Archives » Memes

Bookshelf Travelling For Insane Times

The good lady is taking part in a meme, which originated with Reader in the Wilderness in the USA.

It’s not quite in the spirit of the meme but I thought I would give you a glimpse of some of my bookshelves over the next few weekends. (Monday counts for this.)

So these are the top four shelves of the bookcase where I keep those works of Scottish Fiction I have already read. (Unread books are kept elsewhere.) The bookcase was bought from IKEA and fitted well in our old house which had high ceilings. When we moved to Son of the Rock Acres we wondered where it could go. Not downstairs, not enough clearance. Upstairs though, the ceilings are three inches higher! The removal men were great at manœuvring it into place with so little margin for error. It now sits on the top corridor just outside my study. (You can’t always see the books so clearly, there’s usually more stuff placed in front of them. A few history books are still perched above some in the bottom row.)

Scottish Books 1

Scottish Books 2

Edited to add:- The meme was set up to include recommendations for reading. Well, on that note Lewis Grassic Gibbon is always worth it, most especially Sunset Song in the A Scots Quair trilogy. So too are Alasdair Gray, Iain Banks, Anne Donovan, Margaret Elphinstone, Andrew Crumey, Andrew Greig, James Robertson.

Women Science Fiction/Fantasy writers of the 1980s

Another one via Ian Sales.

Again, those I’ve heard of are italicised, bold I’ve read at least one work by, and struckthrough I own an example of.

Marcia J. Bennett
Mary Brown
Lois McMaster Bujold
Emma Bull
Pat Cadigan
Isobelle Carmody
Brenda W. Clough
Kara Dalkey
Pamela Dean
Susan Dexter
Carole Nelson Douglas
Debra Doyle
Claudia J. Edwards
Doris Egan
Ru Emerson
C.S. Friedman
Anne Gay
Sheila Gilluly
Carolyn Ives Gilman
Lisa Goldstein
Nicola Griffith
Karen Haber
Barbara Hambly

Dorothy Heydt (AKA Katherine Blake)
P.C. Hodgell
Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Tanya Huff
Kij Johnson
Janet Kagan
Patricia Kennealy-Morrison
Katharine Kerr
Peg Kerr
Katharine Eliska Kimbriel
Rosemary Kirstein
Ellen Kushner
Mercedes Lackey

Sharon Lee
Megan Lindholm*
R.A. MacAvoy

Laurie J. Marks
Maureen McHugh
Dee Morrison Meaney
Elizabeth Moon
Paula Helm Murray
Rebecca Ore
Tamora Pierce
Alis Rasmussen (AKA Kate Elliott)
Melanie Rawn
Mickey Zucker Reichert

Jennifer Roberson
Michaela Roessner
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Melissa Scott
Eluki Bes Shahar (AKA Rosemary Edghill)
Nisi Shawl
Delia Sherman
Josepha Sherman
Sherwood Smith
Melinda Snodgrass
Midori Snyder
Sara Stamey
Caroline Stevermer
Martha Soukup
Judith Tarr
Sheri S. Tepper
Prof. Mary Turzillo
Paula Volsky

Deborah Wheeler (Deborah J. Ross)
Freda Warrington
K.D. Wentworth
Janny Wurts
Patricia Wrede

*Megan Lindholm had one story published in the 1970s.

I suspect a similarly low strike rate would apply to a list of male SF/F writers from the 80s.

SF Meme

Women writers of SF and fantasy first published in the 1970s.

Via Ian Sales’s blog.

Italicised writers are those I’d heard of before looking at the list.

Bold are ones I’ve read.

Struck-through:- I own at least one of their books.

Lynn Abbey
Eleanor Arnason
Octavia Butler
Moyra Caldecott
Jaygee Carr
Joy Chant
Suzy McKee Charnas

C. J. Cherryh
Jo Clayton
Candas Jane Dorsey
Diane Duane
Phyllis Eisenstein
Cynthia Felice

Sheila Finch
Sally Gearhart
Mary Gentle
Dian Girard
Eileen Gunn
Monica Hughes
Diana Wynne Jones
Gwyneth Jones
Leigh Kennedy
Lee Killough

Nancy Kress
Katherine Kurtz
Tanith Lee
Megan Lindholm (AKA Robin Hobb)
Elizabeth A. Lynn

Phillipa Maddern
Ardath Mayhar
Vonda McIntyre
Patricia A. McKillip
Janet Morris

Pat Murphy
Sam Nicholson (AKA Shirley Nikolaisen)
Rachel Pollack
Marta Randall
Anne Rice

Jessica Amanda Salmonson
Pamela Sargent
Sydney J. Van Scyoc
Susan Shwartz
Nancy Springer

Lisa Tuttle
Joan Vinge
Élisabeth Vonarburg
Cherry Wilder

Connie Willis

I own books by eight out of the forty eight (which makes one-sixth of the total.) Plus I’ve read one more.

On the down side I’d not heard – or not recalled – twelve of them (which is a quarter.)

I wonder what a similar list of male writers from the same starting era would look like.

The Women’s Press SF Line

Further to Ian Sales‘s meme about women SF writers he posted an item about The Women’s Press SF line which was published in the 1980s in a distinctive grey border and spine with cover art in a characteristic style.

The usual applies. The ones in bold I’ve read.

1. Kindred, Octavia Butler
2. Walk to the End of the World and Motherlines, Suzy McKee Charnas
3. The New Gulliver: Or The Adventures of Lemuel Gulliver, Jr. in Capovolta, Esmé Dodderidge
4. Machine Sex and Other Stories, Candas Jane Dorsey
5. Native Tongue, Suzette Haden Elgin
6. The Judas Rose, Suzette Haden Elgin
7. The Incomer, Margaret Elphinstone
8. Carmen Dog, Carol Emshwiller
9. The Fires of Bride: A Novel, Ellen Galford
10. The Wanderground, Sally Miller Gearhart
11. Herland, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
12. Despatches from the Frontiers of the Female Mind, Jen Green & Sarah LeFanu
13. The Godmothers, Sandi Hall
14. Women as Demons, Tanith Lee
15. The Book of the Night, Rhoda Lerman
16. Evolution Annie and Other Stories, Rosaleen Love
17. The Total Devotion Machine, Rosaleen Love
18. The Revolution of Saint Jone, Lorna Mitchell
19. Memoirs of a Spacewoman, Naomi Mitchison
20. The Mothers of Maya Diip, Suniti Namjoshi
21. Planet Dweller, Jane Palmer
22. The Watcher, Jane Palmer
23. Woman on the Edge of Time, Marge Piercy
24. Star Rider, Doris Piserchia
25. Extra(Ordinary) People, Joanna Russ
26. The Adventures of Alyx, Joanna Russ
27. The Female Man, Joanna Russ
28. The Hidden Side of the Moon, Joanna Russ
29. The Two of Them, Joanna Russ
30. We Who Are About To.., Joanna Russ
31. Queen of the States, Josephine Saxton
32. Travails of Jane Saint and Other Stories, Josephine Saxton
33. I, Vampire, Jody Scott
34. Passing for Human, Jody Scott
35. A Door Into Ocean, Joan Slonczewski
36. Spaceship Built of Stone and Other Stories, Lisa Tuttle
37. Across the Acheron, Monique Wittig

Only three out of 37 and two by the same author.
Mind you, a lot of SF by women wasn’t available to The Women’s Press as it was published elsewhere. That’s my excuse anyway.

Science Fiction Mistressworks

There’s an interesting conversation going around vis-a-vis Science Fiction so-called Masterworks.

Both Ian Sales and Paul Raven over at Futurismic have commented on the lack of female writers in the Gollancz series. Ian has even gone so far as to produce a meme listing 91 women Science Fictioneers.

There is perhaps a need to boost the recognition of the contribution of women to the genre (The Women Men Don’t See) though I have the impression there are more about than there were but as a contest this isn’t one.

Ursula Le Guin trumps everyone.

Everyone, female or male.

Even Robert Silverberg.

A List Of Science Fiction Masterworks

Over at Ian Sales’s blog he has mentioned a meme that seems to come from the SF and Fantasy Masterworks Reading Project.

There seems to be a few more books on Ian’s list than on the Reading Project’s site, in all nearly a hundred. Some appear twice because there are two lists, one in Roman numerals and the other in Arabic.

I suppose the reason that not many of these are recent publications is that it takes time for a book to be appreciated as a masterwork.

The ones in bold I have read. For those starred (*) I have read the short story from which the novel was developed. Those with double stars I believe I read many moons ago but do not now have a copy. The italicised one is in the TBR pile (and has been for donkey’s ages.)

SF Masterworks Index:-

I – Dune – Frank Herbert
II – The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
III – The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick
IV – The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester
V – A Canticle for Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller, Jr.
VI – Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke

VII – The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein
VIII – Ringworld – Larry Niven
IX – The Forever War – Joe Haldeman
X – The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham

1 – The Forever War – Joe Haldeman
2 – I Am Legend – Richard Matheson
3 – Cities in Flight – James Blish
4 – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick
5 – The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester
6 – Babel-17 – Samuel R. Delany
7 – Lord of Light – Roger Zelazny
8 – The Fifth Head of Cerberus – Gene Wolfe

9 – Gateway – Frederik Pohl
10 – The Rediscovery of Man – Cordwainer Smith

11 – Last and First Men – Olaf Stapledon
12 – Earth Abides – George R. Stewart
13 – Martian Time-Slip – Philip K. Dick
14 – The Demolished Man – Alfred Bester
15 – Stand on Zanzibar – John Brunner
16 – The Dispossessed – Ursula K. Le Guin
17 – The Drowned World – J. G. Ballard
18 – The Sirens of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut

19 – Emphyrio – Jack Vance
20 – A Scanner Darkly – Philip K. Dick

21 – Star Maker – Olaf Stapledon
22 – Behold the Man – Michael Moorcock
23 – The Book of Skulls – Robert Silverberg
24 – The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells

25 – Flowers for Algernon* – Daniel Keyes
26 – Ubik – Philip K. Dick
27 – Timescape – Gregory Benford
28 – More Than Human – Theodore Sturgeon
29 – Man Plus – Frederik Pohl
30 – A Case of Conscience – James Blish

31 – The Centauri Device – M. John Harrison
32 – Dr. Bloodmoney – Philip K. Dick
33 – Non-Stop – Brian Aldiss
34 – The Fountains of Paradise – Arthur C. Clarke
35 – Pavane – Keith Roberts
36 – Now Wait for Last Year – Philip K. Dick
37 – Nova – Samuel R. Delany
38 – The First Men in the Moon – H. G. Wells
39 – The City and the Stars – Arthur C. Clarke
40 – Blood Music – Greg Bear

41 – Jem – Frederik Pohl
42 – Bring the Jubilee – Ward Moore
43 – VALIS – Philip K. Dick
44 – The Lathe of Heaven – Ursula K. Le Guin
45 – The Complete Roderick – John Sladek
46 – Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said – Philip K. Dick
47 – The Invisible Man – H. G. Wells
48 – Grass – Sheri S. Tepper
49 – A Fall of Moondust – Arthur C. Clarke

50 – Eon – Greg Bear

51 – The Shrinking Man – Richard Matheson
52 – The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K. Dick
53 – The Dancers at the End of Time – Michael Moorcock
54 – The Space Merchants** – Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth
55 – Time Out of Joint – Philip K. Dick
56 – Downward to the Earth – Robert Silverberg
57 – The Simulacra – Philip K. Dick
58 – The Penultimate Truth – Philip K. Dick
59 – Dying Inside – Robert Silverberg
60 – Ringworld – Larry Niven

61 – The Child Garden* – Geoff Ryman
62 – Mission of Gravity – Hal Clement
63 – A Maze of Death – Philip K. Dick

64 – Tau Zero** – Poul Anderson
65 – Rendezvous with Rama – Arthur C. Clarke
66 – Life During Wartime – Lucius Shepard

67 – Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang – Kate Wilhelm
68 – Roadside Picnic – Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
69 – Dark Benediction – Walter M. Miller, Jr.
70 – Mockingbird – Walter Tevis

71 – Dune – Frank Herbert
72 – The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein
73 – The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick
74 – Inverted World, Christopher Priest
75 – Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut
76 – The Island of Dr Moreau, HG Wells
77 – Childhood’s End, Arthur C Clarke
78 – The Time Machine, HG Wells
79 – Dhalgren, Samuel R Delany
80 – Helliconia, Brian Aldiss
81 – Food of the Gods, HG Wells

82 – The Body Snatchers, Jack Finney
83 – The Female Man*, Joanna Russ (Edited to add; I have now read this.)
84 – Arslan, MJ Engh

Not Fifteen Books

Ian Sales on his blog mentioned a while back a meme that is going about, where you list the fifteen books that influenced or affected you most and have stayed with you. I don’t know if I can come up with fifteen off the top of my head but here are some.

Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert
The Man In The Maze by Robert Silverberg
The Left Hand Of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin
Winter’s Children and Hello Summer Goodbye both by Michael G Coney
Lanark by Alasdair Gray
The Private Memoirs And Confessions Of A Justified Sinner by James Hogg
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C Clarke
Pavane by Keith Roberts

The Herbert is there because it was the first Dune book I read (out of the local Public Library, when I devoured any yellow jacketed book in the SF section.) I didn’t know when I picked it up it was a sequel. It still made sense, and is a better novel than Dune anyway. So is Children Of Dune; but the later ones are increasingly forgettable.
The Man In The Maze made me realise what SF could be and do. Silverberg has written books even more impressive but I was on the verge of stopping reading SF till I read this. So Robert Silverberg is to blame for my continuing involvement with the genre.
The Left Hand Of Darkness just blew me away.
All the Michael G Coneys from around that part of his career are superb as I remember. Lump in Mirror Image, Syzygy, Charisma, The Girl With A Symphony In Her Fingers* (aka The Jaws That Bite, The Claws That Catch) and Brontomek! to that list.
Lanark, while being a masterpiece by anyone’s definition also let me know it was actually possible to be Scottish and still get literature of a speculative bent into print.
Confessions Of A Justified Sinner is the prototypic Scottish novel. Jekyll and Hyde, your inspiration was surely here – also, in many senses, my story “Dusk,” despite the fact that stylistically I was more attempting to echo Silverberg. But if you live in Scotland that streak of fatalistic, Calvinistic gloom just gets to you.
2001. Amazingly, I read this before I saw the film. Sense of wonder plus. (At the time.)
Pavane opened up for me the delights of Altered History.

*This, I read only a few years ago, though.

I see the total comes to eight; fourteen if you count all the Coneys. But then I haven’t enumerated all the Silverbergs, nor the Le Guins. And now I think about it there ought to be a Roger Zelazny in there somewhere; any from He Who Shapes, This Immortal, Isle Of The Dead or Doorways In The Sand.

Now, if there were a meme for books that stayed with you for all the wrong reasons!….

Four Random Things About Me

Big Rab tagged me with this and I’ve been stuck for a response as I’m pretty boring really (the good lady has a lot to put up with) and I can’t think of many things even vaguely amusing, interesting or unusual about me – beyond the obvious one of being a published author of fiction.


I once performed an impromptu Hokey-Cokey in Soviet Russia.
I was on a school cruise which stopped in Leningrad, as it then was. A few of us were taken to the Pioneers’ Palace – Pioneers being described as the Soviet version of Scouts – and they performed some sort of Russian folk dance for us. To reciprocate we Scots did the Hokey-Cokey as it was the only loosely dance-based thing that the adults present thought we would all know.

As far as I know I was the first person ever to discover an incidence of that weakish attractive force that is called a hydrogen bond from a hydrogen atom that was bonded to a sulphur. (Usually they only occur when H is bonded to N, O or F atoms.)
I made a thiol substituted camphor derivative compound which had the hydrogen atom bonded to the sulphur close enough in space to the oxygen atom located elsewhere in the molecule for it to be attracted enough by that oxygen that the hydrogen was effectively weakly bonded to the O as well. The infra-red spectrum showed this as an unusually sharp line.

I have twice appeared on television by accident.
Once on the terraces at Firs Park when the BBC filmed a Shire-Dumbarton Cup tie and I could be glimpsed in a background shot. The other time was years earlier. I was the only passenger on Renton railway station when some TV show or other was recording there for some obscure reason.

I’m only two handshakes (or maybe conversations) away from Adolf Hitler.
Some years ago now I met a (still youngish) bloke who’d guarded* Rudolf Hess at Spandau.

I can’t think of anyone to tag with this. If you’re offended by this omission let me know and I’ll add you!

*Since Hess (if it was Hess – there are conspiracy theories) died a while ago now my acquaintance must have been one of the last to do this. He said the Russians treated the prisoner pretty poorly; so they obviously thought he was the real Hess.

Meme: Where Was I When…..?

I’ve been tagged.
I gather this is some sort of bloggers’ chainletter. At least it’s not a pyramid scheme.
Won’t it run out soon? (Probably! see below.)

Princess Diana’s death – 31 August 1997
I was in bed, heard it on the radio, and my first thought was, “That’ll mean the TV’s all up the creek for today, then.” I was right – except it was for the week.
The country went collectively mad – or at least the media did. Whatever happened to restraint and the stiff upper lip?
What irked me most was that Scotland had a crucial World Cup qualifier unnecessarily delayed because of the funeral. Who has a funeral on a Saturday?
And all over a glorified clothes-horse. She seemed not to understand that (sadly as it happens) royal wives are nothing but baby machines. Katherine (I believe she doesn’t like being called Kate) Middleton, take note.

Margaret Thatcher’s That woman’s resignation – 22 November 1990
I think I was at work and someone came in and told me; but I could be confusing this with John Major’s resignation as Tory party leader (I accidentally typed praty there at first, how apposite) as I don’t think I believed it. It’s not that easy to get rid of the wicked witch is it?
(I know the above might sound sexist; but she really was an aggravating so-and-so and destroyed a large part of what made Britain great. Part of that destruction was that she ensured devolution would come to Scotland sooner rather than later.
I no longer live in the country I grew up in. It’s a harder, harsher, much more selfish place now. And that is a loss.)

Attack on the twin towers – 11 September 2001
Doctorvee, I was at home because I was ill. (I didn’t have another day off sick for over five years.)
The footage, of the second aeroplane sharking in (participle copyright Martin Amis) on looped repeat, seemed unreal. We’re so familiar with multiple camera angles that it somehow wasn’t convincing with only the one. It was the fires in the towers and their subsequent fall that hit me. (We did finally get footage from ground level of the planes hitting the towers.)
I never thought it could be an excuse for us co-invading a foreign country, though I had predicted in 1979 that our next war would be in the Middle East, over oil. (I was wrong about that because of the Falklands, but that wasn’t a war, oh no, that was a “police action.”)
Of course, Blair sent more troops overseas to more places than anyone since Churchill (who had, after all, had a bloody good reason.)

England’s World Cup Semi Final v Germany – 4 July 1990
What in the name of the wee man is this doing here?
We’re celebrating (ahem) a side reaching a semi-final?
That sums up the England football team’s achievements away from home in a nutshell.
Anyway, I watched the game on TV and harrumphed derisively as the “greatest goalkeeper in the world” failed to manage to take a couple of steps backwards and then jump, as Germany scored. Lineker’s equaliser was a class act, though. Gazza’s tears? Big Jessie.
I was sad for Bobby Robson.

President Kennedy’s Assassination – 22 November 1963
At home, I don’t think the TV was on. My dad came in from the shop across the road – it was a Friday night, I know, because this was a family ritual on Fridays. (Don’t ask, I was a child.) The shopkeeper had told him Kennedy had been shot. We didn’t yet know he was dead.

I don’t really feel I know enough bloggers well enough to tag five and doctorvee’s bagged one of them in onebrow.
Big Rab
Simon Barrow
paul cockburn
Jim Steel
Sorry guys; you’re it.

free hit counter script