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Old 30th Dec 2014, 20:31   #7
Senior Palimpsester
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Join Date: 20 Oct 2005
Location: Highlands of Scotland
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Default Re: Palimplists 2015


  1. The Reproductive System by John Sladek - slighter than I remember.
  2. The Silent Sky by Lloyd Biggle Jr. - okay 1960s SF shorts.
  3. The Early Williamson by Jack Williamson - early (1920s/30s) American pulp SF stuffed full of whizbang energy, references to 'Einstein's Theories' to justify anything, and wonderful writing like:
    'Maybe the octopus won't hurt her, I offered. 'They say that most of the stories of their ferocity are somewhat exaggerated.'
  4. Slave Ship by Frederik Pohl. Pohl's first solo novel after several co-authored with C M Kornbluth. Interesting ideas grafted onto a cold war plot that gets a bit deus ex machinanistic at the end.
  1. The Lying Ape by Brian King
  2. World's Best S.F.1 (1969) Ed. Wollheim & Carr
  3. A Dream of Wessex by Christopher Priest
  4. Balham to Bollywood by Chris England. Entertaining account of the making of Lagaan.
  5. Ash by Melinda Lo - see review.
  1. A Boy's Own Story - Edmund White. Poetic and rambling autobiographical coming of age / coming out story with a sudden unexpected outburst of plot at the end. I'm not sure it needed the sudden outburst of plot at the end but, at some point, someone must have said to the author that something should actually happen in the book. So in the last few pages he supplies a sudden flurry of jazz musicians, dope dealing, blackmail, betrayal and oral sex.
  2. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
  3. Captain's Log: William Shatner's Personal Account of the Making of Star Trek V The Final Frontier - 'as told' by Lisabeth Shatner. Gushy, Hollywood fan magazine, adjective-overloaded puff for what is the worst of the ST films. Again any decent editor would have sorted out things like 'Peter began assembling the film on a "chem" a special machine which ...' when she was obviously referring to what she two pages later later calls a 'kem' (without quotes) and which, strictly speaking, should be written 'KEM'. It's a flatbed editor. We nerds get irritated by stuff like this.
  4. The Wonderful Garden by E Nesbit - bedtime read for Number Two Daughter that, at one point, had me in the hysterical giggles. Ms Nesbit was a very funny writer. The book is, as far as I can tell, long out of print. I am not ashamed to say I stole my copy, a possible first edition, from a restaurant where it was being used as a bit of 'shabby chic' set decoration.
  5. The Star Wasps by Robert Moore Williams. Very thin book in the Vogtian tradition that - even a few days later - is fading into the background mush of other rubbish books in the Vogtian tradition.

  1. The Art of the Simon and Kirby Studio - ed. by Mark Evanier. Several hundred beautifully reproduced pages of 1940s and 50 comic book art by Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, and others. The first new book I have bought myself for ages. I've recently rediscovered the Joy of Comics - thanks, kids! - so this book is standing in (on this list) for the gazzillion and three comic books I have read this last month. Everything from this week's Phoenix - always an eagerly anticipated moment in our house (we have a rota for who reads it first each week) - to 1970's superhero nonsense. Love them.
  2. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon - which (honest!) was selected totally at random from the lower depths of my To Be Read pile and tells the story of two fictional pioneers of modern American comic books and ends with the author's heartfelt thanks to 'Jack Kirby, the King of Comics'.
April and May (somewhere along the line I lost track)

  1. Larklight by Philip Reeve - a bedtime reread for/with No. One Daughter. (No mention of Jack Kirby that I noticed.)
  2. Secret Water by Arthur Ransome - a bedtime read for Daughter Number Two.
  3. Elephants on Acid: And Other Bizarre Experiments by Alex Boese - a quick read pop science book (riddled with misused 'whom's) about weird and wonderful things scientists (and sociologists) do when their curiosity gets the better of them and they have some spare cash to fund an experiment or two to find an answer. (May and I assault my stupidly huge To Be Read pile by launching myself at anything published by the New English Library)
  4. Through a Glass, Clearly by Isaac Asimov - thin collection of 1950s shorts.
  5. All the Colours of Darkness by Lloyd Biggle Jr. - good old-fashioned heterosexual SF.
  6. The Wizard of Linn by A E van Vogt - first van Vogt I've read for a while. It's an early one and less dreadfully written than his later stuff - partially, I suspect, because it's Graves' Claudius the God in outer space - well it starts off that way; it wanders off in it's own bonkers Vogtian path pretty quickly.
  7. Rocketship Galileo by Robert Heinlein
  8. Comic Inferno by Brian Aldiss
  9. The Interpreter by Brian Aldiss
  10. The Sucking Pit by Guy Smith
  11. Shadow of Heaven by Bob Shaw
Abandoned in April/May:

Blade Runner and the Cinema of Philip K. Dick by Jeremy Mark Robinson a badly-written, lousily edited, uninformative waste of time which, had I spent the 14.99 list price on it, would have had me setting fire to my local Waterstone's in protest - but as it only cost a quid from their 'please get this crap out of our store' bin I can't really complain.

Windhaven by George RR Martin and Lisa Tuttle - Medievalish world of lost colonists (handy bard to sing songs of star-sailing forefathers); maps at the front of the book; supra-naturally talented teenage girl fighting to express herself though forbidden by cookie-cutter patriarchal society; n noun-splicing ("woolweed blanket" and "lemonwood planks" in the second paragraph)... endless, pointless yadda yadda yadda etc.

I'm surprised I made it to pg 67 where I read:
'Enough talk!' someone growled.
...and I thought 'yep', threw the book across the room, and went to sleep trying to work out how to growl something with an exclamation mark.


  1. The First Men in the Moon by H G Wells - bedtime read for Number One Daughter (we counted 11 uses of the word 'tumult' - always a fun game when reading Wells) sharing a childhood favourite of mine. Like The Time Machine, which we read a while back, we were reading an ancient copy of my dad's. I have no idea when he bought it but he may well have had it since he was No. 1 Daughter's age back in the 1940s.
  2. Nail Down the Stars by John Morressy - Picaresque SF and I rather enjoyed it. The impetuous for our heroes flight and adventurings is never resolved but as this turns out to be the second in a series all may well be revealed in a later book. I may go looking for others.

  1. 12 to the Moon by Robert A Wise - a novelization of a really bad film which manages to make the film look interesting by comparison. Stuffed full of really bad writing like this [Our heroes are on their way back from the first manned expedition to the moon where they have encountered mysterious forces. On their way back they hear mysterious whizzing noises coming from outside the ship (on airless space remember) and watch through their space telescope as life in America grinds to a halt with people literally freezing in mid step. - A bit like slowing down and freeze framing stock footage.] Now read on:
    They said they had the power to immobilise the earth at will, replied Hideko. "And somehow they have managed to do it!"
    "But how? Ruskin asked.
    Heinrich scratched his jaw pensively. "Through some development of their science, they ... whoever they are ... have found a way to freeze all molecular activity."
    "Those 'whizzing' noises ... "said Rod.
    "Yes, answered Heinrich. "Whatever they sent must have extracted the heat particles out of the atmosphere and frozen it!"
    "How could that be possible?" asked Rod.
    "It is the reverse principle of the hydrogen bomb," explained Heinrich. "We have successfully experimented with this in Germany. We call it flash freezing."
    "Yes," agreed Orloff. "Through some superior device they must have found a way to bring about a glacial phenomenon."
    "Implosion bombs!" exclaimed Heinrich. "That must have been those whizzing noises."
    He walked from the group with his own thoughts. The earth, as he knew it had come to an end. He wondered if the others had quite faced up to the situation yet.
    "I somehow feel, said Ruskin, "that it is an earthly power."
    Heinrich turned to face him, the picture of dejection,. "All I know is that the lower atmosphere appears to be frozen and we must remain at this altitude above the earth so as not to be trapped in it."
    But it's all right in the end. A couple of pages after this they knock up an atomic bomb out of bit lying about the spaceship and in a suicide mission drop it down an active volcano in Mexico - thus melting the whole of North America.

    As a result of several intense minutes of in-depth internet research I can pretty well authoritatively say that Robert A Wise didn't write any other SF books and was, according to Contemporary Science Fiction Authors By Robert Reginald, - "Probably a real person"

  1. Turn Left at Thursday by Fred Pohl - a previously unread collection from a favourite author that has been in my TBR pile for at least a decade. Amazing what happens when your computer dies.
  2. The Road to the Rim by A Bertram Chandler
  3. The Hard Way Up by A Bertram Chandler - Hornblower in space.
  4. Electrified Sheep by Alex Boese - another whistle-stop tour of some of the odder experiments done in the furtherance of Science. a follow up to Elephants on Acid: And Other Bizarre Experiments.
  5. Hippo Eats Dwarf by Alex Boese - more of the same but this time dealing with urban myths, fakes, and hoaxes. Entertaining enough but suffers from being its subject being less focused than the other two of his I have read.
  1. Planet of the Gods by Kurt Mahr - number 27 in the incredibly godawful Perry Rhodan books. Why I torture myself with them is a mystery.

Last year's List: 2014
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Last edited by JunkMonkey; 7th Sep 2015 at 0:56.
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