New Year, fresh starts. Gizmondo gave me a great idea for 2017 reading. Ten scifi books that people claim to have read and never have. Not strictly true, I’m getting a head start as I’ve read 3 of the 10 already, but what’s left will certainly be enough to fill my year’s reading list.
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
Having had this book recommended to me by my better read friend time and time again this will be first on my list of books to read. It’s also the easiest of the list for me to get access to, being relatively new in comparison and being available at my library.
Dune by Frank Herbert
Read it, loved it and didn’t feel the need to continue the story. Actually read it a couple of times it’s just that good. I love the intrigue that spans centuries, the machinations that keep an Imperial government in power and the prophesy is fulfilled. Hardish science (space folding) mixed with magicy religion and a world groomed for rebellion all just waiting for the right man to come along.
I personally love the way women work. They are not the keepers of ultimate power in any society in the universe of Dune, but they lay groundwork, produce the children and raise them to be the ‘right’ citizen, stand behind the throne and only step into the limelight when necessary.
Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
Urgh! As soon as something is compared to James Joyce (see Dhalgren below) I turn off. I’m not adverse to literary fiction, I love a well turned phrase, but brevity and pacing come a mean second for me (hey I’m of my times). There are a lot more interesting books on this list to read before I even start looking for Gravity’s Rainbow.
Foundation by Isaac Asimov
I loved Asimov as a teenager, something about his sparse storytelling appealed. I read a few of the Foundation series way back and don’t feel the need to revisit. Thanks Asimov, but no thanks this time.
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Now why haven’t I read this before? Alternate history and magic? I’m in. This will probably be number 2 on the reading list as its also easily accessible.
1984 by George Orwell
A must for all angst-ridden teenagers everywhere. Think the world is unfair and overbearing? When I was a teenager this book showed me that life wasn’t really that bad. Now, we can look back on it and see that George Orwell really was a Scifi prophet. Post-truth could have been a phrase out of this book, like Big Brother and Newspeak. And this is not a huge book (unlike many of this list), it’s a very readable size and I recommend it to anyone who wonders what a world of Trump may well look like.
Last and first men and Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon
Intriguing but as these are very early scifi (1930s) I’m not sure I’m going to find copies. Wait and see.
The long tomorrow by Leigh Brackett
Having grown up on Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien a others I can’t bring to mind, post-nuclear war novel doesn’t really appeal. Three things do intrigue: this was the first, ten years after the bombs were used on Japan, it is a scifi book focused on character and that Leigh was a co-author on Empire Strikes Back. I hope I can find a copy of this book that sounds like it should receive more attention than it does.
Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany
Ditto Gravitiy’s Rainbow. I may hunt it out later in the year.
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
I can’t believe I haven’t heard of this before. It sounds just like my type of scifi. Allowing the footnotes have a personality of their own is a hallmark of many authors that I love: Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and the lesser know Jonathan Stroud. That it is also a mystery is also a bonus. I’m hoping I can find this one very soon.
My reading for the year, thanks to Gizmondo, I’ll update this post as I find and read these well recommended stories.