Print Story Books of my youth
By ucblockhead (Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 08:04:39 AM EST) (all tags)
With a bit of trepidation, I'm reading a some books I loved as a youth.

Anyone who rereads knows that feeling. You read a book that you thought was awesome when you were twelve and discover that it wasn't so awesome. It somehow retrospectively destroys the memory. Despite that, I've gone back to a couple of different books I loved as a teenager. I'm doing this mostly because I have lately been bored with most of the things I've been reading currently.

First up was Ringworld, which I got from R343L's giveaway. I think I last read it in high school. I know it has been decades. But I was pleasantly surprised. It really is much the way I remembered it. The beginning is so 70s that it is to laugh and Niven was never known for character, but this has what he was known for: ideas, cool aliens and awesome settings. You do have to ignore the ignorance of biology as the basic premise of breeding for luck is pure fantasy, but then, the book is more about following that through than in believing it. I wish the SciFi channel would do a miniseries out of it or something. (A Hollywood film wouldn't work...not enough violence.)

This morning, I took an even bigger risk and started reading Little Fuzzy. I have distinct memories of reading this when I was twelve during a long distance trip to New York. I believe I read through it two or three times on that trip. I absolutely adored it. But I don't think I've read it since.

At this point, I'm only 60 pages in, and am surprised at how fast the memories of it are flooding in after 30 years. Despite the title, this isn't a "young adult" novel. Parts of it are straight out of the time. (The characters seem to spend all their time drinking high balls and smoking.) But the basic plot doesn't really date at all.

This is, of course, distracting me from another resolution, which is to start actually reading things in my to-read pile. I started a collection by Pat Murphy. I haven't a clue why I bought it, but I am fairly certain I bought it new. The copyright date says 1990. I'm finding it mostly meh.

The next oldest book on my to-read pile is The Magic Mountain back from my German novelist phase. Mann's my stepfather's favorite author, but I've never read him as my stepfather only had the German editions.

I was going to read all the Hugo nominees and vote, but after finishing the novels, I've screeched to a halt because I can only get the novellas in electronic form, and I can't bring myself to read on a laptop for great lengths of time.

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Books of my youth | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
I read other H Beam Piper by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #1 Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 08:30:36 AM EST
his Lord Kalvan stuff, but never Little Fuzzy.

I wish I remembered what I thought of Ender's Game, when I read it as a novella as a young adult. I don't recall much, so I obviously didn't find it as pandering and infantile as I do now.

Little Fuzzy by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #2 Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 09:19:43 AM EST
Good, but not his best. Space Viking is, IMHO, his best novel. Or maybe second best. The Cosmic Computer is very good, and has some interesting resonances today.

I was a major Piper fan the last time his books were printed by Ace, back in the 80's. Most of them are on Gutenberg now.

As Mr. Ha mentioned, Lord Kalvan. (Hmmm, must still be in print.) Also the rest of the Paratime series. His other short stories are very good, too. Omnilingual is his most anthologized.

A Planet For Texans is a blatantly libertarian comedy/action piece. The basic idea is built on the idea from H.L. Mencken's essay "The Malevolent Jobholder" that it

shall be no longer malum in se for a citizen to pummel, cowhide, kick, gouge, cut, wound, bruise, maim, burn, club, bastinado, flay, or even lynch a [government] jobholder, and that it shall be malum prohibitum only to the extent that the punishment exceeds the jobholder's deserts.
In this case it's an explicit part of the planetary constitution that a practicing politician can be assassinated by his constituents.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Also: Niven by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #3 Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 09:27:42 AM EST
Ringworld Engineers is a fun book. The next two, not so much. I like some of his collaborations with Pournelle.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
i liked lucifer's hammer and footfall by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #6 Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 06:45:15 PM EST
but find both of them unrereadable.

the mote in god's eye was pretty good.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
mote in god's eye by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #8 Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 02:13:07 AM EST
The sequel to that, The Gripping Hand, is pretty good, too.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Aren't most of the novellas by garlic (2.00 / 0) #4 Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 10:08:01 AM EST
in Asimov's SCIFI Magazine? I'm surprised more people aren't subscribed to this magazine.

I did years ago by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #5 Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 11:46:37 AM EST
I stopped subscribing to the print magazine a couple decades ago. I did the electronic thing for a while, but their idiotic rules (no back issues) put the kibbosh on that since I tended to buy a couple times a year. These days, I tend to stick to "Best of" yearly anthologies and podcasted stories like from Escape Pod.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
James and the Giant Peach by duxup (2.00 / 0) #7 Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 01:53:23 AM EST
I was a terrible reader, read very little as a child and to date.  I probably read this before the age of 12 but James and the Giant Peach for some reason really caught my attention.  To me it seemed like such an odd and surreal story compared to anything else I had read or heard.  I always figured the book had some weird "real" story hidden in it or something.
Books of my youth | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback