…SF addict …

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Discovered authors: 2009

Here is a list of authors that were new to me last year,in alphabetic order, quite a few actually, and many I want to revisit sometime! (See the links on the left of the homepage for websites pertaining to each author, a link added as I read an author.)

Iain M Banks-I always imagined that Consider Phlebas, his first SF novel, would be hard going and so put off reading it for years but you know what, it was quite easy reading and well, was rather superb! Will definitely revist this author-his space opera depiction is lavish with great characters!
Samuel R Delany- a classic author but not one I was familiar with, and I picked up The Jewels of Aptor from a second hand book store not knowing it was his first novel! I didnt know what to expect and well, I was a bit non plussed. It was an ok story but read very much like a fantasy author trying to do SF. Will look out for his later novel Nova though.
Joe Haldeman-this is an author I'd never heard of, but I read a review of  The forever War on the SFF Chronicles forum and tracked down a copy from the library. Many compare it to Starship Troopers but well I've never read that Heinlein book and the film was, well, OK I suppose. But Forever War is a superb example of Military SF.
Jack London-I'd heard things about this vintage author and I'm sure I'd seen a film of White Fang years ago but never came across any of his books anywhere! I got a copy on The 100 Classic Novels on the Nintendo DS and read it, finding his knowledge of dog behaviour to be enlightening! Great story telling too, in this and the novella Call of the Wild.
H P Lovecraft- a much hyped and oft talked about author of surreal horror-I'd been dying to find an example of his stuff for years and finally found a copy of Dagon and Other Macabre Tales to read. Not brilliant to be honest, probably because I was expecting the scary Chthulu stuff and this book was nothing of the sort. It was good, some neat stories but only one pearler (Herbert West-re-animator, a must read!)
Still hunting for some Chthulu!
E.E."Doc" Smith-Smith is a classic SF author, widely held as the father of space opera, without whom etc etc. I had a few of his Lensman books on my shelf but wanted to go to the start and so tracked down a copy of Triplanetary, and was rather disappointed! OK so its a book put together in the 1920s and so I can forgive the maybe sexist and puritanical attitude which was prevalent at the time but what I couldnt forgive was the lack of excitement! I was expecting so much and got so little. Oh well, I've been told things do pick up later in the series so onto the next Lensman book sometime....
Jack Vance-another author I'd heard lots of stuff about and so was interested in but never actuall read. I have a set of his  "Planet of Adventure" books on my shelf but wanted to read the widely lauded Emphyrio instead, and kind of got to wishing I hadnt bothered! The first half plods along,and reads very much like a fantasy, which put me right off as I was expecting SF! The second half gets going and some SF elements are introduced but for me it was too little too late.

Well thats my list from 2009;so far this year there's only been two new SF authors - Neal Asher and Ursula (K) Le Guin. Here's to more discoveries!
*Incidentally clicking on my Labels will take you to the work by the author mentioned, handy tool!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Rendezvous with Rama

Just began this last night-I've read it at least twice before but it remains a classic!
Basically a large body,presumed to be an asteroid, is discovered near Jupiter in 2131 and gven the designation 31/439 after the year of discovery and order of discovery.
However upon further probing by earth and space based telescopes it is discovered that the object is an unusal asteroid. For a start it is doesnt have a regular orbit, is about 40 kilometeres across and yet has a rotation period of about 4 days! The object is spinning very fast!
Soon it is given the name Rama after a Hindu god and an expedition is sent out to meet it and find out just what it is....
I first read this many years ago and although it was written in 1973 it remains compelling with good science and not bad characters.
There were 3 sequels to the book but really you don't need to bother (indeed some will say you shouldnt bother, as they're mostly written by Gentry Lee) but this fine book stands the test of time and deserves to be appreciated in its own right!