April 30th, 2007

Saturn Ring Blues

Books That Twist and Shape

If you love Calvin and Hobbes, there's something really disturbing about this video.

And onto more serious notes, jaylake  has asked an interesting question about books that, as he said, "challenge my intellect, expand my vocabulary, make me think about both the largest questions and the smallest, and most of all, give me the chills. Because it's a damned good book."

There must be a correlation between what books a writer would put into that list and what kind of writing the writer does.  What's interesting is how the influential material is filtered through the writer's head.  It wouldn't surprise me at all if the rock group Megadeth said they were most influenced by Brahms and Beethoven.  (Okay, that would surprise me a little.)  There's no telling how an influence will be expressed. 

Here's my list in resonse to his posting.  A Princess of Mars comes from when I was ten.

Mythago Wood - Robert Holdstock
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Robert Heinlein
The Lord of the Rings, and "A Leaf by Niggle" - J.R.R. Tolkein
The Martian Chronicles (and a zillion other stories) - Ray Bradbury
"Hitler Painted Roses," "Croatoan," (and many other stories) - Harlan Ellison
Lincoln's Dreams, Passage, To Say Nothing of the Dog (and others) - Connie Willis
"The Dead Boy at Your Window" - Bruce Holland Rogers
The Dead Zone, The Stand (and others) - Stephen King
"Fondly Farenheit" - Alfred Bester
The Lathe of Heaven - Ursula le Guin
A Princess of Mars (and the rest of the Mars books) - Edgar Rice Burroughs
Earth Abides - George Stewart

Here's a late addition.  I just assigned this story to my science fiction class, Keith Laumer's "The Last Command."  A near perfect short story with a beautiful plot line.  It strikes me just as effectively as Bob Shaw's "The Light of Other Days."

And, just to show you that time must weigh very heavy on my hands today:

The Editor's Dilemma

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