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Finished reading Scalzi's Redshirts last night (one of the Gollancz and Tor nominations for this year's Campbell Award). It was an absolute blast and an extremely quick read: Even ill, I finished it in less than 24 hours, and I'm not a fast reader.

Yes, I am still enjoying the suffering that comes around every time this year for many. Another night of sweating the bed into a puddle, blowing my nose a billion times, and feeling like smeared poo. When I have a fever (yesterday's high was just short of 101°F), I get emotional, as evidenced by my weeping pretty much continually over poor Dean Winchester's suffering (we watched some Supernatural last night). What surprised me is that Scalzi's self-proclaimed "piss-take on televised science fiction" also set me to sobbing. (Okay, I get very emotional when feverish). By the end, though, the rational part of my mind came to the conclusion that this book really is far more than just a romp, and in fact has a lot to say about being human in our age. I promise that though it might make you sad at points, it'll mostly just elicit a single bold tear from most of y'all, plus if you're a fan of TV SF, it'll also elicit a lot of laughter. Every once in a while, Scalzi's micro-writing seems unfinished to me - he doesn't describe any of the characters, provides almost no set-dressing, and seldom appeals to any senses - but you don't read him for beautiful prose. You read this book for rompin' action, entertaining characters, and an interesting idea. If those attributes spin up your warp core, this book is highly recommended.

Speaking of Scalzi, have you noticed that he placed NUMERO UNO on Locus' All-Centuries Poll for Best 21st Century SF Novel for his book, Old Man's War? That gave me pause. I very much enjoyed it then, so perhaps I ought to give it a re-read to analyze why.

I was very pleased to see both Stephenson's Anathem (2nd) and Wilson's Spin (4th) make the top novels list for this century. Both are FANTASTIC books, my favorites of their respective years. I wasn't surprised by much on the 20th Century lists, but is Asimov's The Foundation Trilogy really the 3rd-best book of the last century? Hm. I loved it as a 1980s kid, but pulled it from the required reading list for my SF novels course after getting too many complaints about its crap writing. His The Caves of Steel - a much better novel in every way - is still on my readings list (and placed 56th on the Locus poll).

Another interesting detail: Very little from the last two years made the list in any of the 21st Century categories. I wonder if we should attribute this to our simply needing some time to catch up with reading. If you're like me, you seldom read current work, mostly relying on awards and nominations for such. Too bad for the writers staying in the business of earning money from writing, though. Unless... hm, perhaps this is why we're seeing an up-surge in ebook sales: People discover work well after it's already pulled from physical bookstore shelves, so end up buying used or ebook. Hm.

On the plus side of being feverish, this slightly altered state helped me come up with a new story idea, 1001 words of which I wrote today. Hooray, new story!

Okay, time for a nap, methinks. Hope you're doing well and enjoying 2013.

Chris

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
pointoforigin
Jan. 6th, 2013 03:04 am (UTC)
Hooray, 1001 words! My resolve from last year to read more hasn't worked out quite as well as I hoped, but hey, there's always more new stuff coming along. Maybe I'll get to read more of it this time around.
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2013 05:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And last night, I finally realized how to revise an old novella that I've been in love with *for far too long* that just didn't work... and now it will! But only after quite a massive rewrite. *sigh*

As soon as you start reading something good, the reading itself is the motivation for reading even more!
drpaisley
Jan. 6th, 2013 05:47 am (UTC)
I really wanted to like Spin, but it seemed like every time something big was about to happen, there was no payoff; events occurred, and the protagonists continue on. The calf birth chapter especially. I was rather surprised when it won the Hugo
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2013 05:29 pm (UTC)
Really? Seems like some REALLY HUGE things happened! (Which I won't detail because, y'know, spoilers and all.) Especially at the end....
(Deleted comment)
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2013 05:30 pm (UTC)
Over time, he's come to accept that though they're important to the development of SF, they just don't hold up that well as literature.

When I was that age, I loved them too! This is why I'm afraid to re-read some things I loved so much back then....
steve98052
Jan. 7th, 2013 06:08 pm (UTC)
Asmiov wrote most of his books in two drafts, on a manual typewriter. How well it stands up to a mature reading varies. But even his weaker work is pretty amazing for second drafts.
roseconnelly
Jan. 6th, 2013 07:27 pm (UTC)
Speaking of Scalzi ... did you watch Stargate Universe, of which he was a creative consultant? I had sooo much love for that show, which, of course, is why it was cancelled. Plus it was on the "SyFy" channel, and went beyond their business model of having the absolute dumbest shows possible. Caprica paid the same price because they'd rather air stupid. I guess stupid is cheaper to make and appeals to a wider audience.

And crying over Supernatural? Really? I watched an entire season over two days with a high fever, and I still didn't cry. Maybe because I'm a Dean.
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2013 05:34 pm (UTC)
I haven't yet, but have gotten many strong recommendations to watch it. I frakkin' hate the SyFy channel for ruining so many good things, and also for killing SciFiction.com.

Yes, though Dean often sheds a single manly tear at times that would reduce most people to gibbering fools, very little affects him much, emotionally. Except, y'know, THE HORRIFIC THINGS THAT HAPPEN TO HIM and THOSE HE CARES ABOUT. How anyone could witness his plight and be unaffected astounds me... well, of course, unless they're Dean-like. So, yeah, I think you're spot-on *g*
carmy_w
Jan. 7th, 2013 09:25 pm (UTC)
Poor Chris! Hope you're feeling better by today!

Having never ever been prone to tears, it's always a bit disconcerting when I get hit with them. Mostly, it's just a lump in my throat and a sniff.

Unless I'm just plain pissed off. Then, whoever made me mad had better stay out of arms length!
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2013 10:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks - I am! And I'll remember to stand back if I see tears on your cheeks ;-)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )