Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Future classic: Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg #bookaday

The seventeenth item on the Borough Press's #bookaday list asks for a future classic. So that's a book that isn't officially a classic now, but will be one day. A tricky thing to call! I seem to remember two writers of my acquaintance having a bet over which of them would be the first to make it into Penguin (Modern) Classics. That seems like a good way to approach this question.

What helps make a classic? Quality, in theory, but being publishable in a single volume helps. A film or television adaptation. The author having died. The book giving people plenty to discuss, being studiable. Something that makes people keep coming back to it long after its initial moment has gone, sometimes because its relevance isn't tied to that moment, at other times because the book is the perfect expression of that moment.

I'm only picking from the authors I've read, and according to Goodreads, I've given five stars out of five to 339 books. Twenty-six of those are by Alan Moore, thirteen each by Grant Morrison and Jack Vance, eleven each to Isaac Asimov and Michael Moorcock. I wouldn't be surprised to see any of those writers in Penguin Modern Classics at some point. Diana Wynne Jones is bound to end up there too – I mean, if a book as ropey as The Wizard of Oz can make it into Penguin Classics, all of her books are in with a chance!

But I'm going to go here for something by Robert Silverberg. It seems to me that many of his books have the depth and serious intent of classics. There's a lot to talk about. If he doesn't end up in Penguin Modern Classics I'll eat my hat. My pick is Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg. I haven't read it yet, but people seem to regard it more highly even than the books of his that came to mind at first, like Thorns, Master of Life And Death, Tower of Glass or A Time of Changes, so I'm guessing that'll be the one that cracks the Penguin Classics first.

But who knows?

1 comment:

  1. I didn't realise that Make Room, Make Room by Harry Harrison, The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem and Hothouse by Brian Aldiss had already made it into Penguin Modern Classics, which is pretty cool.