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Anyone Ever Heard of This Science Fiction Reference Book?

John Dunne wrote us asking is any of our readers have ever heard of this science fiction reference book:

I used to own a book, non-fiction, written by a bunch of SF fans who worked at a bookstore. The book, most likely published in either the late 70s or very early 80s (because I bought it no later than 1982) was primarily a directory of author descriptions: who the author was, the type of works the author wrote, both sub-genre and major novels the author had had published in his/her career, and a feature for every author that started, “If you like so-and-so, try…” There was also a listing of 50 SF novels the authors considered “must reads” that was very broad in terms of the sub-genres of SF. Now if anyone can remember the title so I can try to rebuy this book that would be great. But what I’m really interested in is trying to find a website based on the “If you like…” idea. The listing of 50 novels, if it’s also online, would be great as well.

Any ideas?

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

7 Comments on Anyone Ever Heard of This Science Fiction Reference Book?

  1. I used to have a book called Who’s Who in Science Fiction, but can’t find it right now. Found it on E-bay – it’s by Brian Ash. It was written in the UK in the 70s. I remember the lists of favourite stories and novels by author. Don’t know if this is the book you’re looking for, but it’s the first one I thought of. Found it here:

    Seems to be a hardcover version, too.


    Hope this is of some help.



  2. DeadParrot // May 18, 2009 at 1:34 am //

    It definitely sounds like the “Reader’s Guide to Science Fiction” (1979) [266 pages] by Baird Searles & Martin Last & Beth Meacham & Michael Franklin, or the companion volume “Reader’s Guide to Fantasy (1982) [217 pages] by Baird Searles & Beth Meacham & Michael Franklin.  


    It famously had the “If you like X you should try Y” for all their author descriptions.  

  3. Maureen Kincaid Speller // May 18, 2009 at 4:18 am //

    I think you mean the Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy, published in 1989 by … gosh, Bloomsbury. The ‘author’ was M.H. Zool, a pseudonym for a number of members of Oxford University’s Speculative Fiction Group, usually known as OUSFG.

  4. Maureen Kincaid Speller // May 18, 2009 at 4:22 am //

    And why it is I always spot the salient information … no later than 1982, which counts out the Bloomsbury Guide … when I’ve finished posting.

    Still, it would be interesting to see M.H. Zool’s work resurface.

  5. John Dunne here (aka JDsg); thanks to John DeNardo for the posting of this question for me and the other links he sent via e-mail.  Those were very interesting.  DeadParrot has the answer; as soon as I saw Baird Searles name I knew that was the book.  I confirmed it here: .  Now to see if I can hunt down a copy locally. 🙂

    Thanks everyone!

  6. Another case solved by the knowledgeable readers of SF Signal!

    (If only I was more knowledgeable — I own that book…it’s somewhere…and it didn’t spring to my enfeebled mind at all.)

  7. Searles et al also wrote a companion book, A Reader’s Guide to Fantasy, which is just as useful.


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