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Fiction Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times

This week my contribution to Judith Reader in the Wilderness’s meme is my shelves of recent fiction written in English. They include UK, US, Irish, Canadian, Australian, Nigerian, Malaysian and Egyptian writers and even one part Vietnamese author. Click on the photos to enlarge.

There’s barely a dud here. Notable to me are Philip K Dick’s non-Science Fiction novels (stretching recent there a bit.) Sadly these were not published till after his death.

Also there, though, is Samuel R Delany’s autobiographical book The Motion of Light in Water not to mention some commemorative china and wooden elephants.

English Language Fiction Books

Peter Ackroyd’s The House of Doctor Dee would be there too if the good lady hadn’t swiped it for her 20 Books of Summer reads.

However that would be on the next shelf stacked on its side as it’s one of those large paperbacks. I put those and some hardbacks from below upright to take the photo below. (The James Wellard is also hardly recent.)

English Language Fiction Tall Books

A Different Top Ten Space Operas

In response to Gareth Powell’s list Ian Sales has posted his own. Typically of Ian his choices are idiosyncratic. I note he sneaks in more than ten too.

My strike rate here is much lower.

Judgment Night, CL Moore (1952)
Empire Star, Samuel R Delany (1966)
Valérian and Laureline, Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières (1967 – present)
The Children of Anthi and Requiem for Anthi, Jay D Blakeney (1985 – 1990)
Master of Paxwax and The Fall of the Families, Phillip Mann (1986 – 1987)
Take Back Plenty, Colin Greenland (1990)
An Exchange of Hostages, Prisoner of Conscience and Hour of Judgement, Susan R Matthews (1997 – 1999)
The Prodigal Sun, The Dying Light and A Dark Imbalance, Sean Williams & Shane Dix (1999 – 2001)
The Risen Empire and The Killing of Worlds, Scott Westerfeld (2003)
Spirit, or the Princess of Bois Dormant, Gwyneth Jones (2008)

Top Ten Space Operas

Another list.

According to Wikipedia “Space Opera is a subgenre of science fiction that often emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in outer space, usually involving conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, weapons, and other technology.”

Partly as a comment on the sub-genre and also as an attempt to subvert it I provided my own novel A Son of the Rock with the tagline “A Space Libretto” mainly because – while it roamed the spaceways and deployed technology – advanced abilities and weapons were largely, if not completely, absent.

As to Space Opera itself, Gareth Powell has posted a list of what he considers a Top Ten of Space Operas on his website. It leans heavily towards relatively recent works.

As you can see I’ve read all but three of them.

Nova by Samuel R. Delany
The Centauri Device by M. John Harrison
Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks
A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

The Reality Dysfunction By Peter F. Hamilton
Leviathan Wakes by James SA Corey
Space by Stephen Baxter
Excession by Iain M. Banks

Frederick Pohl

Another of Science Fiction’s prominent authors, Frederick Pohl, has died.

His contribution to the genre started early in its history, mostly pseudonymously at first but later notably in collaboration with C M Kornbluth. His writing career also developed under his own name and he won four Hugo and three Nebula awards overall.

It was not just as a writer that Pohl was important to the field. He was an influential editor of the magazines Galaxy and If in the 1960s and for Bantam Books in the 1970s where he took a punt on Samuel R Delany’s Dhalgren and Joanna Russ’s The Female Man.

Pohl also wrote an autobiographical account of his early years in the SF field and his meetings with the group of SF fans (many of whom were writers) known as “The Futurians” in The Way The Future Was.

In later years he adapted this title to take up blogging, at The Way The Future Blogs, an unfailingly entertaining and informative blog which I shall miss.

Frederik George Pohl, Jr. 26/11/1919-2/9/2013. So it goes.

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