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Defining SF Books of the 1950s - select chronology
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Returned
Posted 2020-08-30 1:16 PM (#22402)
Subject: Defining SF Books of the 1950s - select chronology



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I’ve been extremely grateful for the Defining SF Books of the 1950s list, as I’ve recently sought to read or re-read many of these books in a more systematic fashion than I did when I was younger.

To better appreciate the books within the historical context of their original publication date and among their peer publications, I made the following list. Especially since several of these books were originally products of the 1940s (or even 1930s) published in book form in the 1950s.

The list below includes 50 books on my reading list, mostly culled from the Defining SF Books list (I think Slan, Orphans of the Sky, and The Triumph of Time are the only ones not on the list for their own reasons). Notes in parentheses indicate a) “serial” if that was the original publication format, followed by the date of publication in book form or b) ”p serial 19XX” for books that were partially published originally in serial form. Dates of collections and fix-ups are not as precisely notated but I’ve tried to be as accurate as possible on the years of original publication. I believe the earliest born authors on the list are Clifford Simak (1904) and Robert Heinlein (1907) and the latest are Poul Anderson and Richard Matheson (1926). I‘ve left off a few books from my list by authors born earlier or later.

Thought others might find this useful. Corrections and comments welcome.


1939-40
Revolt in 2100 (serial, 1953)

1939-40/1950
The Man Who Sold the Moon (serial, 1950)

1939/1943/1950
Voyage of the Space Beagle (serial, 1950)

1940
Slan (serial, 1946)

1941
Orphans of the Sky (serial, 1963)

1940-42/1944-47/1950
I, Robot (serial, 1950)

1942/1944
Foundation (serial, 1951)

1944/1946-47/1951
City (serial, 1952)

1945
Foundation and Empire (serial, 1952)

1941/1947-49
The Green Hills of Earth (serial, 1951)

1948
Against the Fall of Night (serial, 1953)

1948/1949
Second Foundation (serial, 1953)

1949
Needle (serial, 1950)

1946/1948-50
The Martian Chronicles (serial, 1950)


1947-51
The Illustrated Man (serial, 1951)

1950
Pebble in the Sky

1951
The Sands of Mars
The Stars, Like Dust (serial, 1951)

1952
The Currents of Space
The Demolished Man
The Space Merchants (serial, 1953)

1953
The Caves of Steel (serial, 1954)
Childhood’s End
Fahrenheit 451
Mission of Gravity (serial, 1954)
More Than Human (p serial 1952)

1950/1952-54
Earthman, Come Home [Cities in Flight] (serial, 1955)
They Shall Have Stars [Cities in Flight] (serial, 1956)

1954
Brain Wave (p serial 1953)
I Am Legend
A Mirror for Observers
They’d Rather Be Right (serial, 1957)

1955
Earthlight
The End of Eternity
The Long Tomorrow

1956
The City and the Stars
The Door into Summer (serial, 1957)
Double Star (serial, 1956)
The Naked Sun (serial, 1957)
The Shrinking Man
The Stars My Destination

1958
The Big Time (serial, 1961)
A Case of Conscience (p serial 1953)
The Enemy Stars (serial, 1959)
Methuselah’s Children (p serial 1941)
The Triumph of Time [Cities in Flight]

1959
A Canticle for Leibowitz (p serial 1955-57)
Dorsai! (serial, 1960/1976)
The Sirens of Titan
Starship Troopers (serial, 1959)

Edited by Returned 2020-08-30 1:22 PM
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Returned
Posted 2020-09-30 8:16 PM (#22485 - in reply to #22402)
Subject: Re: Defining SF Books of the 1950s - select chronology



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Some corrections:

1952
The Currents of Space (serial, 1952)
The Demolished Man (serial, 1953)

1953
Fahrenheit 451 (p serial 1951)

1956
The Stars My Destination (serial, 1956)

And adding two more to the list:

1951
The Day of the Triffids (p serial 1951)

1958
Immortality, Inc. (serial, 1959)

So now the earliest born author on the list is John Wyndham (1903) and the oldest is Robert Sheckley (1928)




Edited by Returned 2020-09-30 8:20 PM
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dustydigger
Posted 2020-10-25 5:26 PM (#22545 - in reply to #22402)
Subject: Re: Defining SF Books of the 1950s - select chronology



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Location: UK
Hi Returned! Thank you for your info on which 50s books were origianally serialised. I knew most of them,but I never knew Day of the Triffids was orinally in magazine serial form.
I am a great fan of the 50s Defining Books list,and have read 77/125 of the list.OK,characterisation may be minimal,the writing clunky a lot of the time,but the sense of fun and enthusiasm is so infectious. I am often amazed at just how many brilliant ideas were tossed abundantly,almost carelessly out to the young fans. Lots of strong themesand SF ideas,often in books with less than 200 pages.
I have read 43 of your 50 books,and am already compiling my list for 2021.Here it is my list so far
1950 : Henry Kuttner - Fury
1951 : Robert Heinlein - Green Hills of Earth
1951 : E E Smith - Grey Lensman
1952 : C M Kornbluth - Takeoff
1953 : Eric Frank Russell - Sentinels from Space
1953 : Fredric Brown - The Lights in the Sky are Stars
1955 : C M Kornbluth - Not This August
1958 : Jack Vance - The Languages of Pao

I also have lots of other 50s books on my TBR,Simak,Fredric Brown,Bob Shaw ,Bob Sheckley,Eric Frank Russell and others.
I like to relax with these in between some of the longer,sombre oft times pretentious books from later decades!
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Returned
Posted 2020-10-26 8:27 AM (#22546 - in reply to #22402)
Subject: Re: Defining SF Books of the 1950s - select chronology



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Glad it was helpful. Looks like Triffids was partially serialized, not sure how condensed it was. If you or anyone have recommendations for other must-read titles from the 1940s or 1950s, feel free to add them here. I tried to put together a comprehensive selection of what I thought would be a top-50 list (now top-52), but I’m sure I’m missing some titles I’m less familiar with. Looking again, I might add Earth Abides and maybe Alas Babylon and On the Beach (though I’m less interested in the immediate post-nuclear war genre). Others? p.s. grammatical correction to my earlier post. Sheckley is the latest-born author on my list, not the oldest.

Edited by Returned 2020-10-26 8:35 AM
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dustydigger
Posted 2020-10-27 5:29 PM (#22550 - in reply to #22546)
Subject: Re: Defining SF Books of the 1950s - select chronology



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Posts: 761
500
Location: UK
I love browsing the ''Books Published by Year'' list here on WWEnd.All sorts of fun stuff. Love the cover art of old books too! lol.You may find some interesting titles there.
I had been thinking of doing a BOAR(Birth of a Reader) challenge over on LibraryThing next year. i.e. read one book published in every year since my birth,that would be 1948-2021,74 books inclusive,but I would have to read a lot of modern stuff,and actually I am retreating to the past with my reading.So.I think I will just start on the Books Published by Year list for 1948 and see how many books I can unearth.
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