Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Reading Into the Past: Week of 9/3

I just gave last week a miss, but this week I'll start again, and head back to 1996:
  • Roy Morris, Jr., Ambrose Bierce: Alone in Bad Company (8/28)
    As I recall, this was a decent biography of Bierce, but it sent me on a ten-plus year search for the definitive bio of Bierce, by Richard O'Connor. (Which I eventually found, a year or two ago, but still haven't read.)
  • Tom DeHaven, Derby Dugan's Depression Funnies (8/29)
    One of DeHaven's several novels set in and around the comics world (this time the strip cartoons of the 1930s). I hadn't remembered reading it at all.
  • Harlan Ellison, Over the Edge (8/30)
    Originally a '60s collection of Ellison stories, here read in its incarnation as the first half of Edgeworks 1, the first of four 2-in-1 Ellison volumes published by White Wolf in the mid-90s. The White Wolf books were nicely produced, though the relationship of the books in the 2-in-1 often were less than obvious. As always, Ellison used reprintings as reasons to write new introductions, clean up corrupt texts, and (to the consternation of bibliographers everywhere) change the Tables of Contents. In this case, he added to Over the Edge the late 1980s essay "Xenogenesis," a listing of various horrible, cruel and nasty things people had done to SF writers he liked...
  • Connie Willis and Cynthia Felice, Promised Land (8/30)
    I swear to God these were actually the books I read, in this order, on the same day, back in 1996. This is a slight, very romance-novel-y, SF novel that was enjoyable at the time, but which I remember no more than any other meringue I consumed that year.
  • Patti Perret, The Faces of Fantasy (8/31)
    A nice book of pictures of fantasy writers, along with essays by those writers. Unfortunately, I have bad memories of it, since it was supposed to be a Big Deal, and it was not. In fact, it was a Huge Disaster, massively overprinted for the sales it got, and I think the publisher was still trying to get rid of stock of it five years later. We were stuck with a mass of them in the SFBC, too, and Tor kept trying to sell theirs to us and we kept trying to sell ours to them. Now it's probably an expensive and rare collector's item, but ten years ago you couldn't give the thing away.
  • Jonathan Lethem, As She Climbed Across the Table (8/31)
    Possibly Lethem's most successful SF novel, this is very much a homage to Philip K. Dick; the tale of a physicist's doomed love for a point anomaly.
  • Ward Moore, Bring the Jubilee (9/1)
    A very nicely written alternate history in which the South clobbered the North in the US Civil War and became a major dominating world power. Nicely atmospheric, but I couldn't believe the alternate world for five seconds; the CSA just didn't have the manpower or the economic clout to make any of the backstory plausible.
  • Julian May, Sky Trillium (9/1)
    One of the many contradictory sequels to Black Trillium. As I recall, I liked this one the best of all of them; May tried the hardest to write the other authors' characters well and to contradict the wildly differing sequels the least. A valiant effort, at the very least.
  • Kevin Eastman, Eric Talbot and Simon Bisley, Melting Pot (9/1)
    Minor comics project that was supposed to become huge; as I recall, this was Eastman's bid for a big post-Turtles comeback. As you might have noticed, it didn't happen quite that way. Of course, I don't think anything launched in 1996 became huge; it was a bad time for comics in general.
  • Matt Howarth and Lou Stathis, Those Annoying Post Brothers: Das Loot (9/1)
    First collection of the great comics series about a couple of entertaining reality-shifting psychopaths.
  • Matt Howarth, Those Annoying Post Brothers: Disturb the Neighbors (9/1)
    Second collection, ditto.
Hey, I'm back on the horse. Let's see if I can stay there...

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