What Makes This Book So Great: Re-Reading the Classics of Fantasy and SF

Author(s): Jo Walton


Jo Walton is an award-winning author of, inveterate reader of, and chronic re-reader of science fiction and fantasy books. What Makes This Book So Great? is a selection of the best of her musings about her prodigious reading habit. Jo Walton's many subjects range from acknowledged classics, to guilty pleasures, to forgotten oddities and gems. Among them, the Zones of Thought novels of Vernor Vinge; the question of what genre readers mean by 'mainstream'; the under-appreciated SF adventures of C. J. Cherryh; the field's many approaches to time travel; the masterful science fiction of Samuel R. Delany; Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children; the early Hainish novels of Ursula K. Le Guin; and a Robert A. Heinlein novel you have most certainly never read. Over 130 essays in all, What Makes This Book So Great is an immensely engaging collection of provocative, opinionated thoughts about past and present-day fantasy and science fiction, from one of our best writers.


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A unique book, from the incomparable Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of Among Others, Jo Walton: What Makes This Book So Great: Re-Reading the Classics of Fantasy and SF is a collection of brilliant reassessments of the classics - and the forgotten gems - of modern fantasy and SF.

Walton's critical gift is her ability to help you love your favorites even more, and to be fascinating, at length, on books you don't give a damn about. This is a remarkable guided tour through the field -- a kind of nonfiction companion to Among Others. It's very good. It's great. -- Cory Doctorow BoingBoing With plenty of jokes and interesting observations, this is definitely a fun read for the sci-fi fan. Give it a look if you're after some humorous and intelligent analysis of the genre's best. Starburst Magazine What shines through time and again is Walton's love of speculative fiction ... Walton frequently offers terrific insights. SFX Insightful and beautifully written ...the perfect way to discover some of the classic science-fiction and fantasy novels that deserve a new audience. Sci-Fi London A collection that is less criticism than a celebration of one reader's journey through the fantastic. Los Angeles Times A nicely eclectic, well considered essay collection that a reader can spend a few hours dipping into and following up on. It's a great primer for someone who wants to know why we like SF & Fantasy, as well as provide books to try. It should lead the reader to many happy discoveries, or at least return to old favourites. SFF World 'For readers unschooled in the history of SF/F, this book is a treasure trove; for those who recognize every title, Walton evokes the joy of returning to a well-worn favorite' Publishers Weekly (starred review) Readers seeking an enthusiastic and informed guide to modern science fiction and fantasy could do worse than Jo Walton's collection of 130 short essays...a celebration of one reader's journey through the fantastic. Chicago Tribune Walton's affection for many of these titles is contagious, and fans will find their own reading lists growing. Library Journal (starred review)

Jo Walton won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2002, and the World Fantasy Award for her novel Tooth and Claw in 2004. Her several other novels include the acclaimed Small Change alternate-history trilogy, comprising Farthing, Ha'penny, and Half a Crown. Her novel Among Others won the Hugo and Nebula Awards in 2012. A native of Wales, she lives in Montreal.

General Fields

  • : 9781472111616
  • : Little, Brown Book Group
  • : Corsair
  • : January 2015
  • : 198mm X 126mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Jo Walton
  • : Paperback
  • : 809.38762
  • : 480