The OF Blog: An open-ended interview

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

An open-ended interview

Consider this less as a meme and more as a general survey for those reading this who are willing to answer:

1. Around how many years have you been a) a fiction reader and b) a reader of spec fic?

2. What are some of your favorite short stories, both within and outside SF/F?

3. Around how many online short fiction sites and/or print magazines have you read and/or purchased in the past year?

4. How many story collections and anthologies have you read and/or purchased in the past year?

5. Are you more likely to be active on blogs/LJs or on forums?

6. Why is six considered to be an "imperfect" number in some cultures/religious traditions?

Curious to know what others are thinking on a certain issue, in case you hadn't guessed by now...


Larry said...

My answers:

1. a) 25 years, b) Outside of Bradbury, Lewis, and Tolkien (ages 9-12), I really didn't start until 11 years ago.

2. "The Monkey's Paw," "Harrison Bergeron," "The Gift of the Magi," "The Pear-Shaped Man," among many others.

3. Three print magazines and about a dozen online venues.

4. Around two dozen.

5. A mixture of both, but tending more to blogs/LJs these days due to more commonality and more shared interests.

6. I know a bit of this, but I'm going to leave even that out so others can answer as they will without cribbing my answer :P

Elena said...

1. This would be the same, since my mom started me on Tolkien at 3-4 years and I never looked 21 for both.

2. I am embarrassingly un-read when it comes to short stories... I just don't really like them very much. Some of the more SF-ish literary stories I like come from Nathaniel Hawthorne. Dr Heidegger's Experiment is a particular favorite.

3. 1-2, because a writer I really like had a piece involved.

4. 1-2 for the reason above.

5. Blogs.

6. No idea, despite having a grandfather who was a minister and a best friend studying to be a rabbi...

Hope to have helped with whatever Q most intrigues you, but I'm not really sure I did...

Larry said...

It's okay, as I'm just curious about others' reading experiences in regards to short fiction and any contribution helps :D

Fábio said...

1. a) 40 years (I started really, really early, though at 2 y.o., I could only read fiction comics and fiction children´s books - but I could read, not just see the pictures), b) approximately 30 years ago (when I really started reading spec fic - most of it very pulpish, though a little bit of Asimov and Clarke as well.

2. "The Duel", "the Secret Sharer", "The Secret Agent", "The Gernsback Continuum", "Twenty Evocations", "The Lizard of Ooze", among many, many others.

3. 2 print magazines and approximately 2 dozen online.

4. 25-30, approximately.

5. Definitely blogs, though I´m striving to keep up with some very interesting new foruns that have been doing a good job recently.

6. You´ve got me. I don´t have my Mircea Eliade at hand right now.

Joe Sherry said...

1. a) 22 Years. I'm 29, figure I didn't start reading the Hardy Boys until Age 7.

1. b) 17 Years. Great googly moo, has it been that long? I started in 8th grade with Piers Anthony and Xanth.

2)"The Bees", by Dan Chaon, "Sandkings" from George R. R. Martin, "Deadman's Road" from Joe Lansdale, and "Dark Harvest" from Norman Partridge. To name 4 that come to mind.

3) Something like 8 online venues on a semi-regular basis, and I've purchased issues from four print mags (Electric Velocipede, Weird Tales, Asimov's, LCRW)

4. In the last 12 months, between 20-30, I think.

5. More blog.

6. Shrug.

Liviu said...

1. Since age 4 so 35 yrs; spec fiction - I started on Jules Verne about at age 6 so 33

2. Sandkings GRRM, Luminous - G. Egan - many G. Egan actually, his novels are ok to good, but his ss put him in the top-top hard sf writers, The Man Who Counts - William Barton, and many others

3. I bought probably about 12-15 magazines all e - Aeon, Gud, Escape Velocity, GG, Interzone, Asimov's, Challenging Destiny - and read from too many places to count including author sites, the (in)famous Helix, FSF through my library system databases...

4. Bought about 15-18 anthologies - Solaris SF 1,2, 1-F , L. Anders, J. Strahan originals - they have several each, small press Hadley Rille 3 themed anthology about ruins extraterrestrial, terrestrial and desolate places with metropolis to buy soon, SFBC ones like Galactic Empires, Alien Crimes, the superb Logorrhea, Baen ones like Transhuman, Future Weapons of War, Ring of Fire 2 2 author - Chapman and Troy-Castro, Paraspheres and the Vandermeer edited New Weird -
Read from several more from the library including some J. Ford, A. Reynolds
I am vague of dates so some may be early 2007...
J. Strahan has a very exhaustive list on his site of original anthologies tbr 2008 - over 50 I think - and I got several from there

5. sffworld, mobileread and this blog - reviews on Robert's blog - so I guess is about equal

6. Man without God

Anonymous said...

1. a) since I was a reader ie. 20 years
b) technically the same, defining myself as, for 14 years

2. Sonate without accompaniment by Card, The Ones who wall away from Omellas by Leguin, Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman...

3. Zero

4. Maybe two? I know I bought Cartography by Mary Gentle (not read yet)

5. I'm active on LJ first, forums second, blogs last (and not much)

6. I've no idea what ground you have to make that statement. Sources?

felix said...

6. if man is five (if man is five, if man is five)
then the devil is six (then the devil is six, then the devil is six)
and if the devil is six
then God is seven
then God is seven!
then God is seven!

(everything I know I learned from the Pixies)

Anonymous said...

1. a) considered myself a reader when I picked up the first wave of early 90s Star Wars tie-ins around the age of 9. b) started reading "seriously" around 8 years ago.

2. "Bartleby" - Melville, "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" - O'Connor, "Crossing into Cambodia" - Moorcock, "Goliath" - Gaiman, "Some Zombie Contingency Plans" - Link, "Vivian Relf" - Lethem

3. Read three or four E-zines fairly regularly. No print mags except for the occasional story in the New Yorker (which I sometimes get access to for free because a family member subscribes).

4. Purchased one. Read bits and pieces of maybe seven or eight more that belonged to others.

5. forums

6. I think it might be the number of the Dark One

- Zach H.

Fish Monkey said...

1. 34 and 10 or so, respectively.

2. The very favorite, hands down, is "Space-Time for Springers" by Fritz Leiber.

3. 8 or so sites, 3-4 magazines. Next year, print subscriptions will be cut down to just one.

4. 10-12

5. LJ, then blogs, almost never on message boards.

6. You and me and the devil makes three, and three doubled is six. Go ahead, prove me wrong!

Dark Wolf said...

1. a) 25 years (age 6) b) 23 years, it was a series in Romania named "Undying Stories" that was pretty much spec fic.

2. "Skull City" by Lucius Shepard, "Sandkings" by George R.R. Martin, "Pig Blood Blues" by Clive Barker, "Promoting a Devil" by Leo Tolstoy .....

3. 3 or 4 online magazines, 1 printed from Romania

4. 10

5. Mainly blogs, too little on forums and almost non-existent on LJ

6. Because it's your 6th question or because the man was created on the 6th day? I don't know :)

Johan said...

1. a) Fifteen years, b) fifteen years. I've read books, or listened to books being read to me, pretty much since I was born, but that's when I started to read both consciously and all kinds of fiction, not just children's literature.

2. "Att döda ett barn" ("To Kill a Child"), Stig Dagerman. "A Family Supper", Kazuo Ishiguro. "In der Strafkolonie" ("In the Penal Colony"), Franz Kafka. "Story of Your Life", Ted Chiang. "A Song for Lya", George R.R. Martin. "The Cold Equations", Tom Godwin. "Ekorren" (probably exists an English translation, but if so, I don't know the title), Tove Jansson. "Prima Belladonna", J.G. Ballard. "Nicholas Was", Neil Gaiman. Hrm. Well, it's all short fiction at least. Tiptree, Nancy Kress, Jack Vance are a few other names I'd like to mention. And so on. I really lack the discipline to mention "a few" of anything when it comes to literature. I should learn, I suppose.

3. a) A few dozens, b) I subscribe to half a dozen short fiction magazines.

4. Twenty, maybe.

5. Both.

6. It's never with us in the present.

I added a few suggestions to the list of non-English sf/f websites here, by the way, if you didn't notice.


Ashurbanipal said...

1.a)I'm 24 and been reading fiction since I learnt to read. And I don't know when I learnt to read.
b)Hard to say. On and off since I learned to read fiction, I suppose. Only started seriously about a year ago. Before that it was for a few years in the latter half of high school.

2. "The Horla" by de Maupassant, Vladimir Nabokov's "Sounds", Harlan Ellison's "Stop, Harlequin" and "I Have No Mouth", Jack Vance's "Ulan Dhor", Lovecraft's "Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath" (though I think this was more novella than short story, but any of his dreamscape shorts will do) and Borges's "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius."

3. I don't, which is terrible. I tend to be more interested in old stuff than the new and up and coming, though. But I don't often read short fiction. If I were to try and pin down why, I'd guess it was because longer fiction means a longer period spent engaging with the narrative, stop-start pieces that might have vastly different themes and settings.

4. Hum. 4 or 5 at the most.

5. There are two forums I visit and post in regularly. There are maybe 20 blogs I visit somewhat regularly, and of those I look at 4 daily. But I'm more likely to participate in forums for far longer periods of time than in blog comments.

6. Because 6 is one less than seven, and seven is auspicious. (Seven tribes of Israel, resting on the seventh day, seven virtues (but also seven sins, seven heavens, seven days of the week etc, etc). I'd say those other cultures have similar traditions around the number seven.

Great blog, by the way. I've been following for a short while but this is the first time I've commented. Keep up the good work.

Jonah said...

1. Fiction and Spec Fic about the same (since I started with The Hobbit and Lord of the rings and never looked back) - 20 years

2. I do like the Jeeves and Wooster stories. Also "The Cold Equations", and a story by Asimov called (I believe) "Darkness"

3. None

4. Read - 2 or 3 (that I'd purchased previously). I'm pretty sure I picked up one anthology last year.

5. Blogs, but we're stretching for "Active".

6. As a complete guess - 6=2x3, and two and three are both significant numbers, but in different ways. So the combination of the two is bound to be not good.

Paul Kincaid said...

1: a) 50+ years; b) since the mid-60s at least.

2: Just about anything by Borges; anything by Millhauser; Priest's Dream Archipelago; most of M. John Harrison's stories; Tiptree's first three collections; 'The Infinity Box' by Kate Wilhelm; 'The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas' by Le Guin; a fair bit of Kelly Link and Ted Chiang, and on and on and on

3: Interzone regularly; several others irregularly. I hate reading fiction online.

4: I have read (mostly for review) 16 anthologies/collections since this time last year.

5: LJ

6: If I told you, I'd have to ...

Balerion said...

1) a) Hmm... First adult fiction I read would have been 4th grade or so, so call it 20 years.

1) b) Also about 20 years.

2) "The Last Question" by Asimov, "'Repent, Harlequin!' said the Ticktock Man," by Ellison, "Sandkings" by George R. R. Martin, "The Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang, "The Word for World is Forest" by Le Guin, "The Nine Billion Names of God" by Clarke

3) Five or six on-line sites, no prinat magazines as such (though I tend to read their award nominees when posted, and the occasional full story they put up); they're expensive to get out here in Europe.

4) Three or four

5) Forums

6) No idea.

waterfowl said...

1. Let's see; I'm 28--probably a fiction reader since my Parents taught to read using "Where the wild things are..." I came to SFF in Middle school through Eddings and Feist.

2. A Year in the Linear City by Paul Di Filippo, anything by Jay Lake, anything by China Mieville, anything by Jack Vance. Camus also has some amazing short stories.

3. A Weird Tales subscription is all.

4. Purchased 10-12 having read most of, but probably not 100% of all of them. Steampunk from the Vandermeers is awesome as was Logorrhea.

5. Blogs. No real reason why.

6. Because religions like to fixate on odd things, and no one was using six at the time? Is it an imperfect or inverse reflection of 9, as hell is an imperfect reflection of heaven? I guess that would only work with English lettering...? Somebody tell me. I'm curious.

Si- said...

1.I started reading a lot, in spec genre and other fictions, around 11 years ago. Of course, I was read to a lot by my parents during childhood as well.

2. I really enjoy some of Stephen Kinds short stories, such as those in his anthology 'nightmares and dreamscapes'. Also I love Donaldson's 'Reave the just: and other tales', which are fantastically woven together to either be taken in their parts, or read a a whole.

3. None, really. Had a nosy through Heliotrope.

4. at least four.

5.Blogs, definitely...

6. It falls short of the holy number Seven.

Joe Sherry said...

Balerion: Good call on "The Last Question" I cut my teeth of the stories of Asimov in two big volumes of stories. Love that story.

Larry said...


The Pixies have led you well, as that jibes with what I've heard for years, with the triple repetition referring to the presumed tripartite nature of the Anti-Christ, his false Prophet, and of father Satan. Not that I pay Revelations any more attention than I absolutely have to (too many Doomsday events being spun from that standard fare 1st century BCE apocalyptic literature), but still...


I'll add those this weekend, time permitting.

Everyone else,

Enjoying reading the responses and in a few cases, shall be taking notes and adding sites (and likely a new links section) to my blogroll this weekend.

Daniel Ausema said...

1. a) ummm, let's guess 25 years b) about the same, maybe a little less --I probably started going to that part of the library first at age 11 or so, so 20 years

2. "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" by Borges, "Transformation of Martin Lake" by VanderMeer, "The Avatar of Background Noise" by Toiya Kristen Finley, "The Dead Lady of Clown Town" by Cordwainer Smith, "Draco Campestris" by Sarah Monette. (A few that come to mind today anyway.)

3. Regularly 3 or 4; have I read in all, including online and things for reviews, probably close to 20.

4. Probably 6-10.

5. I hate LJ, though I recognize I ought to get an account... But I check a handful of each blogs and forums periodically.

6. It's the number of legs on an insect?

Jen said...

1. a) 16 years or so
b) 16 years or so. My parents had a very well-stocked bookcase with sci-fi classics alongside adventure books.

2. I've read very few short stories outside the genre. Inside, a couple of my favorite authors are Roger Zelazny and Kelly Link.

3. A couple of (RO) magazines I guess, not too many. I have a short attention span so I rarely read short fiction online. (I have 3 tabs open now, two with Christopher Rowe and one with Mary Robinette Kowal, but I don't know if I'll get to read the stories.)

4. A lot more than usual... but not a lot compared to other. Maybe 4-5 anthos?

5. Blogs. Are why the distinction? LJ is a blogging system like all the others.

6. I've never thought about it. Yes, I would think it's imperfect, but I don't know why. And there were cultures based around the number 12, so it must've been at least "half a perfect number" then...

Swainson said...

1.About the same for both say twenty nine years or so. My mum said my favourite stories to be read were the adventures of Tom Bombadil. I don’t know if that counts.

2.Frank Herbert wrote a great story about the end of warfare. The Sentinel by Arthur Clarke. All those old anthologies like New World’s or Flashing Swords were great; I found a John Brunner story called The Man in Black in one of those which was fantastic. Outside sf/f; horror anthologies only really.

3.Probably about 15. I re-read a lot.

4.Somewhere in the region of ten. I keep reading old ones though.


6.I only know why it is perfect. All the sum of its parts adds and multiplies to 6 and they are all prime numbers. 1+2+3=6, 1*2*3=6

Anonymous said...

1 I'm 36.I'd say a) 29 b) 24

2 At the moment the one that come readily to mind is In a Grove by Ryunosuke Akutagawa.

3 No magazines,many websites (a dozen?)

4 Seven

5 More Blogs

6 Because the devil is six (men is five,and this monkey has gone to heaven) damn,felix beat me to the punch!


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