May
06
2017
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Book of the Week: This Perfect Day.

Ira Levin didn’t write overmuch in the way of science fiction, but This Perfect Day was a pretty good dystopian future novel in the style of, and sometimes in critique of, Brave New World. God only knows how you’d put it on the big screen, though. Which is odd, because Ira Levin had a knack for writing books that could be usefully made into a decent movie.

And so, adieu to Jurassic Park.

 

Apr
29
2017
1

Book of the Week: Jurassic Park.

I know that this is a little bit of a weird choice, but I spent the day looking through my library to see if I still had a copy of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park lying around.  If I spent that much time looking, it’s worth an entry, right?  That seems reasonable.  Even if I wanted to read it as an antidote to the Power Rangers dinosaur series that my children persist in watching. Over and over and over again.

And so, adieu to Brain Wave.

Apr
22
2017
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Book of the Week: Brain Wave.

Poul Anderson’s Brain Wave, in the hands of somebody less skilled than Poul Anderson, would have been incredibly stupid.  Which is ironic, because the central theme of the book is “What would happen if every living creature on Earth suddenly had its intelligence tripled?”  Fortunately, it was Poul Anderson who wrote it, so we got an excellent book out of the deal.

And so, adieu to The Stars My Destination.

Apr
15
2017
4

Book of the Week: The Stars My Destination.

Al Bester is mostly remembered for writing two books: The Demolished Man, and The Stars My Destination.  But I suspect that he probably wouldn’t mind that, because if you’re going to be remembered for only two things, having it be these two books is nothing to sneeze at. Many people would be pleased to be remembered for writing a book that reminded people of The Stars My Destination. I wouldn’t object, myself.

And so: adieu to Dream Park.

Apr
07
2017
3

Book of the Week: Dream Park.

I’m surprised that Larry Niven and Steven Barnes’ Dream Park hasn’t made the list yet.  It pushes the right buttons: near-future, filk singing, and LARPing as a competitive sport.  Good stuff, good stuff.  And the sequels don’t suck, either.

And so, adieu to The Deed of Paksenarrion. (more…)

Mar
31
2017
3

Book of the Week: The Deed of Paksenarrion.

The Deed of Paksenarrion is a compliation of a fantasy trilogy by Elizabeth Moon about one Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter. It is probably one of the best High Fantasy series ever written: unlike most other modern works in this genre (some of which are quite good, actually), Ms. Moon takes the tropes of High Fantasy quite seriously, and respects what they do and do not mean. There may be better books that try to imagine what it’s like to be a no-fooling paladin; but I can’t think of one, offhand.

And so, adieu to The Stand.

Mar
25
2017
2

Book of the Week: The Stand.

Although, I have to admit: Stephen King’s The Stand has a lot to answer for.  More accurately, the expanded version does. The problem was not so much in the fact that King’s book about medieval Christianity (I’ve seen him cop to that, in those words) set in a post-apocalyptic America was reissued with all the previously-cut bits put back in.  It’s that the book sold like even more hotcakes afterward, convincing the world that expanded versions of previous best-sellers were just what American literature needed.  Alas, this was not true.

Still, the book itself is fantastic. In both versions.  And, I suppose, in both meanings of the word.

And so, adieu to Lords and Ladies.

Mar
16
2017
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Book of the Week: Lords and Ladies.

I assume that most of you have read Terry Pratchett’s Lords and Ladies by now, but on the off chance that you haven’t: Terry Pratchett understood folklore. And he knew what lay behind the Victorian flower fairies and Tolkien’s mighty, yet noble Elves. Oh, my, yes, he knew.

So read it, if you haven’t.

And so, adieu to Bugs in the System.

Mar
07
2017
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Book of the Week: Bugs in the System.

A gaming buddy of mine has a story in Bugs in the System, which is gaming fiction related to the We Hunt Bugs RPG. That’s worth a Book of the Week nod, in my humble opinion. Every little bit helps, right?  And we’re all in this together.

And so, adieu to Firestar.

 

Feb
27
2017
3

Book of the Week: Firestar.

Firestar by Michael Flynn was written in 1996, and I’m increasingly reminded of it every time I read something on private space projects. I suspect that my readers who are unfamiliar with the book (basically, space opera of the near-future) will find it of no little interest: in particular, the way that ‘corporate’ is not used as a dirty word. I am mildly startled that it’s not available for the Kindle, but sometimes there are logistical issues involved.

And so, adieu to Bookburners. Wow, that one went fast.

Feb
25
2017
1

Book of the Week: Bookburners.

Bookburners is this ensemble novel written by Max Gladstone, Margaret Dunlap, Mur Lafferty, and Brian Francis Slattery, or perhaps ‘episodic’ is more the right word.  It reads a lot like a season-long television series would (the subtitle is even ‘Season One’), which is not actually a bad thing in this context. You see, the Bookburners in question work for a secret anti-magic Vatican task force that captures evil books before the books in question eat any more people*; which, you have to admit, is not a bad concept for a TV show.  You get the feeling that the authors would very much like to get optioned for this one, and I freely admit: I’d watch it.

And so, adieu to The Warlock In Spite of Himself. (more…)

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