Honor roll: Fiction books

Each of these Fiction books has received at least one award nomination. They are ranked by honors received.

Book:The Einstein Intersection

The Einstein Intersection

Samuel R. Delany

The surface story tells of the problems a member of an alien race, Lo Lobey, has assimilating the mythology of earth, where his kind have settled among the leftover artifacts of humanity. The deeper tale concerns, however, the way those who are ‘different’ must deal with the dominant cultural ideology. The tale follows Lobey’s mythic quest for his lost love, Friza. In luminous and hallucinated language, it explores what new myths might emerge from the detritus of the human world as those who are ‘different’ try to seize history and the day.

Book:The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein was the most influential science fiction writer of his era, an influence so large that, as Samuel R. Delany notes, “modern critics attempting to wrestle with that influence find themselves dealing with an object rather like the sky or an ocean.” He won the Hugo Award for best novel four times, a record that still stands. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress was the last of these Hugo-winning novels, and it is widely considered his finest work.

It is a tale of revolution, of the rebellion of the former Lunar penal colony against the Lunar Authority that controls it from Earth. It is the tale of the disparate people—a computer technician, a vigorous young female agitator, and an elderly academic—who become the rebel movement’s leaders. And it is the story of Mike, the supercomputer whose sentience is known only to this inner circle, and who for reasons of his own is committed to the revolution’s ultimate success.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is one of the high points of modern science fiction, a novel bursting with politics, humanity, passion, innovative technical speculation, and a firm belief in the pursuit of human freedom.

Book:Bug Jack Barron

Bug Jack Barron

Norman Spinrad

Norman Spinrad made his biggest SF splash with Bug Jack Barron, whose 1967—68 New Worlds serialisation brought raging controversy which Michael Moorcock discusses in an afterword. It’s a quintessential 1960s novel, prophetically highlighting the irresponsible power of mass media and corporations.

TV megastar Jack Barron hosts the wildly popular Bug Jack Barron, a phone-in show that listens to public gripes and puts politicians and bosses on the spot—live. Naturally Barron pulls his punches for safety’s sake…until he tangles with paranoid…

Book:Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five

Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut’s absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes ‘unstuck in time’ after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut’s) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

Slaughterhouse-Five is not only Vonnegut’s most powerful book, it is also as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch-22, it fashions the author’s experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut’s other works, but the book’s basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it unique poignancy—and humor.

Book:Up the Line

Up the Line

Robert Silverberg

Being a Time Courier was one of the best jobs Judson Daniel Elliott III ever had. It was tricky, though, taking group after group of tourists back to the same historic event without meeting yourself coming or going. Trickier still was avoiding the temptation to become intimately involved with the past and interfere with events to come. The deterrents for any such actions were frighteningly effective. So Judson Daniel Elliott played by the book. Then he met a lusty Greek in Byzantium who showed him how rules were made to be broken…and set him on a family-history-go-round that would change his past and his future forever!

Book:A Pride of Heroes

A Pride of Heroes

Peter Dickinson

Book:Something to Answer For

Something to Answer For

P.H. Newby

It was 1956 and he was in Port Said. About these two facts he was reasonably certain but a murderous attack left him certain about little else – maybe just the conviction that the British usually did the right thing and that to be a crook a man must assume the society he lived in was honest.

He had been summoned to Egypt by the widow of an old friend, Elie Khoury, who had been found dead in the street. Murdered? Nobody but the widow seemed to think so. Confusingly, Townrow had a half-memory of Elie’s body being buried at sea. And what about Leah Strauss? Evidently he was having an affair with her, but there were times when he wondered whether he would turn out to be her American husband. If he was her American husband why did his memories appear to be Irish? And only an Englishman, surely, would take it for granted that the British behaved themselves. The arrival of the British paratroops was the final perplexity. …[more]

Book:Long Way to Shiloh

Long Way to Shiloh

Lionel Davidson

The Menorah, the symbol of Judaism, was thought to have been destroyed 2000 years ago, but now ancient scrolls have been discovered attesting to its survival. A young professor of semitics investigates, and finds his life endangered.

Book:Way Station

Way Station

Clifford D. Simak

Neighbors saw Enoch Wallace as an ageless hermit, striding across his untended farm as he had done for over a century, still carrying the gun with which he had served in the Civil War. They must never know that inside his unchanging house, he met and conversed with a host of unimaginable friends from the farthest stars.

More than a hundred years before, an alien being named Ulysses had recruited Enoch as the keeper of Earth’s only galactic transfer station. Now Enoch studied the progress of Earth as he tended the tanks where the aliens appeared, and the charts he made indicated that his world was doomed to destruction. His alien friends could only offer help that seemed worse than the dreaded disaster.

Then he discovered the horror that lived across the galaxy…

Book:The Spy Who Came In from the Cold

The Spy Who Came In from the Cold

John le Carré

In this classic, John le Carré’s third novel and the first to earn him international acclaim, he created a world unlike any previously experienced in suspense fiction. With unsurpassed knowledge culled from his years in British Intelligence, le Carré brings to light the shadowy dealings of international espionage in the tale of a British agent who longs to end his career but undertakes one final, bone-chilling assignment.

When the last agent under his command is killed and Alec Leamas is called back to London, he hopes to come in from the cold for good. His spymaster, Control, however, has other plans. Determined to bring down the head of East German Intelligence and topple his organization, Control once more sends Leamas into the fray—this time to play the part of the dishonored spy and lure the enemy to his ultimate defeat.

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