Long ago, when I was a tiny 3rd grader, I was pestering my father for book recommendations, having finished whatever juvenile series I was reading at the time.
He took me down to the basement, to pick a book from his library.
It set a Foundation
Foundation was one of those books that was prominently placed in his library.
It had an interesting cover so I picked it up and I was hooked by the first paragraph. I’ve ready every work of non-fiction by Asimov since then.
Out of the hundreds of sci-fi and fantasy books there, Asimov represented by far the largest component.
He had almost a hundred different Asimov books, and even more now. Obviously, my dad beelined for the Asimov section and looked for one he knew would appeal to me.
I was given one of the Fantasy and Science Fiction collections, maybe the Planet that Wasn’t or Only a Trillion, and I subsequently devoured all the other ones we had.
I was already hooked on Asimov before I even started reading Asimov!
I was browsing the book shelves lately and I realized something – I am too old for 99% of the YA stuff on the shelf. I know what you are asking: a.) I’m young and b.) I am an adult so where is the problem.
The problem is, I’m extremely picky and I also tend to blow through books so fast that it’s tough keeping up a ‘to-read’ list.
I’m a huge fan of Stephen King-style horror – just not of Stephen King, supernatural thrillers, there are other authors that have done it better – and old-school suspense books.
The problem is that the genre seems to be saturated with young adult authors now a days and I’m just not a fan of the watered-down horror
that’s being written for the genre. It it isn’t that it is your general post-apoc/zombie novels that keep popping up.
I’ve already read the traditional horror classics from Matheson, Barker, Peter Straub, Robert McCammon (and recently Koontz), etc. and I absolutely loved The Passage/The Twelve from Justin Cronin. Now I am on a quest for books that fit the bill.
The only book by Dan Simmons that I’ve read was “The Terror” and “Carrion Comfort”, and I honestly just thought they were pretty mediocre. I should have known when I picked up “Carrion Comfort” with the Nazi/vampire theme, how could it not be … strange. But I can accept that Simmons has his moments of mediocrity. All writers have them from time to time. On the other hand, Simmons has won a heap of critical awards; among them the Nebula, Hugo, Bram Stoker, World Fantasy, and Locus awards.
I am currently waiting on my copy of “Let the Right One In
” by John Ajvide Lindqvist
to be delivered, I ordered it yesterday from Amazon.
It is autumn 1981 when the inconceivable comes to Blackeberg, a suburb in Sweden. The body of a teenage boy is found, emptied of blood, the murder rumored to be part of a ritual killing. Twelve-year-old Oskar is personally hoping that revenge has come at long last—revenge for the bullying he endures at school, day after day.
People have suggested Clive Barker
, though I am not a CB fan.
If Koontz is a King rip off, Barker is a Lovecraft clone and I find that sort of horror daunting as well.
Let me know what you are reading.
I started the series shortly after the first series ended. It was at that just starting to get big. So, while not the earliest adopter, I got in early. Alright, the series is older now and I have read all of the books. For newcomers to the series it might feel like a daunting task to catch up.
Well, the series isn’t flawless.
Things it does have going for it include a large and well developed world, a multitude of great characters, and the dark, yet optimistic tone. While it is not Watership Down
, there’s a lot of really good stuff here, and several of the later books have made me cry.
There’s also a lot to discuss, since there are lots of questions raised, and the characters face situations that often don’t have easy answers.
However, there are some major turnoffs.
The world has a large scope, but errors are frequent. There are minor ones, like a few misspellings here and there, and then there are major continuity ones. Prequel books will sometimes feature characters who were already dead during the time period of the prequel, or randomly forget a character’s backstory. This can be really frustrating, since you’ll get attached to some characters, only to see everything about them thrown out because the authors forget important information about them.
The book is written by six women, together Erin Hunter, and problems like this can be expected.
An editor’s job would be to keep continuity straight.
For example, many warriors turned medicine cats end up being shown as medicine cats in their youth.) Also, some characters are overexposed and there are sometimes pacing problems.
Overall, I’d say the good outweighs the bad, and I would strongly recommend the series, but be prepared to have some frustration along with your enjoyment of it. Also, skip Leafpool’s Wish.
Leafpool’s Wish isn’t because it’s bad by any means, but rather that it doesn’t include any important information we don’t learn by reading the main series. It’s basically about Leafpool convincing Squirrelflight to help her.
It’s not worth reading unless you have an investment in either of the characters.
Quick update. I just picked up Armor from John Steakley. And this book is really intense, as in really really intense! Armor is a brilliant re-imagining of Heinlein's "Starship Troopers". And while I am not into military sci-fi it offers something different:
Armor is a military science fiction novel by John Steakley. It has some superficial similarities with Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers (such as the military use of exoskeletons and insect-like alien enemies) but concentrates more on the psychological effects of violence on human beings rather than on the political aspect of the military, which was the focus of Heinlein's novel.
It was first published in December 1984.
The book is essentially a fantasy for older children. But a fun read non-the-less.
The closest comparison I can think of right now is His Dark Materials
. I think it is a small masterpiece of economical fantasy writing, with a great amount of plot, atmosphere, and world-building packed into a short book, which some of the writers of enormous fantasy series could learn from.
And you know I am a sucker for cats!
It’s one of the most enlightening, well-written books I’ve ever encountered in my life.
It’s a non-fiction adventure-travelogue by a rogue National Geographic explorer hiking all over the Himalayas with a mystic sherpa looking for Shangri-La, dealing with shady porters, leeches, local weirdos, sickness, and, of course, the Chinese Army.
It reads like Survivorman Les Stroud meets Rudyard Kipling crossed with Indiana Jones.
It’s pretty much my personal Bible, or would be if I were religious.
If you have seen Soylent Green, you’ll most certainly know “it’s people!” The film is based off of Harry Harrison’s 1966 science fiction novel Make Room. In the novel, soylent is made from soya and lentils.
Yet you will see tons of reference made to the title along with cannibal jokes. I’m pretty sure most people making the joke have never seen the film. Nor do they even know that it is based on Make Room, let along that the original novel didn’t feature cannibalism at all.
And now this…
The first time someone linked me to Soylent’s website, I seriously thought it was some promotion / ARG / viral marketing thing for a Soylent Green movie remake, modernizing the story with meal replacement shakes instead of crackers.
I honestly hoped that it was some promotion / ARG / viral marketing thing for a Soylent Green movie remake!
I think at the time you couldn’t just buy it out a store on the website, you had to sign up for a mailing list, so that helped it not look like a real product.
I’m not a fan of the name either. The name is too ingrained in popular culture to be taken seriously and it leaves a bad after taste since more people will be aware of the film than the novel.
It definitely succeeds in getting your attention and generating buzz, I’ll give it that. An interesting name, good or bad
, is discussed and remembered.
Yet, with world population growing I think the most corrosive thing the name introduces is the idea that by buying into a soylent diet we’re taking a step towards a dystopia where that’s the only kind of food we can afford.
That’s what was so unsettling about that movie, not that they were cannibals, but that they had been pushed that far.
Of course, it’s irrational.
If we all embracing the lifestyle restrictions an overcrowded world would impose, we would actually prevent that world from coming to be, not accelerate towards it. It’s a correlation-causation confusion.
People who know the reference are probably already in the target demographic anyway and aren’t likely to be put off by it.
So we have Warriors, but what is that for a life. When I was younger I thought that it would be great to be a
cat, it would make everything so much simpler living by the rules of the warrior code and not having to worry about IRL problems like student debt, grades, etc.
However, the warrior code sucks once you get past a certain age. If you want an unnecessarily restrictive set of rules to live by you can find plenty as a human, but I for one am fine without.
I know the series romanticizes the concept of being a warrior and living by the warrior code, but you have to realize how brutal and hard life would be–even considering just the little things.
Also there’s the whole aspect of war being…you know…bad. Yet you’d want to live in a culture where making war is so important that being called a warrior is just a normal mark of adulthood?
It’s not like the clan cats ever learn from their past, either.
They constantly fight over borders.
You’d live a life with almost no breaks, waking up early for the dawn patrol or a hunting patrol, and suffering through harsh winters with an empty belly. You’d deal with foxes and badgers, rogues, and rival clans. You’d seldom be able to travel out of your own territory aside from Gatherings or very special occasions. And it always struck me that they never had anything as basic as a weekend or any sort of holiday. The closest thing they have is a Gathering.
Otherwise, it’s a daily slog with no breaks for pretty much your whole life.
I imagine that you’d get tired of living the same life of patrols, battles, and harsh winters. You’d witness the deaths of your clanmates, and may even meet a horrible fate yourself. Greencough, hunger, cold, battle, infection–not at all pretty deaths, either.
Plus, living in a clan you have very few romantic options, and unless the leader has been letting new cats in they’ll mostly be your relatives.
They have no art, science, or technology, so I hope you don’t want a career in those fields.
Actually, hope you don’t want anything, because you won’t have much choice. Almost nobody gets to be a medicine cat, since there are so few at a time, ditto for leaders and permanent queens, so you get to be a warrior! Unless you’re lucky enough to be crippled by a wound or birth defect, then I guess you could live with the elders forever.
Generally speaking, being a cat would be worse than being a human. You suddenly have to be terrified of things you never would have been terrified of as a human (birds, dogs, other cats) and you also don’t get to have hands anymore.
Even though I wanted to be something like a medicine cat, the reality is that I’d probably be a Kittypet. Or, you know, myself.
Robert Sheckley (July 17, 1928 – December 9, 2005) was an American writer. First published in the science fiction magazines of the 1950s, his numerous quick-witted stories and novels were famously unpredictable, absurdist, and broadly comical.
Options by Robert Sheckley.
I thought it was a hilariously entertaining book by an underrated author. For the record I think Sheckley was well aware that he was not writing a fancy experimental novel, but a parody of one.
I can only say that it is obscure, out of print, and highly recommended – by my then 18 year old self anyway.
When it comes to Michael Crichton you sort of get a mixed bag, his books can be great and they turn into disappointing movies.
Or vice versa.
I really liked Timeline. I really felt like I was back there. I love the whole idea of time travel, and he captured it so well. I was really sad when the book was over, like I was yanked out of reality and back to the present. I really felt like I was back there. I was really sad when the book was over, like I was yanked out of reality and back to the present.
But I also enjoyed a couple of his really old ones: The Andromeda Strain and The Terminal Man. Both of which were turned into good movies. Even though both of them are about 40 years old.