Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mind Voyages

Robbin of My Two Blessings is hosting a science fiction challenge called Mind Voyages running all of 2010 (just my speed). There are lots of different voyages from reading Hugo or Nebula winners to reading nominees etc. I have selected "The I'm going to Pluto because Pluto is still a planet as far as I'm concerned Voyage" because how could I resist such a title? And by the way Pluto will always be a planet to me. For the Pluto Voyage the instructions are:

Mix it up, choose the number of books you want to read from each voyage,
include some new books you pick up along the way and enjoy the ride.

And I appreciate the flexibility and would love to add some new books!

We don't have to select our books ahead of time but looking through the lists on the site these are ones that I might be reading:

The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester (Hugo winner 1953)
A Canticle for Liebowitz, Walter Miller (Hugo winner 1961)
Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny (Hugo winner 1968)
The Forever War, Joe Haldeman (Hugo & Nebula winner 1976)
The Yiddish Policeman's Union, Michael Chabon (Hugo & Nebula winner 2008)

Anathem, Neal Stephenson (2009 Hugo Nominee)
Brasyl, Ian McDonald (2008 Hugo Nominee)
Glasshouse, Charles Stross (2007 Hugo Nominee)
Old Man’s War, John Scalzi (2006 Hugo Nominee)
The Scar, China MiƩville (2003 Hugo Nominee)
The Years of Rice and Salt, Kim Stanley Robinson (2003 Hugo Nominee)
Fall of Hyperion, Dan Simmons (1991 Hugo Nominee)
Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven (1978 Hugo Nominee)
The Dying Earth, Jack Vance (1951 Hugo Nominee)

I would love to read some Philip K Dick as I have never read any (but Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies) and more Heinlein as I have read quite a bit many years ago but as he was a prolific writer there are many more to try.

As for new books, see my list for Carl V's Sci Fi Experience.

I am looking forward to reading everyone's reviews and adding to my wish list!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sci Fi Experience 2010

I cannot believe it is almost 2010. Work has been getting in the way of reading and blogging but I just had a huge work project unexpectedly come to an end this week so I am looking forward to jumping into the Sci Fi Experience. Thanks Carl for hosting!

I was about to start The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons (I absolutely loved Hyperion) so that will be my first one. I also have Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller recently acquired on my shelves and I have been thinking of ordering The Wind Up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. I doubt that I will have time for any more but if I do here are some SF books that are on my wish list:

Daemon, Daniel Suarez

Cyberbad Days, Ian McDonald

The Suicide Collectors, David Oppegaard

Brasyl, Ian McDonald

The Caryatids, Bruce Sterling

Incandescence, Greg Egan

Gridlinked, Neal Ahser

Glass House, Charles Stross

The Android’s Dream, John Scalzi

Old Man’s War, John Scalzi

Stealing Light, Gary Gibson

Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny

Her Smoke Rose Up Forever, James Tiptree, Jr.

Peace War , Vernor Vinge

And as always I am looking forward to reading everyone's reviews and adding to my wish list.

2009 Year in Review

I know that 2009 is not yet over but I will not be finishing anymore books before the New Year (2666 is taking me a while). Looking back at 2009 I succeeded in many of my goals that I set at the beginning of the year. I read more (25 instead of 20 books), my reading included more science fiction, and I was more consistent in writting reviews (although there is still room for improvement!). My favorite books from 2009 (with links to my reviews) were:

City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff Vandermeer
I started reading Jeff's blog before I read any of his books and I am very happy that I gave his fiction a try. City of Saints and Madmen is a collection of stories set in his wonderfully realized city of Ambergris with mushroom people, giant squid and strange rituals. And I loved the innovative formats utilized to tell the stories. I already purchased his other two books set in this wonderful city, Shriek and Finch and cannot wait to read them. This was by far my favorite book of 2009.

Wind-Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami
I am a huge fan of Murakami and I certainly was not disappointed with this one. While this book is more dense then Kafka on the Shore it still has wonderful writing, weird characters and inexplicable events that make Murakami so interesting.

Hyperion by Dan Simmons
This was the book that I simply could not put down. It tells the stories of six pilgrims sent to the planet Hyperion for an audience with the Shrike on the eve of war. Each of the pilgrim's stories are so richly drawn with fascinating characters and amazing and varied worlds that each one could easily have been a novel unto itself.

Eligance of the Hedghog by Muriel Barbery
This was by far the most beautifully written book that I read this year. It is not a plot driven book but its rendering of the concierge, a 12 year old girl and a Japanese man all living in an elegant Parisian apartment building was extremely compelling. I recommended it to numerous people this year and everyone has loved it.

I don't have any specific goals for next year except to read more! Oh yeah, and to fit in more classics. I usually read at least one or two and I didn't manage that this past year.

Although some of the books could fall into more than one category for the purposes of this list I only assigned one category for each book.
Nonfiction - 1
Science Fiction - 6
Horror - 6
Fantasy - 3
Mystery - 2
Literary - 4
Thriller - 0
Other - 4
Female authors - 5
Male authors - 20
New to me authors - 17
Audiobooks - 2

Bookmarks Magazine

Here's what looked good in Bookmarks Magazine Nov./Dec. issue:

Best Books of 2009 Article
A Mercy, Toni Morrison
Sea of Poppies, Amitav Ghosh
The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, Tiffany Baker
Daemon, Daniel Suarez SF
Cyberbad Days, Ian McDonald SF
The Lost City of Z, David Grann NF
The Age of Wonder, Richard Holmes NF

The Suicide Collectors, David Oppegaard SF
The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood
The Year of the Flood, Margaret Atwood
The Calligrapher's Daugher, Eugenia Kim
Cold, Bill Streever NF
The Sisters of Sinai, Janet Soskice

The Elephant Keeper S
Spooner, Pete Dexter S
Inherent Vice, Thomas Pynchon S
Notcurnes, Kazuo Ishiguro S
Gourmet Rhapsody, Muriel Barbery S
Bad Things Happen, Harry Dolan S