Monthly Archives: December 2008

Am I an SF fan?

Let’s see.

The top fifty SF books. Bold the ones you’ve read, strike the ones you hated, italicize the ones you couldn’t get through. Asterisks for the ones you loved – more asterisks, more love. Plus signs for the ones you own.  I put minus signs on the ones I got through but didn’t think were all that great.

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien***+
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov +
3. Dune, Frank Herbert -
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein +
5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Leguin +
6. Neuromancer, William Gibson
7. Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.+
13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov *+

14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish *+
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester +
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey–
22. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson +
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl +
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling -
27. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams +

28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson +
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice -
30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin –

31. Little, Big, John Crowley
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny ****+
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement +
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon +

36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute +
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke +
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven +
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys *
41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien +
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut   [not SF]
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson *+
44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner *+
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester *+
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein +

47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks —
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford -
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer +


I recently got to visit Manhattan for the first time.

I rode through the city on top of a double-decker tour bus, getting off here and there to explore.  What surprised me was how small it was.  You could walk from one side of Central Park to the other in less than 10 minutes.  Times Square was just a wider place between the buildings.  Theaters showing major broadway shows like Young Frankenstein didn’t have any more street frontage than the average deli.

There were people everywhere, of course.  The sidewalks weren’t as crowded that day as that scene from Tootsie, but you couldn’t walk more than a few feet without passing somebody.  I think over time that would really get to me.

Lunch was in a random deli down a side street from Canal Street, and was excellent.  I watched the meat being sliced right then and there for the sandwich I’d ordered.  Dinner was in Grand Central Terminal and was also pretty good.

All in all, a busy day, and a very interesting one.