Thursday, February 24, 2005

Now Reading...

Every now and then I'll end up posting here about what I'm reading. Having just finished Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle books, I ended up returning to a list I haven't looked at in awhile. Somewhere a long time ago I had found a list of the "Top 100 Science Fiction Books You Must Read." Of course, lists of this nature are always open to debate, but it seemed like a great jumping-off point for books I might enjoy.

I copied the list and first noted how many of the books on it I'd already read. I'm quite disappointed to say that of the 100, I'd only read 8. Then I took the list and figured that the Top 25 were the most important, so kept all of those on the list. Then, for numbers 26-100, I picked out titles that either sounded vaguely familiar or where I'd heard of the author and heard good things about them. I figured with this sort of base, I'd read some good books and then go out and find other books to read. From 100 books, I parsed it down to 56 that I was really interested in reading, and decided to tackle them in reverse order.

Book number 100 was Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars. I tried to read it, but Burroughs' writing style is so old that it was taking way too long to read and I completely lost interest. Not too discouraged, I looked for number 98 on the list, Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain. I have yet to find a copy of this in print or in ebook format without ordering it from Powell's or Amazon. Admittedly, I haven't looked particularly hard...since I already owned a copy of book 97, Dan Simmons' Hyperion, I decided to pick it up, which is what I'm reading now.

It's a bit difficult to read, mostly owing to the fact that Simmons has jumped right into story with absolutely no background of the world that the book is taking place in nor information on characters. Rather, he's developing that through the first half of the book, so it's taking a little adjusting to "learning as I go" about this world. I'm only about 50 pages in so far (out of almost 500), but I'm enjoying it, so I imagine I'll actually finish this one. For those of you not familiar with the book, it's a Hugo Award winning novel (the preimer science fiction award). The base description of the book is "On the eve of Armageddon, with the entire galaxy at war, seven pilgrims set forth on a final voyage to Hyperion seeking the answers to the unsolved riddles of their lives. Each carries a desperate hope--and a terrible secret. And one may hold the fate of humanity in his hands." I highly recommend this book to any science fiction fans out there. :)

As a random aside, all the links I have in here go to Powell's Books, a large "independent bookseller" that may be found online at They have a lot of new (of course) but also used and rare books, so please check them out.

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