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10 of the Best Classic Science Fiction Novels Everyone Should Read

The best science fiction novels

Science fiction is now a crowded genre and a popular field. The genre is characterised by speculative fiction and novels rich in ideas, especially about the future of human civilisation and the relationship between people and technology. But what are the best classic science fiction novels? Any list of top ten works of science fiction everyone should read is going to prove controversial, and we have no doubt that readers will disagree with our choices here. We’ve tried to give a sense of the range of the genre since its (arguable) starting-point back in the early nineteenth century, and to include as many big names as we can, but also to include some lesser-known cult classics which we think everyone who wants to explore classic science fiction should read.

H. G. Wells, The Time Machine (1895). Critic Bernard Bergonzi called The Time Machine a modern myth; V. S. Pritchett thought it the best of Wells’s scientific romances. It was published in 1895, though the novella had evolved over several years and a series of drafts, beginning with the very different story ‘The Chronic Argonauts’, published in 1888 when Wells was in his early twenties. Read the rest of this entry


Five of the Best Books for Cat-Lovers

Five great books about cats

What gift should one get for the book-lover who is also a cat-lover? Below are our five suggestions, all of which are great books – memoirs, novels, poetry books – which feature cats in some substantial way. What book would you suggest as the ideal gift for a cat-lover or cat-owner? Are there any must-reads we’ve left off our list?

Emily Fragos (editor), The Great Cat: Poems About Cats (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets). This collection of classic cat poems has something to delight every cat-owner, from eighteenth-century ‘mad’ poet Christopher Smart’s wonderful poem about his cat Jeoffry, W. B. Yeats’s poem about Minnaloushe, and Emily Dickinson’s gloriously eccentric but accurate description of a cat. The ideal gift for the cat-lover who is also a poetry fan. Read the rest of this entry

The Best Poetry Anthologies Every Poetry Fan Should Own

Five of the best collections of English poetry

What are the best English poetry anthologies? And how would one define ‘best’? The answer, of course, is that it’s always going to be subjective to a point. But it’s worth having a go at picking the greatest anthologies from which the poetry fan can choose. The poetry anthology is a great way not only of revisiting old favourites, but of discovering new poets. In this post, we’ve turned our attention to a kind of book that provides a highly valuable service for the poetry-lover. Many of these books can be purchased for the equivalent of the cost of lunch (depending on where you lunch, of course), or, at most, set back the book-buyer no more than a night out in the local pub would. And a volume of poetry can provide a lifetime of pleasure!

The Oxford Book of English Verse. Edited by Sir Christopher Ricks, this anthology is, in our opinion, simply the best one out there. It’s beautifully produced on good-quality paper, presented in clear type, and the selections made by Ricks showcase, not necessarily the most famous poems by a particular poet, but the most moving, thought-provoking, and intriguing. Thus The Oxford Book of English Verse does what a good poetry anthology should do: Read the rest of this entry