Visions of Paradise

Saturday, September 22, 2007

26 alphabetized observations

I have been posting 26 alphabetized comments this past week. The non-sfnal comments are at my blog at Here are the sfnal comments:

A: I was definitely a child of the New Wave, favoring writers such as Roger Zelazny, Robert Silverberg and Samuel R. Delany when I was in my most impressionable reading years. That was one reason I tended not to read much fiction by more traditional writers such as Poul Anderson. In some ways that was a good thing, since now that I realize how well-rounded a writer he actually was, I still have several dozen books of his unread which I can enjoy for the first time.

C: Clifford D. Simak was my first favorite science fiction writer. I discovered him in the pages of Worlds of IF, January 1963, the first sf prozine I ever read, and again in Galaxy, February 1963, my second prozine. A few months later came the serialization Here Gather The Stars (a much more evocative name than its book title Way Station) and from then on I have loved Simak’s fiction.

G: I love reading comic books, but except for Green Lantern, most of my favorites are not super-hero comics but sf or fantasy: Jim Starlin’s Dreadstar and Mike Grell’s Warlord are two particular favorites, as was Roy Thomas’ Conan (and, no, I do not particularly like reading sword and sorcery books also).

H: I have never considered myself one of Heinlein’s children. I did not discover science fiction through his juveniles, nor did I read them until I was well into my second decade as a science fiction fan. By the time I discovered Heinlein, I was taking all his supposed innovations for granted since they were pretty much being used by all the writers who were indeed his children. Instead I got to read him first at his post-1960 worst.

I: In the 1960s Galaxy Magazine pretty much dominated the Hugo Awards with more nominations than any other magazine. Yet it never won a single Best Magazine award while its adventure-oriented stablemate Worlds of IF won three consecutive awards. I never understood why that happened until recently reading a memorial by Frederik Pohl about Robert Heinlein. He reminded me that If won those three awards following the publication of three Heinlein serials in 5 years, and immediately after the publication of his last acclaimed novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Those Heinlein children are a loyal family.

Q: I have been a fan of the science fiction book club on-and-off for 40 years, and I have mostly enjoyed their omnibus editions and original anthologies. I do not understand the politics behind their forcing Ellen Asher and Andrew Wheeler out, but I will reserve judgment on new editor Rome Quezada until he has had some time to prove himself.

R: I am not a big fan of genre mysteries, but Steven Saylor’s The Judgment of Caesar was a wonderful book, primarily a good historical novel with the mystery as an incidental aspect of it. It convinced me to buy Saylor’s acclaimed new novel about ancient Rome called, fittingly, Roma.

T: Tales of the Unexpected was the first comic book I ever read, and its sfnal stories were wonderful for somebody on the cusp of teenagedom. In a way, I regret that I gave up anthology comics for the more popular super-hero comics, such as Green Lantern and Justice League of America.

U: For me, the most important part of a story is often the universe in which it is set, and the background history of that universe. At times I can be so enthralled by the background that I lose interest in the story itself.

W: When I turn on the computer every morning, the first thing I do is check the latest science fiction news. Locus Online is my homepage, but the website which I enjoy reading the most is SF Signal, a highly-recommended site for up-to-the-minute sf news.

X: I always thought that a large part of Marvel Comics’ success came from mimicking DC Comics’ characters (Superman begat Spiderman; Batman begat Captain America; Legion of Super-Heroes begat X-Men), so their success was based far less on the originality of their heroes and villains, but on the human characteristics given to them.


  • I'm a big Steven Saylor fan. Read "The Venus Throw" and "Murder on the Appian Way'. I think they are the best of the Roma Subrosa novels.

    By Blogger b harper, At 1:57 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home