Books I Read in 2000

Tags: 
  1. Prelude to Foundation by Issac Asimov
  2. The Museum at Purgatory by Nick Bantock
  3. Tales of Terror and the Supernatural (an anthology)
  4. The Big Time by Fritz Leiber
  5. The Wind from a Burning Woman (collection) by Greg Bear
  6. "Repent Harlequin!" said the Ticktockman by Harlan Ellison
  7. Harpist in the Wind by Patricia Mckillip
  8. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
  9. There's a Hair in My Dirt by Gary Larson
  10. The Greatest Science Fiction stories of the 20th Century (an anthology)
  11. God's Fires by Patricia Anthony
  12. Legend in Green Velvet by Elizabeth Peters
  13. The Rummy Affair of Old Biffy (collection) by P.G. Wodehouse
  14. Isaac Asimov Countdown 2000 Collection 1-4 - Anthology (Dick, Anderson, Silverberg,Budrys, Sheckley)
  15. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  16. Soldiers of Paradise by Paul Park
  17. The Star and others (collection) by H.G. Wells
  18. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
  19. The Complete Pegana by Lord Dunsany
  20. Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood
  21. The Fulfilments of Fate and Desire by Storm Constantine
  22. The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard
  23. The Great Stone Face and Other Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  24. The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem
  25. Brave New World by Aldus Huxley
  26. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
  27. The Forerunner by Kahlil Gibran
  28. The Hawkline Monster by Richard Braughtigan
  29. Nightflyers (collection) by George R.R. Martin
  30. Something Under the Bed is Drooling by Bill Watterson
  31. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
  32. A Plague of Angels by Sheri S. Tepper
  33. Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton
  34. Children of the Night by Dan Simmons (too horrible to finish)
  35. Brair Rose by Jane Yolen
  36. Revenge of the Rose by Micheal Moorcock
  37. Bloodchild and others by Octavia E. Butler
  38. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
  39. Leaven of Malice by Robertson Davies
  40. The Innamorati by Midori Snyder
  41. The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
  42. The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
  43. The Thread that Binds the Bones by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (too boring to finish)
  44. Pandora by Anne Rice
  45. When the Sleeper Wakes by H.G. Wells
  46. Friday by Robert Heinlein
  47. Sam Gunn Unlimited by Ben Bova
  48. Vurt by Jeff Noon
  49. Sabbath's Theater by Philip Roth
  50. Bane of the Black Sword by Michael Moorcock
  51. Vittorio the Vampire by Anne Rice
  52. Maps in the Mirror by Orson Scott Card (on tape)
  53. Freedom and Necessity by Emma Bull and Steven Brust
  54. The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester
  55. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller Jr.
  56. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
  57. Resume With Monsters by William Browning Spencer
  58. Blood and Guts in High School by Kathy Acker (to bad to finish)
  59. A Mixture of Frailties by Robertson Davies
  60. Liavek - Anthology
  61. God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert
  62. The Wisdom of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton
  63. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
  64. The Song of a Dark Angel by P.C. Doherty
  65. The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell
  66. Long After Midnight (collection) by Ray Bradbury
  67. The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
  68. The Wanderer by Fritz Leiber (too confusing to finish)
  69. And Strange at Ecbatan the Trees by Michael Bishop
  70. Saga of the Swamp Thing by Alan Moore
  71. Pollen by Jeff Noon
  72. Burnt by Lance Olsen
  73. The Republic of Dreams by G. Garfield Crimmins
  74. Wasp by Eric Frank Russell
  75. Foundation and Earth by Issac Asimov
  76. Ice by Ed McBain
  77. The Wall of the Sky, The Wall of the Eye by Jonathan Lethem (collection)
  78. Stormbringer by Michael Moorcock
  79. Demon Download by Jack Yeovil
  80. Ghostdancing by Jamie Delano (comic mini-series)
  81. Enemy of God by Bernard Cornwell
  82. Sabriel by Garth Nix
  83. The Tattooed Map by Barbara Hodgson
  84. The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
  85. Voices from the Edge by Harlan Ellison (collection)
  86. Merrick by Anne Rice
  87. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
  88. Weirdos from Another Planet by Bill Watterson
  89. Paradise by Mike Resnick
  90. The Castle by Franz Kafka
  91. On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers
  92. The Voices of Heaven by Fredrik Pohl
  93. Chronicle of the Black Labyrinth by Sam Inabinet
  94. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
  95. Lempiere's Dictionary by Lawrence Norfolk
  96. Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
  97. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien

ooh, bantock! how was Museum?

Absolutely loved it!!!!! It's my first Bantock book and it blew my mind. I forced myself to read it slowly because I wanted to read it all in one night. I love multimedia art and it's just a beautiful book to have. Next Bantock book is going to be 'The Venetian's Wife'.

Hmm. I've read all of his others, and for me personally the Museum was his least interesting.

I hope you're right (well everyone has different tastes so let's not say 'right' but you know what I mean) then I have a bunch of fabulous books to look forward to by Bantock.

What stories did you like in The Greatest Science Fiction Stories of the 20th Century? - and who edited it, btw?

I did it on tape and just returned it today. I think the editor was Martin Greenberg but I'm not sure. Here's the stories and my ratings (out of 10):

Simak , Clifford D. - Huddling Place (6.0)

Brin, David - The Crystal Spheres (7.5)

Ellison, Harlan - Jeffty is Five (7.0)

Bear, Greg - Tangents (6.5)

Russell, Eric Frank - Allamagoosa (5.5)

Campbell, John W. - Twilight (3.0)

Bisson, Terry - Bears Discover fire (3.0)

Merrill, Judith - That Only a Mother (7.0)

Clarke,Arthur C. - The Nine Billion Names of God (6.5)

Pohl, Frederik - Fermi and Frost (7.0)

Le Guin, Ursula K. - The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas (6.0)

So overall it wasn't that great but I'm doing another one on tape called 'Asimov's Countdown 2000 Collection' where the stories are more consitently great.

Thanks for taking the trouble to list the stories. I've read the Simak, the Ellison, the Russell, the Campbell, the Merrill, the Clarke, and the LeGuin. I think you underrate the Campbell, but it is the oldest story there, I think.

And I see you're a true sf fan: all true fans have ratings systems; mine involves stars out of five, which, counting half-stars, gives you ten grades - twenty is cutting it a bit fine, I think.

Yea, I keep it all in an auto-filtered excel spreadsheet so it wasn't hard to list. I thought the Campbell story was a bit of a 'Time Machine' rip off, and also kind of repetitive.I loved 'The Time Machine'.

My scale is a bit strange because I've never given anything a 10. A 10 would have everything I like in it (magic and sci-fi and horror) and it would all be integrated well, with beautiful, lush prose and be very original. My all time favorite book is 'Perfume' by Patrick Suskind. It got a 9 because it didn't have any sci-fi elements or magic (well maybe some but kinda masked...).

I also don't use the lower breaks like 1.5, or 2.5, or 3.5 very often. Alexlit uses a word scale from worst "Dreadful" (my 0-2.5) to Best "Fabulous" (my 8.5+) with Boring (3-4.5), So-So(5-5.5), Enjoyable (6-6.5), Really Good (7-7.5), and Excellent (8) inbetween. So it's a 7 point scale. I think more in terms of Alexlit now but I put down numbers for people not familliar with the scale.

OIC. Interesting concept, representing a word-rating with a numerical scale. And yes, good point about the lower end of the scale: you'd rarely bother to finish a "dreadful" or a "boring", and I rarely give a story two stars or less because I don't finish them. But how about this for dedication (or what I prefer to think of as dedication): I have a pile of notebooks in which I have kept a numbered register of every story and novel I've read since...well, I won't give the date, but there are several thousand titles listed - even the dreadful and boring are there.

That's funny you need to come to the group i'm in over at the Excite message boards. There's a guy there called Hyper Pat. He's about 50 and he's been keeping track on index cards for a long time. (great minds...) He has converted his 10 pt scale to Alexlit and is entering his 1000's of ratings slowly. He's more into sci-fi than fantasy and he says in the 60's and 70's when the sci-fi market wasn't as big as it is now he used to read EVERYTHING that came out. As in EVERY sci-fi book that came out. Of course with the number of books coming out now that's pretty impossible for any 5 people.

Jim!...Hey, Jim!...Rhaam's trying to lure me away again!

Seriously though;-) this Hyper Pat sounds like a prince among men. Yes, I've read that there was a time when the sf fan could read everything that was published, but I understood those days to have ended in the 1950s, - and no, I wasn't reading sf then.

But it would be interesting to scan Hyper Pat's ratings. Slip me the link, maybe 'J' won't notice.

Heck, I'd like to see the link too. :)

alexlit has been interesting for me. I keep a list of books I've read (this years) but don't rate them all. I started playing with alexlit and tried to come up with ratings for books I've read. It might be interesting to compare a rating you gave it when you read it with one you come up with in retrospect.

Well I see a lot of Pinkwater and Pratchett on your list. What's Pinkwater like? Any suggestions for a first book from him/her(?).

Actually they have talked about having ratings expire after a certain period of time over at Alexlit. I know when I first got on the site I rated a bunch of stuff I loved as a kid really high, but then later learned that you should try to rate things as you think you would enjoy them 'today'. So I lowered some of the ratings otherwise I would end up with a bunch of young adult books on my rec list.

All of the Pinkwater stuff I've read is really meant for children or teenagers. I checked a bunch of them out from the library to read, hence the large quantity of them this spring. I'd highly recommend his Five Novels though. Wacky stuff, but generally light reads.

A couple exceptions to the "for children" part would be his two books of mini-essays Fish Whistle and Chicago Days, Hoboken Nights. Both are humorous little things he did for NPR.

Damn I thought I could get away with it, but 'Big Brother' is watching. 8^D

To get to our message board you go to Excite.com and then to 'People and Chat', then 'Message Boards'. There are a bunch of different topics but the one that I started in 1998 is under "Entertainment: Books" and then 'Bookclubs'. Ours is called "Don't peek unless you...". You can look at messages without registering but to post you have to give some info and pick a username and password.

The history is that I met a guy (Username: Orbitsville) on the message boards. I happen to have a book (The Crystal World by J.G. Ballard) that he had been looking for, for over 2 years and I found it for 50 cents. We ended up insulting each other and playing around on a bunch of different boards until I decided that we should make our own place to jabber. We traded books through the mail (I sent him 'The Crystal World' he sent me 'The Wasp Factory' from Iain Banks) and over the last year we've become pretty good friends.

There are 2 other regular contributors a girl named Mpolgara and Hyperpat (the guy I mentioned). We talk about what we're reading at the moment and what we've read, and what we plan on reading. Hyperpat is in Korea for the next few weeks but Orbitsville reads ALOT about 3 novels every 2 weeks.

Warning there are almost 900 messages in the topic so far, if you want to get aquainted I'd suggest the first 10 and then the newest 10. Gotta stop this is way too long.

"Repent Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman is one of my favorite short stories of all time. So much information is conveyed about the world and characters in a mere 10 or 12 pages. Amazing.

It was a lot less serious (on the 'outside' at least) than I though it was going to be, but it really felt like a classic story when I read it. Looking at my notes, I compared it to a sci-fi version of 'Jabberwocky'.

Yes guys, the story is a fine example of the triumph of style over content. The great thing about Ellison, though, is that he is capable of writing a meaty story in a spectacular style - see, for example, I HAVE NO MOUTH, AND I MUST SCREAM, and keep the movie THE MATRIX in mind while you're reading it.

I was originally going to post that Ellison sued James Cameron over The Terminator being so similar to I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream. But it's a good thing I decided to check it out first, as he really sued over it's resemblance to his short story, Soldier (and he won).

Excellent. I'm glad he won. I haven't read _Soldier_ but I loved _I Have No Mouth..._ it was my first Ellison and (still my favorite) it just blew me away with its rawness. Unfortunately none of the other stories that were in that collection did much of anything for me. It seems to be a love/hate thing with me, some of his stories get high ratings some get low.

Other Ellison I've enjoyed _Jeffty is Five_ and _The Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World_. So out of 11 I've liked 4. For short stories that's not bad because the others weren't terrible (well 2 or 3 were). I want to read _Manifesto in Onyx_, _A Boy and His Dog_(still haven't seen the movie) and a couple others.

Jim, I have already claimed elsewhere that THE TERMINATOR was based on Ellison's teleplay "Demon With A Glass Hand", but it looks like we're both right.

So, Rhaam, give me your thoughts on Wells' THE STAR AND OTHERS. And what "others" were in that collection (I ask because I don't think Wells himself ever published a book of that title).

Yea this was one of those on-tape collections. _The Star_ was the best one IMO. Here's what I had in my database.

The Crystal Egg (5.5) No real conclusion, could have been really scary, kind of like Clarke's _Sentinel_.

The New Accelerator (5.5) Kinda funny but not much of a story.

The Empire of the Ants (6) Kinda creepy but also kind of silly.

The Star (6.5) Cool, first meteor hits earth story ever. The rest are all copies. Good prose.

So I wasn't all that thrilled about this one but don't worry, I'm not giving up on Wells yet.

Wells deserves to be read from the printed page, man: he's one of the prime originators of science fiction. Are you sure those taped stories aren't abridged versions? Yes, both THE CRYSTAL EGG and THE NEW ACCELERATOR are idea pieces rather than stories. The 'Egg' is just a doodad to allow Wells to present his vision of what life on Mars might be like. But I really don't see how you can describe TNA as "kinda funny". It brilliantly allows us a glimpse of what living at high speed would be like. I was enthralled when I first read it. Regarding THE EMPIRE OF THE ANTS: not really so silly: South American insects are real empire-builders. Don't you watch wildlife documentaries on the box? Also, there's a 1954 movie, THE NAKED JUNGLE, starring Charlton Heston, that shows a story very similar to this (and I don't think it acknowledges Wells). Break down and buy the COMPLETE STORIES, printed version.

I don't know TNA didn't really seem realistic to me, for some reason I just didn't get the feeling that 'This is what it would really be like'.

I always make sure that the stories I do are unabridged. If I'm not sure I just don't do them. I don't usually like abridged stuff, and to read abridgements of such a great author would be a cardinal sin.

I will make a deal with you though. I'll read (yes actually a book, NOT a tape) _When the Sleeper Wakes_ in the next month or so and what the hell I might as well do _Limbo_ too since I seem to be on a Utopia/Dystopia kick.

This seems like a fairly one-sided deal. What does bertie have to read in exchange?

Well, have you ever read Zelazny's _For A Breath I Tarry_ or maybe _A Rose for Eclesiastes_? _FaBIT_ is in his _Last Defender of Camelot_ collection not sure about _ARfE_. Or if you could find a copy of George R.R. Martins _Nightflyers_ that would be cool. I know you like sci-fi but I've read a lot more fantasy so I don't have that many recs.

The only one of these three I'm sure I've read is Zelazny's A ROSE...; it's much anthologized; I have it several times over in my sf collection. And I'm sure I don't have the other two titles, because I ran them through 'search and find' in my personal catalogue and came up blank. I will try to locate them. Firm promise.

Did you like _Rose..._ or do you like Zelazny's writing in general? I met him at a convention a few years before he died. He was a really nice guy, quiet, and not arrogant in the least.

Wow! you met Zelazny? I love some of his early and more science-fictional stuff - as opposed to his more fantastical stuff. For example, I really enjoyed TODAY WE CHOOSE FACES, although it's apparently not one of his most popular. It's been many a year since I read A ROSE..., but I know I gave it a big rating - I'll have to re-read it. And there are several others of his early shorter length stuff that are classics and award winners.
I have to say, though, that his award winning novel LORD OF LIGHT never held my attention beyond a couple of pages - and I've tried it thrice.

We were running out of room so I started a new thread. Yea it was really cool, he did a reading from some of his Merlin stuff. I read the first 5 Amber books and like them but I like his short stories better. Haven't read _Today..._ yet but I plan on reading all of his stuff sooner or later. Probably going to do _Jack of Shadows_ next. I didn't like _Lord of Light_ all that much either. I didn't understand it till someone explained to me a couple months after I read it.

thanks for mentioning CAT'S EYE! i really like atwood....have you read any of her other books?

I loved _The Handmaid's Tale_ so then I (as is my usual custom) went out and bought a bunch of books by Atwood. I currently have _Lady Oracle_, _The Robber Bride_, _Surfacing_, _Life Before Man_, _Bluebeards Egg and Other Stories_, and _Dancing Girls and other stories_.

Unfortunately I didn't like _Cat's Eye_ all that much. It was like one (way too) long character study of a character that really wasn't that interesting in my opinion. But I'm not giving up on her anytime soon. I do a lot of books on tape and I know both _Bluebeard's Egg..._ and _The Robber Bride_ are on tape at my local library.

What have you read by her?

Awesome! You read Brautigan? I just bought the Hawkline Monster and eagerly await devouring it. you've read The Abortion, right? It's my favorite thusfar.
JENHOWELL

_The Hawkline Monster_ is really a short book, the copy I have has about 200 pages but the chapters are so short and there's so much white space I would put at about 80 pages of normal type. If you like his minimalist, 'quick & dirty' (and I mean dirty as in a lot of sex) style then you might like this. I really didn't like it all that much. It was very original but he gave away things too easily that could have been great surprises. Haven't read anything else by him but after this book I doubt I'll be getting to anything else soon.

How did you like A Plague of Angels? Have you read any other Tepper books? It was not one of her better ones, in my opinion. And I kept expecting her to tell the reader where (in our world) it was taking place. If she did, I missed the clue.

Well I gave it about a 7 out of 10. It's my first Tepper and my bestfriend made me read it. I thought it was way too long. It didn't really get boring but she could have hacked a couple parts out without hurting the story. I really liked the archetypal village idea and the Walkers were pretty scary (even though she didn't describe them in too much detail). I thought the name thing with the angels was kind of cheesy. As far as placing it in the real world, I was curious too. The only big clue (if it was one) was Mesikos which sounds a lot like Mexico other than that I was clueless. I have a bunch of Tepper books, I'm not sure what I'm going to read next, maybe _Shadow's End_.

Of her other books, I preferred Beauty (a fractured fairy tale novel) and Singer from the Sea. I also enjoyed Six Moon Dance. I found Grass very dark and somewhat disturbing (though all of hers are somewhat dark). If you found A Plague of Angels even tolerable, you would enjoy those first two a lot, I think. I have not read Shadow's End yet, so I can't comment on that one.

I've heard a lot of good things about _Beauty_ and I'm aware of the other 2 that you mentioned but I don't have them. I've heard that a lot of her stuff is kind of 'tainted' with feminism, but that doesn't usually bother me unless the story becomes a philosophical treatise on the suffering of women at the hands of men. Though I do agree that women have a reason to complain, when I pick up a story I want it to be a story not a text book in disquise.

Most of her books defintely have a feminist slant, but not in a way that interferes with the story. In Six Moon Dance, she makes a point by reversing a traditional situation (on that world, the men dress so as to not provoke lust, complete with veils). Singer from the Sea has a traditional patriarchal society, but is about how powerful one woman can be, even while maintaining her traditional role within that society. As best I can remember - it's been a while.

What did you think of The Demolished Man?

It was awesome. One of my favorite sci-fi novels so far (but I havenn't read a lot of sci-fi). I especially loved the old fortune teller lady's hideout in the paint factory - sounded like something Iain Banks would have thought up. I gave it a Fabulous over on Alexlit.

Unfortunately according to everything I hear it's downhill from here with Bester (I already read _The Stars My Destination_). I have most of his other stuff, so sooner or later I'll get to it and be able to verify whether the rumors are true or not.

those are the only two Bester's I've read. If there's anything else worthwhile beyond them, let us know :)

Virtual Unrealities--a collection of his short stories--is excellent.

Yea, I have 2 collections _Starlight_ and _The Dark Side of the Earth_ and most of the stories in those get pretty good ratings from my neighbors over at Alexlit. But I haven't read any shorts from Bester yet. So little time, so many books...

I just started _The Sparrow_ by Mary Doria Russell have you guys read it yet?

The Sparrow is a wonderful, if occasionally depressing, book.

Yep it sounds pretty harsh so far. But I think I'm really going to like it.

Everyone I've known that's read it has.

What did you think of Vittorio the Vampire? I was very disappointed in it, it just didn't hold my interest the way the others did. I prefer it when she explores the minor characters, like Pandora.

What'd you think of A Canticle for Leibowitz. I just finished reading it as well, though for me it was a reread for a book group I'm in. I'd suggested it as one of our monthly reads and am very curious to see the other people's reactions since I don't think any of them are SF readers generally.

Well I haven't read tons of sci-fi but I have been reading it more lately. I really liked some of the scenes (especially the end) but on a whole it seemed kind of disjointed to me. I wasn't really sure what he was trying to say but I guess it was just that the message was so simple (the cycle of technology and then holocaust) that I was looking for more. So I think the problem is that it seems like an old idea, but considering that it was written almost 50 years ago that's ok. I just finished _The Sparrow_ and liked that much better even though the sci-fi in the story kind of took a back seat to the character development.

I think some of the best SF is that in which the sciency part does take a back seat.

Then again I love Greg Egan's short stories, which are solely sciency for the most part.

Yea, I'm not a big hard sci-fi fan. I'm trying to ease into it a bit starting out with space opera type stuff. I did read a short story by Egan called _Blood Sisters_ last month but I didn't like it that much, the plot just didn't do much for me. I do plan on trying some of his other short stuff though.

You might try some Vinge (A Fire Upon the Deep) and Peter F. Hamilton's Night Dawn series (start with The Reality Dysfunction).

I've heard nothing but great things about Vinge's two novels and they are highly recommended by Alexlit (and I have the one you mentioned). Haven't heard too much about the Hamilton series but Alexlit says that I'll give it a Really Good which is the 3rd highest rating. I do recognise the name, I'll have to keep an eye out when I'm book shoping.

the Hamilton books are a big huge grand sweeping space opera. Three books but parts 1 & 2 were published as two paperbacks each. I personally loved them. (He's got another series out as well that are more of a future mystery series).

How did Pollen compare to Vurt. I've had it sitting on my shelf for quite awhile, just haven't gotten around to reading it.

Here's a copy of the review I left on Amazon. I hope you're not looking for motivation to get it off your shelf...

I like the writing style and the whole thing is very original but after _Vurt_ this was
definitely disappointing. The characters were not as much fun as _Vurt_, the scenes
weren't as cool as _Vurt_. I would have liked it a lot more if it was about 100 pages
shorter. It just dragged and even at the end I didn't get excited, although the comical
version of Charon was hilarious.

A warning to cyberpunkers that haven't read _Vurt_ there really is no 'science' involved in this 'cyberpunck' novel. It really is more like a modern fantasy - no computers and no
technobable.

If you like his style a lot try it, if you're not impressed with his prose leave it on the shelf.

Thanks. There are plenty of other things for me to read first :) I'll probably read it eventually just for completeness sake.

No problem. I know what you mean, I do that sometimes too (read for completeness) when I don't think I'm gonna think a book is going to be that great.

I was looking around the other day and saw someone with a bunch of Noon stuff on his/her list was that you?

Probably not, I've just got a mention that I've got a bookmark in his Pixel Juice.