Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Inform My Reading List! The Final Episode

[Results for the Non-Fiction Book voting are here.]

Well, what a long, strange trip it's been. I certainly have my reading cut out for me. But first, it's time to wrap things up with just one last category, that of:

Sprawling Multi-Book Science Fiction and Fantasy Epics

Why science fiction and fantasy epics? Well, for one thing the medium of speculative literature offers rich fields of analogy and alternative experience in which to explore the lineaments of human nature, and especially the relationship between human societies and their technologies. Also, because I'm a dork.

Before you get excited, let me point out that I read through Tolkien seven times as a kid and again two years ago, and I'm not ready to go back to that spring yet. So, no Tolkien.

What I had in mind was something like this:

  • LeGuin's Earthsea trilogy (haven't read it since I was a kid)
  • Donaldson's first Thomas Covenant trilogy (haven't read it since college)
  • China Mieville's Perdido Street Station trilogy (haven't read it)
  • What's-her-names Harry Potter septilogy (haven't read it. Is it worth it?)
What do YOU think?

Hit that comment button just one last time, for old time's sake, and VOTE VOTE VOTE!!!


Jenny! said...

I haven't read Harry Potter...but I hear its fantastic...and I love the movies!

Rebel said...

If you haven't already read it: Enders Game by Orson Scott Card. I absolutely loved it, really trippy psychological sci-fi novel. I've reread it several times, and still enjoy it.

I recommended Enders Game to a friend in High School and the next day he was pissed at me - he hadn't put the book down all night and had a test that day! So save it for weekend reading. You've been warned.

I loved the Harry Potter series, and you might want to read it just to understand the cultural phenomenon. But now that it's all over I don't think it was all that thought provoking or significant in terms of "Literature."

Rebel said...

Oh, and Enders Game is a series, the next book is Speaker for the Dead, and there were two more after that. I didn't read all of them, but the first two were phenomenal.

Michael5000 said...

@Rebel: Good call, but I've read it. Ender's Game is good, Speaker for the Dead is great, Xenocide is the bomb, Children of the Mind is all right but unnecessary.

Important: Don't read "Ender's Shadow" or any of its sequels, or for that matter anything (as far as I know) that Card wrote after the early 90s. He has egregiously jumped the shark. The "Shadow" books don't only stink on their own merits, but they spread their bad smell back to the original series by association. It's a real shame.

Jennifer said...

"Egregiously jumped the shark"? I have no idea what that means, but I generally agree with your assessment of Card, so I'm inclined to agree with you spontaneously.

Karin said...

M5K, while I have nothing whatsoever to add to this Episode, I happen to know that Mr. Karin would be an outstanding resource in this category. I highly recommend you Bug His Ass to comment, as I have done.

Rebel said...

Thanks for the warning about Ender's Shadow. Now did you mean Xenocide was 'da bomb' or 'a bomb'? Because I started reading it, back in the day, but couldn't get past the first chapter or two. Should I pick it up again?

Anonymous said...

not my genre... sorry. although I'm going to try to force myself though HP simply because I want to know what happens at the end. I read the first and half of the second, and saw a few movies, so I figure I can pick up at Book 4 and safely proceed from there.

Michael5000 said...

@rebel: Sorry. da bomb. My favorite of the four. Plus, I like the title.

The [Cherry] Ride said...

I so cannot contribute to this conversation in any way.

blythe said...

@cherry - i wouldn't expect anything more from you.

@harry potter - hells yes you should be reading this! my excuse is that my lil' bro was harry aged when the books came out, and our whole family read them as a bonding experience. we all kind of hate each other now, but LOVE HP. they're quick and easy, but totally satisfying. kind of like me. without the satisfying part.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'd say Philip Pullman's trilogy His Dark Materials, which starts with The Golden Compass, is definitely worth the read. It's children's lit--though maybe a little less so than Harry Potter--and an imaginative sf/fantasy concoction.

Tolkien, Earthsea and The Once and Future King are the only ones I feel compelled to keep going back to every decade or so. There's a lot I liked in high school that I couldn't vouch for now. Including Asimov's The Gods Themselves in your blog photo. Loved those three-sex aliens!

Michael5000 said...

@Jennifer: You'll find more than enough on 'jumping the shark' at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumping_the_shark. "Egregiously" is simply a colorful modifier.

@Blythe: Wow, Blythe, family readings of Harry Potter, writing sentimental poems about your little brother.... What an incredibly wholesome young adulthood you had! It's amazing you turned out quick and easy.

@Mrs. 5000: We'll have to talk more about the three-sex aliens. Later.

gl. said...

i second & third mrs.5000's recommendation for "his dark materials." it's considered young adult fiction, but doesn't read like it. i read them all in a very long weekend.

and there's always douglas adams.