What Makes This Book So Great

What Makes This Book So Great : Re-Reading the Classics of Fantasy and SF

3.89 (857 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?


Jo Walton is an award-winning author of, inveterate reader of, and chronic re-reader of science fiction and fantasy books. What Makes This Book So Great? is a selection of the best of her musings about her prodigious reading habit.

Jo Walton's many subjects range from acknowledged classics, to guilty pleasures, to forgotten oddities and gems. Among them, the Zones of Thought novels of Vernor Vinge; the question of what genre readers mean by `mainstream'; the under-appreciated SF adventures of C. J. Cherryh; the field's many approaches to time travel; the masterful science fiction of Samuel R. Delany; Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children; the early Hainish novels of Ursula K. Le Guin; and a Robert A. Heinlein novel you have most certainly never read.

Over 130 essays in all, What Makes This Book So Great is an immensely engaging collection of provocative, opinionated thoughts about past and present-day fantasy and science fiction, from one of our best writers.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 480 pages
  • 174 x 200 x 33mm | 358g
  • Corsair
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1472111613
  • 9781472111616
  • 508,684

Review quote

Winner of the 2015 Locus Award for Best Non-Fiction * Locus Award * Walton's affection for many of these titles is contagious, and fans will find their own reading lists growing. * Library Journal (starred review) * Readers seeking an enthusiastic and informed guide to modern science fiction and fantasy could do worse than Jo Walton's collection of 130 short essays...a celebration of one reader's journey through the fantastic. * Chicago Tribune * `For readers unschooled in the history of SF/F, this book is a treasure trove; for those who recognize every title, Walton evokes the joy of returning to a well-worn favorite' * Publishers Weekly (starred review) * A nicely eclectic, well considered essay collection that a reader can spend a few hours dipping into and following up on. It's a great primer for someone who wants to know why we like SF & Fantasy, as well as provide books to try. It should lead the reader to many happy discoveries, or at least return to old favourites. * SFF World * A collection that is less criticism than a celebration of one reader's journey through the fantastic. * Los Angeles Times * Insightful and beautifully written . . .the perfect way to discover some of the classic science-fiction and fantasy novels that deserve a new audience. * Sci-Fi London * What shines through time and again is Walton's love of speculative fiction . . . Walton frequently offers terrific insights. * SFX * With plenty of jokes and interesting observations, this is definitely a fun read for the sci-fi fan. Give it a look if you're after some humorous and intelligent analysis of the genre's best. * Starburst Magazine * Walton's critical gift is her ability to help you love your favorites even more, and to be fascinating, at length, on books you don't give a damn about. This is a remarkable guided tour through the field -- a kind of nonfiction companion to Among Others. It's very good. It's great. -- Cory Doctorow * BoingBoing *
show more

About Jo Walton

Jo Walton comes from Wales but lives in Montreal, where the food and books are much better. She writes science fiction and fantasy, reads a lot, talks about books, and eats great food. She plans to live to be ninety-nine and write a book every year.
show more

Rating details

857 ratings
3.89 out of 5 stars
5 28% (236)
4 41% (352)
3 25% (215)
2 6% (49)
1 1% (5)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X