American Science Fiction (Ph.D. reading list)

The Primary Texts

  1. Edgar Allan Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (1838)
  2. Edgar Allan Poe, stories (in addition to those collected in Future Perfect)
    1. “MS. Found in a Bottle” (1833)
    2. “The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaal” (1835)
    3. “The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion” (1839)
    4. “A Descent into the Maelstrom” (1841)
    5. “The Balloon-Hoax” (1844)
    6. “Mesmeric Revelation” (1844)
    7. “The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade” (1845)
    8. “The Man of the Crowd” (1846)
  3. Edgar Allan Poe, Eureka (1848)
  4. Nathaniel Hawthorne, stories (in addition to those collected in Future Perfect)
    1. “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” (1837)
    2. “Earth’s Holocaust” (1844)
  5. Edward S. Ellis, The Huge Hunter, or the Steam Man of the Prairies (1868)
  6. Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward (1888)
  7. Mark Twain, Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889)
  8. Jack London, The Iron Heel (1908)
  9. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland (1915)
  10. A. E. van Vogt, World of Null-A (1948)
  11. Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles (1950)
  12. Philip Wylie, The Disappearance (1951)
  13. Robert Heinlein, Puppetmasters (1951)
  14. Clifford Simak, City (1952)
  15. Pohl and Kornbluth, The Space Merchants (1952)
  16. Isaac Asimov, Foundation (1951)
  17. Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
  18. Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human (1953)
  19. Alfred Bester, The Demolished Man (1953)
  20. Hal Clement, Mission of Gravity (1954)
  21. Isaac Asimov, The Caves of Steel (1954)
  22. James Blish, A Case of Conscience (1958)
  23. Jack Vance, The Language of Pao (1958)
  24. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Sirens of Titan (1959)
  25. Walter M. Miller, Jr., Canticle for Leibowitz (1959)
  26. Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)
  27. Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle (1962)
  28. Frank Herbert, Dune (1965)
  29. Samuel Delany, Babel-17 (1966)
  30. Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)
  31. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)
  32. Ursula K. LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)
  33. Larry Niven, Ringworld (1970)
  34. Robert Silverberg, Dying Inside (1972)
  35. Suzy McKee Charnas, Walk to the End of the World (1974)
  36. Joanna Russ, The Female Man (1975)
  37. James Tiptree, Jr., “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?” (1976)
  38. Frederik Pohl, Gateway (1976)
  39. Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time (1976)
  40. Vonda McIntyre, Dreamsnake (1978)
  41. Thomas Disch, On Wings of Song (1979)
  42. Joan Vinge, The Snow Queen (1980)
  43. Gene Wolfe, The Shadow of the Torturer (1980)
  44. Gregory Benford, Timescape (1980)
  45. Octavia Butler, Clay’s Ark (1984)
  46. William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)
  47. Greg Bear, Blood Music (1985)
  48. Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game (1985)
  49. Joan Slonczewski, Door Into Ocean (1986)
  50. Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale (1986)
  51. Orson Scott Card, Speaker for the Dead (1987)
  52. Sheri S. Tepper, The Gate to Women’s Country (1988)
  53. Octavia Butler, Dawn (1987)
  54. Octavia Butler, Adulthood Rites (1988)
  55. Octavia Butler, Imago (1989)
  56. Dan Simmons, Hyperion (1989)
  57. Marge Piercy, He, She, and It (1991)
  58. Connie Willis, Doomsday Book (1993)
  59. Terry Bisson, Bears Discover Fire and Other Stories (1994)
  60. Zenna Henderson, Ingathering (1995)
  61. Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age: or A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer (1995)
  62. Greg Bear, Darwin’s Radio (1999)
  63. Robert Charles Wilson, Spin (2005)

Anthologies—stories with commentary

  1. H. Bruce Franklin, Future Perfect: American Science Fiction of the Nineteenth Century (1995)
  2. James Gunn, ed., Road to Science Fiction, Vol. 2: From Wells to Heinlein [anthology]
  3. James Gunn, ed., Road to Science Fiction, Vol. 3: From Heinlein to Here [anthology]
  4. James Gunn, ed., Road to Science Fiction, Vol. 4: From Here to Forever [anthology]
  5. Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora, ed. Sheree R. Thomas [anthology] ()
  6. Ascent of Wonder: The Evolution of Hard SF, ed. Hartwell, Cramer, and Benford [anthology] ()
  7. Dangerous Visions, ed. Harlan Ellison (1967)

Critical Texts

  1. Darko Suvin, Metamorphoses of Science Fiction (1979)
  2. Tom Moylan, Demand the Impossible: Science Fiction and the Utopian Imagination (1986)
  3. Science Fiction, Critical Frontiers, ed. Karen Sayer and John Moore (2000)
  4. Marleen Barr (ed.), Future Females, The Next Generation (2000)
  5. Justine Larbalestier, The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction (2002)
  6. Speculations on Speculation: Theories of Science Fiction, ed. James Gunn and Matthew Candelaria (2005)
  7. Frederic Jameson, Archaeologies of the Future (2005)

2 thoughts on “American Science Fiction (Ph.D. reading list)

  1. Thank you thank you thank you for this! My wife and I have realized that with kids, career goals and seeing the struggles of our Doctorate holding friends to skip the Ph.d – but because we need brain candy we are looking for Ph.d reading lists for the life challenge. I think what you have here is a good place to begin. I’m currently reading Ursula Le Guins ‘The Dispossessed’ and holding it next to similar ideas in Murray Bookchins philosophy, the ecofemininst theology of Sallie McFague and the Rojava project in syria.

    • I’m glad this is useful for someone besides me! The Dispossessed is certainly great and I like the connections you’re making with it (I don’t know the Rojava project, though, I don’t think, so I’ll to look that up).

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