Thursday, July 1, 2010


Welcome to the Science Fiction & Fantasy Masterworks Review, a group blog dedicated to reading and reviewing Gollancz's series of genre classics in its entirety.

The goal of this project is simply to read and review each and every one of these 100+ books. In doing this we hope to gain a better understanding of and appreciation for the foundations of the genre literature we enjoy today. We also hope that the small spotlight we place on these books can inspire a reader or two to revisit a title they might not have been aware of before.

A few years back, UK publisher Orion decided to republish a selection of definitive genre titles that they felt deserved to stay in print. Deemed "Masterworks", these titles were released on a less-than-regular-basis. Several years later there are now over one hundred and twenty five titles split into science fiction and fantasy subcategories. While there are some classic books that are glaring omissions from the list, the twin Masterworks lines are about as close to a definitive genre canon as you are going to get considering the restrictions of copyright law.

Sadly though, just because the classics are readily available doesn't mean people are reading and appreciating them. All too often, readers pay attention only to what's new and what's next. Book reviewers and bloggers are especially guilty as they put off the books they've always meant to read in an endless quest to discover the next genre classic.

Many of the reviewers participating in this project have confessed (myself included) that they have read a shamefully small number of these seminal works. By taking on this project, we hope to change that. There are currently 11 reviewers participating in this effort although it's not too late to join in and become a contributor yourself. You can see the latest roster of insane bloggers here.

If you are interested in contributing or even just reading along, you can find the full list of science fiction titles here and the corresponding fantasy list here. These lists will be updated as the books are read and our reviews published. We encourage you to dust off that classic tome that you've always meant to read but haven't and join in the fun.

But enough with the flowery crap, welcome again and we hope you come back often! The first reviews will begin later this week.


  1. A great idea to review these two excellent series as a group effort.

    I've read quite a few of the SF Masterworks myself, and have started reviewing them on my blog recently also

    I haven't yet touched a single fantasy masterwork however, so I expect to learn a great deal about those from here.

    I've put a link on my blog to this one and intend to be back often.

  2. Oh, this is great! I'm reading The Chronicles of Amber now...and see a couple on the fantasy list I've read. I'm going to enjoy reading this blog -- reviewing would be fun, too! *bookmarking*

  3. Will the list of Masterwork titles be updated with the forthcomming new additions to this series?

    Thus far, they looks something like this:

    "Dhalgren" - Samuel R. Delany (Paperback - 22 July 2010)
    "The Time Machine" - H. G. Wells (15 July 2010)
    "Helliconia" - Brian Aldiss (12 August 2010)
    "The Food of the Gods" - H. G. Wells (16 September 2010)
    "The Body Snatchers" - Jack Finney (14 October 2010)
    "The Female Man" - Joanna Russ (11 November 2010)
    "Arslan" - M. J. Engh (09 December 2010)
    "The Difference Engine" by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling (Paperback - 13 Jan 2011)
    "The Prestige" by Christopher Priest (Paperback - 10 Feb 2011)
    "Greybeard" - Brian Aldiss (10 March 2011)
    "Sirius" by Olaf Stapledon (Paperback - 14 April 2011)
    "Hyperion" by Dan Simmons (Paperback - 12 May 2011)
    "Of Men and Monsters" by William Tenn (Paperback - 11 Aug 2011)
    "War With the Newts and R.U.R." by Karel Capek (Paperback - 8 Sep 2011)
    "The Affirmation" by Christopher Priest (Paperback - 13 Oct 2011)
    "The Star Beast" - Robert A. Heinlein (08 December 2011)
    "Odd John" by Olaf Stapledon (Paperback - 1 Feb 2012)
    "The Fall of Hyperion" by Dan Simmons (Paperback - 1 Mar 2012)
    "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley (Paperback - 1 April 2012)

  4. It should be. Where did you get the list of the 2011 and 2012 releases? I've only seen through Dec. 2010.

  5. This is great.. I do want to say the blog is gorgeous! Nice job :)

  6. If you are wondering about the omissions and fear you may have missed them, I'd suggest looking in the Encyclopedia of Scinece Fiction and see what they suggest as the top 100.

    I loved Lord fo Light based on it's recommendation and it garnered my interest in the 'classics'. I've mow read a fair few of the masterworks series and enjoyed most of them.

    I'm just reading Starmaker by Olaf Stapledon and it's amazing to see what a man in 1935 thinks about the universe. Speculative thinking at it's best.

  7. Nice work. I've only just started this SF blogging lark, but I have read (or intend to) read a stupidly high number of the SF Masterworks. Is it still OK to join in? This does look like it could be fun.