Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Day

Today is Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Day. I recommend that everyone go out and buy a new book so the writer will see 5-18% of the cover price sometime within the next year.

I've spent a lot of time with SF&F writers in my life, both physically and metaphorically. I started reading SF&F with Edgar Rice Burroughs and Andre Norton when I was a pre-teen, and being carried off to strange new worlds got me through the worst of high school. In college, I met my college boyfriend because of a class in science fiction (and discovered the work of Cordwainer Smith and Clifford Simak, among others, for the first time.) I started photographing SF&F authors, artists, editors, and publishers in the 1980s, and some of that work has appeared on book jackets, in magazines and newspapers, and in encyclopedic works about the genres. I met my husband while working on that project. And by the mid-1990s, I was the lawyer for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Not bad for a kid from a tiny town in upstate New York who just loved the town library.

Of the many wonderful Thanksgiving dinners we've had at our home, none was so entertaining as the year Connie Willis and her family joined us. Connie was guest of honor at the local science fiction convention that year, which is always held Thanksgiving weekend. With Connie sitting on Len's left, and Harlan Ellison sitting on my right, it was like watching a Wimbledon of words. Priceless.

So let me recommend a few writers and books:

Connie Willis: To Say Nothing of the Dog; Firewatch, Doomsday Book.
Harlan Ellison: A Boy and His Dog; Any of Harlan's collected works.
Barbara Hambly: Those Who Hunt the Night.
George R.R. Martin: Fevre Dream; Armageddon Rag; A Game of Thrones.
Melinda Snodgrass: Edge of Reason; The Circuit Trilogy; Double Solitaire.
Len Wein: Swamp Thing (his 13 stories have just been collected in one volume); Giant-sized X-men #1.
Michael Cassutt: Missing Man; Red Moon.
Cordwainer Smith: The Instrumentality of Mankind.
Arthur C. Clarke: The Sentinel; The Star; The Nine Billion Names of God.
Clifford Simak: City.
Joe Haldeman: The Forever War; 1968.
Larry Niven: Ringworld.
David Gerrold: The Man Who Folded Himself.
Jack Dann: The Memory Cathedral.
Vonda McIntyre: Dream Snake.
Robert A. Heinlein: Red Planet.
Edgar Rice Burroughs: A Princess of Mars.
J.K. Rowling: The Prisoner of Azkaban.
J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings.
Pat Murphy: There and Back Again; The Falling Woman.
C.L. Moore: Shambleau.
Marion Zimmer Bradley: The Bloody Sun.
C.J. Cherryh: The Pride of Chanur; The Faded Sun Trilogy.
Gordon Dickson: The Dragon and the George.
H. Beam Piper: Little Fuzzy.
Octavia Butler: Kindred.
Neil Gaiman: The Graveyard Book; American Gods.
Harry Bates: Farewell to the Master.
Anne McCaffrey: The Dragonriders of Pern (the first three novels.)

This is by no means an all-encompassing list. It's what I could think of on the fly. I tried to come up with something that would definitely involve horses (other than The Lord of the Rings, of course) but I couldn't think of anything I've read. I hear that one of the Walter Farley books steps into the fantasy or science fiction arena, but I haven't read it. Horse Fantastic is a collection of short stories edited by Marty Greenberg with contributions by writers like Anne McCaffrey who actually know something about horses, but I haven't read that, either. I'm frankly surprised that Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois haven't done an anthology called Horse! because they've done a whole lot of other animals. I must suggest it to them.


Moshe said...

If you want SF about horses (well, alien ones), try the excellent GRASS by Sherry Tepper.

M. C. Valada said...

I've heard this is a terrific book. I think I met her at the Nebula Awards in Santa Fe in 1998.