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  1. Alexander, Lloyd — The Black Cauldron
  2. Anthony, Piers — Letters to Jenny
  3. Cooper, Susan — Over Sea, Under Stone
  4. Proulx, Annie — Close Range: Wyoming Stories
  5. Kincaid, Jamaica — Lucy
  6. Christie, Agatha — The Unexpected Guest
  7. Dick, Philip K. — Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  8. Cooper, Susan — The Dark Is Rising
  9. Cooper, Susan — Greenwitch
  10. Shaffer, Peter — Amadeus
  11. Anonymous — Go Ask Alice
  12. Cooper, Susan — The Grey King
  13. Martin, Steve — Shopgirl
  14. Cooper, Susan — Silver on the Tree
  15. Gaiman, Neil — Stardust
  16. Gaiman, Neil — Coraline
  17. Le Guin, Ursula — A Wizard of Earthsea
  18. Le Guin, Ursula — The Tombs of Atuan
  19. Le Guin, Ursula — The Farthest Shore
  20. Le Guin, Ursula — Tehanu
  21. Merton, Thomas — The Seven Storey Mountain: An Autobiography of Faith
  22. Alexander, Lloyd — The Castle of Llyr
  23. Zelazny, Roger — Lord of Light
  24. Card, Orson Scott — Ender's Game
  25. Clarke, Arthur C. — Childhood's End
  26. Grahame, Kenneth — The Wind in the Willows
  27. Dahl, Roald — James and the Giant Peach
  28. Lewis, C.S. — Out of the Silent Planet
  29. Lewis, C.S. — Perelandra
  30. Milne, A.A. — Winnie-the-Pooh
  31. Card, Orson Scott — Speaker for the Dead
  32. Bester, Alfred — The Stars My Destination

I have received so many recommendations lately for The Stars My Destination that I decided to ignore what is already on my bookshelf and buy a copy. I suppose I really shouldn't spend money on books, not when I have so many sitting in boxes in Medford waiting to accompany me overseas, but I couldn't resist.

The Stars My Destination is a fun story, well told, with interesting characters and situations. I didn't feel it was anything approaching the best science fiction novel of all time, though. (Amongst books I've read, I think that distinction would have to go to Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness.) Until the final chapter, Bester didn't really give us anything meaty to contemplate. This was a fast-paced adventure, an entertaining race from A to B and back, good fun and not much more. Alas, Bester relied on Deus ex machinae to save his protagonist too often for my tastes. It was a well constructed novel, though, even if it lacked in substance.

Now, onto a meaty little book about corrupt Mexican priests that's been sitting on my shelf tempting me for years…

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Jul. 14th, 2006 07:04 pm (UTC)
You shoulda asked me; I've got it around somewhere and would gladly have lent it to you. Oh, well.
chrishansenhome
Jul. 14th, 2006 07:05 pm (UTC)
Sorry, anonymous was me; I forget to log in sometimes and the machine doesn't tell me until it's too late.
spwebdesign
Jul. 14th, 2006 07:10 pm (UTC)
Do you have anything else on this list?
ayelle
Jul. 14th, 2006 07:08 pm (UTC)
I really, really have to disagree. I found Stars My Destination to be far more than "well constructed but insubstantial." Nor am I going to say I think that it was important "in its time" as an excuse for why it didn't hold up for you. That may have something to do with it, of course (unless I'm totally misremembering, this book is decades older than Left Hand of Darkness, though I don't think they bear a whole lot of resemblence to one another anyway) -- but I think it's more than just seminal and influential, I think it's still an incredible book today. I have rarely encountered that kind of stunningly raw psychological portrait of a hero/anti-hero even in much of modern scifi, and I still think the concepts it explores are both fascinating and relevant. I dunno. I guess I'm not sure why you felt there was not much there. Doubt I can explain to you why I thought there was.
spwebdesign
Jul. 14th, 2006 07:19 pm (UTC)
Absolutely, it's got a fantastic depiction of the hero/anti-hero. The characters in general are very well drawn. And the plot was fun, gripping, fast-paced. I didn't really feel there were all that many concepts to explore, though, until the final chapter.

It also felt dated, which surprised me. I mean, I expect most sci-fi will feel dated as our technology advances, but I kept reading reviews that specifically noted that this book ages better than most. Perhaps, since Bester doesn't use too many descriptions of technology, his technology doesn't feel dated, but he does so much name-dropping of families that are no longer relevant that it becomes obvious this was a book written in the mid-twentieth century. I don't think that's necessarily a detractor; I'm just responding to ubiquitous comments.
sunstealer
Jul. 15th, 2006 01:37 am (UTC)
wow. apparently it didn't like my formatting. sorry!
spwebdesign
Jul. 15th, 2006 05:29 am (UTC)
No problem. It's about time you chimed in on these! <grin> Here I am thinking that no one reads as much SF/Fantasy as you do and wondering why you hadn't expressed an opinion yet! ;) Thanks for the recommendations!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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