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In its continuing series about "1000 Books You Must Read" the Guardian has got around to science fiction, fantasy and horror. It makes for an interesting list, if only to see the wide range of books that can be classified under those labels.

I was surprised that already this year I've read four of the recommended books. Who knew that I still read so much sf and fantasy? I thought I mostly gave up reading those genres back in the seventies. Then again, while Walter Miller's Canticle for Leibowitz obviously fits the categories, I'm not so sure about Fight Club, The Turn of the Screw or The Trial.

I like the Guardian list. I love a touch of the fantastic in my reading. I don't think great literature needs to always be tethered to what we usually refer to as "reality". After all, anything we can imagine occupies the undoubted reality of our thoughts, even if not manifested in the outside world.

What I grew apart from was the sort of sf and fantasy that fits into the commercial niches invented by the publishing industry. Too many of those books display little imagination. They merely copy -- and not for the first time -- what someone once actually imagined years ago.

As interesting as the list is, it does suffer from some omissions. No H.P. Lovecraft, for example and, worse yet, no mention of William Hope Hodgson's The Nightland. Sure that weird epic is practically unreadable in parts but you can't tell me it doesn't belong on a long list of the best science fiction, fantasy and horror, especially since it encompasses all three.

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