Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Ten top Irish science fiction authors

Jack Fennell is the author of Irish Science Fiction (2014) and editor of A Brilliant Void (2018). At the Guardian he tagged his top ten Irish science fiction authors, including:
Flann O’Brien (1911-1966)

In a 1963 letter to publisher Timothy O’Keeffe, the author professed “a horrible fear that some stupid critic will praise me as a master of science fiction”. I’ll avoid using the M-word, but the fact remains that a number of his works fit the definition comfortably. His early fiction and his later Cruiskeen Lawn column make fun of sci-fi tropes as often as anything else, and his undisputed masterpiece, The Third Policeman, is full of bizarre concepts derived from scientific principles taken to absurd extremes – see “the atomic theory” and the hypothesis that excessive use of a bicycle will turn a cyclist into their vehicle. When The Third Policeman was rejected by publishers, O’Brien reworked material from it into The Dalkey Archive, which features time-travel (of a sort) and a mad scientist who wants to end the world.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Third Policeman is among Jon Day's ten best books about cycling, A.F. Harrold's top ten imaginary friends in fiction, William Fotheringham's top ten cycling novels, and Michael Foley's top ten books that best express the absurdity of the human condition.

At Swim-Two-Birds is among Jonathan Coe's six favorite books.

Flann O’Brien is, according to Max McGuinness, one of four unjustly overlooked Irish writers.

--Marshal Zeringue