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Book 34

  1. Pohl, Frederik — Gateway (278 pages)
  2. Clement, Hal — Mission of Gravity (193 pages)
  3. Benford, Gregory — Timescape (499 pages)
  4. O'Hare, Mick (editor) — Why Don't Penguins Feet Freeze? and 114 Other Questions (232 pages)
  5. Dos Passos, John — Number One (218 pages)
  6. Heller, Joseph — Catch-22 (457 pages)
  7. St. John of the Cross — Dark Night of the Soul (119 pages)
  8. Day, Dorothy — The Long Loneliness (286 pages)
  9. Allen, Ted, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia, Carson Kressley, and Jai Rodriguez — Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: The Fab 5's Guide to Looking Better, Cooking Better, Dressing Better, Behaving Better, and Living Better (250 pages)
  10. Whittemore, Carroll E., ed. (William Duncan, illus.) — Symbols of the Church (59 pages)
  11. Hardy, Thomas — Jude the Obscure (507 pages)
  12. Lee, Harper — To Kill a Mockingbird (278 pages)
  13. Mann, Thomas (Helen T. Lowe-Porter, transl.) — Death in Venice (73 pages)
  14. Kempis, Thomas à — The Imitation of Christ (165 pages)
  15. West, Canon Edward N. — Outward Signs: The Language of Christian Symbolism (232 pages)
  16. Alexander, Lloyd — The High King (253 pages)
  17. Bellairs, John — St. Fidgeta & Other Parodies (84 pages)
  18. Endo, Shusaku — Silence (300 pages)
  19. Moorcock, Michael — Behold the Man (137 pages)
  20. Pouncey, Peter — Rules for Old Men Waiting (208 pages)
  21. Davies, Robertson — Tempest-Tost (The Salterton Trilogy) (235 pages)
  22. Davies, Robertson — Leaven of Malice (The Salterton Trilogy) (218 pages)
  23. Davies, Robertson — A Mixture of Frailties (The Salterton Trilogy) (311 pages)
  24. Austen, Jane — Pride and Prejudice (274 pages)
  25. Murakami, Haruki — Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (400 pages)
  26. Burrows, Ruth, O.C.D. — Essence of Prayer (210 pages)
  27. McCarthy, Cormac — The Road (239 pages)
  28. Dahl, Roald — The BFG (184 pages)
  29. Eugenides, Jeffrey — The Virgin Suicides (247 pages)
  30. Geoffrey of Monmouth — The History of the Kings of Britain (280 pages)
  31. Figgess, Sandra — Christian Initiation of Older Children (87 pages)
  32. Clarke, Susanna — Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (1006 pages)
  33. Sobel, Dava — Longitude (179 pages)
  34. Bradbury, Ray — The Martian Chronicles (181 pages)

Page count: 8,879 of targeted 12,500.

I finished The Martian Chronicles middle of last week. Life has been so hectic, though, that I haven't had time to blog about it.

Browsing my stack of unread books, nothing really called to me. I saw The Martian Chronicles sitting there and decided it's simply been too long since I read any Bradbury, almost exactly a year.

This collection of related stories is not Bradbury's best work, though. There are touches of Bradbury's masterful storytelling ability, flashes of his rich palette, but overall it falls short. I was shocked at some of the basic things Bradbury didn't account for. These stories might as well have taken place in the middle of the twentieth century, based on the amount of development of human society. You would think it wouldn't require too much speculative imagination to figure that technologies might actually advance in 60-some years or that currency inflation might occur. (I don't expect any author to be clairvoyant and predict what will be different, but if your medium is science fiction then make the effort!) There's very little reason these stories shouldn't have taken place in 1950s Wyoming instead of on Mars!

Now Bradbury was a brilliant author, so I have to assume that his real intent wasn't to write a tale about planetary colonisation at some point in the future but rather to caution against certain disturbing phenomena of his era (the arms race and nuclear proliferation, McCarthyism, institutional racism, etc.). His point, if it really was his point, got across, but others (including himself in other works) have done so much more effectively.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 21st, 2007 05:05 am (UTC)
Bradbury claims he doesn't write science fiction. That he placed these works of fantasy under a title that suggests science fiction gives the impression that he did, but his forte is evocative poetic fantasy that are sometimes parables. The title "The Martian Chronicles simply places the stories outside of ordinary human experience but doesn't make his work science fiction. The original Star Trek was a collection of parabolic fantasies disguised as science fiction, too, as well as a disguised commentary on contemporary life and politics.

Nor has Ray Bradbury changed much from his early days. His most recent book reads much like "Dandelion Wine". He always was at his best when adding a touch of horror, as in "Something Wicked This Way Comes but he always wrote with elements of fantasy and poetry, even though his product is often confused with science fiction.
Nov. 25th, 2007 08:37 pm (UTC)
testing this one...
Very interesting... as always! Cheers from -Switzerland-.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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