattered Chain Trilogy, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Silmarillion, by JRR Tolkien
The Sirens Of Titan, by Kurt Vonnegut
Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
The Snow Queen, by Joan D Vinge
Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem
Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury ?????
Song for the Basilisk, by Patricia McKillip
A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
The Space Trilogy, by CS Lewis
The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell
The Stainless Steel Rat Books, by Harry Harrison
Stand On Zanzibar, by John Brunner
The Stand, by Stephen King
Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester
Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
Stations Of The Tide, by Michael Swanwick
Steel Beach, by John Varley
Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
The Swordspoint Trilogy, by Ellen Kushner
The Tales of Alvin Maker, by Orson Scott Card.
The Temeraire Series, by Naomi Novik
The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
Tigana, by Guy Gavriel Kay
Time Enough For Love, by Robert Heinlein
The Time Machine, by HG Wells ?????
The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
To Say Nothing Of The Dog, by Connie Willis
The Troy Trilogy, by David Gemmell
Ubik, by Philip K Dick
The Uplift Saga, by David Brin
The Valdemar Series, by Mercedes Lackey
VALIS, by Philip K Dick
Venus On The Half-Shell, by Kilgore Trout/Philip Jose Farmer
The Vlad Taltos Series, by Steven Brust
The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Vurt Trilogy, by Jeff Noon (the first certainly)
The War Of The Worlds, by HG Wells
Watchmen, by Alan Moore
Watership Down, by Richard Adams
The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
Way Station, by Clifford D Simak
We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin

The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
When Gravity Fails, by George Alec Effinger
Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
Wild Seed, by Octavia Butler
The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi
World War Z, by Max Brooks
The Worm Ouroboros, by ER Eddison
The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, by Michael Chabon
1632, by Eric Flint
1984, by George Orwell
2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C Clarke

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne ????

Many of these I’ve never heard of. Quite a few do not belong on a modern best of SF and Fantasy list. The Asimovs and the Doc Smith in particular. These were works from the early days and while bathed in the glow of nostalgia do not have the minimum of literary quality I look for when I consider books to be good.

I’m also agnostic about whether some of the recently published books on the list will stand the test of time.

Notable omissions: the books of Michael Coney and Michael Bishop for starters.

Top 50 Gollancz Book Titles

Over at Orion Publishing Group their Gollancz imprint is celebrating 50 years of publishing SF. They’re having a vote to see which of their chosen titles is the best. There are two categories, one for SF, one for Fantasy.

I thought I’d do this as an Ian Sales type meme.

The ones in bold I have read.

Gollancz top 25 SF titles:-

A Case of Conscience by James Blish
Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
Brasyl by Ian McDonald
The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Dune by Frank Herbert

Fairyland by Paul McAuley
The Female Man by Joanna Russ (I have now read this.)
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Flood by Stephen Baxter
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes *
Gateway by Frederik Pohl
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon
More than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
Pavane by Keith Roberts
Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
Ringworld by Larry Niven
Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
Tau Zero by Poul Anderson
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
The Separation by Christopher Priest
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts (I have now read this.)

* as a short story.

As you can see I’ve read all but five of these.

Gollancz top 25 Fantasy titles:-

Beauty by Sheri S. Tepper
Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie
Book of the New Sun (Vol 1&2) (Vol 3&4) by Gene Wolfe
The Book of Skulls by Robert Silverberg

Conan Volume One by Robert E. Howard
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
Elric by Michael Moorcock
Eric by Terry Pratchett
Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Little, Big by John Crowley
Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees
Memoirs of a Master Forger by William Heaney
Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
The Runes of the Earth by Stephen Donaldson
Something Wicked this Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance
Viriconium by M. John Harrison
Wolfsangel by M. D. Lachlan

Only seven from the Fantasy list, though.

For what it’s worth I voted for Keith Roberts’s Pavane and Little, Big by John Crowley.

Fantasy Masterworks

I recently mentioned the SF Masterworks index. Over at the SF and Fantasy Masterworks Reading Project there is also a Fantasy Masterworks Index.

The ones in bold I’ve read. The one marked * I think I did but a long time ago.

Given my lesser liking for fantasy as compared to SF it’s not surprising there are so few in bold on this list.

1 – The Book of the New Sun, Volume 1: Shadow and Claw – Gene Wolfe
2 – Time and the Gods – Lord Dunsany
3 – The Worm Ouroboros* – E.R. Eddison
4 – Tales of the Dying Earth – Jack Vance
5 – Little, Big – John Crowley
6 – The Chronicles of Amber – Roger Zelazny
7 – Viriconium – M. John Harrison
8 – The Conan Chronicles, Volume 1: The People of the Black Circle – Robert E. Howard
9 – The Land of Laughs – Jonathan Carroll
10 – The Compleat Enchanter: The Magical Misadventures of Harold Shea – L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt

11 – Lud-in-the-Mist – Hope Mirrlees
12 – The Book of the New Sun, Volume 2: Sword and Citadel – Gene Wolfe
13 – Fevre Dream – George R. R. Martin
14 – Beauty – Sheri S. Tepper
15 – The King of Elfland’s Daughter – Lord Dunsany
16 – The Conan Chronicles, Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon – Robert E. Howard
17 – Elric – Michael Moorcock
18 – The First Book of Lankhmar – Fritz Leiber
19 – Riddle-Master – Patricia A. McKillip
20 – Time and Again – Jack Finney

21 – Mistress of Mistresses – E.R. Eddison
22 – Gloriana or the Unfulfill’d Queen – Michael Moorcock
23 – The Well of the Unicorn – Fletcher Pratt
24 – The Second Book of Lankhmar – Fritz Leiber
25 – Voice of Our Shadow – Jonathan Carroll
26 – The Emperor of Dreams – Clark Ashton Smith
27 – Lyonesse I: Suldrun’s Garden – Jack Vance
28 – Peace – Gene Wolfe
29 – The Dragon Waiting – John M. Ford
30 – Corum: The Prince in the Scarlet Robe – Michael Moorcock

31 – Black Gods and Scarlet Dreams – C.L. Moore
32 – The Broken Sword – Poul Anderson
33 – The House on the Borderland and Other Novels – William Hope Hodgson
34 – The Drawing of the Dark – Tim Powers
35 – Lyonesse II and III: The Green Pearl and Madouc – Jack Vance
36 – The History of Runestaff – Michael Moorcock
37 – A Voyage to Arcturus – David Lindsay
38 – Darker Than You Think – Jack Williamson
39 – The Mabinogion – Evangeline Walton
40 – Three Hearts & Three Lions – Poul Anderson

41 – Grendel – John Gardner
42 – The Iron Dragon’s Daughter – Michael Swanwick
43 – WAS – Geoff Ryman
44 – Song of Kali – Dan Simmons
45 – Replay – Ken Grimwood
46 – Sea Kings of Mars and Other Worldly Stories – Leigh Brackett
47 – The Anubis Gates – Tim Powers
48 – The Forgotten Beasts of Eld – Patricia A. McKillip
49 – Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury
50 – The Mark of the Beast and Other Fantastical Tales – Rudyard Kipling

120 More Novels You Should Read, Apparently

The Guardian has added its readers’ picks to its original list of novels you must read.

Of the 100 novels given a puff from a contributor I’ve read 4½. 3½ of these were SF/fantasy. (The half is Doris Lessing. I read the first Canopus In Argus book and gave up. It was turgid stuff.)

I did rather better in the 20 more titles list. Three from here, all SF/fantasy.

I note that in the SF list the book that topped their best of the 20th century SF finally gets a look-in. I must add that I don’t rate it anywhere near a list of this sort.

And there’s still no Silverberg. I know I forgot about it last time but Dying Inside has got to be there surely?

Here’s the full 120. Bold I have read, those I’m intending to read are in italics.

Love (1)

Before She Met Me by Julian Barnes (1982)
The Bread of Those Early Years (Das Brot der frühen Jahre) by Heinrich Böll (1955)
La Regenta by Leopoldo Alas Clarin (1884-85)
Belle du Seigneur by Albert Cohen (1968)
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (1849-50)
The Siege by Helen Dunmore (2001)
Ask the Dust by John Fante (1939)
Senseless by Paul Golding (2004)
A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy (1873)
In Love by Alfred Hayes (1953)
The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (1952)
What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt (2003)
The Cloud Sketcher by Richard Rayner (2000)
I Sent a Letter to My Love by Bernice Rubens (1975)
Fanny by Gaslight by Michael Sadleir (1940)
The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (early 11th century), translated by Royall Tyler
Zoo, or Letters Not About Love by Viktor Shklovsky (1923)
Gordon by Edith Templeton (1966)
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (1911)
The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder (1927)

Crime (0)

The Fashion in Shrouds by Margery Allingham (1938)
The Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham (1952)
The Final Days by Alex Chance (2008)
Night and the City by Gerald Kersh (1938)
The Way Some People Die by Ross Macdonald (1951)
The Underground Man by Ross Macdonald (1971)
Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87)
True Grit by Charles Portis (1968)
I Was Dora Suarez by Derek Raymond (1990)

Family And Self (0)

Pather Panchali by Bibhutibhishan Banerji (1929)
Parents and Children by Ivy Compton-Burnett (1941)
Hopscotch by Julio Cortazar (1963)
Cards of Identity by Nigel Dennis (1955)
Death of an Ordinary Man by Glen Duncan (2004)
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
The British Museum Is Falling Down by David Lodge (1965)
The Country Girls by Edna O’Brien (1960)
The Fortnight in September by RC Sherriff (1931)
Riders in the Chariot by Patrick White (1961)
Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian (1990)
The Daisy Chain by Charlotte Mary Yonge (1856)
L’Assommoir by Émile Zola (1877)

Comedy (0)

The Caravaners by Elizabeth von Arnim (1909)
The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin by David Nobbs (1975-78)
Some Experiences of an Irish RM by Somerville and Ross (1899)
Trooper to the Southern Cross by Angela Thirkell (1934)
Drowned Hopes by Donald Westlake (1990)

State Of The Nation (0)

Havoc In Its Third Year by Ronan Bennett (2004)
A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe (1722)
And Quiet Flows the Don by Mikhail Sholokhov (1934)
The Sea and Poison by Shusaku Endo (1958)
The Football Factory by John King (1996)
The Octopus by Frank Norris (1901)
Joseph Knight by James Robertson (2003)
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (2003)
Downriver by Iain Sinclair (1991)
When Memory Dies by A Sivanandan (1997)
Fame Is the Spur by Howard Spring (1940)
Sostiene Pereira by Tabucchi (1994)

SF And Fantasy (3½)

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (1985)
Little, Big; or, The Fairies’ Parliament by John Crowley (1981)

Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson (1999-)
Lost Horizon by James Hilton (1933)
Island by Aldous Huxley (1962)
Canopus in Argos by Doris Lessing (1979-83)
The Boys From Brazil by Ira Levin (1976)
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by HP Lovecraft (1941)
The Wave Theory of Angels by Alison Macleod (2005)
The Confidence Man by Herman Melville (1857)
Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce (1958)
Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny (1967)

War And Travel (0)

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2006)
Riceyman Steps by Arnold Bennett (1923)
A Good Place to Die by James Buchan (1999)
The March by EL Doctorow (2005)
Consul at Sunset by Gerald Hanley (1951)
Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson (2007)
The Middle Parts of Fortune by Frederick Manning (1929)
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (1974)
The Miracle Game by Josef Skvorecky (1972)

And 20 More:- (3)

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières (1993)
Heart’s Journey in Winter by James Buchan (1995)
The White Guard by Mikhail Bulgakov (1955)
Aegypt by John Crowley (1989)
Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen Donaldson (1977-83)
Troubles by JG Farrell (1970)
Night Soldiers by Alan Furst (1988)
I, Claudius by Robert Graves (1934)
See You in Yasukuni by Gerald Hanley (1969)
The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V Higgins (1972)
Phantom Lady by William Irish (1942)
March Violets by Philip Kerr (1989)
Near to the Wild Heart by Clarice Lispector (1990)
Khan Al-Kahlili by Naguib Mahfouz (2008)
A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin (1996-)
If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor (2002)
The Spanish Farm trilogy by RH Mottram (1924-26)
Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake (1950)
The Time of Our Singing by Richard Powers (2003)
Angel Pavement by JB Priestley (1930)

Locus Poll (Fantasy)

That same Locus Poll also listed the top 15 Fantasy novels from last century.

Again asterisked means I’ve read them, ** that I can’t remember and (*) only the first of the trilogy.

1(*) Tolkien, J. R. R. : The Lord of the Rings (1955)
2* Martin, George R. R. : A Game of Thrones (1996)
3 Tolkien, J. R. R. : The Hobbit (1937)
4* Le Guin, Ursula K. : A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)
5* Zelazny, Roger : Nine Princes in Amber (1970) 971 70
6 Lewis, C. S. : The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
7* Miéville, China : Perdido Street Station (2000)
8 Rowling, J. K. : Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997)
9* Crowley, John : Little, Big (1981)
10* Adams, Richard : Watership Down (1972)
11 Goldman, William : The Princess Bride (1973)
12* Martin, George R. R. : A Storm of Swords (2000)
13 Beagle, Peter S. : The Last Unicorn (1968)
14** White, T. H. : The Once and Future King (1958)
15 Pratchett, Terry (& Gaiman, Neil) : Good Omens (1990)

I don’t have quite such a high hit rate here – unsurprisingly, as I prefer Science Fiction to Fantasy: but there is of course a lot of crossover between the two and the boundary is blurred. Even so I would have said Perdido Street Station was SF rather than Fantasy.

free hit counter script