Thursday, January 19, 2006

Three Science Fiction and Fantasy Books I Should Finish

These are three books taken from my Couldn't-Finish-But-I-Feel-That-I-Should-List. It is going to take forever to discuss all the books sitting on my shelf and I'm starting to doubt my sanity for doing this. Anyhoo, here are the three books, in no particular order.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
How I really wanted to read this book! I got about four or fivechapters in and started getting antsy cuz I felt that the story wasn't really moving along. Everyone told me that this was "tension" and "suspense," but to me it was like reading through writer's block. I kept thinking that JK Rowling had something to say, but was having a bit of a hard time of it, but decided to write through it. Then, for reasons I don't understand (probably due to publication deadlines or something like that), the editor left in the flabby writing. *sigh* Anyways, I want to finish reading the book, though, mostly because I want to find out how Sirius dies and because I got the follow-up, The Half-Blood Prince, as a birthday gift.

Humans by Robert J. Sawyer
If you don't know, Humans is the second book in Robert J. Sawyer's Neanderthal Parallax series (Hominids, Humans and Hybrids). I read Hominids and I thought it was a pretty good book. The basis of the story is that there's a parallel earth where the Neanderthals beat out Homo Sapiens as the dominant species of homonid and, through a freak quantum computing accident, a Neandethal crosses into our reality. It's a really cool book and while it can be a bit contrived and the Neanderthal world is way too idyllic for my taste (hammering in the "the environment is important, mmkay" message of the book), it kept me interested. But Humans was a whole other story. I got it as a gift and started reading it and could see right away where it was going. I felt even more manipulated by the lesson-of-the-week feel of some parts of the book and I really didn't like the sex scenes, so when I got sidetracked and put Humans down, I wasn't really in a rush to pick it up. But then all my friends read it and told me that it was good, so now I'm going to finish reading it. Eventually.

Island Dreams edited by Claude Lalumiere
Of all the books I've had a hard time finishing, this is the most interesting and well-written of the lot! It's an anthology of weird fiction, ranging from speculative fiction to macabre, by Montreal-based writers. It's a really excellent collection and I have to congratulate Claude Lalumiere for finding such top-notch fiction. I mean, the future worlds don't overpower the stories, nor do they seem like irrelevant contrivances; the future worlds just mesh really well with the stories, making them seem natural and almost commonplace (it's tough to make your spec-fic look like Blade Runner rather than, say, Total Recall). I stopped reading the anthology at a story called "Carrion Luggage" (Claude told me that the anthology was meant to be read sequentially). It was going to be the third or fourth macabre story and I was really starting to get freaked out by them. Already the zombie love story set in the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetary in Montreal had given me nightmares (probably because my psyche wasn't prepared for thinking of Montreal flooded by global warming and corpses rising in the cemetary where the bodies of people I know are burried), I didn't need to know about carrion in luggage. I have a really active imagination and this book was like caffeine and chocolate for it! So I stopped reading the book, despite the fact that I had to interview Claude for The Show. (I justified it as saying that he was the editor and not the author, so it was OK.) Now Island Dreams sits on my shelf, waiting for me to get a grip.


  1. I'm heavily into sci-fi and fantasy myself. Very fond of Poul Anderson, Larry Niven and Asimov - and Tolkien of course.

    I was drawn to your website through your profile and the filing of Gently Down the Stream as a favorite book.

    Is that the Gently Down the Stream by Ray Robertson? I find he's a marvelous writer and a really nice guy too.


  2. Yes, it's Ray Robertson's "Gently Down The Stream." It's a great book and he's a good guy. I've had him on The Show twice (the other time was for Moody Food). I even went to the karaoke-book-launch for GDTS. Good times.

  3. Land Of Golden Dreams ISBN-10: 16067224665
    I would like you to read this book and give me and others your opinion from this site. Of 40 people I have been contacted by 39 think it should be made a movie.

  4. Constance Judge Lampe, Missouri
    I have never really been a fan of fantasy novels until now. This book is not a book for someone who has only a minute to read now and then. Caution: you won't want to put this book down once you have started it!!!
    It is a "spellbinder". The author holds your attention and you can't wait to find out what is going to happen next. It shows not only imagination but real thought mixed with adventure and love. I would recommend this book to anyone that loves adventure, fantasy, excitement and romance. It would make a great gift for Christmas and I have already purchased one and will probably purchase more to send to friends. (By the way, I am 75 years young and still like adventure)!!

  5. Oooops I forgot to say that my review was of Land Of Golden Dreams it can also be found here.

    Constance Judge Lampe, Missouri