Science Fiction 101 Reading List

What are the fundamental books a newcomer to science fiction should read in order to achieve a basic conversance with the genre? To keep this practicable for this notional novice, what ten books would suffice?

I am unqualified to answer this question. My list would necessarily displease everyone. Only an unjustifiably self-confident jackanapes, a grinning idiot embodying the Dunning-Kruger Effect would even attempt such a thing.

Right, I’m your man then.

Aftermath

I had a party at my house last night, a triple celebration: my fiftieth birthday, the tenth anniversary of my marriage to MBW, and MBW’s U.S. citizenship. The house echoed at times with the play of what seemed a hundred children, but couldn’t have been more than a half dozen. At the end of the night we discovered that a glutinous jar of pink slime, some sort of kid’s plaything, had been ground into the HA’s carpet. While a few remaining adults got down to cleaning that up (it turns out ice cubes are useful in that regard — helpful tip for you) I went back downstairs to pack up leftovers and load the dishwasher. The aftermath of the party.

Naturally, that got me thinking about war. Specifically the aftermath, the cleanup. And more specifically, how fantasy novels tend to deal with (or not deal with) the aftermath of the epic battles that fill their pages.

San Antonio, Part Two

I’ve returned from vacation in San Antonio. I’d like to say rested and refreshed, but I’m not here to lie to you, dear reader. I came down with a cold during my trip and I’m far from either rested or refreshed. Friday, the first day back in the office was…unpleasant. Brutal would be an overstatement. But I was in poor condition to wade through the piles of work that had built up during my absence.

San Antonio

The Alamo, as if you needed me to tell you that.

The web log is travelling. The HA is anxious to get to Six Flags. Who has time to write? So instead of my usual maunderings, here are some photos of San Antonio, Texas.

Lion Tamers

Butterfly day at the zoo, much to the delight of the HA.

Everything is bigger in Texas. Get a load of those pigeons.

The River Walk.

The Sniper Tree

Tower of the Americas.

Birthday taster at Blue Star Brewing.

Your safety is our number one priority.

Editing

Editing hurts. If sculpting is removing all the bits of marble that aren’t the statue, then editing is cutting away all the words that aren’t the story. Except the sculptor didn’t create that block of marble first; someone else delivered it to his studio. When I’m editing I’m modifying something I’ve already gone to the trouble of creating.

Sometimes those modifications are easy. “What the hell was I thinking? That makes no sense and contradicts what something that comes later.” Slash, gone. Or revised to fit. Other times the process is more difficult. It might be a particularly good scene. Or it provides greater insight into a character. Or I happen to find it clever and amusing. But is it necessary?

Milestone Reflections

This March is replete with major life milestones. Maybe I ought to offer each a few moments of reflection before the fact rather than let the weight of the milestones drop on me unprepared.

The tenth anniversary of my marriage impends. Ten years married to MBW. A decade. Imagine that. All those who thought no one could endure my nonsense for more than a few months can suffer the ignominy of error. I can understand the surprise, though. I mean, I know me pretty well and I have trouble putting up with myself. And those skeptics were merely relying on past history. A perfectly justifiable metric.

Life Does Not Care About Your Convenience

Shortly before noon yesterday I finally completed the first draft of Warlord. Needless to say, this pleased me. I looked forward to celebrating. But life does not give a damn about my desires. Instead of celebrating, I was laid low by whatever malady my daughter has been suffering since Thursday.

So, if you’ll forgive me, I’m going to stop writing this and crawl back into bed.

Top Ten Fantasy Films

These things are subjective. They have to be. By what metric does one objectively quantify entertainment value? I believe I’ve said before I don’t really have favorites. I can and do enjoy things equally, without rankings. So what I’m listing herein is merely a current snapshot of what I consider the elite group of fantasy films, appearing without any particular order (perhaps descending, though I won’t be held to it.

What am I considering as a fantasy film? I must necessarily limit this, as the category would otherwise be overbroad. For the purposes of this exercise, fantasy means swords and magic.  I’m excluding animated films. Live action only.

Let’s step right through the wardrobe, shall we?