Visions of Paradise

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Odds and Ends

During the school year I have relatively little time to read books, but I need to do some reading every evening to keep myself sane. So rather than review a book here, since I have not completed any for nearly two weeks, I thought a few of you might be interested in what else I have been reading lately.

Last weekend I finished reading the two issues of Worlds of IF from 1964 which I discussed awhile ago. The best story in the issues was Robert F. Young’s “When Time Began.” I do not have a lot of memories of reading Young stories in the 1960s, but I definitely recall “Little Dog Gone” which appeared in Worlds of Tomorrow and was a deserving Hugo nominee. “When Time Began” was not on that level, being mostly an adventure in which a time traveler back to prehistoric times is stunned to meet two youngsters who claim to be escapees from a repressive Martian culture. Still, the story had a strong human focus and was good enough that upon finishing it I immediately went to Fantastic Fiction (, one of my very favorite websites. It lists the entire bibliography of nearby every published writer you can imagine. It listed two collections and several novels by Robert F. Young, including an expansion of “When Time Began.” While they are obviously all long out of print, some of them might be available at used book outlets, particularly at my favorite site Pandora Books (, so I might look a few of them up sometime.

Next I read the current issue of Historical Novels Review, which is much like the Locus of the historical fiction field, filled with articles, interviews and reviews. Interestingly, two of the sub-genres of historical fiction which they cover are Historical Fantasy and Alternate History, which are also considered sub-genres of science fiction by f&sf fans. I can definitely see merit in both designations, so those are definitely areas which fall into the wide overlap between genres (and is another indication of why rigid definitions of any genre are always questionable, even though I am equally guilty of such definitions myself).

In the recent issue of HRN, they also discussed Steampunk as another area of historical fiction, which it certainly is. Somewhere deep in my memory I recall reading in Locus many years ago that its editor Charles Brown originally intended it to review both science fiction and historical fiction. And why does that not surprise me? After all, many people consider the core of science fiction to be history, myself included, and how many sf writers have developed “future histories?”

Speaking of Locus, the December issue arrived this week, so that was my next reading. Certain issues each year interest me the most, and December is one of them since it contains the Forthcoming Books for the next half-year, which is an excellent guide for future buying and reading. There were 7 books listed which I will seriously consider buying in upcoming months:

The Best SF and F of the Year #3 / edited by Jonathan Strahan / March 09
The Empire of Ice Cream / Jeffrey Ford / April 09
Kethani / Eric Brown / April 09
Star Flight / Andre Norton / June 09
Year’s Best SF #26 / edited by Gardner Dozois / July 09
Rise of the Terran Empire / Poul Anderson / July 09
Kiteworld / Keith Roberts / Aug 09

Finally, this weekend I began my vacation reading (even though I still have 2 days of school left next week) with Alastair Reynolds’ The Prefect. This is the first novel of his I am reading since the excellent trilogy Revelation Space / Redemption Ark / Absolution Gap, although I also read his excellent collection Galactic North. I should have this review next week!

Merry Christmas, everybody!


  • Thank you for the update. I hope you enjoy your holidays.

    I recently found your blog. I find myself agreeing with your comments.

    By Blogger Jim Black, At 9:12 PM  

  • Thanks, Jim. It's nice to have readers. Happy holidays to you too.

    By Blogger adamosf, At 7:54 PM  

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