- Science fiction, fantasy, or horror?
These days, I think fantasy noses out SF in my reading tastes, but not by much. The dreary SF is annoying me more than the paint-by-numbers fantasy, at the moment, but that can shift quickly. Horror isn't in the running at all, though I do come across a horror story or novel I can stand occasionally.
- Hardback, trade paperback, or mass market paperback?
Trade paperback by preference: I like the larger type and page size, but soft covers makes it easier to carry. (This somewhat mirrors my usual reading pattern: bound galleys to read, hardcovers to keep.)
- Heinlein or Asimov?
Heinlein; he's a more interesting writer to begin with, and an immensely better prose stylist.
- Amazon or brick-and-mortar?
I use both, and it depends on what I want. If I need to get a specific book (usually for work purposes), I'll either order it from BN.com to the office (same-day shipping in Manhattan) if it's in print, or search up copies on ABEbooks if it's not in print. For myself, I usually do my personal book shopping at Midtown Comics and the Montclair Book Center, because I like browsing through books.
- Barnes & Noble or Borders?
No preference; they're the same thing, as far as they affect me.
- Hitchhiker or Discworld?
Discworld. Even Douglas Adams didn't like the Hitchhiker series that much, and it shows in the later books. Pratchett likes writing stories, and has a lot of stories to write.
- Bookmark or dogear?
Bookmark. I mark up books for production pretty regularly, but otherwise I try not to damage them.
- Magazine: Asimov's Science Fiction or Fantasy & Science Fiction?
I know both Gordon and Sheila, so I can't answer this honestly. (I also haven't had time to read fiction magazines for ages, though I did subscribe to F&SF for a year or two in the mid-90s -- and, I think -- read about three stories that whole time.)
- Alphabetize by author, by title, or random?
Unread shelves: by genre and size (roughly -- I have sections for mass-markets, mysteries, mainstream, and SFF, and the latter two are divided into larger and smaller format books), and then by author.
The main bulk: by format (oversized books on the bottom shelves, otherwise hardcover/mass-market/trade paperback sections), except for classics and a couple of reference shelves. Then by author. Within author, by date of first publication (though series stay together).
- Keep, throw away, or sell?
Keep, far too much. Sell, quite a bit. Donate to library sales, every year or so when I get up the energy.
- Year's Best Science Fiction series (edited by Gardner Dozois) or Year's Best SF Series (edited by David G. Hartwell)?
I mildly prefer Gardner's books, but that's only partly because his tend to be slightly more literary -- the other reason is because they're so huge, and usually contain a few novellas. But I've been reading both since David started doing his book, and I expect to continue to read both as long as they both are published.
- Keep dustjacket or toss it?
Keep, of course.
- Read with dustjacket or remove it?
Usually with, unless it's a particularly big book that I'll be reading for a while (and I'm worried that it will get dinged up).
- Short story or novel?
I read novels more than short stories, I think. But I read a fair bit of short stuff, too, and I usually want to read more short stuff than I do.
- Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
I like the Potter books, but Lemony rules.
- Stop reading when tired or chapter breaks?
Stop reading when: a) the bus has arrived at its destination, b) my lunch hour is over, c) the children/wife/cat require attention, d) some other calamity has occurred. I don't get to choose when I stop these days.
- "It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once upon a time"
"All this happened, more or less."
- Buy or borrow?
Buy. Actually, by preference, get a publisher to send me for free or order from my company's warehouse, but those aren't options open to most people.
- Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation, or browse?
I'm so plugged in to reviews and recommendations that nothing surprises me. For a new (to me) writer, it's generally personal enthusiasm from people whose opinions I respect (whether they're reviewers, readers, editors, or whatever).
- Lewis or Tolkien?
Tolkien, by a country mile.
- Hard SF or space opera?
Space opera. I don't like equations in my fiction, and I do prefer characters that have at least one dimension. (This only applies to stories written while I was alive; I've found I can't stand space opera from before the '60s, so my preferences invert for older works.)
- Collection (single author) or anthology (multiple authors)?
I read collections much more than anthologies, and rarely read original anthologies at all.
- Hugo or Nebula?
Hugo, but it's a mild preference. It's more that I'm annoyed by the Nebula's best-works-of-two-years-ago rotating eligibility system than anything else.
- Golden Age SF or New Wave SF?
New Wave, baby. I grew up on Moorcock and Ballard, Ellison and Silverberg. That is my Golden Age.
- Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
I can take a slingshot ending if it's done well. Otherwise, I prefer something in between -- not tying up all of the ends tidily, unlike real life, but not ending at what feels like a chapter break, either.
- Morning reading, afternoon reading, or nighttime reading
Whenever is good for me. I don't tend to read in the evenings these days, but otherwise it's throughout the day, when I have time.
- Standalone or series?
I don't have a simple preference here; it really depends on the author and the subject.
- Urban fantasy or high fantasy?
How about non-epic secondary world, can I choose that? I don't have any simple preference here, either.
- New or used?
New by preference, though, at this point, I've read or studiously avoided reading everything published in the field for the past fifteen years.
- Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
Hard Landing by Algis Budrys. A short novel, published quietly in the mid-90s, which is one of the best "aliens among us" books ever written.
- Top 5 favorite genre books read last year? (in no order)
Farthing by Jo Walton
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill
The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross
The Fair Folk edited by Marvin Kaye
- Top 5 favorite genre books of all time? (in no order)
Creatures of Light and Darkness by Roger Zelazny
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
The Eyes of the Overworld by Jack Vance
The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers
The Dunwich Horror and Others by H.P. Lovecraft
- 5 favorite genre series? (in no order)
Steven Erikson's "Malazan Empire"
Gene Wolfe's interconnected "Sun" series
Jack Vance's "Demon Princes"
Zelazny's (first) "Chronicles of Amber"
Robert Silverberg's original "Majipoor" trilogy
- Top 5 favorite genre short stories? (in no order)
"Fondly Fahrenheit" by Alfred Bester
"Prayers on the Wind" by Walter Jon Williams
"The Man Who Walked Home" by James Tiptree, Jr.
"The Deathbird" by Harlan Ellison
"With Folded Hands" by Jack Williamson
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
How could I not do this one? I got it from The Tensor.