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1960s sf novels from Library of America

(12 posts)
  • Started 2 months ago by Chris DeVito
  • Latest reply from CarlGlover

  1. Chris DeVito
    Member

    Eight sf novels from the '60s, published in two volumes. Includes ...And Call Me Conrad, by Roger Zelazny, serialized in F&SF, and of course Flowers for Algernon is based on the F&SF story.

    https://www.loa.org/books/617-american-science-fiction-eight-classic-novels-of-the-1960s?fbclid=IwAR0aNKAOkVGu5H0FryH311rjnBgj6nX-PAlW172DDGhyNmyWLtnJs9KAvc0

    Posted 2 months ago #
  2. CarlGlover
    Member

    Interesting selections. I read them all at the time but would not have chosen any as best of the decade. Mind you, I'm only going by my Golden Age impressions, which did not necessarily include an appreciation of "literary" value, but which I think LOA is using as a criterion for "classic" status.

    Anyway, off the top of my head, I would have chosen the following as representing the eight best of the decade, strictly according to the judgment of the teenage boy I was then:

    Silverberg's "Hawksbill Station."
    Silverberg's "Up the Line"
    Dick's "The Man in the High Castle"
    Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress"
    Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five"
    Galouye's "Dark Universe"
    McCaffrey's "Dragonflight"
    Moorcock's "Behold the Man"

    Maybe none of them have the literary qualities the LOA is looking for (although I vaguely recall they might have already reprinted one or two of them), but I remember them all with a warm golden glow.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  3. MattHughes
    Member

    I was thinking that the list ought to include something in the post-nuclear apocalypse sub-genre, which was definitely a thing in the sixties. The one that came to mind was Pat Frank's Alas, Babylon, which I read in the sixties but it turns out it was actually published in 1959.

    So maybe Harlan Ellison's A Boy and His Dog, although it's technically a novella.

    I applaud the inclusion of Vance's Emphyrio, which is the Vance title I recommend to people who haven't read him yet. It's short, perfect, and quintessentially Vancean.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  4. CarlGlover
    Member

    "Dark Universe" is actually post-nuclear apocalyptic and, in my opinion, the best of the sub-genre.

    "Emphyrio" I have always regarded as inferior Vance -- but still good!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  5. Dune? The Left Hand of Darkness?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  6. Chris DeVito
    Member

    Length is a consideration -- they're packing eight novels into two volumes -- so Dune is probably too long, regardless of whatever other considerations apply.

    LeGuin already has her own LoA box of the Hainish stories, including Left Hand of Darkness.

    Dick also has his own box, including High Castle.

    Vonnegut has his own box, etc.

    ...And Call Me Conrad is, in fact, a post-nuke story, though not a typical one (I would have preferred Lord of Light [probably too long] or Isle of the Dead, but I'm just glad they included something by Zelazny).

    As for the rest -- de gustibus, and all that.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  7. MattHughes
    Member

    There should have been a Vonnegut novel. If not S-Five, then Cat's Cradle, which I believe was the first Vonnegut novel I ever read.

    Thinking further, for the post-apocalyptic slot, perhaps Edgar Pangborn's Davy would do.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  8. Chris DeVito
    Member

    Vonnegut already has four volumes from LoA, including:

    https://www.loa.org/books/366-novels-stories-1950-1962

    Player Piano | The Sirens of Titan | Mother Night | stories

    https://www.loa.org/books/345-novels-stories-1963-1973

    Cat’s Cradle • God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater • Slaughterhouse-Five • Breakfast of Champions • stories and other writings

    Posted 2 months ago #
  9. oblomov
    Member

    CarlGlover: I forget all about Behold The Man for some reason, despite it sitting right there on my shelf and being one of my favorite books of all time. I would definitely have liked to see that one in the box -- plenty literary, IMHO.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  10. Chris DeVito
    Member

    I'm also quite fond of Behold the Man ... but this collection, from Library of America, is limited to American Science Fiction. As it says in the title... (American Science Fiction: Eight Classic Novels of the 1960s)

    Posted 2 months ago #
  11. Marian
    Member

    I'm bothered by the inclusion of the novel Flowers for Algernon. I think the committee chose it since the story is a classic. The expanded novel is simply okay but nothing special and certainly not one for any best of list.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  12. CarlGlover
    Member

    I agree, Marian. "Algernon" the novel is not especially good reading, no matter how you slice it. I was confused and bored and have never quite understood its appeal. The original novelette is only marginally better.

    Chris: I have always been so enthusiastic about "Behold the Man" that I plumb forgot it's not by an American author. So, I'll substitute Keith Laumer's "Worlds of the Imperium," one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasures.

    Posted 1 month ago #

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