Visions of Paradise

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Some brief random comments

I am generally suspicious of the writing talent of offspring who make their living off the ideas of their parent, such as Brian Herbert, Christopher Tolkien, and Todd McCaffrey. Of course, I might feel differently about this if my father had been Robert A. Heinlein.

When he was editor of Galaxy and Worlds of IF, Frederik Pohl was a fabulous editor (consider how those magazines dominated Hugo nominations in the 60s) who was generally considered a mid-rank writer whose best works had been in collaboration with Cyril M. Kornbluth. Shortly after he retired as editor, he published “The Gold at the Starbow’s End” followed soon by the novels Man Plus and Gateway, and almost immediately he was considered one of the major sf writers of his generation, a reputation which has grown considerably in the decades since.

I really enjoy reading Locus each month, and consider it an essential newsletter for serious sf fans and professionals. But like any publication, they have favorites whose every published word is sacred, and nonfavorites whose publications they rarely even recognize. For example, Robert Sawyer and Jack McDevitt novels are regularly nominated for major awards, but when was the last time one of them was reviewed in the pages of Locus? I was surprised at a bookstore last night when I realized how many novels Ben Bova has published in recent years. If I got all my news of the sf field from Locus, I would have thought he had retired years ago.

After reading several best-of-2005 books, I have no doubt my favorite story of last year was Jeffrey Ford’s “A Cosmology of the Wider World.” I hope I am not too far out of the mainstream of sf critics because I believe that story certainly deserve at least one award nomination. I guess next year’s Nebula Awards are still a possibility.

I have not watched a science fiction tv show regularly since Star Trek: The Next Generation, but I am always open to suggestions. In spite of their critical reception, I missed both Babylon 5 and the first season of Doctor Who. I did watch the first season of Battlestar Galactica, which I generally enjoyed, but somehow I never returned for a second season.


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