Current version: 1.4 – updated 9/29/2021
– Added Cordwainer Smith to PC Bushi Supplemental
Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series
Newcastle Forgotten Fantasy Library
Tunnels and Trolls
PC Bushi Supplemental
Also known as “The Grand Inspirational Classic SFF List,” but “GICSFFL” isn’t very wieldy. As of this initial posting (8/11/16), it’s been several months now since discovering two blogs that have really shaped the direction of this here blog and the allotment of my free time – Cirsova and Jeffro’s Space Gaming Blog (also Castalia House, subsequently).
Prior to my “awakening” I had read some classic SFF; mostly the big names like Tolkien and Asimov, who are still bandied about by younger generations of nerdom. But I hadn’t realized how much is out there, nor the quality of some of the older stuff, nor, when you look back, how derivative some of today’s SFF is.
“Pulp” SFF is not inherently of lower quality. Much of it was quite excellent and some of it was foundational to modern fiction.
We are truly blessed to live in a day and age when new books are constantly being written and published. The next Chronicles of Narnia or Harry Potter could be right around the corner. That said, the constant churn of new materials and entertainment media comes with a consequence. For every CS Lewis or Robert Heinlein, there’s at least one equally talented, once-known writer who has fallen into obscurity among the younger generations.
Discovering the likes of Jack Vance and Poul Anderson has been eye-opening for me. And I’ve barely scratched the surface.
As I mentioned in teasing this list, it may be that no one’s interested. Or it may be that Appendix N alone is enough for most SFF fans looking to delve into the past. But for those looking for more, or perhaps for aspiring writers or game developers, you may want to look at more than the favorites of Gary Gygax and the original D&D crew, worthy they may be. For those parties, I hope this list will provide a useful resource: in searching for (old) new and interesting SFF to read, in measuring one’s own SFF well-readness against some tangible benchmarks, or in simply having a printable list to carry to the flea market or secondhand bookstore.
Updates to the List will be made if corrections or edits are necessary, to add new indexes (like additional publisher lists), and to add new entries to PC Bushi Supplemental. Dwarfed by the other indices though it may be, I couldn’t resist adding my own humble recommendations to fill some small gaps that seemed glaring to me. Version number will be updated on this page to reflect changes.