Friday, July 30, 2010

Gollancz Fantasy Masterworks Meme

We did this with the Science Fiction Masterworks and this Fantasy version was knacked specifically from the Mad Hatter. The standard instructions for memes like this is to bold books one has read, italicize books one owns but hasn't read yet, and strikethrough books one violently disagrees with.

  1. The Book of the New Sun, Volume 1: Shadow and Claw - Gene Wolfe
  2. Time and the Gods - Lord Dunsany
  3. The Worm Ouroboros - E.R. Eddison
  4. Tales of the Dying Earth - Jack Vance
  5. Little, Big - John Crowley (I hated this book, but understand many, many people adore it)
  6. The Chronicles of Amber - Roger Zelazny
  7. Viriconium - M. John Harrison (It isn’t so much that I didn’t like the book, I just felt very meh towards it and don’t get why it is held in such reverence)
  8. The Conan Chronicles, Volume 1: The People of the Black Circle - Robert E. Howard (Read in the Del Rey reprints of the Wandering Star volumes)
  9. The Land of Laughs - Jonathan Carroll
  10. The Compleat Enchanter: The Magical Misadventures of Harold Shea - L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt
  11. Lud-in-the-Mist - Hope Mirrlees
  12. The Book of the New Sun, Volume 2: Sword and Citadel - Gene Wolfe
  13. Fevre Dream - George R. R. Martin
  14. Beauty - Sheri S. Tepper
  15. The King of Elfland's Daughter - Lord Dunsany
  16. The Conan Chronicles, Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon - Robert E. Howard (Read in the Del Rey reprints of the Wandering Star volumes)
  17. Elric - Michael Moorcock (Read in both the SFBC omnibus and in the White Wolf Eternal Champion ominbus series)
  18. The First Book of Lankhmar - Fritz Leiber (Read in the SFBC omnibus edition The Three of Swords)
  19. Riddle-Master - Patricia A. McKillip (Read in the Ace omnibus edition)
  20. Time and Again - Jack Finney
  21. Mistress of Mistresses - E.R. Eddison
  22. Gloriana or the Unfulfill'd Queen - Michael Moorcock
  23. The Well of the Unicorn - Fletcher Pratt
  24. The Second Book of Lankhmar - Fritz Leiber
  25. Voice of Our Shadow - Jonathan Carroll
  26. The Emperor of Dreams - Clark Ashton Smith
  27. Lyonesse I: Suldrun's Garden - Jack Vance
  28. Peace - Gene Wolfe
  29. The Dragon Waiting - John M. Ford
  30. Corum: The Prince in the Scarlet Robe - Michael Moorcock (Read in the White Wolf Eternal Champion ominbus series)
  31. Black Gods and Scarlet Dreams - C.L. Moore I read this in an old copy entitled Jirel of Joiry
  32. The Broken Sword - Poul Anderson
  33. The House on the Borderland and Other Novels - William Hope Hodgson
  34. The Drawing of the Dark - Tim Powers (What’s not to love when a major plot element is beer!?)
  35. Lyonesse II and III: The Green Pearl and Madouc - Jack Vance
  36. The History of Runestaff - Michael Moorcock (Perhaps one of, if not my favorite incarnations of Moorcock’s Eternal Champions-Read in the Eternal Champion ominbus series)
  37. A Voyage to Arcturus - David Lindsay
  38. Darker Than You Think - Jack Williamson
  39. The Mabinogion - Evangeline Walton
  40. Three Hearts & Three Lions - Poul Anderson
  41. Grendel - John Gardner
  42. The Iron Dragon's Daughter - Michael Swanwick
  43. WAS - Geoff Ryman
  44. Song of Kali - Dan Simmons
  45. Replay - Ken Grimwood
  46. Sea Kings of Mars and Other Worldly Stories - Leigh Brackett
  47. The Anubis Gates - Tim Powers
  48. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld - Patricia A. McKillip
  49. Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury
  50. The Mark of the Beast and Other Fantastical Tales - Rudyard Kipling

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Swords and Toys and Demons and Vamps-OH MY!

I’ve got a slew of SFFWorld reviews to link today, as Mark/Hobbit has been providing some good ones over the past couple of weeks.

First up is Mark’s review of Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders. The anthology has been getting mixed reviews across the intarwebs, and Mark is no different (contrast with my review):



… when the two editors are known as a couple of the best in the business currently, you would expect a healthy selection of the best tales from the best.

The nature of story collections is that there are bound to be stories that you like better than others. Usually though I can say whether I liked the collection or not. Silverberg’s Legends, for example, published in 1998, and its sequel Legends II (2003) had the same intent as this, to showcase the best Fantasy and had some unusual yet interesting choices that made me read more of some authors I had not read.

Here, with the same aim, there were no authors I had not encountered before and all of whom previously I would’ve said were good, but the overriding cumulative impression in the end here is much less positive.


My latest review is of a graphic novel that really took me by surprise, is The Stuff of Legend V1: The Dark by Mike Raicht, which tells the story of a boy’s toys that come to life in order to save him from the Boogeyman.






When this book first arrived, I wasn’t sure what to think of it. Two blurbs on the book; however, immediately impressed me – Brian K. Vaughan and Frank Quietly, two modern comic creator greats – which gave me the impetus to try the book. As soon as I started reading the first page, I was unable to put it down until I finished it. The narrative immediately drew me in and Wilson’s art was perfectly suited for the tale, both the style and color tone used. Though the art is neither black and white nor full color, a muted sepia tone is employed lending a nice aged, authentic, and historical feel to the story told.



A series about which Mark and I agree is Charlie Stross’s Laundry Files and Mark jumped into the latest book in the series, The Fuller Memorandum, and gave his thoughts:




… For those who are not aware, Bob’s an IT technician who over the length of the series has become a bit more than your usual computer fixer-upper. By Book 3 he’s married to Mo (Doctor Domanique O’Brien, if you like) and a key operative under the stern, watchful eye of his mentor, Angleton.
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After dealing with Nazis and megalomaniacs in previous tales (not to mention concrete cows in Milton Keynes) this time Bob’s involved with the Russians. As a result, we’re dealt secret London Underground Tube stations, equally labyrinthine corridors of bureaucracy, administrative red tape galore, zombie servants (though they’re called Residual Human Resources here), a great dollop of the Laundry’s past history and a wealth of deliberately silly codenames, from TEAPOT to CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN. It’s not just codenames - the ubiquitous iPhone gets a look in too, albeit renamed the JesusPhone, obviously for its arrival being seen as the Second Coming.

Lastly, Mark reviewed what he think isn’t just “yet another vampire novel,” The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan:




… In this season of vampires, there’s a lot to choose from. From the Twilight series to Anita Blake, from Justin Cronin’s The Passage to.... well, this would be a pretty good alternative.

The tale hits the ground running with the arrival of Flight 753 in New York. All seems well, but on landing the plane suddenly goes dark. Covert observations show dead passengers sat in their seats with no signs of stress or trauma. There are seemingly no survivors, neither passengers or crew.
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This is a fast paced blockbuster of a novel that starts fast and maintains the pace pretty much throughout. Unsurprisingly perhaps, Guillermo (director of Pan’s Labyrinth, Chronos and Hellboy I and II) brings a dynamic filmic quality to the book, though this is more than a bloated film script.



Sunday, July 25, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

SF Masterworks Meme

This meme has been making the rounds on teh intarwebby-blog-a-ma-jigs. What better way to keep a blog alive than a meme, especially when (a) it shows of some of your geek cred {or lack thereof} and (b) you aren't participating in the group blog from which this meme originates.

The standard instructions for memes like this is to bold books one has read, italicize books one owns but hasn't read yet, and strike through books one violently disagrees with.

The list:

I – Dune – Frank Herbert
II – The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
III – The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick
IV – The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester
V – A Canticle for Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller, Jr.
VI – Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke
VII – The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein
VIII – Ringworld – Larry Niven
IX – The Forever War – Joe Haldeman
X – The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham

1 – The Forever War – Joe Haldeman -- what, again?
2 – I Am Legend – Richard Matheson (IMHO, one of the best vampire novels ever, an utterly convincing vision of ironic terror)
3 – Cities in Flight – James Blish
4 – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick
5 – The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester
6 – Babel-17 – Samuel R. Delany
7 – Lord of Light – Roger Zelazny
8 – The Fifth Head of Cerberus – Gene Wolfe
9 – Gateway – Frederik Pohl
10 – The Rediscovery of Man – Cordwainer Smith
11 – Last and First Men – Olaf Stapledon
12 – Earth Abides – George R. Stewart
13 – Martian Time-Slip – Philip K. Dick
14 – The Demolished Man – Alfred Bester
15 – Stand on Zanzibar – John Brunner -- I don't think I finished it, so this may be cheating.
16 – The Dispossessed – Ursula K. Le Guin
17 – The Drowned World – J. G. Ballard
18 – The Sirens of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut
19 – Emphyrio – Jack Vance
20 – A Scanner Darkly – Philip K. Dick
21 – Star Maker – Olaf Stapledon
22 – Behold the Man – Michael Moorcock
23 – The Book of Skulls – Robert Silverberg
24 – The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
25 – Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes
26 – Ubik – Philip K. Dick
27 – Timescape – Gregory Benford
28 – More Than Human – Theodore Sturgeon
29 – Man Plus – Frederik Pohl
30 – A Case of Conscience – James Blish
31 – The Centauri Device – M. John Harrison
32 – Dr. Bloodmoney – Philip K. Dick
33 – Non-Stop – Brian Aldiss
34 – The Fountains of Paradise – Arthur C. Clarke
35 – Pavane – Keith Roberts
36 – Now Wait for Last Year – Philip K. Dick
37 – Nova – Samuel R. Delany
38 – The First Men in the Moon – H. G. Wells
39 – The City and the Stars – Arthur C. Clarke
40 – Blood Music – Greg Bear
41 – Jem – Frederik Pohl
42 – Bring the Jubilee – Ward Moore
43 – VALIS – Philip K. Dick
44 – The Lathe of Heaven – Ursula K. Le Guin
45 – The Complete Roderick – John Sladek
46 – Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said – Philip K. Dick
47 – The Invisible Man – H. G. Wells
48 – Grass – Sheri S. Tepper
49 – A Fall of Moondust – Arthur C. Clarke
50 – Eon – Greg Bear
51 – The Shrinking Man – Richard Matheson
52 – The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K. Dick
53 – The Dancers at the End of Time – Michael Moorcock I've read the majority of Moorcock's Eternal Champion stories through the White Wolf editions and I thought this was, by leaps and bounds, the weakest of the bunch
54 – The Space Merchants – Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth
55 – Time Out of Joint – Philip K. Dick
56 – Downward to the Earth – Robert Silverberg
57 – The Simulacra – Philip K. Dick
58 – The Penultimate Truth – Philip K. Dick
59 – Dying Inside – Robert Silverberg
60 – Ringworld – Larry Niven
61 – The Child Garden – Geoff Ryman
62 – Mission of Gravity – Hal Clement
63 – A Maze of Death – Philip K. Dick
64 – Tau Zero – Poul Anderson
65 – Rendezvous with Rama – Arthur C. Clarke
66 – Life During Wartime – Lucius Shepard
67 – Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang – Kate Wilhelm
68 – Roadside Picnic – Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
69 – Dark Benediction – Walter M. Miller, Jr.
70 – Mockingbird – Walter Tevis
71 – Dune – Frank Herbert
72 – The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein
73 – The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick
74 – Inverted World – Christopher Priest
75 – Kurt Vonnegut – Cat’s Cradle
76 – H.G. Wells – The Island of Dr. Moreau
77 – Arthur C. Clarke – Childhood’s End
78 – H.G. Wells – The Time Machine
79 – Samuel R. Delany – Dhalgren I've tried on at least 3 or 4 occasions to read this book, never getting beyond the first 100 pages. I suppose I can understand that it holds a place in the genre, just not on my bookshelf
80 – Brian Aldiss – Helliconia
81 – H.G. Wells – Food of the Gods
82 – Jack Finney – The Body Snatchers
83 – Joanna Russ – The Female Man
84 – M.J. Engh – Arslan

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Books in the Mail (W/E 07/17/2010)

Here's the haul from this week, books left at the garage or in my mailbox.


Pictured above: Grimblades by Nick Kyme (Warhammer Fantasy), Nemesis by James Swallow (Warhammer 40,000), and The Bird and the River by Kage Baker.

Pictured Above: Divine Misdemeanors (Meredith Gentry) by Laurell K. Hamilton (Third copy I've received), Frostbitten (Otherworld) by Kelley Armstrong, City of Ghosts by Stacia Kane, The Ocean Dark by Jack Rogan, As Lie the Dead (Dreg City, Book 2) by Kelly Meding, and The Chamber of Ten by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon.

Pictured above: Mass Effect: Retribution by Drew Karpyshyn, A Princess of Landover by Terry Brooks, Tempting Fire by Sydney Croft, Wolf's Cross by S.A. Swann, Penny Arcade 6 by Jerry Holkins, and Mike Krahulik, Dragongirl by Todd McCaffrey, The War That Came Early: West and East by Harry Turtledove, and Johannes Cabal the Detective by Jonathan L. Howard

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Books in the Mail W/E 07/10/2010

Here’s a possibility for the new format of the Books in the Mail posts., with some stuff that arrived while I was on vacation.




Kitty Goes to War by Carrie Vaughn, Stuff of Legend by Ian Gibson, Dream Called Time: A Stardoc Novel by S.L. Viehl, Codebreaker, The Hounds of Avalon: The Dark Age #3 by Mark Chardbourn, Labyrinth (A Greywalker Novel) by Kat Richardson, Omnitopia Dawn by Diane Duane, and Flight Volume 7 edited by Kazu Kibuishi.

I also received Discord's Apple by Carrie Vaughn


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Back from Vacation, but for How Long?

It’s been a while since I posted here, with vacation and another thing or two taking up my time. One of which was catch up at work after vacation and the other can be seen at the bottom of this post.

As for my latest review, it is of a modern classic of the genre. Or, at the very least, part of one of the modern classic Science Fiction series. That series is Iain M. Banks’s The Culture and the book is The Player of Games





As the title would indicate, Gurgeh is a renowned game player in the Culture and he is offered a chance to compete at what is considered a very complex game that defines a society not part of the Culture itself – the Azad. Azad is the name of the game and the society. The background here is that the Culture doesn’t make its presence known to planets or societies that don’t have sufficiently advanced technology, which happens to be the case with Azad. The Culture wishes to use Gurgeh to get a feel for the civilization of Azad and whether or not Azad is a threat or potential ally. Fluffing out that straightforward plot is the complexity of how Gurgeh was ‘recruited’ by the Culture to infiltrate Azad.


Mark/Hobbit asked, after I bounced him the review for a once-over before I posted it to SFFWorld, if I was less enthralled because the book was 20+ years old and was perhaps dated. I don’t think so, because I didn’t find the plot entirely enthralling and even the description didn’t light off all my bells before reading it. That said, what I’ve read of Banks I really enjoyed so I felt it necessary to read the book, and I want to make my way through the entire The Culture saga. Specifically, I do want to jump into Use of Weapons as I’ve heard/seen/read great things about the book.

As for the other reason my blogging and net life has been less active? We’ll the o’ Stuff household has grown a bit in the past week as we adopted a puppy last week. Her name is Sully, after the lead singer of our favorite band Godsmack. Yeah we know Sully of Godsmack is a man our dog is a girl, but she won’t know the difference. Her mother is Great Pyrenees and the rescue organization from whom we adopted her thinks the father was a Labrador Retriever. Of course, most places will default to the Lab since the breed is so loved and the most popular breed. Regardless, Sully is active, curious, very smart, fun, and can be a bit of a handful. Then again, she’s a puppy so that’s to be expected.








I'll still be posting links to SFFWorld reviews. I may continue my Books in the Mail posts, they are more time consuming to post than one would expect, so maybe I'll just add highlights of rather than the entire weekly haul. I hope my millions of readers like dogs, because I'll probably continue to post pictures of the crazy four-legged ball of fur.