Archive for the ‘basic bookcase’ Category

basic bookcase: Downbelow Station

After the first two books off the Basic Bookcase it was looking a little grim for me and the world of classic SF, but thankfully things have picked up with Downbelow Station. Unfortunately it’s only picked up sort of, like a mime caught halfway between falling down and getting back up in null gravity, or something.

I only skipped a few of the later chapters in Downbelow so that’s saying something. While in the first couple of chapters I thought that Cherryh had anticipated the ‘New Space Opera’ by about twenty years, it soon becomes clear that really Cherryh is doing some kind of 70s soap opera simultaneously with HARD SF and a little Rousseain alien culture to mix it up a little. Nevertheless the novel does have its moments.

Bookcase worthy? yea.

There’s a nice bookstore that’s been around for a couple of years in my neighborhood, but I just started going more frequently: Jackson St. Books. Nice SF section, check it out.


the basic bookcase: Prelude to Foundation

If there’s one thing I can say for classic SF, some of it really sucks.

What were these people thinking? Prelude had about two interesting ideas, one of which, the concept of psychohistory, isn’t really an idea but more a gimmick. The second, the Mycogenians who claim an authentic 20,000 year old historical record. It had about one good scene, where the Mycogenian raindrop gets extremely freaky with Seldon’s skincap — and it’s later revealed that this is just a put-on.

I can admit that Asimov is a grand old man of the genre. That’s all.

Bookcase worthy? hell no.

P.S. I do remember the Mule from the later (i.e. earlier) books in the series to be a really interesting character; on the other hand I read those Foundation books when I was 13 or 14, so who knows. I’m going to skip the other Foundation books for now and move on.

from the basic bookcase: Brightness Reef

So I pulled this one from Savage Review’s Basic Bookcase and as I mentioned earlier I’ll be reading every single one of them there books…well, not exactly, I only made it to page 114 of Brightness Reef before doing my usual, “hmm….let’s see what happens on page…312!”.

However as a study in sf/f, this book is a good one. Multiple POV characters, six races, multiple (English-y) languages, diverse cultures, technologies, and ecologies, those little italicized sections at the beginning of chapters, you know, attributed to ‘Rek-kwan, sixth chapter of the first pamphlet, 1204 a.y.’. Italics. In general, a lot of italics.

The writing was a little flat. I confess the whole thing left me unimpressed, and since this was my first shot at Brin I may sample some of Brin’s earlier stuff, such as Startide Rising, to give the guy a fair shake.

Bookcase worthy? Nay.

books: the original text game

Really what I mean by that title is I’m embarking on a reading series for lack of a better word, inspired by the site of John Savage. If you don’t know that site, Savage created something called “The Basic Bookcase”, a big huge list of SF to read. I’ve always felt that I was not well read in SF despite being a big fan of reading it (and writing it if I ever get my act together).

What I’m going to do is read every book from Savage’s bookcase and then write a short impression of each book here. No, really. I’ll file it all under reading.