Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick
mckitterick

Reading, writing, and blowing my nose. Also 1001 words on a new story.

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
Tags: books, reading, science fiction, writing
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