Here are my thoughts on each of the nominated books, in order from my least favorite to my personal favorite and pick for the award.
Once again, I’ve read through all of the nominated works for this year’s Philip K. Dick Awards — and there’s still almost two full months to go before the award ceremony! I think this is the fastest I’ve gotten through all of the year’s nominees. (Of course, it helped that two of them were short enough that I got through them both within 24 hours.)
Here are my thoughts on each of the nominated books, in order from my least favorite to my personal favorite and pick for the award (if I got a vote, which I don’t, and I’ve yet to pick a winner, so perhaps it’s best not to put too much stock in my opinion…).
- The Mercy Journals, by Claudia Casper: Not as much of a dreary slog as I’d anticipated (not due to the author at all, but to the setting), but still a post-apocalyptic “everything sucks and we’re trying desperately to survive” slog. While I can recognize that it’s well written, I was tired of post-apocalyptic slogs even before it looked like they were going to be even more prescient than I’d ever thought (this one even has a US/Mexico border wall), which I know colors my impression of the book. At least this one does have moments of peace, beauty, and hope here and there; even filtered through the lens of a wounded, PTSD-suffering ex-soldier, those moments were appreciated.
- Graft, by Matt Hill: A rather bleak and dismal look at human trafficking in a future where the victims are cybernetically modified on the other side of a trans-dimensional portal. I’m not entirely sure if it was my unfamiliarity with British slang or the author’s style, but it took a long time for me to find the rhythm and really get into the book; that, coupled with the near-total lack of joy or any form of happiness, made this one a bit of a slog for me.
- Consider, by Kristy Acevedo: Apparently I enjoy pre-apocalyptic stories more than post-apocalyptic stories. This was an enjoyable read, as the teen heroine struggles with family and anxiety as the end of the world approaches. The mystery of the vortexes and what, if anything, lies on the other side had me unsure just how the book would wrap up, and while I’m not entirely sure about the end, I don’t find it entirely objectionable, either. Not sure if this will be my final pick, but it was the most enjoyable for me so far (with three of the six nominees read).
- Super Extra Grande, by Yoss, translated by David Frye: A fun, quick read. In a future where faster than light travel was discovered by an Ecuadorian priest, and Spanglish is the common language used among the seven known intelligent races, a “veterinarian to giants” has to rescue two people from a 200-kilometer wide amoeba. Neat to see a future where Hispanic culture has become prominent, and there’s a lot of humor (and one literal laugh-out-loud moment for me).
- Unpronounceable, by Susan diRende: The funniest of this year’s PK Dick nominees, and another short, quick read. When professional diplomats can’t make any headway in connecting with an alien race of pink blobs, who better to send than a smartass Jersey girl? I got a lot of laughs out of this one, and Rose makes a perfect (if nontraditional) ambassador.
- Hwarhath Stories: Transgressive Tales by Aliens, by Eleanor Arnason: Thoroughly enjoyed this one. A collection of stories, most essentially folk tales, all originally from the only other intelligent alien life humanity has encountered. Similar to us in many ways, dissimilar in others, the stories both expose us to the history and culture of this world and comment on its morals and beliefs…and, of course, by doing so, allows us to examine our own. It frequently reminded me of Barry B. Longyear’s The Enemy Papers, another collection of stories examining alien history and culture that I very much enjoyed (and now want to re-read, as it’s been a long time). Apparently I have a thing for sociological science fiction.
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.
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)”
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.)
- The Word For World Is Forest by Ursula K. LeGuin
- Sorcerer’s Son by Phyllis Eisenstein
- Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
- The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
- Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
- Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
- The Company by K.J. Parker
- An Evil Guest by Gene Wolfe
- Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
- Danny, The Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
- Camp Concentration by Thomas Disch
- Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner
- Song of Kali by Dan Simmons
- Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
- A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller
- Sphere by Michael Crichton
- Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin
- The Alteration by Kingsley Amis
- The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
- The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
- Watership Down by Richard Adams
- Griffin’s Egg by Michael Swanwick
- Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
- Free Live Free by Gene Wolfe
- Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
- Ringworld by Larry Niven
- Schismatrix by Bruce Sterling
- Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
- Maske: Thaery by Jack Vance
- The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
- The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
- Flow My Tears The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick
- The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov
- The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
- The High Crusade by Poul Anderson
- A Song for Lya by George R.R. Martin
- At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft
- Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
- Wildlife by James Patrick Kelly
- The Book of Knights by Yves Maynard
- 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.)
- Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman
- Nightwings by Robert Silverberg
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
- Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
- Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
- The Book of the Short Sun by Gene Wolfe
- The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
- Foundation by Isaac Asimov
- The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
- The Wizard Knight by Gene Wolfe
- The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
- The Demon Princes by Jack Vance
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
- The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson
- Alastor by Jack Vance
- The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
- Flatland by Edwin Abbott
- Farmer in the Sky by Robert Heinlein
- A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
- Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
- Lyonesse by Jack Vance
- Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein
- True Names by Vernor Vinge
- Ubik by Philip K. Dick
- The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons
- Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert Heinlein
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
- A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge
- Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
- More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- 1984 by George Orwell
- I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
- The Cadwal Chronicles by Jack Vance
- Lost Horizon by James Hilton
- Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
- The Fifth Head of Cerebus by Gene Wolfe
- A Song of Ice And Fire by George R.R. Martin
- Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
- The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay
- The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
- The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
- All My Sins Remembered by Joe Haldeman
- The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
- Planet of Adventure by Jack Vance
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
- The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
- The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
- Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
- The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin
- The Dying Earth by Jack Vance
- The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
- The Book of the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe
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] 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] and then uploading the day’s entries into the LibraryThing database.
: http://www.librarything.com/ “LibraryThing”
: http://www.bruji.com/bookpedia/ “BookPedia”
And now, the project is done: [our entire library — all 1,465 books — is cataloged]!
: 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], [Anne Rice], [Dean Koontz], [Roald Dahl], [Stephen King] (a full set, we believe), and [others].
: http://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?view=djwudi&searchall=1&deepsearch=agatha+christie&shelf=list&sort=authorunflip&sort=authorunflip “LibraryThing: djwudi: Agatha Christie”
: http://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?view=djwudi&searchall=1&deepsearch=anne+rice&shelf=list&sort=authorunflip&sort=authorunflip “LibraryThing: djwudi: Anne Rice”
: http://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?view=djwudi&searchall=1&deepsearch=dean+koontz&shelf=list&sort=authorunflip&sort=authorunflip “LibraryThing: djwudi: Dean Koontz”
: http://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?view=djwudi&searchall=1&deepsearch=roald+dahl&shelf=list&sort=authorunflip&sort=authorunflip “LibraryThing: djwudi: Roald Dahl”
: http://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?view=djwudi&searchall=1&deepsearch=stephen+king&shelf=list&sort=authorunflip&sort=authorunflip “LibraryThing: djwudi: Stephen King”
: 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!
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] that I posted a couple weeks ago, comes this essay by Steven Millhauser, [The Ambition of the Short Story].
: http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2008/09/26/stephen-king-on-short-stories/ “eclecticism: Stephen King on Short Stories”
: 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.
: http://www.kottke.org/08/10/short-story-ambitions “kottke.org: Short Story Ambitions”