In my previous blog, I picked five science fiction novels to read for 2013.
Now I’m picking five more.
For me, finding books to read involves a lot of chance and serendipity. Take for example these five books.
After years of saying I was going to join a science fiction book club, Leah Day said I should join the Powell’s group. Now Leah is an extraordinary woman of intelligence that houses 24,700 plus novels in her home. She knows her science fiction and has Beta read for Ann McCaffery and now Nancy Scarborough. She has CRED!
So I showed up. What a great group. The Powell representative, Peter, also knows his stuff and is on top of our local scifi writers. Occasionally, we get new releases or uncorrected advanced copies to read. So the stack next to the bed is building up.
Then I turned to my writers group of science fiction enthusiasts and asked them what their top favorites were. Imagine my surprise when four of the five books they mentioned sat on my night stand ready to be read.
Serendipity. Fate had spoken. I bent my head to the omens and here are the picks.
#1. Andre Norton–suggested by Chelsea from my writers group. Andre Norton has been rattling around in my mind as someone I should read. For some reason, I never got around to it.
Now, one of the consequences of the changing landscape of publishing is that a lot of well known authors are dusting off their old backlist and the publishing houses are eagerly reprinting, repackaging and reselling popular authors or novels and putting them out on Amazon. It used to be that novels were regarded in the same category as fruit, where if they didn’t sell in four weeks time off the shelf, they were considered spoiled and thrown away.
That is no longer the case. The novel now has a long tail and can survive quite nicely for years without even bruising, thanks to Amazon and other publish on demand distributors.
They don’t rot or get bumped off the shelf due to lack of space. No need to rip them apart and throw them away.
Enter Ice and Shadows by Andre Norton. Take Ice Crown by Andre Norton published in 1970 and Brother to Shadows, also in the Forerunner Universe, slap them together, put on a stunning cover and give it the title Ice and Shadows.
Viola! Baen book publishes it in 2012 as a new novel.
Okay. I’m in.
#2. Top choice by Clayton in my writers group was Keith Laumer. Here again are three novels packaged into one. Assignment to Nowhere being published by Berkley in 1965, but showing up with a hot new cover, and now titled Imperium. So be careful when you reach or click what might seem to be a new novel out by a favorite author. You might be getting a repackaged deal that you have already read.
With ebook publishing, the cost of publishing is negligible and old stories are finding new readers. Publishing houses are realizing that rights to the electronic version that used to be thought worthless, are now quite valuable. Once denigrating electronic publishing, publishers are jumping in with full force. Money is to be made.
But I hadn’t read Keith Laumer and was looking for a good scifi military story. Clayton is active military, and was very enthusiastic about Laumer, so I put it on my list.
And while I’m talking about Clayton Callahan, he just announced that he sold his short story, “Probing Aliens.” Congratulations! A new author is born and I envision that he will be very popular. Keep an eye out for future stories.
#3. Ganymede by Cherie Priest. This is an uncorrected advance reading copy and I’m very interested to see what the writing looks like. Cherie Priest lives in Seattle, which is nearby, so this is also a “support your local author” attempt. Her novel Boneshaker was nominated for both a Hugo and Nebula, but I wasn’t a fan. She writes in the world of Steampunk of which I blow hot and cold. However, here in the Northwest, there are avid fans of the genre and a number of cons where everyone dresses up and has a great time.
#4. L. E. Modesitt, Jr. Imager. Modesitt is a favorite of mine. I have read most of his other series and I like him a lot. This is the first book in his new Imager series and I have been putting off starting it. No more. I’m taking the plunge.
#5. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein. This novel appears on most top one hundred science fiction novels again and again. Some of the Heinlein I read, I liked, while others, not so much. He got weird later in his career. However, this was selected by my reading group and I’m willing as it is an early novel with an intriguing story line.
So that’s it.
Except, I have a few others I’m looking at. Next week, I’m thinking about talking about anthologies. I have noticed an increase in their popularity because of POD publishing. I recently received a compilation entitled Legacy of Stars that looks interesting. So stay tuned for that. I enjoyed Wool by Hugh Howey and he is getting quite a following. I was impressed by his marketing strategy and will probably read the next episode.
Into the silo I’ll go and most likely peer out and wonder what is out there.
What’s on your scifi list for this year? What books do you want to read in 2013? How did you decide?