Skip to main content

Reading List

One result of going to a convention devoted to the love of speculative literature is you wind up collecting a few titles to read. Let's say more than a few.

Most of these were mentioned in panels that I attended, and where appropriate I'll mention what interested me about the book. Others are just titles recommended by people I met or book descriptions I found interesting. If you've read any of these, feel free to endorse or warn me away!

I'll start of by a list of books I wrote down from the multiple panels on Utopian fiction. First I have two classics of the genre: "Modern Utopia" by H.G. Wells and "Looking Backward" by Edward Bellamy which sounded surprisingly readable from John Crowley's description of a class he taught to undergrads. In that same class, students read "Pacific Edge" by one of my favorite authors, Kim Stanley Robinson and in looking for that book on Amazon I discovered it was part of a trilogy on Southern California which also contained "Wild Shore" and "Gold Coast."

The next few books I'm lumping together by sub-genre: Space Opera. This includes near-space epic  "Leviathan Awakes" by James S.A. Corey which I really should have read already, "Dragon's Egg" by  Robert L. Forward, and "Prison Planet" by William C. Dietz. One of the panelists on a panel on their favorite parts of novels mentioned that last book and it sounded really cool. I'm not entirely sure I got the title and author right, though but during my research this book popped up which also looked great.

I'm also going to track down two classic horror novels Scent of New-Mown Hay by John Blackburn and "The Green Man" by Kingsley Amis. This former's so old I'm having trouble finding a digital copy, or any copy whatsoever except for used copies on Amazon.

In attending the Frederick Brown panel I got the names of several novels that seemed interesting: "Go Home, Martians" and "The Lights in the Sky are Stars." The description of a hard-working craftsman of science fiction was very appealing. According to one of the panelists the closest author in that mode working today is Michael Swanwick whose collection of short stories, "The Dog Said Bow-Wow" I purchased.

Next I spoke to someone busily making his way through all of the Hugo nominees for this year and got a host of books to try: "Year Zero" by Rob Reid, "Wool Omnibus" by Hugh Howey a collection of dystopian novellas collected together in a single volume, as well as Existence by David Brin. I also heard The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman is good so I'll plug that here even though it was already on my list.

Finally, I'm going to put down a few more books from authors that I either met or listened to during the conference. One of the things I'm most pleased I did was sign up for a pair of Kaffeeklatches, small gatherings to listen to one of the many writers at Readercon. The first was hosted by Elizabeth Bear and  Scott Lynch. Elizabeth I've read some short stories from so I'm going to check out her collection Shoggoths in Bloom (great title that), but Scott Lynch I confess was unknown to me. I intend to correct that oversight as soon as possible ad Republic of Thieves seems a good place to start. I think I'll throw in some old Peter Straub novels I haven't gotten to yet: "The Mystery" and "The Throat." Lastly, I was greatly impressed by John Crowley calm and humane contributions to each panel I saw him on, so I'm hoping to read "Little, Big" and "Engine Summer."

This post has already gone a bit longer than I thought so I'm going to wrap up here. Hopefully in the next few days I can put together my thoughts on the conference itself.

Feeling Very Strange: A Slipstream Anthology edited by James Patrick Kelley and John Kessel
Digital Rapture: A Singularity Anthology edited by James Patrick Kelley and John Kessel
Re-Wired: A Post-Cyberpunk Anthology edited by James Patrick Kelley and John Kessel
The New Space Opera edited by Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan

Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st Century Writer by Jeff VanderMeer

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

"The Yuru-chara of Hector, NY" is now available!

My new story, "The Yuru-chara of Hector, NY," is now available in the current issue of the Electric Spec magazine. I'm very proud that this story is getting published at Electic Spec for the simple reason I've been reading the magazine for years, dreaming of the day I might get a story published there. Well, it's finally happened.

The story of "Yuru-chara" is pretty simple: a young girl wakes up to discover that her old virtual friend, a seven-foot-tall yellow monster named Tama Bell, has come to life. While navigating through waves of other virtual creatures released through a world-wide hack, the young heroine tries to come to grips with her responsibility to her forgotten friend and the losses inherent to growing up.

I hope that you enjoy my story and that you give the other stories a try. They're awesome!

Thank you for your continued support.

New Story Acceptance!

As mentioned last week, I do have a bit of happy news to share. I am excited to announce that my story, "The Yuru-chara of Hector, NY," will appear in the next issue of the Electric Spec Magazine at the end of the month. I am tremendously excited about this for a few reasons:
Electric Spec is simply awesome. I've been reading this magazine for awhile and never been disappointed by a single story. To have one of my stories selected is beyond humbling. I can only give an earnest thank you to Lesley L. Smith for choosing the story.I love this story dearly. It has one of my favorite protagonists and shows in the clearest way I've managed where I'd like to go with my fiction. Electric Spec also gave me the chance to reflect on this story and its meaning in a guest blog which I am sharing below. Without being spoilery, this blog expresses some of what resonates about "The Yuru-chara of Hector, NY," with me. Guest Blog at Electric SpecAt the moment, I think the…

Solemn Treasures

In Gilead, the transcendent novel by Marilynn Robinson, a 76 year old man confronts his impending mortality and the sense he cannot provide for his young son after he is gone. He had not expected to meet his son's mother in the twilight of his life, not expected to have a son. If he had, he tells his son in a lengthy letter forming the substance of Robinson's novel, he might have set something by for him. Some sort of savings or investment. It pains him to think that when he is gone, all that he can leave are a few words.

What words.

As mentioned in a previous post, I set myself on the task (is that really the right word here? maybe endeavor would be better) to read as many of the 'great novels' of this young century as I could. After reading Hillary Mantel's "Wolf Hall-" which was also fantastic by the way - I made my way to Gilead. One of the many quietly strange things about this novel is that it's actually the second novel from Robinson. Her first…