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Every reader of SF comes across a title now and then that intrigues you, infuriates you, confuses you and/or enervates you. It leaves you with such a strong impression that you just have to share the impressions it left with others. It is so different from other books you have read. You recommend it, you pass along copies because you want to see if it is just you or that the book is really as interesting, you mention it constantly. Time passes and the book becomes harder to find. It is slipping out of print. How can you keep spreading the word about this fascinating book that you see as a overlooked odd speculative fiction classic?

This is another in a periodic list of such titles. This time, Scott Cupp tells us what titles have struck a chord with him. Once you are finished with this list, have a look at the others in the series of Ten Overlooked Odd Speculative Fiction Classics.

Ten Overlooked Odd Speculative Fiction Classics
by Scott Cupp

Here are ten overlooked classics. I don't know that they are the top ten but they came to me while I was thinking on the subject.  They are listed in no particular order.

The Last Starship from Earth The Last Starship from Earth
John Boyd
The Last Starship from Earth is still one of my favorite novels of all time.  Alternate universe with more twists than a Moebius strip.

The Standing Joy
Wyman Guinn
Primarily remembered for his short story "Beyond Bedlam" (about enforced schizophrenia) The Standing Joy is Guinn's only novel.  It's similar to Stranger in a Strange Land but sometimes better.

Let the Fire Fall Let the Fire Fall
Kate Wilhelm
It is hard to imagine a Kate Wilhelm book being overlooked but Let the Fire Fall seems to be one.  It has similar themes to Pangborn's  A Mirror for Observers (which is probably forgotten enough to be on the list also).

The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything
John D. MacDonald
John D. MacDonald is generally dismissed as a SF writer because he is completely identified as a mystery writer.  The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything is wild, sexy, and a totally odd fantasy novel.  DO NOT WATCH THE MOVIE!!

Alien Island Alien Island
T.L. Sherred
T.L. Sherred is again another writer remembered for one story ("E FOR EFFORT").  Alien Island is his only solo novel and it's very worthwhile.

Emphyrio Emphyrio
Jack Vance
Again, Emphyrio is another novel by a respected master but also, severely neglected. I think this is his single best work.  A novel of myth, reality and power and its ability to shape the present.

Wave Rider Wave Rider
Hilbert Schenck
Wave Rider is collected from several wonderful short stories initially published in the 80s in F&SF. This novel sank like a stone.  It's a damn shame.

Who Fears the Devil? Who Fears the Devil?
Manly Wade Wellman
Hard to include Who Fears the Devil? but I thought "When was the last edition?"  More than 10 years ago?  Do people (other than hardcore fans remember Manly Wade Wellman)  I don't think so.  Someone prove me wrong here.  It's a great collection of fantasy stories centered around folk songs and the Applachians.

Sacred Locomotive Flies Sacred Locomotive Flies
Richard Lupoff
Sacred Locomotive Flies is novel so controversial it seems hard to believe that no one remembers it.  The redneck South conquers the universe and imposes a tough philosophy.

Men in the Jungle Men in the Jungle
Norman Spinrad
There was a time when Spinrad was a force to be reckoned with.  Men in the Jungle, a novel of military warfare and cannibalism, was the main reason (more than Bug Jack Barron which was also mighty influential).

Copyright © 2001 Scott Cupp

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