Sunday, June 18, 2006

Reading Into the Past: Week of 6/11

I rolled a 7 this week, so let's look at the books I read this week back in 1999, shall we?
  • J.G. Ballard, High-Rise (6/4)
    I'm not sure why it took me so long to get to this one -- I read Crash around about 1991-92 and Concrete Island a year or so later, and I do like this phase off Ballard's career. It's another group of neurotic people under more stress than they can handle. Ballard's one of those writers you either love or hate -- personally, I love his stuff.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign (bound galleys, 6/6)
    One of the last (so far) "Miles Vorkosigan" novels, and one of the fans' favorites. It's probably not the best introduction to the world, but it's a fun, mostly light-hearted novel that's well worth reading.
  • James Cahill, ed., Lamps on the Brow (bound galleys, 6/7)
    I have no memory at all of this; the Locus Index says that it's an expensive leatherbound slipcased book with mostly new stories. I bet I actually read a bound galley or something like that, but I still don't remember it.
  • Max Alan Collins & Drake Elvgren, Elvgren: His Life and Art (6/8)
    A big nice book of gorgeous old pin-up art.
  • John Varley, Blue Champagne (6/9)
    It took me a while to track this one down; this seems to be the hardest of Varley short-story collections to find. But it's worth it; his short fiction is some of the best in the business.
  • Bill Bryson, I'm a Stranger Here Myself (6/10)
    I thought this was one of his travel books, and it is, sort of: this is the book about settling into a small American town with his British wife (and two kids, if I remember right, raised entirely in the UK) after living abroad for twenty years. Bryson is not the deepest writer in the world, but he's good at wandering around and talking to people, and usually asks the right questions. And he's immensely funny, which is even better.
  • John de Lancie and Peter David, Star Trek: I, Q (typescript, 6/12)
    Now, I did read this in typescript. So it's quite possible that it was edited after I saw it. In fact, I deeply hope so. Because the version I read was the most self-indulgent, pointless, ridiculous supposedly-SF novel I've ever read. Peter David is not usually the hardest SF writer to begin with, but this degenerates very quickly into wheezy sophomoric philosophizing which I will blame on de Lancie (on the grounds that even the most very self-indulgent and shallow writer is Einstein compared to the most thoughtful actor, and on the grounds that it's de Lancie's character doing the pontificating). I would not recommend this book to anyone, unless that person had read every other Star Trek book written and was going through physical withdrawl.
Not a very busy week, for once.

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