Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ten classic SF books that were originally considered failures

At io9, Charlie Jane Anders and Michael Ann Dobbs came up with a list of ten classic science fiction books that were originally considered failures.

One novel on the list:
Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Rayner Unwin, Tolkien's publisher, wrote to his father, Sir Stanley Unwin, that this series could lose their company a thousand pounds. His father responded that if Rayner really believed the books were a work of genius, "then you may lose a thousand pounds." (Rayner was also responsible for dividing the story into three books, but also fought against cutting anything out of it.) In the event, according to Leslie Jones' biography of Tolkien (page 101) The Fellowship Of The Ring's original print run of 3,500 copies sold out within six weeks, necessitating a second printing.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Lord of the Rings also made Lev Grossman's list of the six greatest fantasy books of all time, and appears on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best towers in literature, ten of the best volcanoes in literature, ten of the best chases in literature, and ten of the best monsters in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue