By John Hertz: It occurred to me, after mailing this thought in a letter of comment to another fanzine, that you might be interested also.
People talk – and quarrel – about what might be, or be candidates for, the great American novel.
Now and then some speculative fiction is proposed.
What about these (of course neither complete nor conclusive)?
- A Canticle for Leibowitz (Miller, 1960)
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (Twain, 1889; you can see a note by me via a set of links on the sidebar)
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Baum, 1900)
- Alas, Babylon (Frank, 1959)
- The End of Eternity (Asimov, 1955 – see my note on it too)
- Space Cadet (Heinlein, 1948)
You might like to bear in mind a criterion I’ve used in another context.
A classic is an artwork that survives its time; after the currents which might have sustained it have changed, it remains, and is seen as worthwhile in itself.
Over a door at the central branch of the Pasadena Public Library is (adapted from Mary Carolyn Davies, in The Skyline Trail, 1924)
Be made whole by books as by great spaces and the stars.
“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em”, says Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (Act II, sc. 5); others learn that, though he is ridiculous, they should not be harsh