Wednesday, October 31, 2007


The Criteria, etc.

(Originally posted on The World in the Satin Bag, my other blog)
I want you!

That's right, I'm going through with this idea, but I can't do it alone. I need help from everyone out there. I don't want this to be a project that I do by myself, because I certainly do not have any sort of authority to do such a thing. So, I'm asking for involvement from the community. That means writers, readers, bloggers, etc. If you like SF and F, then you're welcome to include your opinion.
Here's more information:

  • Get involved! Your opinion matters. Suggest books, discuss why you think those books should be in a canon, etc.
  • Talk about this project. Spread the word! The more people that get involved the better!
  • Tell me what you think! Do you think I should move this project to its own page? Should it stay here? What do you think needs to be considered in the criteria? Etc.
  • Remember the criteria (I added some stuff):
  1. Popularity
    This is not what it sounds like. No books should be chosen purely on the fact that everyone out there bought it, read it, and loved. At the same time, though, the book has to have had a mark on the public to even be recognized and have influence. A book that is read by five people has just about no influence on the genre. But popularity should be taken with a grain of salt. There are plenty of books that are popular, but are at the same rather lax in literary merit (perhaps the Da Vinci Code would be an example).
  2. Longevity
    The novel or even novella, since we should not exclude works that today would not be considered novels, should have stood the test of time. It has to have had a lasting influence.
  3. Critical Success
    It has to be recognized in some way for its importance. This could mean it has won awards or simply has been analyzed or referenced. There may be many novels, particularly older novels, that would not have won awards but still have influence.
  4. Influence
    Pretty obvious since I've mentioned it already. It has to influence other writing. That influence has to be genre defining, powerful. Not simply that it made people buy books in that genre, but that it actually changed the direction of SF & F literature in some way.
  5. Age
    The novel should be at least ten years old unless you can find a compelling reason to suggest a newer book. In reality we can't assume that any books that are popular now will have a lasting effect on the genre.
  6. Originality
    The book must present some sense of the original. If you recommend a work of fantasy, then it has to at least feel fresh, rather than purely derivative.
  • Email me, comment, post, etc. Seriously, the more involved you get, the more we discuss, the better it is going to be.
This project could take a long while. Developing a canon isn't exactly a piece of cake and there may be a lot of criticism of books. But, this is the start of a good thing.!


Mr. Willis said...

The Hitchhiker's Ultimate Guide to the Galaxy is a must.

S.M.D. said...

Adding to The List :)