Friday, November 28, 2008

The Father-in-Law List

Okay, here it is, the list of recommended sci-fi/fantasy books I've been trying to prepare for my father-in-law. I appreciate all the responses to my earlier query on this, and it has effected what I finally came up with. Honestly, one of the ways it effected it is that instead of recommending ONE book I realized I'd need to give him a shortlist and leave it up to him. So that's what I'm presenting here.

As I say, I did appreciate all the suggestions. The things I ended up recommending have at least little bit to do with the particular person my father-in-law is. (All good. All good.) Also, though, I was inclined to recommend titles that had a feel of tenure to them - either because they or the authors had been around for awhile. So don't think I've ignored or dissed the Abercrombie, Abraham, Lynch, Rothfuss, Ruckley contingent. I think those guys are awesome. I'm also glad to say I know most of them, and it does feel very good to be writing fantasy in amongst such promising emerging stars.

Okay, enough of that. Here are the books I think my father-in-law should consider. Are you paying attention, Laughton? Take a look at...

Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower. Loved this one. My first Butler book. Might be a little worrying to a man whose daughter lives in far away Central California, but I swear I'll take the kids and run before it gets this bad. Promise.

Neil Gaiman, American Gods. Neil made me feel all funny inside when I met him. Tongue-tied and silly. What can I say, though? He rocks the black leather jacket, and this book is... well, it's sort of like "A Great American Urban/Contemporary Fantasy", if such a category existed, and if it I didn't matter that a Brit wrote it.

Peter F Hamilton, Dreaming Void. I'm actually in the middle of this right now. It's the first Hamilton I've read, so some folks may have other faves of his instead. I'm just really enjoying the smart writing, the multiple plot lines and the amazing diversity of his far future. This is a novel of both high-technology and subsistence-based worlds, all woven into the same epic tale. Kinda like an exploded version of the mix we have going on earth.

Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land. Classic sci-fi, yeah? I could see Laughton liking this one. I do think it shows some... uh... well, dating in terms of gender roles, etc. I had a mini-argument with Pat Rothfuss on this issue. (I won, by the way, though Pat may not know that.) Still, quite a book.

Ursula K. LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness. I'm sure he's read LeGuin before, but maybe not this one. I think she's absolutely great. Wrote her a gushing note awhile back, actually. Didn't hear back, but that doesn't change my affection for her work.

George RR Martin, Game of Thrones. This one means inviting him into a big, unfinished, gigantic work. I have to mention it, though. I think Martin is tops in epic fantasy. (We're on a first name basis, you know? Hehe...)

China Mieville, Perdido Street Station. China. Okay. Confession. I haven't actually read him. I mean to, and I will, and I can't help but want to recommend him cause this book sounds so bloody good.

Richard Morgan, Thirteen/Black Man. Technically, Richard and I are exactly the same age. (Hence my assumption that I can call him by his first name - as with China above.) Still, he's cranked out some lean, mean books. This one isn't so lean, really, but I thought it was terribly smart. As I mentioned when I praised it before, it is a bit over-sexed. Err... But we're all grown-ups here, right?

Dan Simmons, Ilium . So, as I mentioned before, The Terror didn't go over that well with the prospective reader in question here. But Simmons got so much love from folks he seemed a reasonable one to include for a second try.

Neal Stephenson, Anathem (or The Diamond Age.) I haven't read Anathem yet, but I've loved several other Stephenson novels. I'm looking forward to this new one, and folks seem to think it's worth it.

Gene Wolfe, The Book Of The New Sun: Volume 1: Shadow and Claw. I saw Wolfe pick up a World Fantasy Award a couple years back in Saratoga Springs. Not for this book, but it was still well-deserved. Wonderful writer.

Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light. And this is another star figure of sci-fi history that I haven't read. I guess I recommend it because Zelazny is on my too-read list also, and I've heard so many good things about him that he seems like a safe beat.

Okay. That's what I came up with this time. I think there's some good reading here...

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Dave said...

You realize, of course, that giving your father-in-law so many great reccomendations means that you may be asked to reccomend for many other people from now on? ;-) Jeez David, those're some awesome authors and titles there! He's gonna have one heluva time! :-)

BTW, when you get a gap after The Dreaming Void, give his Night's Dawn Trilogy a read - genre-smashing brilliance! :-)

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say for fantasy then Raymond Fiest's Magician would be up there for me...
Nick

12:37 PM  
Blogger Piaw Na said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Piaw Na said...

I re-read Lord of Light recently and it's still as good as I remember it, but I couldn't get past the first chapter in Perdido Street Station. Maybe he spends too much time world building and not enough time getting a plot going so I couldn't get excited about it. That's one problem Acacia doesn't have --- I got hooked right from the start!
(Sorry about the double post. I put a link the wrong place and had to correct it)

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd go with "Hyperion" instead of "Ilium." It's a better book, IMHO.

Also, I didn't read "The Dreaming Void" yet, but I know that it is set in the "Commonwealth universe" a few centuries after "Pandora's Star/Judas Unchained", so I'd suggest starting with "Pandora's Star", which is a very good book as well.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Stephe said...

That list should blow anyone away. You done good.

I'm especially pleased by STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, and PARABLE OF THE SOWER.

Thumbs up.

5:02 AM  
Blogger Beth Armstrong said...

Jamie actually suggested 'Stranger in a Strange Land' when we were painting my back fence and discussing existentialism (actually he was discussing it and I was just listening). I am planning some reading once we break up at work and this was one I had my eye on....

2:04 AM  

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