There are lots of novels hailed as classics of the genre – those that won the Hugo and/or Nebula awards, those that were reprinted a lot, or that have been included in the SF Masterworks series, or that are often included in various ‘best of’ lists. In recent years I’ve made an effort to get hold of as many of these ‘classics’ as possible to fill in the gaps in my literary heritage. They haven't always lived up to their reputation. Here’s a brief review of what I’ve read recently:
Childhood’s End – Arther C Clarke – it was OK but rather dated now.Desolation Road – Ian McDonald – wonderfully lyrical
The Dispossessed – Ursula K. LeGuin – Pretty good, but a little dated.Non-Stop – Brian Aldiss – Brilliant.
The City and the Stars – Arthur C Clarke – Good but slow.The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. LeGuin - Brilliantly evocative.
Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert Heinlein – Don’t know what the fuss was about.Ringworld – Larry Niven – Didn’t enjoy at all.
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress – Robert Heinlein – Enjoyable, but not great.Gateway – Frederick Pohl – Genius.
The Songs of Distant Earth – Isaac Asimov – It was OK.Hyperion – Dan Simmons – Brilliant.
Lined up on my shelf I have Helliconia Spring