2017 PK Dick Nominees

Looks like a very interesting lineup of nominees for this year’s P.K. Dick awards!

The nominees for this year’s Philip K. Dick awards have been announced! I look forward to this list every year, as the award ceremony is held at Norwescon each year. For the past few years I’ve been making it a point to read all of the nominees before the ceremony, so that I can have my own opinion as to which work I think should win (and so far, I haven’t picked correctly once), and because it’s a lot of fun to be in the room with the authors or their representatives when the award is given out.

This year’s lineup looks like an interesting one. Of the six books, only one looks to be in the post-apocalyptic vein, which I count as a good thing, as that was a definite theme for a few years that I got a little burnt out on. Of the other five, one book is a YA novel, one’s from a Cuban author and has been translated to English, one looks to be more straightforward SF adventure, one looks enjoyably weird, and one looks particularly interesting to me.

I’ve ordered my copies from Amazon, they should be here early next week, and I’m looking forward to diving into them.

That 100 Book List (That’s Not Actually From the BBC)

The list has nothing to do with the BBC — the closest the BBC gets is The Big Read, a 2003 list of Britain’s 100 most popular books as determined by BBC viewer nominations — and actually appears to be taken from a 2007 article in _The Guardian_, reporting on the results of a poll of 2,000 people by the World Book Day website.

There’s been a book list meme going around Facebook for some time now that purports to be a list of 100 books of which most people will have read only six. I’ve been tagged a few times, and have seen the note pop up when other friends have passed it on. I’ll go ahead and toss my list in this post, but there’s one thing about this that’s been bugging me.

The list has nothing to do with the BBC — the closest the BBC gets is The Big Read, a 2003 list of Britain’s 100 most popular books as determined by BBC viewer nominations — and actually appears to be taken from a 2007 article in The Guardian, reporting on the results of a poll of 2,000 people by the World Book Day website.

In this context, whether looking at the BBC list or the World Book Day list, the claim that most people will have read only six of the books on the list makes little to no sense. Both lists were of the most popular books as selected by the people who took the survey, which carries a strong implication that these are generally well-read books. Furthermore, according to the Guardian article, the “2,000 people who took part in the poll online at worldbookday.com nominated their top 10 titles that they could not live without” (emphasis mine) — so they had to have read more than six, and it’a actually a list of some of the most popular books.

It looks like the bit about most people only having read six was added at some point just to give people a reason to feel superior and to get them curious enough to slog through the list and figure out just how many they have read.

Still. That said. I’m okay with feeling superior. And I read a lot. So, even though the “background” has been thoroughly debunked…here’s how I stack up. Continue reading “That 100 Book List (That’s Not Actually From the BBC)”

Top 100 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novels of All Time

Obviously, a list like this one is subject to a _lot_ of debate due to everyone’s personal taste. Still, it’s not a bad list of works. Herewith, in true blog-meme style, the list, with those that I’ve read in **bold**.

Obviously, a list like this one is subject to a lot of debate due to everyone’s personal taste. Still, it’s not a bad list of works. Herewith, in true blog-meme style, the list, with those that I’ve read in bold. 35 out of 100. Not bad, but could be better!

(Note: Though this list is numbered 1-100, it should be read as being 100-1. That is, the #100 spot on this list is the #1 spot on the original list. Just a side effect of the HTML list that I don’t feel like trying to hack around.)

  1. The Word For World Is Forest by Ursula K. LeGuin
  2. Sorcerer’s Son by Phyllis Eisenstein
  3. Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
  4. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
  5. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
  6. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  7. The Company by K.J. Parker
  8. An Evil Guest by Gene Wolfe
  9. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
  10. Danny, The Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
  11. Camp Concentration by Thomas Disch
  12. Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner
  13. Song of Kali by Dan Simmons
  14. Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
  15. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller
  16. Sphere by Michael Crichton
  17. Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin
  18. The Alteration by Kingsley Amis
  19. The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
  20. The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
  21. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  22. Griffin’s Egg by Michael Swanwick
  23. Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
  24. Free Live Free by Gene Wolfe
  25. Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
  26. Ringworld by Larry Niven
  27. Schismatrix by Bruce Sterling
  28. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
  29. Maske: Thaery by Jack Vance
  30. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  31. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  32. Flow My Tears The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick
  33. The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov
  34. The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
  35. The High Crusade by Poul Anderson
  36. A Song for Lya by George R.R. Martin
  37. At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft
  38. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  39. Wildlife by James Patrick Kelly
  40. The Book of Knights by Yves Maynard
  41. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (Well, I made it up to book six or seven, then decided to wait until he was dead or the series was finished, since there was no end in sight. Now he’s dead, and I’m just waiting for the last book to appear in paperback before starting over.)
  42. Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman
  43. Nightwings by Robert Silverberg
  44. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  45. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
  46. Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
  47. The Book of the Short Sun by Gene Wolfe
  48. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
  49. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
  50. The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
  51. The Wizard Knight by Gene Wolfe
  52. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  53. The Demon Princes by Jack Vance
  54. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  55. The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson
  56. Alastor by Jack Vance
  57. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
  58. Flatland by Edwin Abbott
  59. Farmer in the Sky by Robert Heinlein
  60. A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick
  61. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  62. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  63. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
  64. Lyonesse by Jack Vance
  65. Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein
  66. True Names by Vernor Vinge
  67. Ubik by Philip K. Dick
  68. The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons
  69. Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert Heinlein
  70. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  71. A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge
  72. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
  73. More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
  74. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  75. 1984 by George Orwell
  76. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
  77. The Cadwal Chronicles by Jack Vance
  78. Lost Horizon by James Hilton
  79. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  80. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  81. The Fifth Head of Cerebus by Gene Wolfe
  82. A Song of Ice And Fire by George R.R. Martin
  83. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
  84. The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay
  85. The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  86. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
  87. All My Sins Remembered by Joe Haldeman
  88. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  89. Planet of Adventure by Jack Vance
  90. Dune by Frank Herbert
  91. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  92. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
  93. The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
  94. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  95. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  96. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
  97. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin
  98. The Dying Earth by Jack Vance
  99. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
  100. The Book of the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe

Books, Books, Books, and More Books!

For a few years now, I’ve been using LibraryThing to track my book collection. Ever since Prairie and I moved in together, we’ve been occasionally talking about adding her books to the listing…and now, the project is done: our entire library — all 1,465 books — is cataloged!

We have _so many books_ in our apartment!

For a few years now, I’ve been using [LibraryThing][1] to track my book collection. Ever since Prairie and I moved in together, we’ve been occasionally talking about adding her books to the listing, but it always seemed like such a monumental undertaking that we never actually did anything about it. However, with us both on a bit of a holiday break, we decided that the time had come, and we’ve been plugging away at the collection, putting about a shelf a day into the database [on my computer][2] and then uploading the day’s entries into the LibraryThing database.

[1]: http://www.librarything.com/ “LibraryThing”
[2]: http://www.bruji.com/bookpedia/ “BookPedia”

And now, the project is done: [our entire library — all 1,465 books — is cataloged][3]!

[3]: http://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?view=djwudi&shelf=list&sort=authorunflip&sort=authorunflip “LibraryThing: Our Library”

It’s a fun library, too. Between Prairie’s years in English Literature classes and love for the classics, my science-fiction collection, our mutual love for good children’s literature, and many other influences, we’ve ended up with a collection that goes all over the place.

This also gave us a good chance to get a look at how we’re doing with those authors we’re making a point of collecting: [Agatha Christie][4], [Anne Rice][5], [Dean Koontz][6], [Roald Dahl][7], [Stephen King][8] (a full set, we believe), and [others][9].

[4]: http://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?view=djwudi&searchall=1&deepsearch=agatha+christie&shelf=list&sort=authorunflip&sort=authorunflip “LibraryThing: djwudi: Agatha Christie”
[5]: http://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?view=djwudi&searchall=1&deepsearch=anne+rice&shelf=list&sort=authorunflip&sort=authorunflip “LibraryThing: djwudi: Anne Rice”
[6]: http://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?view=djwudi&searchall=1&deepsearch=dean+koontz&shelf=list&sort=authorunflip&sort=authorunflip “LibraryThing: djwudi: Dean Koontz”
[7]: http://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?view=djwudi&searchall=1&deepsearch=roald+dahl&shelf=list&sort=authorunflip&sort=authorunflip “LibraryThing: djwudi: Roald Dahl”
[8]: http://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?view=djwudi&searchall=1&deepsearch=stephen+king&shelf=list&sort=authorunflip&sort=authorunflip “LibraryThing: djwudi: Stephen King”
[9]: http://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?view=djwudi&searchall=1&deepsearch=star+trek&shelf=list&sort=authorunflip&sort=authorunflip “LibraryThing: djwudi: Star Trek”

We do love our books!

An Ode to the Short Story

Following up, in a way, to a quote from Stephen King that I posted a couple weeks ago, comes this essay by Steven Millhauser, The Ambition of the Short Story.

Following up, in a way, to a [quote from Stephen King][1] that I posted a couple weeks ago, comes this essay by Steven Millhauser, [The Ambition of the Short Story][2].

[1]: http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2008/09/26/stephen-king-on-short-stories/ “eclecticism: Stephen King on Short Stories”
[2]: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/05/books/review/Millhauser-t.html “New York Times: The Ambition of the Short Story”

> Of course there are virtues associated with smallness. Even the novel will grant as much. Large things tend to be unwieldy, clumsy, crude; smallness is the realm of elegance and grace. It’s also the realm of perfection. The novel is exhaustive by nature; but the world is inexhaustible; therefore the novel, that Faustian striver, can never attain its desire. The short story by contrast is inherently selective. By excluding almost everything, it can give perfect shape to what remains. And the short story can even lay claim to a kind of completeness that eludes the novel — after the initial act of radical exclusion, it can include all of the little that’s left.

(via _[Kottke][3]_)

[3]: http://www.kottke.org/08/10/short-story-ambitions “kottke.org: Short Story Ambitions”