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Twenty Core Problematic Speculative Fiction Works Every True SF Fan Should Have On Their Shelves

As with the previous core lists, here are twenty Problematic Speculative Fiction Works chosen entirely on the basis of merit and significance to the field 1 and in this case, the likelihood of encountering their avid fans. No implication is intended that these are the only twenty books you should consider or the only twenty books whose fans may some day corner you so they can expound at length on the virtues of these books.


  • The Heritage of Hastur by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach
  • Naamah’s Curse by Jacqueline Carey
  • White Tiger by Kylie Chan
  • Tripoint by C. J. Cherryh
  • Grunts by Mary Gentle
  • Farnham’s Freehold by Robert A. Heinlein
  • Misspent Youth by Peter F. Hamilton
  • Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch
  • Sword Art Online: Aincrad by Reki Kawahara
  • The Storm Lord by Tanith Lee
  • The Sardonyx Net by Elizabeth A. Lynn
  • Tea with the Black Dragon by R. A. MacAvoy
  • The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey
  • Voodoo Planet by Andre Norton
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film) by J. K. Rowling
  • The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
  • The Gate to Women’s Country by Sheri S. Tepper
  • Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis
  • 13th Child by Patricia Wrede

Persons unfamiliar with one or two of the works, congratulations! You’re one of today’s Ten Thousand!

1: There are two filtering rules:

  • Only one work per author per list
  • Any given work can appear on only one list

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