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List Lover

I love reading and have always favored science fiction; especially hard sci-fi, aliens, bio-anthro themes, horror, space opera, and philosophical and cosmological themes. I will take the time to read great books in almost any genre.

Currently reading

Edge of Infinity
Stephen Baxter, Gwyneth Jones, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, Sandra McDonald, Jonathan Strahan, Paul J. McAuley, Elizabeth Bear, Alastair Reynolds, Hannu Rajaniemi, John Barnes, James S.A. Corey, An Owomoyela, Stephen D. Covey
Blue Remembered Earth
Alastair Reynolds
Books of Blood, Vols. 1-3
Clive Barker
The New Weird
Ann VanderMeer, Jeff VanderMeer
Jack Glass: The Story of A Murderer (Golden Age)
Adam Roberts
Use of Weapons
Iain M. Banks
Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic
David Quammen
James A. Michener


Weapon - Robert Mason A really beautiful story about the emergence of intelligence in a machine, deceptively hidden in a story about politics and the military.
A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter M. Miller Jr. The classic NPR radio dramatization is available for free on http://archive.org/details/ACanticleForLiebowitz
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom - Cory Doctorow Fun book with hard sci-fi ideas about the near future. And if you know your Disneyland rides well, it makes it even more fun.
The Drowning Girl - Caitlín R. Kiernan Got halfway through. This is a book for literary specialists I suppose. There was barely a plot and it was so overemphasized that the narrator was unreliable that I didn't get hooked by anything that was written. It is definitely not scary, not horror, not creepy, etc.

This book received the Tiptree Award and I can see why. The way the author wrote about female sexuality was very good, modern, and realistic. But this was only a small part of what was going on.
Behold the Man - Michael Moorcock I read the original novella version that won the Nebula. It was great. Oops! That time travel can get a person into a lot of trouble.
This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War - Drew Gilpin Faust I thought the content was fascinating, but I could not pay attention to the audiobook for more than minutes at a time. The style of writing struck me as academic or sanitary or without personal connection from the author. At the end, I thought Faust needed to apply what the subject matter explored. For instance, Faust talked about how the Americans in the civil war tried to not treat all the civil war dead as just parts of a machine. In a recursive twist, Faust's style of writing treated the material as mechanical content, to be proven as in a PhD thesis. In a commercial book, I don't care if every point is perfectly proven. I want to connect with the humanity of the author and what he/she knows and cares about in the content. Dr. Faust, heal thyself.
On the Jellicoe Road - Melina Marchetta Just not for me. Seemed to really have the Y in YA. And I was never surprised at the reveals. I think I was supposed to be.
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln - Doris Kearns Goodwin Great. In the beginning of the book, Goodwin demonstrates, through letters between men, just how screwed up we have become about friendships. It was common for hetero men to express love and longing towards each other....one reason, I think, was because they weren't scared of being accused of being homosexuals. But this is a problem I see between all people in present day America. We only allow ourselves to express these feelings when feeling romantic love. I think it damages us that we don't feel free to express deep, loving feelings towards any loved one.

There were, of course, numerous other great things about this book.
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk - Ben Fountain This book is one reason I don't give up on "contemporary" fiction. I think, as a genre, it is very difficult to do a good job as an author in the contemporary world. This book just didn't miss for me.

Now, if you are: sensitive about religion or politics, sensitive about the current wars, sensitive about football, or sensitive about sex and cussing, you will NOT like this book.

However, if you are ok with those things, you might really enjoy this like I did. The author just didn't miss. From moment to moment, I was thinking, "Hey, ya, that is weird. Why do we, as a country, do that?" "Hey ya, that is bizarre." etc. And then, of course, I felt like I was let into the mind of a soldier who had suffered a lot of trauma and would likely suffer more. That wasn't completely new, but the way it was contrasted with What's up on the Home Front was very thought-provoking.

A great book about current American culture.
In the Courts of the Sun - Brian D'Amato Wow! What a great book! And so underrated up on Goodreads. I read a bunch of reviews to figure out why it is so underrated.

Here's the thing. If you don't like one or more of the following, you will NOT like this book: being scared, being grossed out, being faced with some facts about how the world could end, violence to animals or people, sci-fi, horror, weird things, violent cultures like the Mayans, drug use, time-travel, long books, or the first of a series where all the storylines are not wrapped up. Or if your main character has to be a great, loveable guy, a hero, then you won't like this.

Now, if you like all those things, especially: weird, creepy, time-traveling, world-building of Mayan culture with a dystopian bent, this is probably THE book for you. Even better, the writer creates the most realistic modern voice in the narrator that I've ever read. He talks like a regular person (well a regular person with Asperger's syndrome or some type of non-normal pattern of thinking that allows him to remember everything and get completely absorbed in certain topics such as Mayan culture, calendars, and games). It's shocking at how realistic he talks at first, and then if you're like me, you'll like it. It's funny one second, scary the next, and gives you direct access to the worlds he is experiencing.

The voice of the narrator and the way it is written looks like an innovation in literature to me. Once I read it, I realized that everything else I have read so far was conventional to some degree.

Now I am trying to learn more about Mayan, Aztec, Incan cultures. I find them fascinating.

I am looking forward to reading the second book now.
Perdido Street Station - China Miéville Ah, this book is a messy quilt of genres. It is about a city that is a messy quilt of species, cultures, and environments and one of the characters is a walking messy quilt of random multi-specie body parts. Fractals, yet never using the word fractal.

Mieville easily gets away with many things in this book that I would complain about if attempted by someone else. The execution is so perfect, I feel honored to read it.

And just when I think I get where he's going, he punches me in the face with another cool thing.

Art is about something new and appropriate for the time. That is exactly what this book was and is.
Neverness - David Zindell Grrr. This book was frustrating. It could be really great but it wasn't truly edited. It was all over the place in many parts and then great in other parts.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler I loved this book. If you like psychology or chimps, and especially if you are interested in Fouts book, "Next of Kin," then you will probably love this book. I recommend reading Next of Kin first and then this novel.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey Just a great book. Creepy/scary. But much more.
The Warrior's Apprentice - Lois McMaster Bujold I'm finding these books to be "space soap opera" rather than space opera. I like it though. They also always have a clever hero like House or The Mentalist.
Rising Stars Compendium - J. Michael Straczynski I really like this story but I am not cut out for graphic novels.