The OF Blog: Friday the 13th Book Porn

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday the 13th Book Porn


Received 14 books so far this week, 4 of them being imports from Belgium and Spain, the others being review copies from Tor, Random House, and Putnam/Penguin. I have already begun reading quite a few of these and some have me quite excited. I'll try to elaborate a bit more in the comments below:

Top: Karen Chance, Curse the Dawn (A Cassie Palmer urban fantasy volume, I think it'll be unlikely that I'll read this any time soon); Roberto Bolaño, Amberes (originally written around 1980 but not published until 2002, this short collection of poems and story fragments served as the genesis for what Bolaño wrote about later. Most of this is contained in another book of his, however, but I believe there are parts not included in that latter volume); Roberto Bolaño, Entre paréntesis (posthumous 2004 collection of many of Bolaño's non-fiction pieces. Will be reading this in the next few days); Roberto Bolaño, La Universidad Desconocida (posthumous 2007 collection of Bolaño's poetry, including most of Amberes. Finished reading this last night and my already-high opinion of Bolaño as a poet only increased); Robert Aspirin, Dragon's Luck (Aspirin finished this book just before his May 2008 death. Uncertain if I'll read it, however.); David and Stella Gemmell, Troy: Fall of Kings (tradeback version of the book that Gemmell's wife completed after his death a couple of years ago. Might hunt down the first two volumes and read those later, but this is not an immediate read for me right now); Robert J. Sawyer, WWW: Wake (first in a series of books devoted to the web, to AI, to all sorts of things like that. Might read it in a month or two).



Top: Poul Anderson, The Broken Sword (decided to read this 1954 fantasy novel after seeing it referred to quite a bit by Richard Morgan in his recent essay on Tolkien. Will be reading it today and possibly reviewing it by Sunday); Michio Kaku, Physics of the Impossible (non-fiction book by a leading String Theory proponent examining the possibilities for various SF devices actually coming into existence. I am roughly 50% complete with this book and it is an outstanding read. Might devote a full-length review to it before the month is over. Highly recommended for the scientific-oriented readers. Will be out on April 7); Alexander C. Irvine, Buyout (this near-future philosophical thriller might outrage a few on both sides of the capital punishment debate. Will be reading this in the next few weeks, as this is a topic that greatly interests me); Thomas E. Sniegoski, Dancing on the Head of a Pin (second installment in the Remy Chandler urban fantasy series. Since I don't have the first volume, uncertain if/when I'll read this); Ellen Datlow (ed.), Nebula Awards Showcase 2009 (reprint anthology of some of best short fiction, as judged by SFWA. Will read in the near future); Sarah Monette, Corambis (been waiting for this final, fourth volume in Monette's The Doctrine of Labyrinths series for almost two years now. Will be reading this in the next week or so and will have a review ready around the first week of April); Gene Wolfe, The Best of Gene Wolfe (collection of some of Wolfe's finest short stories, novelettes, and novellas over the past 39 years. Have already begun reading it and will read in at a leisurely pace for the next week or two).

So...have any of these books piqued your interest?

15 comments:

RobB said...

I received all the Penguin imprints you did, and some of the others, too. I may dip into Kaku's book (which I also received) based on your brief comments here.

Sawyer's new one looks cool and shiny.

The Witchfinder said...

I pre-ordered that Wolfe book a while back as I am currently focusing on reading and re-reading many of the older sci-fi classics (Clarke, Vonnegut, Dick, Huxley, etc), but it hasn't arrived yet. Amazon lists my order as likely to ship in the beginning of April, so it won't be too long!

That Kaku book looks absolutely riveting, though! My ex actually studies physics at Monash University in Melbourne and dumps a lot of strange, esoteric facts at me at a regular basis (90% of which flies waaay over my head, obviously), so I have developed a certain taste for this stuff. Thanks for the heads up!

billectric said...

This comment is about your poll. You want to hear something funny? I knew I wanted to vote for either a Samuel Delany 'Dhalgren' review or an M. John Harrison 'Viriconium' review. It was a toss-up. I deferred to Delany, reasoning thay he wrote 'Dhalgren' before Harrison wrote 'Viriconium' and that, in general, I think Delany has been around longer.

So after I voted, I looked at the poll results. When I saw that M. John Harrison was in the lead, I was like, 'Whoohoo!'

It's funny how we don't always know what we want.

keele864 said...

Re: Poul Anderson and Richard Morgan: I wonder if Morgan is basing his argument off Michael Moorcock's? Moorcock has long championed The Broken Sword over LOTR.

acrisalves said...

I've been interest in The Best of Gene Wolf for a while... and something from Bollano. I already have 2 Bollanos that I want to read soon.
Michio Kaku's books use to be great - he exposes very well hard concepts.

Anonymous said...

I, too, lust after Kaku's book. Most of my TV time is spent watching The Science Channel-anything pertaining to physics. I had ordered a new LotR box set to reread along with everyone else currently rereading it. It never came. (Thanks USPS.) Now, maybe I'll just skip it and look for a copy of The Broken Sword.

Mary C

Gabriele C. said...

I'm looking forward to the Anderson review. I've had my eyes on that novel for quite some time.

Larry said...

So many comments! :D

Rob and Mary C,

Do read the Kaku ASAP (in stores 4/7 for those who didn't receive review copies). Finished it today. Very, very good laying out of the physics problems for various SF-related ideas/machines.

Witchfinder,

Release date for the Wolfe book is March 17, so perhaps you'll receive it a bit earlier, even if it has to cross the Pacific Ocean.

Bill,

I was hoping that people would have reactions similar to yours and it seems as though I have! I'll likely read/review most, if not all, of those books in the next three months or so and it's fun giving readers a say, since I myself am divided a bit. Would have loved to have seen more votes for Bellow and Mailer, but overall, the wide distribution patterns are excellent :D

Keele,

Hard to say. Morgan has said that both Anderson and Moorcock have been major influences on his reading and now writing of fantasy fiction and I saw traces of Anderson's influence on The Steel Remains when I read The Broken Sword yesterday and today.

Gabriele,

There will be a review of the Anderson in the next couple of days. First I have to write the review of Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones and if I have energy tonight, then maybe I'll start on the Anderson. If not, either Sunday or Tuesday evening (Monday will drain me completely and it's possible Tuesday will be worse, what with me having to do without food/water for 12 hours before having a liver ultrasound performed in the mid-afternoon).

Acrisalves,

Did you hear the news that this past week they discovered a lot more of Bolaño's writing, including a sixth part to 2666, in some of his papers and computer files that hadn't been examined since his 2003 death? Very stoked about this.

Liviu said...

Regarding Michio Kaku's book - I saw it last year in stores - it's an 08 original release in hc btw - but I never really looked through it because usually these books use our current knowledge leaving aside the "unknown unknowns" so it's like the famous physicists of the 19th century claiming that Earth cannot be more than 50 million years old despite whatever the geologists claimed - it just happened they had no clue about radiation.

And the examples of such type of thinking abound, including a famous book called The End of Science written not that many years ago that sort of led me to avoid the kind of books that try and speculate in the more than near future based on current knowledge; to me that is useless since the unknown unknowns dominate even in the medium term in our fast moving civilization

Sure it's easy to poke fun at Star Trek teleporting and of most super-science in current sf - though Alastair Reynolds may have something to say in his novels which contain the best mind-boggling hard-sf that is consistent to our current knowledge as far as I know - but I will give a try to this book just to see of it's another of the same or the author brings something new to the table.

Regarding the strings qualifications of the author, well String Theory is like theology so far, so until some experiments show it's about our Universe (or our Multiverse as the string guys are forced to accept now if they want to keep the theory working) and not some imagined paper one...

It may be that there is nothing else in physics that has a shot at improving the Standard model and working out how Einstein and QM mesh - though the relational Quantum Gravity guys may beg to differ - but so what, it still does not mean String Theory has any relevance to reality until proven otherwise

Larry said...

Liviu,

While I suspected the book was a reprint, it still is one that's worth reading precisely because Kaku addresses most of the points you raise. He doesn't dismiss Star Trek, if anything he credits it for inspiring some physicists to look at transportation issues from a different angle and thus discovering some interesting possibilities. It is a good layman's guide to what is currently being argued and while Kaku is involved in String Theory, he acknowledges just how difficult it is to "prove" (he suspects it'll take at least 20-50 years to find indirect evidence and perhaps longer).

I'll say more in a few days, whenever I get around to writing a full review.

presen said...

Redtube

Anonymous said...

Also stoked about a possible 6th part to 2666. And looking forward to your poetry translations.

Mary C

acrisalves said...

«Acrisalves,

Did you hear the news that this past week they discovered a lot more of Bolaño's writing, including a sixth part to 2666, in some of his papers and computer files that hadn't been examined since his 2003 death? Very stoked about this.»

Yeap... I've read the news... with a fresh copy of 2666 in my desk... Bah !

Liviu said...

Today I picked up a copy from my library system of Michio Kaku's book and I have to say that the book is better than I expected.

I read the author Hyperspace book a while ago and I was somewhat disappointed about the "thinness" - content-wise of it

Reading Physics of the Impossible the same thinness struck me - I kind of read all his arguments about most topics several times over in various books and there was very little new for me in this one, but I admired the clarity of exposition, the forthrightness and the author's optimism.

A great book for people not acquainted with speculations about the limits of physics - about 15 years ago as a graduate instructor, I was co-organizer of an undergraduate course in the topic of Physics and Religion, and I've been reading these kinds of books for more than 20 years now, even though for the past 5 years or so I read only selected books since they got repetitive...

Incidentally a good new book on the math angle - "the unreasonable effectiveness of math" appeared recently - Is God a Mathematician by Mario Livio - and that is also quite clear and well presented and would make a great companion to this one.

keele864 said...

I saw a fairly long Spanish-language article about the discovery of Part Six of 2666 (and two more novels), but nothing in the English press offered any more details about the finds. Do you have any details?

 
Add to Technorati Favorites