Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"The Second Kind of Loneliness" by George R. R. Martin

First Printing:  Analog, December 1972

“The Second Kind of Loneliness” is one of my all-time favorite short stories. The author chose to tell the story in the form of diary entries. While I would not want to see this used on a regular basis, it was the right choice for this tale.

Martin’s classic is about the solitary man who works on a stargate station.  His job is to activate the gate and help ships navigate through it. Long spells between ships can make for lonely times. When the ship that is supposed to take him home does not show up on time, the operator starts to panic.

The story showcases the emotions and thoughts of the operator with skill. It reminds me of the tales of lighthouse keepers in the days of the sailing ships.  Martin pulled me into the mindset of the protagonist. I started to feel the same concerns as the main character. I think it helped that I read this while sitting on a beach when my wife and I were in Delaware. We were there in September and the beach was relatively empty.  Looking out at the ocean with few people around helped me sympathize with the protagonist.

If I had to compare this to a similar story I would suggest “Flowers for Algernon”.  The two stories are very different but both authors create similar emotions.

Highly recommended.

Monday, November 29, 2010

"The Night Has 999 Eyes" by Roger Zelazny

First Printing:  Double:  Bill, 1964

On the list of Roger Zelazny stories, this ranks near the bottom. The language is as excellent as a reader has come to expect from this author. Unfortunately the story itself reads like a fragment of another story that he started but didn't finish.  Since this appeared in a fanzine instead of a prozine, I guess the editors did not care for this story fragment.

If you have to read everything Roger Zelazny wrote (like me), pick it up and give it a try. It does not take long to read. If you are looking for good Zelazny short fiction, I would recommend looking elsewhere.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"With Morning Comes Mistfall" by George R. R. Martin

First Printing:  Analog, May 1973

Sometimes, an author comes along who really connects with you. George R. R. Martin is one of those authors when he is writing short fiction. I have not read enough of his novels to see if this is true of them.

“With Morning Comes Mistfall” contains all of the traditional Martin tropes.
• A castle in an improbable place.
• An alien world with mysteries
• Mists, fog and other atmospheric conditions that help set the mood
• A character who does not belong in their world (similar to Roger Zelazny’s)

In this world, the mists fall in the morning and rise at dusk. So the world is either fogged in or dark. It makes it hard for explorers to map this world.  Various visitors have died in the valley. Rumor has it that they were killed by a mysterious native race. A group comes with the equipment needed to the mystery once and for all. Of course this upsets the owner/builder of the castle who gets most of its clients from people who want to see if they can spot the natives. Either way, this mystery will be solved. The owner laments that
humanity does not need to solve every mystery. The story is told from the point of view of a reporter who sympathizes with the owner.

Is it good to know the answer to every question? This is the main theme. When you read a story that is this good, it is easy to see the author’s point. It is a story that I will re-read in the future. This was my second time to read it.

In my opinion, I too felt sad at the end of this story. The universe is a sad place when the mystery is gone.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"The Stainless Steel Leech" by Roger Zelazny

First Printing:  Amazing Stories, April 1963

From looking at this cover you would never know that it contains a Roger Zelazny story.  Later in his career they would put his name on it if he wrote a letter to the editor.  The reason for this was probably because it appeared under the pen name "Harrison Denmark".  His early stories for Amazing appeared under this name.  At the time, readers speculated that "Harrison Denmark" was really Harry Harrison who was living in Denmark at the time.  The name of this story added fuel to this rumor since Harrison was writing the "Stainless Steel Rat" stories.

Zelazny liked working in the science fantasy field.  In this story he combines the traditional end of humanity and robots who inherit our legacy with the fantasy element of vampires.  This is common for the author.  One example would be the combination of alternate worlds with magic in his Amber series.

The mixture works in this story.  The robots inheriting the world from humanity as been done before.  The twist with the vampires is what makes this story different.  When Zelazny does something like this, I don't find myself questioning him. He somehow makes it work.  Part of the success of this endeavor is the way he focus' on the loneliness and friendship experienced by a robot who is an outcast and a vampire who lives in a world where humanity has dies out.

This is another in the long line of recommended Zelazny short stories.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Final Circle of Paradise by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

Before I review this book, I should explain my reading habits.  Back in the early days of my science fiction and fantasy reading (around 1971), I would devour any book I got my hands on.  Granted back then the books were closer the novella length but I would read a 150 page book in 2 days maximum.  If a book did not appeal to me, I did not worry about it.  I would be moving on to another book shortly.  Eventually, I started to build my personnel collection through used book stores and trips to the local newsstand.  Thus my first to be read stack was built.  Then I reached a dilemma.  I wanted to read all of them at the same time.  My solution became reading multiple books at the same time.  I would break from reading novels when the new magazines arrived.  I regularly read Galaxy, Analog, F&SF, and Amazing.  Later, I would add that new magazine-Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine (and for a short time the Adventure magazine from Asimov’s) to my magazine stack.  So this normally amounted to reading 3 novels plus assorted magazines at the same time.  When a story started to loose my interest, I would put the book down and go to the next one.  At some point I would pick the book back up and finish it.  This has worked well for me.  Some people say they would be confused if they bounce between multiple books but I always thought of my reading habit as being similar to watching television or reading comic books.  I never had a problem keeping the characters and events straight with other media so why would I have a problem with reading books the same way.  Let’s be honest here.  How many people have followed Star Trek through all of the various incarnations?  Do the fans of the original series still recall the stories they watched in the 70s?

Flash forward to 2010.  I am now approaching the half century mark.  My reading habits still include reading about 3 books at the same time.  I still break for the new magazines when I pick them up.  My to be read stack has exploded over the years.  It is now around (I have not counted lately) 300 to 400 books.  New books are constantly trying to fight their way into my book cases.  Realistically speaking, I am never going to read all of the books I would like to.  If I stopped picking up new and used books, I could get caught up.  I don’t plan on that so I have one other alternative.  I am being more discriminating on what I am reading.  If I reach the third to half way point and a story has not caught my attention, I will stop reading it.  In some cases I might be missing out on a good ending but I think my reading time is better spent moving on to another book.

Now I finally get to “Final Circle of Paradise” by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.  I remember seeing the DAW Books ads for various Strugatsky books.  Somehow, I never found them.  “Final Circle of Paradise” was the first one I found in a used book store.  Non-english science fiction has always fascinated me.  Based on what I have heard, the Strugatsky's are some of Russia's top sf authors.  The risk with translated novels is the quality of the translation.  Since I don't read Russian, I have to assume that the translator did a good job.

Unfortunately, this read as a very boring travelogue for the first half.  The protagonist wanders around the city.  That is the main plot of the first half.  He does not do anything except visit different parts of the city.  This can be alright if the environment is unique or fascinating.  This one is neither.  It ruined the story for me.  When I am a third of the way through a novel and it has done nothing to catch my attention, it rarely gets a good review.  Unless you are a have to read every Strugatsky novel, I would avoid this one.  I will not write them off based on this one book.  I think the next one I read by them will be "Roadside Picnic".  I have heard many good comments on it. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

"The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" by Robert A. Heinlein

First Printing:  Unknown Worlds, October 1942

This was very different from any Robert Heinlein novel I have read in the past.  It appears to be a Twilight Zone crime noir story.  I can definitely see this as the perfect Unknown/Weird Tales type of mystery.

The protagonists are reminiscent of Nick and Nora Charles of the Thin Man series.  The mystery of what exactly is Jonathan Hoag’s profession is the perfect case.  It starts out as a simple mystery that will be easy to solve.  Just when the reader thinks the mystery is explained, then the story takes a bizarre turn.  Heinlein would have been an excellent crime writer if he had chosen that direction.  I am curious what effect he would have had on the crime fiction field.  It would have been science fiction’s loss.  Fortunately he chose science fiction.

I wonder if Roger Zelazny read this story.  Zelazny liked using the Raymond Chandler style of writing, a setting that appears to be a normal world, then add an element of the fantastic to the mix.  Heinlein's script had a tighter plot that most of Zelazny’s work.  Zelazny had the upper hand with poetic, melancholy language.  I still enjoy re-reading Zelazny’s work because of the language.  

If you have not read “The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag”, I would strongly recommend you take the time.  It is a short novel that deserves more attention.  It also shows that Heinlein could write something that is completely different from his traditional works.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

"The Monster and the Maiden" by Roger Zelazny

First Printing:  Galaxy Magazine, December 1964

Once again, Roger Zelazny proves why he is one of my favorite writers.  It takes a special writer to craft a good story at this length.  He is one of the best.   This is one that I had never read.  On a side note, the three stories that sold me on Zelazny’s short fiction (“The Man Who Loved the Faoli”, “The Keys to December”, and “For A Breath I Tarry”) will be reviewed in the next few weeks.  I originally read them in Donald A. Wollheim’s World’s Best SF collections.  I have not read them since back in the 70s.  It should be a fun trip down memory lane.

Like “And I Alone…” , this one would have made a good Twilight Zone episode (with some creative directing).  He throws an unexpected twist at you that makes you reconsider other monster and the maiden stories.  Maybe things were not as cut and dry as they seemed.  I can not talk about the plot any more without ruining the story so just take my word for it and track down this little gem.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"And I Alone Am Escaped to Tell Thee " by Roger Zelazny

First Printing:  Twilight Zone, May 1981

Back in the early days of my sf reading, one of my friends and I were hooked on the Perry Rhodan series.  Many science fiction fans had a strong dislike of the series.  I can see their point.  Perry Rhodan was a German produced throw back to the old pulp style stories.  I have always been able to enjoy some fiction as escapism and others as serious fiction.  Would I enjoy that series today?  Probably not but it will always have a place on my bookshelf.  Sometimes I get them out and look through them.  It is fun to visit the places of our youth.  In the words of a famous writer, I told you that story so I could tell you another.

One of the features in the back of the Perry Rhodan books was called “Shock Shorts”.  Normally less than 5 pages, they told a story with a twist ending.  The idea was to invoke memories of the Twilight Zone television show or the old comic book anthologies.  The best part of “Shock Shorts” was it was a chance for a new writer to get something in print.  The first Steven Utley story I can remember was one of the “Shock Shorts”.  Reading “And I Alone Am Escaped to Tell Thee” brought back memories of those stories.  Being written by Roger Zelazny, one of my favorites, means that it is better written than the shorts in the back of Perry Rhodan.  

Roger Zelazny uses his skill at poetic, moody writing to quickly pull you into this very short story.  He manages to bring an old legend to life and combine it with a touch of history.  I would recommend tracking this story down and reading it.  It can easily be read in one sitting but the haunting images will stay with you long after you finish it.  At first I thought that it would make a great episode of the Twilight Zone.  This story originally appeared in the Twilight Zone magazine.

It would have been interesting to see what Roger would have done with the “New Weird” movement.  I think his style would have been perfect for it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Midnight Dancers by Gerard F. Conway

Gerard F. Conway spent many years writing great comic books.  In my teen years he was one of my favorites.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered a DAW book called "Mindship" by the same author.  After writing a couple of science fiction novels, Conway choose writing comics full time.  

"Mindship" was one of the novels I still vividly remember from my younger days.  This year I managed to find his other novel.  I eagerly devoured it.  Unfortunately, this novel is not in the same class as "Mindship".  

"Mindship" had a great main character, an intriguing idea, and fantastic atmosphere.  The mood dripped off the pages.  This one, and it is a first novel, missed the mark.  Most of the novel is taken up with detailed descriptions of what it is like to be a primitive hunter.  The characterization is severely lacking.  "Cardboard" characters spring to mind when you force yourself through this book. The story that is talked about on the back cover is missing for most of this novel.  When we do get to the main story, it is rushed.  Where "Mindship" seemed shorter than it was, this one seemed much longer.  That is not a good sign. 

Avoid "Midnight Dancers" and pick up "Mindship" instead.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"By Fools Like Me" by Nancy Kress

First Printing:  Isaac Asimov's SF Magazine, September 2007

Kress has crafted a fine story here.  The tale of a grandmother and grand daughter in a future world that suffers from the devastating effects of climate change.  Books are evidence of sin because they are made out of wood taken from trees.  This book shows what happens when the grand daughter finds a few books.  She and her grandmother share a special time reading them until...

Kress does a good job of showing the effects of hate.  The bonds of hatred are hard to break.  Sometimes the negative feelings take priority and control people's lives.

The author thought out the effects of a climate disaster.  The rules and lifestyle of the survivors are presented like things have always been this way.

Not a great story but it is a good solid one.

Friday, February 19, 2010

"Draw" by Pati Nagle

First Printing:  Isaac Asimov's SF Magazine, September 2007

Sometimes you read a short story and just know that it is in a particular magazine.  While reading "Draw" I had to keep double checking the cover to see if I had picked up Analog.  It reminded me of a typical Analog problem solving story.  It is not an insult.  Personally, I enjoy Analog.

"Draw" seems like it was inspired by the old Winston Science Fiction series.  It features a young protagonist in a strange environment.  He is worried that his father will not survive if he waits for the authorities so he takes matters into his own hands.  This is a classic science fiction plot.  The author does a good job with it.  It is not the kind of story that will win awards but it is fun to revisit this style.  I would like to see more stories like this.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cenotaxis by Sean Williams

Cenotaxis was my first time to read a Sean Williams story.   Some of the reviewers I follow liked this short book so I thought it would be a good one to try.

This story follows Imre Bergamasc's trip to Earth.  He is trying to force Earth to join in the quest to discover the source of the "Slow Wave" that devastated the galactic civilization in an earlier book-Saturn Returns.  To his dismay, he runs into a rebellion led by Jasper, a man who claims to be God.  Jasper does not live his life in a linear fashion.  His future occurs before his past.  While he is not omniscient, he is able to sense events before they happen.

Jasper and the way he lives his life is an interesting character.  Along with Jasper the other fascinating idea is the Apparatus.  It seems to be an A.I. that Imre is trying to track down.

Without having read Saturn Returns, I found this story to be interesting but lacking.  It was hard to connect with the characters.  It was never explained why Earth is so important to Imre's plans.  The other mystery that is never explained is the true nature of Jasper.  Maybe future books will answer these questions but the explanation was not given in this story.

I will have to go back and read the other books and see if this story works better as part of the series. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Short Story Sunday February 14, 2010

 First off I want to announce a slight change in format for the blog.  Starting this week, I will be posting reviews of short stories during the week.  Sunday's post will be a look back at the stories reviewed during the week.

Light of Other Days by Bob Shaw
First printing: Analog, August 1966

In my continuing quest to try to reduce the list of author's I have never read, I tried Bob Shaw's "Light of Other Days".  Wow.  This is what a science fiction short story should be.  Somehow, in roughly 3,000 words, Shaw has introduced an interesting concept (slow glass), shown the impact on society, and told a touching personal story that is directly the result of the concept.  Shaw has given us the blueprint for a great science fiction story.

I know that slow glass is not a hard science concept.  The idea of glass that can slow light to the point where the image coming through the glass can be years old is a fascinating framework to build a story on.  I will be reading more of Bob Shaw's stories in the future.

The next time someone says that a complete story can not be told in a short space, hand them this story.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Short Story Sunday-February 7, 2010

1.  "The Astronaut" by Brian Plante
First printing: Analog, May 2007

Brian Plante has crafted a touching story about a boy whose family moves to Texas. His only escape is watching the Mars channel. It is following the latest ship to Mars. Davy dreams of growing up to be an astronaut. Life is boring until he befriends the beautiful older woman next door. Their friendship and combined with Davy's dreams make for compelling reading. The author has tapped into the desire to be an astronaut that is experienced by many young people when they read science fiction. Most readers can remember back to their younger days when they had a crush on a grown up. The ending takes your emotions on a roller coaster ride. The best compliment I can give it is that Davy seems like a real person. Recommended. 

2.  "The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories" by Gene Wolfe
First printing:Orbit #7, 1970

A young boy, Tackman "Tackie" Babcock lives with his divorced mother.  Her boyfriend buys him a book called "The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories".  As they prepare for a costume party the characters from the book start appearing and talking to Tackie.  The characters tip off Tackie about what is really going on in the house.

I will not reveal any more of the plot because I don't want to ruin the story for anyone who has not read it yet.  Wolfe uses a pulp story to help the boy understand the real world.  What is real in the story?  Like many of Wolfe's stories, it is open to interpretation.  I found this to be a fascinating, initially confusing, story that is well worth the effort.  Track this one down and read it.  If you like stories that spell out everything, avoid this one.  On the other hand, if you like challenging stories that make you think, this tale is highly recommended.  

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Gate of Ivrel by C. J. Cherryh

Re-reading this book falls under revisiting my early years of science fiction and fantasy reading. This book hooked me on C. J. Cherryh back when I was 15 years old. So I thought it would be fun to go back and see how it holds up.

The gates were scattered throughout time and space by a vanished alien race. When someone used the gates to travel backwards in time, disaster occurred. The last remaining members of the race takes on a mission to close the gates. It is a one way mission. Morgaine is one of the alien's assigned to close the gates. On her journey to Ivrel, she teams up with a native named Vayne. Everywhere they go, disaster follows. In spite of everything, Vayne is committed to following Morgaine.

I enjoy a good science fantasy story. Writers like Andre Norton, C. L. Moore, Leigh Brackett, Roger Zelazny, and Mark Geston (with the ultimate war between science and magic-Siege of Wonder) have given me many hours of reading pleasure. At the time, I was captivated by this book. Now it is a different experience.

This is, I believe, Cherryh's first book and it shows. The language is very convoluted. It is a struggle to read the sentences in this story. I believe this sold on the strength of the story. The idea is interesting. I can see where Cherryh showed signs of promise based on her ideas. Unfortunately her sentence building was not equal to her ideas.

The other thing I did not remember was the overwhelming sense of depression. This is a dark story. Maybe the later books influenced my memories of this one, but I did not remember this being such a bleak book.

I would pass on this one unless you are a devote Cherryh fan.

Friday, January 29, 2010

S.T.A.R. Flight by E. C. Tubb

S.T.A.R. Flight was a book I read as a teenager. I remembered liking it but did not recall any of the details.

Earth is suffering from overpopulation when the Kaltich arrive. They offer us immortality and star travel if we supply them with some of our natural resources. Now, it is years later and the only way to receive immortality is to pay for it. The Kaltich continue to take our materials but we are no closer the stars. S.T.A.R.(Secret Terran Armed Resistance) forms to change the balance of power. Martin Preston is recruited to slip through the Kaltich stargate, steal their technology, and bring it back to Earth.

E. C. Tubb wrote a book about a very interesting secret. The secret of the Kaltich managed to suprise me the first time I read the book. With this re-reading I still enjoyed this short novel enough though I remembered the solution. Tubb does a good job of showing how Earth has deteriorated over the years. The space program was in development but had not produced a ship capable of taking mankind to the stars, let alone find a planet that could be set up as a colony. The arrival of the Kaltich seemed like a miracle.

The Kaltich, and this book in general, is a thematic ancestor to the television series "V". The visitors offer to extend our life span, cure diseases, and take us to the stars. All they ask for in exchange is the use of some of our natural resources. Of course things are never what they appear to be. The plot of the book revolves around a team of resistance fighters who try to infiltrate the Kaltich and discover their secrets. The more I think about this book, it seems like the plot of "V" was taken straight out of this novel. The secret of the Kaltich is definitely different from the secret of the Visitors in "V". If you are enjoying the television series, and I do like it, then I would recommend reading this book.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Short Story Sunday-January 24, 2010

Welcome to the first of my newly revived Short Story Sunday posts. This was inspired by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings. Carl has been doing Short Story Sunday's for quite some time. In my version, I will review the short stories that I have read in the past week.

Let's take a look at the two stories I read.

1. "Misquoting the Star" by David Bartell
First printing: Analog, December 2008

"Misquoting the Star" was the cover story for the December 2008 issue of Analog. The image I included does not do justice to the David Hardy cover.

It tells the story of what happens when an asteroid crashes into the Earth. Bartell writes about the issues faced by refugees on the moon. His characterization is very good. When the refugees are selected they are put through a very thorough screening process to prevent diseases from infecting the colony. When one of the leaders finds out that one of the crew is not who they thought he was, problems begin. A father goes through the testing then switches places with his son. The son would not have passed the health screening. The leader falls for the son. The conflict of how to handle the crewman is the basis of this interesting tale.

A good, solid short story.

1. "The Ghost Pit" by Stephen Baxter
First printing: Isaac Asimov's SF Magazine July 2001

Baxter is one of the author's I had not tried yet. Based on this story, I will be reading more of his works.

From Wikipedia...
The story follows Raida, a young woman on a hunting expedition, who is teamed with her mother's old partner, L'Eesh. The two are investigating a large jovian planet for the presence of rare aliens known as Ghosts when their spacecraft is attacked and they crash land on one of the planet's moons. As they walk to the artificially constructed bridge that connects the two moons, Raida learns more about Ghosts, her mother and how much she can trust her partner.

Baxter describes an amazing environment for this story. I was very impressed to read about this world and the conflict that is taking place between the Ghosts and the humans. The conflict between the two hunters is interesting. The only shortcoming in this story was the mystery of who killed Raida's mother. Baxter leads the reader to think there will be a sequel to this story. It was aggravating to read this without knowing for sure.

Overall, a very good short story. Highly recommended.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov. The name reminds me why I love science fiction. The original Foundation Trilogy helped make me a life long fan. I did not notice that the stories did not feature much action. What it did feature was fascinating dialogue and ideas I had never heard of before reading them. That was when I discovered this book that sounded more like a mystery. Now was the right time to return to this classic.

Earth has become a planet of people who do not leave the cities. Everyone suffers from agoraphobia. Asimov was agoraphobic so it was natural for him to write a story about it. The Spacer worlds (colonies of Earth) set up Spacetown. When the Spacer ambassador is killed, Elijah Baley is assigned to the case. What he does not expect is the Spacer detective who becomes his partner. R. Daneel Olivaw is a human form robot. The problem is that robots are not accepted on Earth. The duo becomes one of science fiction's classic teams.

The biggest problem they face is no weapons are allowed in Spacetown. No murder weapon is found but the victim was killed by a blaster. The only way a blaster could be smuggled in was by crossing an open area. No human could do it. Robots are not able to allow humans to be harmed so they could not cross the open area and kill a person.

Asimov managed to convince me that Elijah solved the crime a couple of times before he actually solved it. This is the sign of a good mystery. Even though I read the book 30+ years ago, I was still surprised by the revelation.

The Caves of Steel is still relevant today. Overpopulation is a major problem. Cities are growing out of control. The average person is struggling to get by. People are afraid of loosing their jobs to automation. The thought of living your whole life inside a city, inside the caves of steel, would be depressing to most people of our time. Sunlight and getting outside helps perk us up when things get depressed. I could not imagine living in this world. Everyone eats at community kitchens that serve the same food to everyone. We are a society that loves variety and personal choices when it comes to food.

The Caves of Steel remains one of my favorites. If you have not read it, give it a chance. I think you will like it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Who I Want to Read in 2010...

Who I want to read in 2010…

After reading Adam’s (Visions of Paradise) post on writers he would like to read more of, I was inspired to start doing my own annual post on the subject.

1. Isaac Asimov – the good doctor has always been one of my favorite authors. I decided to start re-reading his future history starting with “The Caves of Steel”. More will follow on a regular basis.
2. Gerard F. Conway – I loved his book “Mindship” when I first read it 30 years ago. Recently, I found a copy of “The Midnight Dancers”. It is next on my to be read stack.
3. Poul Anderson – last year I was impressed with “The Enemy Stars”. I have enjoyed many of his books over the years. This year I am targeting “World Without Stars”, “Day of Their Return”, and “People of the Wind”.
4. Arsen Darnay – Darnay was a regular in Jim Baen’s Galaxy magazine in the 70s. He was one that I forgot about. While reading Mike Ashley’s “Gateways to Forever” I saw his name and wondered how his stories would hold up. “A Hostage for Hinterland” is on my list for 2010.
5. Philip K. Dick – in 2009 I picked up a big stack of PKD books. I have not narrowed it down yet but I plan on reading a few of his this year. PKD is a very interesting author and his books are usually different from any others.
6. James Morrow – one of those authors I have never tried. On my 2010 list is “This is the Way the World Ends”. The reviews I have read sound like this is a soul searching morality play.
7. Robert Silverberg – I am way behind on reading his novels. The first one I will be reading this year is “Tower of Glass”. I hope to get to “Nightwings” and “Hawksbill Station”. I liked “Hawksbill Station” when the shorter version was published so I am curious how the longer version compares to it.
8. Roger Zelazny – another old favorite of mine. The first of his I plan to re-read this year is “Doorways in the Sand”. From what I remember, this one is different than his other books. It was a fun story.
9. Alastair Reynolds – I have been promising to read one of his novels for some time now. This year I will do it. I do like his short stories. I am thinking about reading “The Prefect” first.
10. James White – “Hospital Station” was recommended by a friend. I picked up a copy through Paperback Swap. This series looks different enough that it should stand out from the standard SF series.
11. Mike Resnick – I read and liked “Walpurgis III” last year. I have not determined which of his books will be on this year’s list.
12. Robert Charles Wilson – “The Chronoliths” was one of my favorites from last year. Definitely more will be read this year. I am leaning towards “The Divide” and “Spin”.

Other authors on my radar that I hope to get to include George O. Smith, Stephen Tall, H. G. Wells, A. and B. Strugatsky, Jack Williamson, Robert Sawyer, Kay Kenyon, Frank Herbert, Paul McAuley, Iain Banks and Ben Bova.
My goal for the end of 2010 is to post my 100th book review. I realize this is unrealistic but it is something to shoot for. To date I have posted 18 book reviews with 3 more appearing shortly. I am allowing more reading time per day to get back on track. It will be a fun journey.