What should I be reading (that I'm not)?

Corrections are likely needed, please send them.

Neil Gaiman's Instructions - guidelines for navigating in a fantasy. Published as a book, but now available as movie.

Gladys Engel Lang and Kurt Lang: Etched in Memory: The Building and Survival of Artistic Reputation . Sociology of artists

Robert C. O'Brien Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH - kids book, science fictiony premise, and really delightful. (The movie has its own charm, but is not the book.)

Peter Beagle's short story collection Mirror Kingdoms - he wrote about 2 short stories between 1960 and 1995, and since then has published a *lot* more. Shows how much he comes out of the Jewish storytelling tradition. No one thinks of him as a Jewish writer, but he's doing Uncle Chaim and the Aunt Rifke about an artist painting an angel. Cadence and sense of the classic Jewish storytelling. Giant Bones stories, Last Song of Sirit Bayar. Professor Gottesman and the Indian Rhinoceros.

Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes. Scientists of the romantic age and their connections with the artists of the same time.

The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's On-Line Pioneers by Tom Standage. Stretches its metaphor a little far, but still fascinating history of the telegraph.

The Plague of the Spanish Lady: October 1918 - January 1919 by Richard Collier. Spanish flu 1918. By the time it was all over, about half the world's population was directly affected, before commercial aviation.

Hitler's Uranium Club: The Secret Recordings at Farm Hall by Jeremy Bernstein and David Cassidy. 8-10 German scientists who were together in a house, but who did not know that their conversations were being taped.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot - story of the woman whose cells (taken during her treatment for cervical cancer) became the HeLa cell line, with discussion of medical ethics, informed consent, and issues of race and medicine in 1950s Baltimore and since.

Look Me In the Eye: My Life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison - gentleman with Aspergers, designed the smoking guitars for KISS, and how he stumbled into and out of a variety of interesting modes of employment.

The Carpet Makers by Andreas Eschbach- originally published in German, and then in French, and finally in English, but is brillant and about these guys who live on a planet and spend their lives making carpets out of the hair of their wives and daughters. All of their sons are killed except for one: when the father dies, they are sold to support the son during his life. The carpets are being sold off into an amazing science fictional world. Excellent translation.

Vikram Seth's The Golden Gate - a novel in sonnets, with characters and plot. It is awesome. People in Sir Francis Scott having lives.

Walter Moers : The City of Dreaming Books and The Alchemaster's Apprentice - translated from German, he's a cartoonist, on a strange world with animals. Lots of literary jokes in the first, second is about a cat who speaks every language. Quirky, wonderful, surreal.

Mark Twain's long-awaited autobiography (The Autobiography of Mark Twain). He had also left some manuscripts and other things that were not published for 50 years after his death - also worth reading. Letters from the Earth is the title.

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. He's better known for The Windup Girl - read his stuff, just do.

Wench: A novel by Dolen Perkins-valdez - Story about a slave concubine brought north by her white master to these resorts they used to have in Ohio, and her political awakening as she meets people outside of the very constrained life she's been living.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan - an Australian artist who produces amazing children's books. It's metaphorically about immigrants, only using strange-shaped aliens.

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History - S.C. Gwynne biography of the half-breed war chief of the Commanche (Quanah Parker - check spelling). Probably the source of more of the stereotypes about Native Americans than anything else. He fought for 20 years, never lost a single battle, and chose to live in white society - became an entrepeneur.

[Request for short story collections]

Suggestion of anything by Diana Wynne Jones

Catching Fire: How cooking made us human : Richard W. Wrangham - non-fiction book about how the author's hypothesis that early hominid ancestors is eventually what made us human - you can get a lot more nutrients out of cooked food than out of raw food. Also more social activity and communal interaction.

The Heretic's Feast: a history of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer: the development of human culture.

The Immortal Unicorn stories in homage of Peter S. Beagle, edited by him and Janet Berliner.

Spider Robinson's Time Travelers Strictly Cash

Casey Agonistes and Other Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories by Richard McKenna

John McPhee's Silk Parachute : latest collection of New Yorker pieces.

Mirabile Janet Kegan - Mama Johnson? stories. And Hellspark

SFSignal - recent question about short story questions of great influence.

Kelly Link - Stranger Things Happen and her Magic for Beginners is online, and free

Jane Siberry just put all her albums online (and the theme music for Shadow Unit)

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A shocking murder and the undoing of a great detective by Kate Summerscale - true crime, first history of crime novel and development of detective stories.

Laurie R. King - The Beekeeper's Apprentice and series. Sherlock Holmes fanfic

H. Beam Piper, James Schmitz, Eric Frank Russell. Arguably (there was discussion) did really well at writing B-grade SF. (Basically the Rudyard Kipling category) Jo Walton recomments Piper as a comfort re-read.

Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson : true crime story at the Chicago's World Fair. Monster built a boarding house in which he killed an unknown number of people during the World's Fair, but it's also a story about the building of the Exposition and landscaping and all sorts of things.

Leigh Richards (aka Laurie King) also wrote Calafia's Daughters which is a post-apocalypse novel.

The Hatbox Baby by Carrie Brown - fiction how neonatal units started as carnival side shows originally. (this is the novel, the original articles. Stella remembers that there's a non-fiction version too, perhaps articles in the journal JAMA.)

Alexei Panshin - Star Well, The Thurb Revolution, and Masque World -- the fourth (The Universal Pantograph) was never published, is sought after by many people, and the people who have read the manuscript uniformly say it shouldn't be published.

Liar's Diary by Patry Francis : first time author, astonishing job writing about common people in a small town and turning in a jaw-droppingly worth it ending.

SFWA Song - download, listen before reading lyrics

L. Sprague de Camp

Nisi Shawl's Filter House, wonderful, not as well known as she should be.

Anything by Eileen Gunn

More Sherlockian fanfic: A Slight Trick of the Mind - an elderly Sherlock Holmes who is losing his mind goes to Japan in the aftermath of World War II

The Devil and Sonny Liston by Nick Tosches

Barbara Hambly is now writing under Barbara Hamilton - historical mysteries. First one is Abigail Adams Ninth Daughter (note that 'authors writing under other names' is a 'But that's another panel' topic on the list now.)

Five Fates : Shared world anthology by Poul Anderson, Frank Herbert, Gordon Dickson, Harlan Ellison Keith Laumer.

Metatropolis: John Scalzi (editor), Tobias Bucknell, Elizabeth Bear, Jay Lake, Karl Schroeder.

The Dragon Waiting (and anything else by) John M. Ford

The Barsoom novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Princess of Mars movie coming out next summer, maybe.)

Rosemary Kirstein's The Steerswoman was the first one. (Language of Power?) Later, it and the sequel were combined into The Steerswoman's Road.

Fritz Leiber - more short stories, also novels.

Mentioning Hugo losers in passing - in general it's a great place to start. Find the historical list of nominees, and work through them. Also Campbell losers.

Also look at the Science Fiction Hall of Fame stories. (Things that would have been considered for Nebulas if the Nebula had existed then.)

1491: New revelations of the Americas before Columbus by Charles C. Mann: highly recommend for Native Americas cultures and hte paths that technology took before first contact.

Brandon Sanderson - wonderful fantasy, Warbreaker is a good place to start.

Jack Finney's From Time to Time, Time and again

Samuel R. Delany's The Einstein Intersection - wonderful book that is not at all what it seems. The Empire Star. Also his Times Square Red and Times Square Blue paired essays.

The Experience of Night by Marcel Bealu (originally from French) mostly about personal discovery. Wandering through a doll factory.

P.C. Hodgell's The Godstalker Chronicles

Speed of Dark by Elisabeth Moon: basically about autism.

Garth Nix - breaks tropes. Keys to the Kingdom - really odd to have a fantasy novel set in a science fiction novel.

Emma Bull's Bone Dance is also

Daniel Pinkwater

Caroline Stevemer's Magic Below Stairs

Wonder Book of the Air by Cynthia Shearer

The Guns of August - Barbara Tuchman - pretty much anything by her. It's about how you start a war. Also the March of Folly. (Bear says: She has a low opinion of human folly.)

On Project Gutenberg: Henry Savage-Landor - Victorian explorer. Into the Forbidden Land about going to Tibet

Lord Dunsany's The Little Tales of Smethers (and varied others are online)

William Morris's The Well at the World's End

Lord Dunsany's stories are online.

Back to recentish: Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora

Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemsin

Amanda Downum - The Drowning City - non-Western fantasy novel about an assassin and a necromancer trying to save the world, or at least stop the Romans

Zachary Mason's The lost books of the odyssey

Nnedi Okorafor - anything, but the most recent is Who Fears Death

Looking at Project Gutenberg's Science Fiction section. John Jacob Astor's SF. Loma, a Citizen of Venus by William Windsor. (Not recommended, but amusing)

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

A brief digression into online comics, which we may come back to: Matt Howarth - cartoonist - longest running story was Those Annoying Post Brothers (Science fictional). Connie and Zchu

Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell

Girl Genius : by Phil and Kaja Foglio

Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams

Old favorites under new pseudonyms

  • Robin Hobb -> Megan Lindholm
  • Sarah Monette
  • Mark Anthony The Magician's and Mrs. Quent
  • S.L Ferrell / Steven Leigh

Joanna Bourne's The Spymaster's Lady - spy thriller, Napoleon era

The Magicians by Lev Grossman - a grown up school that teaches magic.

H.M. Hoover - This Time of Darkness - old, but does not suck.

Edward Whittemore - begin with Jerusalem Poker or Sinai Tapestry. 4 generations of life in the Middle East.

Blindsight by Peter Watts

Anathem by Neal Stephenson

Steven Boyett : Ariel and Elegy Beach

Ferrol Sams' Down Town Trilogy - main character grows up in Georgia during the Depression, goes to World War II.

House of God: the classic novel of life and death in an American Hospital by Samuel Shem - non fiction, medicine is still like that.

Jo mentions her series on Tor.com on Sunday mornings, and listing authors and where is a good place to start with that book. It is Jo's opinions, and other people add things in comments. Currently up to K.

Two more first novels - Fool's War by Sarah Anne Zettel. (Now writing as C.L. Anderson).

The Bohr Maker by Linda Nagata