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Fifteen

Fifteen books that will always stick with me?

That's a tricky one, seeing how much I read. However there are some books I keep coming back to, keep rereading. So, without further ado:

  1. Hardwired - Walter Jon Williams: Written as a homage to Zelazny, this is cyberpunk as country-and-western song, with Cowboy riding panzers across a balkanised USA accompanied by Sarah and her weasel.
  2. The Saga of Pliocene Exile - Julian May: All four books, taken as one here. May mixes Jungian archetypes with The Ring Cycle (and a dose of pure 50s SF) to deliver a remarkably fun science fantasy series that takes mitteleuropean myth and drops it into deep time.
  3. Don't Look Down - Jennifer Crusie and Bob Meyer: a romance author (albeit snarky) and an ex-Green Beret men-with-guns-save-the-world writer collaborate on a delightfully funny romantic thriller. Contains Wonder Woman bondage scenes.
  4. Vacuum Flowers - Michael Swanwick: a picaresque journey around a far future solar system, where changing your mind is as easy as slipping on a new shirt. Underneath it all is the question "What does it mean to be human".
  5. Understanding Comics - Scott McCloud: McCloud's look at the semiotics of sequential art is also one of the great textbooks of design. It's better than Tufte if you're working on the web.
  6. The New Dinosaurs - Dougal Dixon: Dixon's speculative evolutionary books take a turn into a world where dinosaurs didn't become extinct.
  7. Managing Internet Information Systems - John Udell: This is the book that built UK Online. It's also as relevant today as it was nearly 15 years ago.
  8. Computer Lib/Dream Machines - Ted Nelson: The book/s that pretty much made me who I am today - and shaped the trajectory of my career through the intertwingled worlds of engineering, computing and writing.
  9. Neuromancer - William Gibson: "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel." Enough said, this is the seminal cyberpunk novel.
  10. Between Planets - Robert Heinlein: A favourite juvenile, with Heinlein mixing colonial politics with the story of a violently suppressed revolution. The Venusian dragons are one of his finest creations.
  11. The Ophiuchi Hotline - John Varley: Another solar system picaresque. Here it's Varley's Eight Worlds that is centre stage. A fine book for a 13 year old islander to read (if you want to blow his tiny little mind). Clones, invincible alien invaders and the hierarchy of life. Humanity is learning its true place in the universe, and it's a particularly lowly one...
  12. The Terror - Dan Simmons: The most recent book on this list, but a powerful and extraordinarily well-written slice of secret history that delves into the lost years of the Franklin expedition. Simmons mixes Victorian rationality with the myths of the Esquimaux to deliver a post-modern, post-colonial take on the monster story wrapped up in a homage to Edgar Alan Poe.
  13. The Shockwave Rider - John Brunner: The most optimistic of the futures in the Club Of Rome quartet, this mixes Toffler's Future Shock with the Whole Earth Catalog (and the Point Foundation) to give us a book that defines the modern security industry.
  14. The Bridge - Iain Banks: This is the book that should have an "M". A never ending bridge, a Glaswegian barbarian, and the nameless life of a man on the road to disaster converge in three parallel stories. And it's got knife missiles!
  15. Moominvalley in November - Tove Jansson: The best of the Moomin books doesn't contain the titular family, off at sea fulfilling Moominpapa's dreams. It's a sad, wistful novel that's really a tale about growing up and finding your own way in life. No wonder it's the most adult of the Moomin novels.
That's a start. You can find most of what I read on my LibraryThing.

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Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
sbisson
Jul. 2nd, 2009 01:47 am (UTC)
Pretty well. Surprisingly well in fact.

Talking to friends of mine in the security industry, it turns out to be pretty much required reading.
coyotegoth
Jul. 2nd, 2009 01:57 am (UTC)
The Moomin books were a huge part of my childhood; I wish they were more widely known here.
lproven
Jul. 2nd, 2009 01:05 pm (UTC)
Interesting! Thanks for that!

/Hardwired/ I enjoyed. danacea brought it to me in hospital to read right after my bike crash. Never re-read it though. I only recently noticed how many WJW books are on my shelf - enough for him to qualify as one of my favourite writers & I'd never noticed!

The /Pliocene/ books I've read 2 or 3 times, and I do love them, but they're just a *bit* too silly to rank as all-time classics for me.

iansales just recently gave me a copy of /The Ophiuci Hotline/ - it's 1 of his 15, too. I enjoyed it but found it fairly forgettable, I mustard mitt.

I liked /The Bridge/ too but it's not a fave. Too spacey. I prefer the more controlled wild imaginings of I *M* B, and specifically, the earlier ones. I rate /The Algebraist/ as the only really food IMB in a decade or more.

And do you know, I've never managed to finish /The Shockwave Rider/ after ½ dozen attempts?

Most of the rest of those - except the Moomin one - are on my want-to-read list. :¬) But only the Gibson - and May at a push - would feature in my top 20 or 30.
ccomley
Jul. 2nd, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC)
Between Planets - had forgotten that!!! I think I preferred "Tunnel in the sky" of the stuff of that vintage.

Shockwave Rider is *fabulous*.
bibliofile
Jul. 2nd, 2009 11:15 pm (UTC)
I think we must be within shouting distance of the same age, looking at the SF anyway. (I haven't read the Ted Nelson, but I know Hugh Daniel; doesn't that count?) Shockwave Rider and Neuromancer were especially important for me, too.
surliminal
Jul. 3rd, 2009 12:15 am (UTC)
I love 11, 14 and 15.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )