Discussion on the SF & F Canon


It occurred to me today, while I was fiddling with my template, that we might have to start up a new blog for this canon idea. Why? Well, it would make navigating the discussion of particular works easier since navigating my site for a few related posts might be a little annoying. It’d be much simpler to have everything laid out in one little space.
Is anyone against the idea of starting another blog? It would be only for the canon, and canon related things, nothing else.
Also, I thought it might be a good idea to start off the canon by going through all the books that should be shoe-ins. It would be easiest to get all those we know will automatically be included. However, if you don’t agree with ones I’ve put up, please discuss it. These are just books I think would be considered shoe-ins. But I might be wrong.

Science Fiction:
Dune by Frank Herbert (haven’t read)
War of the World by H. G. Wells (haven’t read)
1984 by George Orwell
Neuromancer by William Gibson
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Odyssey by Homer
A Midsummer Nights Dream by William Shakespeare

Any others you can think of? Any you don’t agree with? Why or why not? Let’s start this discussion!

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

8 thoughts on “Discussion on the SF & F Canon

  1. Yeah, starting another blog just for the canons sounds like a good idea.

    And I agree on all the fantasy books which you’ve suggested should be shoe-ins. I’ve actually read them all, and they’re definitely influential and good reads. Also agreed on 1984 and Frankenstein. Haven’t read any of the others, though, but I’ve heard of them.

    What about 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hide? Aren’t those sci-fi?

  2. I’ll look for a decent enough template for a new blog.

    20,000 Leagues…hmm, I would have to re-read that. I don’t know how influential that was. Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hide for sure was influential. Both are sort of SF.

    We should probably argue over works like Jules Verne and others in that camp.

  3. Lord knows I have enough blogs. What’s one more?

    I do find it useful to divide up my topics though. I still tend to bleed over from one to the other, but I try to compartmentalize.

  4. You are most welcome to join in on the discussion SQT. 🙂
    I’ll try to put up a new blog soon. I need to find a template. I don’t want to use a blogger one because they are just too bland for me. I want something a little more sleek and cool :P.

    Anyone have any disagreements with the list I have thus far? Any additions?

  5. The list is a nice start . . .

    Forever War – Haldeman
    Slaughterhouse Five – Vonnegut
    Stranger in a Strange Land – Heinlein
    Doomsday Book – Willis
    The Demolished Man – Bester

    And, not meaning to start too much of a controversy, I’d put this book in the Fantasy category – The Holy Bible.

  6. Just so you know CV, I started up a blog for this project just so it will have a place that won’t be interspersed between all my other stuff. I just want this project to be a bit more organized and directed.

    So it’s at http://sffcanon.blogspot.com/

    Now to your comment :).
    I thought of mentioning The Forever War, but I wasn’t sure if its influence was great enough. Certainly I found it to be an amazing book. It is a wonderful take on what interstellar wars might be like in the future, especially if we have FTL drives. The most mind boggling part of the book was the idea that you would hardly age at all during your FTL travel, but the rest of the universe did age at an accelerated rate.
    I don’t know about Slaughterhouse Five. Then again, Vonnegut was very influential on literature in general..
    I need to read some Heinlein. I have no doubt that some Heinlein would get on the list though!
    Those last two I’ve never read.

    I would agree that the Bible would do well in the fantasy list, but at the same time I think it wouldn’t work simply because too many people believe it to be real to recognize its mythological importance.

    Anywho 🙂 I think Forever War is certainly up for grabs here :P. I’ll have to rethink Vonnegut. Maybe you can come up with a compelling argument for it.

  7. The thing about Slaughterhouse Five is the Vonnegut created a truly unique method of telling a story, one in which time is a significant variable and is treated as unimportant next to the central event of the novel – the destruction of Dresden. Then you have the major theme of the book, fate . . . or are we destined to do things without choice versus the idea that we have free will. He examines the major horrors of war and the minor horrors of everyday life and juxtaposes them with the responsibility we must take over those actions if we accept that these are our choice.

    Not only is it brilliant and science fiction, but it’s easily one of the greatest novels in American Literature and is nearly always included in best novel lists.

    Forever War must be included as well, because it examines two predominate themes, one being the futility of war and the second is the true effect of Einsteinian models of near light speed time dilation on the individual and the society.

    I’ll check out the new blog.

  8. Hmm, I can see what you mean by the Vonnegut piece. It certainly should be considered. Maybe we should just start adding up everything that at least has some possibility of belonging until we get a large enough list and then narrow it down?

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