Star Frontiers recommended fiction list!

I was sitting down with my new used copy of the Alpha Dawn Expanded Rules, and I noticed something on the back inside cover I never paid attention to as a kid: the recommended reading list.  Since I’ve made my way through Appendix N, it’s nice that now I have a new reading list to wade through!

Here’s the fiction list; titles (and series/parts of series) I’ve already read are marked with an asterisk:

Anthony, Piers — Macroscope

Anderson, Poul — Ensign Flandry series*

Asimov, Isaac — Foundation trilogy*; I, Robot; The Gods Themselves

Asprin, Robert — The Cold-Cash War

Bester, Alfred — The Stars My Destination*

Blish, James — Cities in Flight

Bradbury, Ray — The Martian Chronicles*

Brown, Frederick — What Mad Universe

Brunner, John — Stand on Zanzibar

Budrys, Algis — Rogue Moon

Chandler, Bertram A. — Commodore Grimes series

Clarke, Arthur C. — Rendezvous With Rama*; The Fountains of Paradise

Clement, Hal — Mission of Gravity; Close to Critical; The Nitrogen Fix

de Camp, L. Sprague — Krishna series*

Dick, Philip K. — Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Dickson, Gordon R. — Dorsai series

Drake, David — Hammer’s Slammers

Farmer, Philip Jose — Riverworld series*

Garrett, Randall — Starship Death

Goulart, Ron — many short novels

Haldeman, Joe — The Forever War*

Hansen, Karl — War Games

Harrison, Harry — Bill, the Galactic Hero*; The Stainless Steel Rat*; Deathworld series*

Herbert, Frank — Dune series*

Laumer, Keith — A Plague of Demons; Retief series*; Bolo series

LeGuin, Ursula K. — The Left Hand of Darkness

Lem, Stanislaw — Solaris; The Cyberiad

Longyear, Barry — Circus World

Niven, Larry — Ringworld*; Ringworld Engineers; Tales of Known Space

Niven, Larry and Jerry Pournelle — The Mote in God’s Eye

Norton, Andre — Star Rangers

Pohl, Frederick — Gateway*

Pournelle, Jerry — The Mercenary

Russel, Eric Frank —  The Great Explosion

Saberhagen, Fred — Berserker series

Silverberg, Robert — The Man in the Maze*

Smith, E.E. — Triplanetary; Space Patrol; others in the Lensman series

Stapleton, Olaf — Last and First Men

Vance, Jack — Big Planet*; The Gray Prince*; Tschai, Planet of Adventure series*; Demon Princes series*

Van Vogt, A.E. — The Weapon Shops of Isher; The Silkie; Voyage of the Space Beagle

Varley, John — The Persistence of Vision

Zelazny, Roger — Lord of Light*

It’s an interesting list that, as one might expect, shares quite a few literary inspirations with Traveller.  There are a few Trav influences that surprisingly aren’t on the Star Frontiers list (Tubb’s Dumarest series and Norton’s Solar Queen series immediately come to mind), and there are some on the SF list that seem… odd.  Riverworld is inspiration for Star Frontiers?  Who would have thought?  Lord of Light?  Really?  Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?  I know Blade Runner and Star Frontiers came out the same year, but still…  Those are all good SF books by great authors, but I just don’t see those titles’ connection to Star Frontiers’ space opera setting.  Some other questions: Why are the Dune books the only Herbert listings?  Star Rangers the only Norton?  Ensign Flandry the only Anderson?  I’m sure the game writers weren’t shooting for comprehensiveness here, but their list seems awfully half-baked.

Unlike Appendix N, which was a laundry list of all the F&SF that influenced the Gygaxian vision and development of (A)D&D, the Star Frontiers list seems to have been populated in a very different way.  I can almost picture the Star Frontiers production team sitting down for a meeting, and everyone being asked to provide a list of their top 5 science fiction books.  Those lists were merged into the Star Frontiers “master list” and sent along the pipeline, without the benefit of an editor checking those favorites for relevance to the setting… Seriously though, I would be curious to learn why some of those titles were included as recommended reading and how their list came to be.

Well, despite some questionable choices there’s certainly some good stuff there, and it certainly doesn’t detract from the fine game of Star Frontiers as a whole.  I’m looking forward to checking out some of these authors I’ve never read, and tracing the lines of influence.

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3 responses

  1. Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep is excellent and I’ve been interested in reading the Zelazny for a long time. Interesting list.

    01/22/2010 at 15:56

  2. Nice that they have Chandler’s Grimes series on there. He’s one of the few that got interstellar commerce “right” in his stories.

    Quite good material as sources for adventures as well.

    If you can’t tell from the website name, I’m a pretty big fan of Chandler.

    01/22/2010 at 18:05

  3. FOR THE ONE YOU HAVE NOT READ THAT I HAVE REED:

    CITYS IN FLIGHT – I LIKE AN IDEA A LOT (HOBO CITYS IN SPACE) BUT A LSOW BOOK AND FEELS VERY OLD
    A ROBOT- IT IS OK BUT DIFERENT FROM THE MOVIE
    TALES OF KNOWN SPACE -NOT THAT GOOD FOR ME – RINGWORLD ISA GOOD IDEA BUT THE WRITE IS NOT
    AE VAN VOGHT – I DI NOT READ THOSE BOOK BUT I READ A LOT OF HIS SHORT STORIES, I LIKE HIM!

    01/23/2010 at 22:06

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