Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Return to the Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois have completed assembling a new anthology called "Old Mars".  Based on the description, it will feature science fiction, fantasy, and the classic Planet Stories type science fantasy stories about Mars.  But this is not the Mars we think of today.  It is the pulp version of Mars with canals and ancient cities.  Just looking at the authors they have lined up has me anxious to get this anthology.  And next up for the editors will be "Old Venus".  I can't wait.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sign of the Unicorn by Roger Zelazny

Accepting the responsibilities as ruler to the world of Amber, Corwin finds himself the target of sibling treachery, and must seek guidance in a land of visions where a sinister prediction foretells his doom.

This is the book that made me a life long Zelazny fan.  I just started getting my first magazine subscription (Galaxy Science Fiction) when new editor Jim Baen introduced this as a new serial.  Fortunately, the summary at the beginning brought me up to speed since this is the third book in the series.  As soon as I finished reading the three parts of "Sign of the Unicorn" I immediately went in search of more by this amazing author.  Luckily, Avon had just issued reprints of the first two books in the series.  It did not take be long to devour them.  And when Zelazny released books four and five, I went back and re-read the previous books.  I have lost track of how many times I have read this series.  It is by far my favorite fantasy series.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

"Let's Not" by Isaac Asimov

"Let's Not" is one of Asimov's lesser efforts.  This very short story concerns teachers in the future.  If you are looking for a good place to start reading his short stories, do not start with this one.  I would only recommend it for fans who want to read all of Asimov's short stories.

Friday, August 3, 2012

"The Pause" by Isaac Asimov

This gem of a short story shows what the Twilight Zone would have been like if the Good Doctor wrote it.  Asimov shows a day in the life of a scientist.  Sounds pretty ordinary doesn’t it?  The catch is what does a scientist do when he shows up for work and no one remembers his field of expertise.  When I said no one, I probably should have said everyone.  Every reference to it in the world has been erased.  Asimov does a good job of showing the characters reaction.  I read this story many years ago and it has stayed with me.  Another classic by Asimov.  He has always been one of my favorite short story writers and this story reinforces my opinion.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Invasion From the 21st Century (Plus One)

After sitting through various panel discussions at Confluence 2012, I realized that I have serious gap in my science fiction reading.  All but a handful of the books I have read were published before the year 2000.  I have kept up on the field by being an avid reader of blogs and book reviews in Locus, Analog, etc.  It is now time to take the plunge.

In addition to reading older science fiction, I am going to focus on getting up to date by reading a sampling of books from each year (2000 through the present).  I also plan on trying to read some of the new books in the year they were published.

Currently, I am reading and loving a book that was published this year.  It is the start of a new series by Alastair Reynolds.  The book is called “Blue Remembered Earth”.  Reynolds impressed me with “Revelation Space” when I read it earlier in the year. 

Authors on my "get up to speed list" include:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Confluence 2012

Over the last 20 years, I have been attending anywhere from one to four conventions a year.  So far they have all been comic book conventions.  I decided that this was the year I would go to my first science fiction convention.  My good friend, Terry Kissinger, attended Confluence 2011 and found it to be a good literary convention.  Based on his recommendation, I decided to spend Saturday at Confluence 2012 with him.  Two and a half hours (normally it takes two hours to drive to the Pittsburgh airport but a detour through a residential area added another half hour) after I left my house I pulled in at the hotel.