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« A. E. van Vogt on the soul | Main | Wrong on Religion; Wrong on Science Fiction: James A. Herrick's Scientific Mythologies »

January 22, 2009


Michael N

As an enthusiastic and long-time fan of Kafka, I have to vehemently disagree with you about the relative merits of his novels. The short stories are probably a better place to start, I agree, but I just recently re-read The Castle (in a newer translation which was very different stylistically from the Muirs' standard) and re-affirmed it as one of my favorite books ever. And The Trial is an undeniable masterpiece. Undeniable, I say!

Gabriel Mckee

Granted, it's been a few years, but I really just think "In the Penal Colony" (for instance) is more satisfying.

I've been realizing lately that I just plain enjoy short fiction more than novels, across the board. Hence my repeated soapboxing.

Kathleen Chadwick

Hey, Gabe
"Titus Groan" is the one with the flood, yes. And also the best one. As you like plot, I can't see you being too interested in "Gormenghast", and "Titus Alone" is too..... fractured. Perhaps as a result of being partially written by Peake's wife from his notes after he passed away.

Gabriel Mckee

I dig Steerpike, though, so I remember liking "Gormenghast" quite a bit. I don't think I got more than 30 pages into "Titus Alone," though I want to give it another chance sometime.


Hey, I know about Riddley Walker, and I'm Canadian (though I did hear about it from a British essayist.) I even have a copy sitting on my 'sf-with-religious-connections' shelf. Brilliant and bleak and strange.

How the heck is Beloved on this list? It's a ghost story at most. And I thought Affinity was the same, but with lesbians.

I keep hearing very good things about both The Master and Margarita and The Glass Bead Game, from literary types.

But listen, stop blogging and go read more Gene Wolfe. The Book of the New Sun and the Book of the Long Sun. Also, the second and third Earthsea books. Right now, chop-chop, you'll thank me for it!


PS: Or, if you really do enjoy short fiction better, then read The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories.


just a quick comment - I highly recommend Susanna Clarke: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (2004), but I wouldn't go into it thinking, "this is Sci-fi!" maybe, at the most, "this is sorta steam-punk! without the steam. or the punk."

and also, thank you so much for including Neil Gaiman as one of those author's who is much better at short fiction than novels - i tend to get a lot of flak for thinking that his novels suffer from a lack of editing and unravel at the end - but i love his short stories, everything Sandman, and his kids stories.

Chris Smith

Did I miss Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead somewhere in that list? I mean, I like the Foundation books and all, but you can't leave Orson Scott Card off a list like this!

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