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It's September. What are you reading?

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Bick

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A fair bit of discussion lately on near-forgotten masters of SF, and Simak's name has come up a fair bit. Partly for that reason I just started Cemetery World by Clifford D. Simak. I'm reminded how well he writes. Its been a while since I read much except for a few (very good) short stories in the last couple of years, but his prose is clear as a bell, and his ideas are excellent. He really paints a vivid picture. Of course, he was Asimov's favourite SF writer, and Asimov made it his aim to write simply and clearly based in part on his admiration of Simak's style. I read a few Simak books many moons ago, and I neither own the books nor remember the stories at all well, so I think I must now go on a Clifford D. Simak acquisition bender through Abebooks and Ebay. Perhaps I should do a short (4 or 5 book) Simak reading challenge, a la Extollager's ongoing Asimov reader.
 

BAYLOR

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Henry Zou's Bastion War trilogy . It's good stuff.:)
 

Extollager

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A fair bit of discussion lately on near-forgotten masters of SF, and Simak's name has come up a fair bit. Partly for that reason I just started Cemetery World by Clifford D. Simak. I'm reminded how well he writes. Its been a while since I read much except for a few (very good) short stories in the last couple of years, but his prose is clear as a bell, and his ideas are excellent. He really paints a vivid picture. Of course, he was Asimov's favourite SF writer, and Asimov made it his aim to write simply and clearly based in part on his admiration of Simak's style. I read a few Simak books many moons ago, and I neither own the books nor remember the stories at all well, so I think I must now go on a Clifford D. Simak acquisition bender through Abebooks and Ebay. Perhaps I should do a short (4 or 5 book) Simak reading challenge, a la Extollager's ongoing Asimov reader.
You'd probably find me responsive to the Simak challenge, by the way.......
 

Extollager

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Current reading includes dialogues of Plato and Asimov's The Stars, Like Dust.
 

Vertigo

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Actually that quote "it will make you believe in God" is a direct code from the author's note at the beginning of the book, when he tells about how he came to hear the story of Pi.
You should be aware that the Author's note is also part of the fiction Parson. It is designed to increase the feeling that it is a narration of a true event which is Martel's deliberate playing with the idea of what is and is not a story.

(And I hope I won't be in trouble for the original recommendation! :))
 

Parson

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You should be aware that the Author's note is also part of the fiction Parson. It is designed to increase the feeling that it is a narration of a true event which is Martel's deliberate playing with the idea of what is and is not a story.

(And I hope I won't be in trouble for the original recommendation! :))
Oh, you won't be in trouble for the recommendation. I thought it started slowly with all that zoo information, but I'm liking it quite well right now. And I have to admit that I was suckered by the "author's note." I thought this was a story developed from a story, perhaps true, that he had heard in India. But as to the quote "it will make you believe in God." that is still true and I think that the author is trying to set us up for something.

Just finished Honor Among Enemies, and once again the book brought me to tears. I am so moved by people who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of the whole. I've long said that Field of Dishonor was my favorite Honor Harrington novel, but tonight I'm not so sure.
 

Extollager

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Perhaps I should do a short (4 or 5 book) Simak reading challenge, a la Extollager's ongoing Asimov reader.
If you do so, would you be starting with early works, or recommending reading of the top four or five (short story collections as well as novels, or just novels?)?
 

Vertigo

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Oh, you won't be in trouble for the recommendation. I thought it started slowly with all that zoo information, but I'm liking it quite well right now. And I have to admit that I was suckered by the "author's note." I thought this was a story developed from a story, perhaps true, that he had heard in India. But as to the quote "it will make you believe in God." that is still true and I think that the author is trying to set us up for something.

Just finished Honor Among Enemies, and once again the book brought me to tears. I am so moved by people who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of the whole. I've long said that Field of Dishonor was my favorite Honor Harrington novel, but tonight I'm not so sure.
I would have been 'suckered' as well but I had had prior warning :) Also I agree that it does start a little slowly, but actually I think all that zoo stuff is more important to Martel's message than it first appears (a bit like the author's note trick in a way), once you've finished you might like to take a look at my 'review' where I discuss my thoughts on it a little (though I may be totally wrong of course!!!!!)
 

Teresa Edgerton

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I'm reading a biography at the moment: Doctor of Love: James Graham and His Celestial Bed. I was already familiar with some of his inventions (and used the Celestial Bed in a story once), but not with his life story.
 

Bick

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On the subject of my idea of reading a selection of Simak books:
If you do so, would you be starting with early works, or recommending reading of the top four or five (short story collections as well as novels, or just novels?)?
Interesting question, I'm not sure. I think I will be sure to include City and Way Station, but the others will be reasonably random I suspect and have to do with which books I most easily get hold of. Based on what I've got already, a few I've ordered already or that I'm looking out for, the books in the reading list may comprise:

Cemetery World [1973] (currently reading)
City [1952] (got it, needs a re-read)
Ring Around the Sun [1953] (need to source this, lost my copy 30 years ago)
Way Station [1963] (ordered it)
All Flesh is Grass [1965] (ordered it)
Destiny Doll [1971] (own it, not yet read)
Catface [1978]
Special Deliverance [1982]

If any of these are poor choices, in anyone's opinion, or not representative, or you have a better suggestion, please holler.

EDIT: I just ordered:
Time is the Simplest Thing
Shakespears Planet
... so I guess they are added to the list, which is growing. Perhaps I should start a Simak reading challenge thread.
 
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J-Sun

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I thought I'd read more Simak but this list is all I have (bold), can recall, or can find record of:
  • Cosmic Engineers (1950, 1939 serial): love this atypical super science space opera
  • Time and Again (1951, 1950 serial): this is in the Pile
  • City (1952 coll): this didn't strike me as being as good as its rep, but was interesting
  • All the Traps of Earth (1962 coll): cool
  • Way Station (1963): masterpiece
  • The Goblin Reservation (1968): didn't hate it; didn't like it
  • A Choice of Gods (1972): ditto
  • Project Pope (1981): don't recall clearly - I think it was interesting, but not quite interesting enough
  • Highway of Eternity (1986): I have no recollection of this - just a note that I've read it
So Way Station and City are on both lists, and all I can say otherwise is that Cosmic Engineers is a blast and All the Traps of Earth is a good collection. I haven't read any of your others but I think I've heard good things about Ring Around the Sun and All Flesh Is Grass, but I'm not sure. Oh, and Time Is the Simplest Thing, as well.
 
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Bick

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Thanks J-Sun, looks like I should add Cosmic Engineers to the list, especially as I've seen it used for $3!
 

Extollager

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City
Ring Around the Sun
Way Station
Time Is the Simplest Thing
The Werewolf Principle
Mastodonia
The Worlds of Clifford Simak


are the ones I have on hand.

My sense is that his fantasy is not his best, and, as I'm extra-picky about fantasy, I'd probably have to read a lot of Simak's work and be really enthusiastic about it before I would overcome my prejudice and give the fantasy a try.
 

hitmouse

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Time is the Simplest Thing is one of my favourites. The first Simak I ever read.
Shakespear's Planet is unusual but good
Goblin Reservation is fun.
City Excellent. not sure if my copy has the final chapter: published as short stories and final chapter varies between editions.
All Flesh is Grass. Good and a bit odd. Enjoyed but it didn't really grab me.

There is another one whose title eludes me. Postapcalyptic N America. Isolated university surrounded by gangs. Some sort of expedition to the mountain from Close Encounters. robot consciousnesses entrapped in indesctructible metal heads.
 

Extollager

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Would it be appropriate, if there's going to be a "Simak novels reading challenge," to select books published in the 15-year period that has City (1952) and The Werewolf Principle (1967) as the borders? The other novels would appear to be:

Ring Around the Sun (1953)
Time is the Simplest Thing (1961)
The Trouble with Tycho (1961)
They Walked Like Men (1962)
Way Station (1963)
All Flesh Is Grass (1965)
Why Call Them Back from Heaven? (1967)

I get the sense that this would catch most of the Simak novels for which the most esteem has been expressed.
 

Bick

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Would it be appropriate, if there's going to be a "Simak novels reading challenge," to select books published in the 15-year period that has City (1952) and The Werewolf Principle (1967) as the borders? The other novels would appear to be:

Ring Around the Sun (1953)
Time is the Simplest Thing (1961)
The Trouble with Tycho (1961)
They Walked Like Men (1962)
Way Station (1963)
All Flesh Is Grass (1965)
Why Call Them Back from Heaven? (1967)

I get the sense that this would catch most of the Simak novels for which the most esteem has been expressed.
Thanks for the suggestion. I just posted a new thread on the reading challenge I have set myself on the classic SF forum, and saw your suggestion afterward. Its a nice idea, but I think I will probably want to read some books outside this time frame. Indeed, the one I'm close to finishing is outside it! If you'd like to read these specific ones and comment on the time period, that would be great. I guess the 'challenge' is less of a challenge and more of a loose idea to read some Simak collectively. I will be reading some of those books, and more in chronological order hereon though I think. Thanks for the interest. :)
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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I just finished The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty, because my better half is going to a book club meeting and wanted my comments. (I'll be at work during the meeting.) It's about a woman, her husband killed in WWII, who goes from Chicago to her childhood home in Mississippi when her father is hospitalized for an eye ailment. ***MINOR SPOILER*** He dies in the hospital, and the major conflict is between the woman and her father's young second wife. It's about social class, memory, marriage, death, home, and many other themes.
 

Parson

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I just finished Elizabeth Moon's Marque and Reprisal. Solid follow up, and perhaps better than the first in the Vatta's War series, Trading in Danger. I think I will continue reading this series. I find Kylara Vatta to be an interesting character.
 

The Bluestocking

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Just finished the second book in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series - Dragonfly In Amber. Now deep into the third book, Voyager. This is addictive stuff...

Also finished Deborah Cooke's YA book, Flying Blind. Not too bad for a quick, light read.

Just started reading the first book in Scott Westerfeld's Midnighters trilogy.
 
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