You are a gentleman and a scholar.
Assembling a list of the best science fiction novels is really difficult for me. Once I get past Dune and Neurmancer, it gets really difficult because there are lots of good books, but few truly great ones.
Rendezvous with Rama and Childhood’s End are both good, but I can’t say they’re demonstrably better than Foundation, Forever War, or Stranger in a Strange Land. And most good sf novels fall into that grey area; good, but hardly sui generis.
And Dick did a lot of interesting things, but no single book stands out, and with him it’s more like a body of work than a single novel. I also find him to be a dry and pedestrian stylist with a lot of brilliant ideas, which is frustrating, because I want to enjoy his books more than I do.
It also doesn’t help that a lot of sf tends to run in series rather than standalone novels, and those tend to have diminishing returns. As much as I liked Simmons’ Hyperion, it wasn’t a complete story, and the next three books in the series got progressively worse.
My phase of buying old scifi books based on their cover and nothing else continues. The talking whale robot boat on the cover is on of the main characters. Another human main character gets cut in half in the opening pages. Human society evolves/devolves to live like insects. Robots have more personality than humans. Odd unannounced jumps in time. A dude fucks a fruit machine. Weird.
Just started Nancy Isenberg’s WHITE TRASH: THE 400-YEAR UNTOLD HISTORY OF CLASS IN AMERICA. The title is a mouthful, but the text is interesting so far.
That’s been recommended to me a bunch of times recently
One interesting tidbit I learned already is that the British precursors of “white trash” in the 1500s and 1600s were referred to as “Waste”, which is the term that Greg Rucka uses in LAZARUS to describe anyone who isn’t a member of the Family and hasn’t been lifted to the level of “Serf”.
I thought I was at least aquainted with most of the classic SF authors, but T. J. Bass is a new name to me. So I googled him:
T. J. Bass , real name Thomas J. Bassler, MD  (July 7, 1932 – December 13, 2011) was an American science fiction author and physician, having graduated from the University of Iowa in 1959. Bassler is also known for his controversial claim that nonsmokers who are able to complete a marathon in under four hours can eat whatever they wish and never suffer a fatal heart attack.
Knowing the level of research Rucka does that’s probably no coincidence.
In fairness its maubr a stretch to call him a classic. He only wrote the two books a D was a doctor by trade.
A lot of these on-line petitions are pointless, but here’s an important one I think we should all get behind:
Comparative Indo-European Linguistics
I’m re-reading my book with stories and anecdotes of Diogenes and other cynic philosophers…so awesome.
When his slave Manes escaped and people told him to go look for him, he replied: “How strange would it be if Manes could live without Diogenes, but Diogenes couldn’t live without Manes.”
When he begged from an unpleasant man, and the man told him he would give him money if Diogenes could persuade him, he replied “If I could persuade you of anything I would persuade you to go away and hang yourself”.
“Get out of my sun” is surely one of the all-time great comebacks.
A Descriptive Grammar of Igbo
I’m re-reading ‘Salem’s Lot’ for the first time in years, possibly decades in fact.
You can see that King hit his stride pretty early in his career, I rate this well above ‘Carrie’, even if it’s not totally consistent.
It’s King’s “Great American Novel” where something powerful and unexpected comes to a normal town and turns it upside down. That something can be a fire, or war, or a new business but in this case it’s a vampire.
The town has some form, in the shape of an evil former resident (now deceased) but it’s really unprepared for the arrival of something that is as wantonly destructive as Barlow.
One of the questions that this book never really answers is, why? A fire can be a force of nature, and the arrival (or removal) of the railroad is larger forces but Kurt Barlow come to town and sets about destroying it for no reason that’s ever made clear? He feeds, but he also creates more vampires and the town just can’t sustain this.
Thematically King is making points about hidden evil, corruption, complacency etc. but the plot has a few flaws that bother me.
Still, I’m greatly enjoying revisiting the ‘Lot’.
But I wouldn’t want to live there.
You should try Castle Rock. I hear it’s much nicer.
But stay out of Derry. Especially the sewers.
If you have not already, it’s worth picking up a copy of Graveyard Shift (edit - Night Shift) you’ll get it on amazon or eBay for about 3 quid
He returns to The Lot in a couple of the short stories there, which both raise some more questions and add a bit more to the mythos, for want of a better description.
Not only that but there’s also a few other amazing short stories in that book that I’ve found to be unforgettable, if you have not read it already.