mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Baa baa meme sheep

I spam my own journal these days. How sad is that? But I've wanted to natter a bit about the sf/ fantasy list for a bit, so I do it here.

And because I too forget the 'bold means read, italics means started' thing, I shall comment. It's my lj and I'll bore if I want to, bore if I want to...

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

Kangaete mireba (I will say this only once: that's the short Japanese way of saying When I come to think about it, and I use it because it's short) this is the only 'suck you in, whirl you away, drop you back dazzled and disoriented and delighted' long-read I've ever known in English. Japanese does it quite often but other times in English (Titus Groan, Terra Nostra, hell, even New Sun) have been borderline *really* unpleasant. Acid trips with something nasty hovering just over the left shoulder. Loved LotR to pieces when I was 16, still liked it reasonably on second and third read, like it well enough now I'm old and jaded.

2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov

Asimov's novels all felt steel-plated science fic so I never tried them.

3. Dune, Frank Herbert

Read, and the sequel, and hated. 'I know something you don't know, nanni nanni boo boo.' A strong argument for telling, not showing.

4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein

Read. Has its moments ('Feel like breakfast?') but Heinlein is Heinlein is too XY chromosome for me.

5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin

Read and liked but... I think on balance that Le Guin is too cerebral for me. I need my novels served room temperature at least and preferably warmed a few minutes in the oven. Aside from the fact that her sf novels are too often anthropological reports more than novels.

6. Neuromancer, William Gibson

Future dystopias are so not where I'm at. Especially when they involve AI, male protagonists, and violence.

7. Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke

Loved Clarke's short stories- new and infinite possibility- but the novels... enh, see under Asimov.

8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick

Nope. Male protagonists and violence.

9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley

Nope. I don't want to take the line that TH White wrote the ultimate Matter of Britain book so why bother? but everything Arthurian I've read else, including Mary Stewart, suggests it's true.

10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

Yup, but The Martian Chronicles was more my speed.

11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe

Yup. Should reread the whole thing again because I remember it as a weird half-dream. Reread one of the books last year and found that, unlike many writers including Dostoevsky (sniffle), Wolfe's prose style still does it for me.

12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Yup. And was young enough that I really rather liked it. Otherwise- 50's Roman Catholic. Kneejerk Iya da from this cradle Catholic.

13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish

Haarrrrrd sf. Nope.

16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett

Pratchett is a clever writer. I'm disposed to dislike him for that reason. Nope.

17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison

How about 'I *think* so'? I read a lot in my teens and 20s. I had both those volumes. I remember nothing from or about them.

19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester

Nope. Bester lost my sympathy in another novel where he had a male character fend off the female character's advances by saying 'I'm gay' and the female character saying 'No you're not. I can tell you're all man.' Of his time but his time is past.

20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany

Started. Couldn't make my way through the baggy prose and the mh characters. How baggy is Delaney's prose? I read George Eliot to get away from him. How mh are his characters? I read *Gravity's Rainbow* to get away from him. Hell, I read Proust to get away from him. In French. That's one baggy-mh novel there. Then he went on to write nudge nudge wink wink Look At Me Playing With Semiotics sword and sorcery whose faux-intellectualism not even the kinky m/m scenes could redeem. The waste, dear god, the waste. (Semiotics and that Indonesian gold mine- the two biggest post-war scams known to man.)

21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey

I am so glad I never read McCaffrey. People have to use impenetrable specialized vocab just to talk casually about the books. Besides, much as I liked the idea of dragons, no one ever wrote them in a way that pressed any buttons. Until Naomi Novik, and anything post-Spirited Away doesn't count. O felix cultural contamination, Spirited Away!

22. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card

I had nothing against whatever early Card I read, but I wouldn't read any more of it. And now I won't read him at all.

23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Stephen R. Donaldson

Isn't there a character in those called Drool? The prosecution rests.

24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman


25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl


26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling

For work. No, really. I read it for work.

27. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

No, and I've never seen any Monty Python films either.

28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson

I do not have the pleasure of Mr. Legend's acquaintance. Don't think I want it. Vampires. Yawn.

29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice

I tried. I really did. But knowing she went on to pull a Dorothy Sayers/ Aoike Yasuko with Lestat put me off, and anyway he killed way too many people.

30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin

Yes, and it was mind-blowing in 1972. Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven. (Pities the poor bunnies born after 1975.)

31. Little, Big, John Crowley

There's a copy on my shelf. It's been there at least 18 years.

32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny

Why that Zelazny? Man has his moments but again I think it's a first love sort of thing. And no, haven't read that one either.

33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick

One of my weird faves. See, it was written in the early 50's as an A/U where Japan won the war and young honeymooning Japanese couples came to New York to buy specimens of American culture to take home as souvenirs. I read it in 1988. Know where young honeymooning Japanese couples went to in '88, and why? Prophetic isn't the word: it was *surreal.* But still a 50's novel. When you want to find a reclusive genius, what do you do? Look him up in the phonebook and give him a call. He'll answer.

34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon

Sorry, neither. HAAARRRRRRD science fiction.

36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith

Nope, though I might read him for his name alone.

37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys

And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a haaaard bunch of sf novels that I've never read.

41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien

I have it. I can't imagine ever reading it, though I believe I dipped into it once or twice.

42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut

Yup. XY chromosomes. So it goes.

43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson

See under Neuromancer.

44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein

Nope nope nope. Space. Empty. Boring. Yawn.

47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock

...but to be young was very heaven. I'm morally convinced Moorcock isn't as good as I thought him in 1967 but I won't reread to confirm that impression. Also he back-pedalled badly on Elric, I'm sorry. The sinister cruel Melniboneans who torture slaves so that their cries make weird and lovely harmonies... imagine the depraved background of my bone-white anti-hero, the unspeakable pleasures, the delicate and revolting vices... Have you imagined it? Did you have a nice frisson? Good, because of course *my* guy wouldn't do things like that.

48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks

You mean, the Tolkien ripoff? Gomen da.

49. Timescape, Gregory Benford

Yawn. No.

50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

It sounds like the kind of mess I might go for, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen-wise. Cheap, but then so am I.

And now back to Ima Ichiko, as into sunlight and fresh air.
Tags: meme, reading

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