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Monday, September 26, 2011

100 Books a Year Update 2

As detailed here and here, I'm tracking my reading this year to see if, as I've always assumed, I read about a hundred books a year. By the time of my last update in July, I'd read 37 books. In the time since, I've read...

Flood (Stephen Baxter, 2008): Disaster novel about huge underground aquifers that open up and flood the entire planet over the course of just a few years. Bleak, depressing.

The Fermata (Nicholson Baker, 1994): Comic novel about an introverted young man's sexual peccadilloes.

Morlock Night (K.W. Jeter, 1979): One of the earliest Steampunk novels; in fact, Jeter is credited with coining the term and inventing the genre. Also serves as an offbeat sequel to Wells' War of the Worlds.

Impact (Douglas Preston, 2010): Thriller about an alien civilization that fires a warning shot across Earth's bow. Weird hybrid that starts as a standard mainstream novel, then veers into science fiction.

Diamond Star (Catherine Asaro, 2010): A Skolian prince makes the best of his house arrest on Earth and starts a tempestuous career as a rock singer. See my recent post on Catherine Asaro for more context.

Society of the Mind (Eric L. Harry, 1996): Overlong story about VR and AI that could've been told at a tenth of this novel's length.

A War of Gifts (Orson Scott Card, 2007): Card's a great storyteller, but he's turned into a such a right-wing wacko that I only buy his stuff from the remainder table now. This is one of seemingly dozens of sequels and spin-offs to Ender's Game.

The Aeniad (Virgil, 19 BCE): Epic poem about the founding of Rome, sequel to The Iliad, one of those books one is supposed to read if they're trying to cover all the Western canon. Left me a little cold, which I guess makes me something of a Philistine.

The Armageddon Blues (Daniel Keys Moran, 1988): Time-travelling warrior woman and immortal Frenchman team up to alter the course of history and prevent a nuclear war. Interesting premise, flawed execution.

The Iron Dragon's Daughter (Michael Swanwick, 1994): Wonderful SF novel about the coming of age of a lost young woman in a very cruel fantasy world.

After America (John Birmingham, 2010): Sequel to Without Warning, in which a mysterious force wipes out the population of nearly all of the continental USA, half of Canada and most of Mexico and Cuba. In this volume we learn that Edmonton almost escaped "The Wave," which "cut the city in half" - southwest to northeast, judging by the map.

Enclave (Kit Reed, 2009): Parents tired of dealing with their spoiled kids dump the children on an isolated monastery refitted to serve as a sort of boot camp. Intriguing premise derailed by a rather pedestrian plot development. 

Shield (Poul Anderson, 1963): Pretty straightforward but carefully considered story about the implications (moral, scientific and political) of a personal force-field that renders one impervious to harm.

The Gateway Trip (Frederick Pohl, 1990): Short-story anthology of tales set in Pohl's Heechee universe. A pleasure for fans of Pohl and the series, exploring the setting's history and background.

The Invaders (Keith Laumer, 1967): I picked this up at the Wee Book Inn because I remember how the book terrified me as a child. This is an adaption of the two-season television series from the late 1960s, but Laumer makes an already creepy premise - aliens among us - even more terrifying. Laumer's book adapts the series incredibly loosely, but stands on its own as a nice little slice of alien paranoia at its best. They're out there...they're coming...!

So that's another fifteen books, bringing my total to 52, where I should have been by the end of June. Doesn't look like I'm going to make it, especially not if there's an election in the fall. On the other hand, I tend to read books in lots of fifteen or twenty at a time, so the next couple of surges of completion might very well take me over the top. We'll see how it goes.


Andrea said...

Funny you mention Fermata. I read that when it first came out and just found it on the bookshelves again a couple of weeks ago. Was debating reading again vs giving it away. It's still sitting undecidedly in the side room.

Earl J. Woods said...

It's a strange book. I don't regret reading it, but I doubt I'll revisit it; there are too many other books still waiting to be read.