Books Read- 203 Books to Read-282 Percent Complete- 41.86%

Just Finished (For the third time) - 'Mirror Dance' by Lois McMaster Bujold

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I haven't posted anything in a little while.  I was on vacation and didn't have access to the internet.  But, on the bright side while I was on vacation I finished 'Jack of Shadows' by Roger Zelazny, 'Shadrach in the Furnace' by Robert Silverberg, 'The Remaking of Sigmund Freud' by Barry N. Malzburg, and I'm almost done with 'Iron Council' by China Mieville.  So I've got a lot of reviews to post here pretty soon, and I also got a tan. 

'Jack of Shadows' wasn't the best Zelazny I've read, though it does some interesting things with character sympathy.  I'll read whatever he wrote based on how much I enjoyed 'Lord of Light' but I haven't found anything else of his yet that lives up to that wonderful novel.  Zelazny seems to be more fantasy based than SF based for most of his work.  In my limited experience (I don't read that much Fantasy) most fantasy seems to build a very familiar world, something the reader is used to, and inhabit that world with new and interesting characters.  Zelazny is almost the exact opposite of this, while his characters can trend toward the one dimensional his worlds are always amazingly original and interesting.  This is especially the case with Shadows.

'Shadrach in the Furnace' is really classic Silverberg.  I've posted a link to his bibliography before and I'll do it again here.  This guy wrote a lot of books, and that bibliography isn't even complete.  His best work seems to be done between 1967 starting with 'Thorns,' and ending with Shadrach in 1977.  Following Shadrach Silverberg had a dry spell in which he published almost nothing for about two years.  Samuel Delany talks about the publishing world of SF in his book of essays 'The Jewel Hinged Jaw,' and he specifically mentions Silverberg as being burnt out after writing two or three full length novels a year for ten years.  It's sad that this had to happen to such a great author, but no one can deny the quality of work he produced in that time span.  In several of those years Silverberg had multiple nominees per year.

'The Remaking of Sigmund Freud' is an experimental novel I would normally associate more with the Nebula Award, but it was nominated for a Hugo instead.  I've had it on my Kindle for several years now but just couldn't get into it.  I finally finished it and it was alright, interesting.  You won't find it at any bookstore these days except a second hand store, and the only place to buy it new is online.  Gollancz is still doing a lot of good work placing out of print SF books online in e-book format.  Their work seems to contain a lot of typographic errors but for availability they just can't be beat.  It's kind of shocking to realize that so many Hugo and Nebula nominees just aren't worth the cost of priniting anymore, but it's nice to see a publishing house putting the effort into making them available online.  I can still find copies of books like this online at but in ten years or so Gollancz might be my only option to find some of this less popular work.

I'm really liking 'Iron Council.'  Mieville has his problems, and the complexity of his work, especially his New Crobuzon work, seems to be dropping off each novel.  'Perdido Street Station' was one of the most complex and original works I've ever read, 'The Scar' was less so but had enough going on that it was still amazing, 'Iron Council' has almost none of that and I could see it being published by a less accomplished author.  I'm not finished yet and maybe the last fifty pages holds some surprise for me we'll see.  If there is some drop off in originality you can't really fault the author anyway, it seemed like he threw thirty years worth of ideas into Perdido, that novel had everything in it.

Anyway, I'll post reviews for these novels as soon as I can, got to get back into the swing of things after vacation.

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