Archive for January, 2007

SF Book Meme

January 30, 2007

Found at Jenna Thomas-McKie’s blog.
This is a list of the 50 most significant science fiction/fantasy novels, 1953-2002, according to the Science Fiction Book Club.
Bold the ones you’ve read, strike-out the ones you hated, italicize those you started but never finished and put an asterisk beside the ones you loved.

  • The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien*
  • The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov (I keep meaning to start this “must read”, but the breathless descriptions of it have never intrigued me, and even worse, have made me fear that it would be a waste of my time)
  • Dune, Frank Herbert (I loved this as a teen, but it has not rewarded repeat readings)
  • Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
  • A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin* (I’m not much into fantasy, but this is a sentimental favorite from the teen years)
  • Neuromancer, William Gibson*
  • Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
  • The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
  • The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
  • The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
  • Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
  • Cities in Flight, James Blish
  • The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
  • Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
  • Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
  • The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester (this looks great – on my short list)
  • Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
  • Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey* (a classic SF-fantasy crossover)
  • Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
  • The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson (someone oversold this one to me; I hated the protagonist)
  • The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
  • Gateway, Frederik Pohl
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams*
  • I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
  • Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
  • The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Little, Big, John Crowley
  • Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
  • The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick (on my short list)
  • Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
  • More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
  • The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
  • On the Beach, Nevil Shute
  • Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
  • Ringworld, Larry Niven* (I want to be Louis Wu!)
  • Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
  • The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
  • Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson* (a good intro to Stephenson, and not as intimidating as his later doorstops)
  • Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
  • The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
  • Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein*
  • Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
  • The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
  • Timescape, Gregory Benford
  • To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

I won’t tag anyone, but if you play this meme, drop me a note or leave a comment (trackbacks are not currently working).


Reading Report for January 2007

January 30, 2007

So, in addition to posting at least three times this month, I have also managed to exercise quite a bit more, alternating a 45-minute weight workout every other day with at least a 30 minute aerobic outing (jog-brisk walk).
I’ve also done more reading this month than I typically did last year.
Here’s what I’ve read:

On deck: I’m planning to tackle some Nietzsche (in German and English), re-read some Heinlein, delve into some more historical fiction, and maybe peruse Dawkins’ The God Delusion, but I’m open to suggestions. As you can tell, my tastes are quite flexible.
Update: I forgot to mention that I also finished re-reading Fallen Angels in January, too. Interesting with the climate “science” meeting going on right now. Maybe Niven, Pournelle, and Flynn’s weather prediction won’t come true, but it’s clear that they have some deep insight into human nature, especially the politics of state-funded science.

More Top Chef

January 30, 2007

Well, my last post jokingly referred to a Top Chef Tragedy. This is a real tragedy. Hitting Marcel/Wolverine with a bottle? Right out.
Surfing around on the term “Top Chef,” I found this great guest blog entry by chef Anthony Bourdain (whose No Reservations is another item of must-see TV for me). Bourdain served a stint as guest judge for Top Chef earlier in the season and his assessments of the various contestants (other than Ilan) squares with my own.
The finale airs tomorrow at 9:00CST on Bravo.

Top Chef Tragedy

January 25, 2007

Well not really a tragedy, but I can’t believe the Top Chef judges are letting that little crapweasel Wolverine wannabe go to the grand finale next week.
Ilan’s fine with me, but my two favorite Chefs, Sam and Elia, got eliminated last night.
My wife thinks the voting was rigged, since Ilan and Marcel have had so much bad blood this season. Say it ain’t so! This isn’t simply reality TV designed to draw ratings, is it???

Pithy Coleridge Quote

January 19, 2007

He saw a lawyer killing a viper
On a dunghill hard by his own stable;
And the Devil smiled, for it put him in mind
Of Cain and his brother Abel.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Devil’s Thoughts (1835 version)

Blue Origin Test Flight – As God and Robert Heinlein Intended

January 3, 2007

I don’t know how long they’ll be on the main page (there’s no video archive page yet) but Blue Origin has posted videos of their VTOL rocket’s (the Goddard’s) first test flight. The vehicle is clearly inspired by the Delta Clipper design on which I have previously blogged here, here, and here. Please also see Jerry Pournelle’s excellent overview of the Gary Hudson Phoenix design, which influenced the development of the Delta Clipper/DC-X and also played a major role in his, Niven’s and Flynn’s Fallen Angels.

Happy New Year 2007

January 3, 2007

Only three entries last month. Gotta fix that.
I hereby resolve to post more than three entries per month in the coming year. After all, I used to post almost three a day.
Other resolutions:
Exercise more, with greater intensity. Eat better. Read more.

Heinlein Quote of the Month (January 2007)

January 3, 2007

“Age does not bring wisdom, Ben, but it does give perspective… and the saddest sight of all is to see, far behind you, temptations you’ve resisted.”

– Jubal Harshaw in Stranger in a Strange Land.