clong's 50 book challange for 2018
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1. The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson - after finishing the massive new Sanderson book, I decided to go back and reread some of his early novels.
2. Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson - another re-read. I found it a bit of a letdown after the first book, although the ending has a stunning surprise.
3. The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson. Another reread. An improvement over book two on multiple levels--both characters and world get quite a bit more complex.
4. The Space Merchants by Kornbluth and Pohl - another reread in preparation for reading the sequel for the first time. This one has really stood the test of time.
5. The Merchant's War by Frederik Pohl - This felt like a darker and less inspired retread of the same material, but with a much less likeable protagonist.
6. Catch a Falling Star by John Brunner - I kind of liked this, until the very end.
7. Supertoys Last All Summer Long by Brian Aldiss - a couple of excellent stories, intermixed with several so-so stories, with a couple of unconvincing preachy stories to round things out.
8. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson - a quick reread of one of my all time favorite fantasies. Almost done with revisiting all of my books by him.
11. The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson - This one was better than I had remembered.
12. The Deceivers by Alfred Bester - The worst science fiction novel I have ever read.
16. Look into the Sun by James Patrick Kelly - some thought-provoking content, but weighed down by unsympathetic characters and a slow pace.
17. A Feast Unknown - by Philip Jose Farmer - starts off really awful, improves to being only sort of awful.
I seem to have picked out some real stinkers of late.
18. Beyond Apollo by Barry Malzberg - A book in which essentially nothing the protagonist relates to you is to be trusted. Malzberg is a fascinating and unique voice.
19. Mouse and Dragon by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller - continuation of a story that I have absolutely loved when I read it several years ago...This was fine but not great.
21. Sturgeon in Orbit and 22. E Pluribus Unicorn by Theodore Sturgeon - Each of these contained several stories that were new to me (somewhat surprising, given that LibraryThing says I have now read 147 different Sturgeon short stories!). I found Orbit to be somewhat disappointing, and Unicorn to be consistently quite good.
23. Cruel Zinc Melodies by Glen Cook - this one took a long time to develop any momentum (and the edition I bought at a used book store had a section misprinted, so that didn't help). This is a fun, entertaining world, but both it and the characters in question seem to evolve at a glacial pace.
26. Tactics of Conquest by Barry N. Malzberg - surreal story with a typically unreliable narrator who is playing a chess tournament (sanctioned by mysterious aliens) on which rides the fate of the universe.
29. Virtual Light by William Gibson - very interesting world building and a moderately interesting story. As I seem to often find with Gibson, I didn't particularly care about what happened to the characters.
30. Worlds Apart by Joe Haldeman - Not bad, but not really my cup of tea. This one felt pretty Heinleinesque to me (not that I've read much Heinlein since my teens). Our young brilliant female protagonist spends a lot of time thinking about and having sex older male engineers in a society with open and varied marriage structures.
31. Obsession: Tales of Irresistible Desire edited by Paula Guran - This collection of mostly-new-to-me stories proved a bit of a mixed bag.
36. Everything's Eventual by Stephen King (audiobook containing only five of the stories from this collection)
37. Good Omens by Neai Gaimand and Terry Pratchett -
38. I am Legend and Other Stories by Richard Matheson -
I listened to all three of these as books-on-cd during a recent road trip. Unfortunately some of the discs (checked out from the Library) were damaged...so I missed parts of Good Omens and some of the King short stories.
39. Tower of Glass by Robert Silverberg - this one had potential, but in the end didn't delve very deeply into the issues it raised.
41. Mind Wizards of Callisto by Lin Carter - superficial but fun; clearly following in the footsteps of Barsoom stories.
45. The Weapon Shops of Isher by A.E. Van Vogt - interesting concepts and an interesting setting. But characters are not particularly compelling and I remain a skeptic of its libertarian world view (and the basic idea that giving everyone guns will make us all safer).
46. Daughter of Regals and Other Tales by Stephen Donaldson - None of these stories was terrible and a few were quite good. I continue to be baffled by the popularity of the Thomas Covenant universe (one "story" from this world is included here).
47. The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester - Revisiting this book after many years was fun. Ground-breaking ideas, bravura storytelling and complex characters.
48. Redemolished by Alfred Bester - an odd book. The lost prologue to the novel doesn't really add anything, and the early stories are pretty awful, but a few of the articles were quite interesting.
49. The Crisis of Classical Music in America by Robert Freeman - I agree with much but not all of Freeman's analysis, but found some of his anecdotal evidence unconvincing. And his outlook much gloomier than mine.
50. Gods and Pawns by Kage Baker - a bit of a mixed bag. I really enjoyed the first couple Company novels.
I finished my 50th book on October 25.... Netflix has definitely been eating into my reading time the past few months.
54. The Pnume by Jack Vance - finishing a reread of the four book series. An entertaining homage to Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter books.
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