SF Book Bonanza – Getcher Meme On!

NPR has released its Top 100 SF books list. Some damned good stuff on here! Also some things I tried to read and decided after a few pages were not worth continuing *coughswordofshananacough*. I felt the overwhelming need to go through and put the one’s I’ve read in bold. It’s a meme sorta thing – wanna do the same? Grab the list off NPR and go! Bung a link in the comments so we can all peruse.

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

This they whittled down from a list of 237 finalists. As some of my favorite books are on that Finalist list, but didn’t make the magic 100, I shall include them here:

Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman
The Baroque Cycle, by Neal Stephenson
Bridge Of Birds, by Barry Hughart
The Coldfire Trilogy, by C.S. Friedman
The Eyes Of The Dragon, by Stephen King
The Incarnations Of Immortality Series, by Piers Anthony
Memory And Dream, by Charles de Lint
The Sarantine Mosaic Series, by Guy Gavriel Kay
Song for the Basilisk, by Patricia McKillip
Tigana , by Guy Gavriel Kay
To Say Nothing Of The Dog, by Connie Willis
Wild Seed, by Octavia Butler

Some of those books really deserve more recognition than they got. But then, I’m pretty partial.

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Sedimentary Sentiments

Right.  So, Callan Bentley’s pointed out that we in the geoblogosphere haven’t had a good meme in a while.  My Doc Holliday instincts kicked in.  “I’m your huckleberry.  That’s just my game.”  So let’s have a meme.  Love and sediments.  Give me a sedimentary rock or structure you’re sentimental about.

I’ll begin:

Sedona in miniature

That rock there is a microcosm of Sedona.  I’m not sure what formation it came from.  Could be the Schnebly Hill Formation, or a fragment of sandstone from the Supai Group.  I picked it out of a creek bed during that memorable physical geography field trip many years ago.  It delighted me because it looked like the contact between the deep red rocks of the Schnebly Hill Formation and the blazing white of the Coconino Sandstone.  More likely, that white bit at the top just represents a long soak in the creek, but still, a girl can dream.

It’s a piece of my history.  It represents scientific discovery, and childhood, and ancient worlds.  Just a tiny thing, fits in the palm of your hand, but it stands for something enormous.

This is the place I once called home:

My Valley

If you look to the left, down in the dip, you’ll see the red tile roof peeking through the trees.  That’s my old house on Mountain Shadows Drive.  We didn’t have much of a view down there, but if you walk up the hill a bit, opposite the steep bit where my idiot dog slept in the road one night and ended up at our friend the vet’s office with my dad and the vet sewing her up while drinking beer (true story), you’ll find yourself facing a panorama that has made many a photographer scream for joy.

That little round mound in the foreground is Sugarloaf, a lump of the Schnebly Hill Formation that looks a bit like a flying saucer landed in the middle of the West Sedona suburbs.  UFOs are big in Sedona, but for some reason, the UFO freaks didn’t hang round Sugarloaf.  They all thought the aliens lived in Bell Rock instead.

The enormous mass on the left is Grayback, imaginatively named because the back of it is mostly gray, or so I’ve been told – I’ve never actually seen the back of it.  To the right is Coffee Pot Rock, which looks remarkably like one of those old coffee percolators.  I spent a good amount of my time in the shadow of those rocks, scrabbling around at the base of Sugarloaf, sliding down the loose and crumbly walls of a deep gully cut in the shales and mudstones of the Hermit Formation, upon which Sedona is built.  Where I’d grown up, in Flagstaff, dirt was tan or brown.  Down here, it was a deep, dark red, so very red that it could stain white clothes rust.  I’d come home coated in the stuff.

Those rocks were the only solid thing in my world back then.  We’d just moved down from Flagstaff, where I’d spent the vast majority of my young life.  My parents had almost gotten divorced, and while we were there, my mom had her first bouts with bipolar disorder.  I had very few friends.  I was surrounded by people even stranger than my mother (at least she had the excuse of an actual psychiatric disorder).  Little wonder, then, that I spent so much time alone in the wilderness, sometimes with my friend Crystal in tow, exploring every nook and cranny of those old red rocks with their white Coconino Sandstone hats.

They were alien to me, in a way: I identified with the volcanic peaks of the San Francisco Volcanic Field, where I’d spent the happiest years of my life to that date.  There was something almost too beautiful, too surreal, about those magnificent red rocks.  I didn’t know what they were back then.  Didn’t know I was surrounded by ancient beaches and dune fields and floodplains.  But I knew they were something special.  Sometimes, they were even friendly.  Their texture, slightly rough, gave my sneakers good purchase as I scrambled up steep cliffs on impossibly narrow ledges.  Some of the finer-grained sandstones made for good nail files in the field, for those times when I broke a fingernail climbing.

Those red rocks loomed.  They were solid, stolid, and steady, and yet could change in an instant: in the angle of the sun, in a passing cloud, in a dusting of snow or a soaking of rain.  Their colors shifted through a million shades.  I don’t know how to describe the intensity of that color, how it’s never quite the same from one moment to the next.  It doesn’t feel like a human setting.  It’s something primal and almost painful.  You are this drab little thing among it, until the colors soak in to you, and it makes you a part of it, some little wild thing scurrying in the shadow of monoliths.

Some people got interested in geology, living there.  Some people turned to crystal magic.  And some got obsessed with UFOs.  It can be hard to tell whether the local business folk are laughing at or with the UFO nuts, but they do take full advantage:

Moi avec UFO fountain at the diner

Holding that little lump of stone in my hand brings it all back: the taste of Permian dust in my mouth, gritty on my skin.  The deep red earth, in turns silty-soft and sandy.  The ancient-world smell of wet slickrock after a high desert rain.  So many long drives down from the Rim, watching as gray basalts turn to cream-colored sandstones and finally, dramatically, to rusty-hued sand and siltstones.  The coolness of that crack in the earth, tracing the Oak Creek fault, as the creek ran alongside the road, soft sound of wind and water through the open window, and the scent of all that boisterous green life – something you don’t get in many places in Arizona.  Blackberry brambles and sycamores and ferns, earthy and sweet, demanding you fill your lungs to the bursting again, again, again.  And under it all, the slightly-sharp, hot, impossibly old smell of lithified landscapes.

Sentimental?  Yes, I should think so.  How could I not be?

There’s one word for landscapes like this, and it’s the name of a road in Sedona:

Inspirational Drive

Those are some of the sediments that I love.  What are yours?

2010 Year O’ Travels, or D’oh, Shit, Another Meme!

Silver Fox, once again, has tagged absolutely everybody for a meme.  And, since it gives me fodder and a chance to put up pretty pitchoors, why the hell not?

In years past, this meme would’ve been dead easy: twelve months of “Ummm…. nowhere.”  I didn’t tend to get out much.  Then I met my intrepid companion, who endures any number of inane schemes, and off we’ve gone.  But I’ll have to get a bit creative with the winter months.

Ready?  Let’s go!

January:

I went to other worlds!  Winter writing season, y’see.  Furthest I got from home was in my own mind, where I kicked around Athesea for a bit and did some desultory world-building.

February:

Look, Ma!  I can escape the Muse, flee the house, and go see Epica!

Okay, so I only made it so far as downtown Seattle, but that’s an epic* journey during the winter writing season, lemme tell ya.

*No pun was actually intended.  No, seriously. 

March:

Other worlds!  Thrills!  Chills!  Carpal Tunnel!  Woot!  As far as leaving the house, about the most exciting it got was the grocery store.  And the Home Depot.  Betcha didn’t know there’s good geology to be found at the Home Depot, didya?

***Update*** Oh, right, the squirrel.  How could I forget the Burien Squirrel?!

April:

I escaped the Muse and went to see ginormous rhodies down in Federal Way.  Made friends with a White-Barked Himalayan Birch.  Ah, spring!

May:

Gearing up toward the summer adventuring season.   I gently slipped free from the Muse for an afternoon by telling her we had to do downtown Seattle for “research purposes.”  Same for Madrona Park on a lovely early summer day.  Bonds duly loosened, my intrepid companion and I then managed to bugger off to eastern Washington for two blissful days of superb geology and waterfalls with butterflies.

Upon our return, we took a side trip down the fossil freeway.

And that pretty much finished May, and put paid to the last few days of the winter writing season.  Summer adventuring season, here we go!

June:

Lessee… we started out with the Seattle Art Museum, where I saw amazing art that included some geology, acquired superpowers (thanks to our own George W.) and made friends with stone camels

Shortly thereafter, we buggered off for the first real ramble I’ve ever taken through Oregon, where there were rose gardens and incredible coastal geology and more incredible coastal geology and got pretty pitchoors and saw the Columbia River Gorge for the first time, although I haven’t written that bit up yet.
 Then we had the Museum of Flight and Lincoln Park.

Which was more than enough adventuring for June, but we only stopped because we ran out of June.

July:

We solved the mystery of the Mukilteo Lighthouse, and I got some super-spiffy photo sequences of waves breaking with Mt. Baker in the background.

Then we engaged in a lot of sea mammal molestation at the Seattle Aquarium, and by that, I do mean a lot.  Ha ha!  I got to see the octopus before PeeZee did!  Nyah-nyah!

Not content with mere sea mammal molestation, we branched out at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium and molested regular mammals, along with a sea mammal molestation reprise, capped by an evening at the beach.

 And I got to see PeeZee and Ophelia!  Woot!

August:

It was all about the mountains, baby, yeah!  First, we headed up Mount Rainier for a walk in the clouds:

And then came our big trip to the Olympics.  ZOMG.

I shared some preliminary geological findings, outtakes, and more outtakes, and I’ve still got 10 tons of photos left to blog!  So much nummy geology!


September:

Last month o’ the summer season, which meant I had to milk it.  I started out with a quick jaunt to the scientific wonderland that is Seward Park, and visited a quite-lovely fault scarp.  Enjoyed some quiet time by a glacially-carved lake, as well:

And then it was off to Lockwood in Oregon, where I killded my car dead, but with Suzanne selflessly running rescue missions and my insurance company’s eager assistance, we managed to salvage the trip.  I love them all more than I can possibly convey (and let’s not forget my intrepid companion, who wouldn’t let a little thing like my totaling the car stop us).  So we got up to Mary’s Peak, which has some of the most astounding geology I’ve ever seen, and we made it down the coast, which I haven’t written up yet, but will knock your socks off when I do.

October:

Winter wasn’t coming, so we went to Discovery Park, where we found the lighthouse gleaming and the bluff looming.

And as summer gasped its last gasp, we visited St. Edwards State Park, where I did a little geology without help of geologist or book.  Guess all that geo-travel taught me something!

And that was that.  Summer all gone.

November:

The start of the winter writing season, and I’m off to Xtalea once again.  There’s nothing like building a world to help you understand this one!

December:

Blind fucking Guardian:

And a Chinese fucking Elvis. Furthest from home I’ve managed to get IRL.  Far enough for now, innit?

It’s been an eventful year, and next year’s shaping up to be more eventful still.  Looks like we’ll be revisiting this meme come a year from now.  In the meantime, if you haven’t written your travels up yet, and you feel like revisiting your adventures near and far, feel free to consider yourself tagged!

Twelve Months of Verdad (2010)

Oh, dear.  End-o’-year memes.  Silver Fox has got one, and tagged each and every one of us, so here we go:

The rules for this meme are simple, as explained by DrugMonkey: Post the link and first sentence from the first blog entry for each month of the past year.

Without further ado, then, I present: Twelve months o’ Verdad.

January:

It’s 2010!

February:

I have a confession to make.  
March:

I have come to this realization after filling in a few blank spots leading up to a few things in my narrative outline, and contemplating the deeply emotional reaction of X-Files fans to that bit in the movie where Mulder and Scully almost kiss after several seasons’ worth of sexual tension, only to be interrupted by a very bad bee.

April:

Join me after the jump for further details on my conversion.

May:
Oh, yes.  
June: 
Aunty Flow is here, and has been pestering me with chronic cramps all day, which means I don’t have the energy to wield the Smack-o-Matic on some politician’s deserving derriere.  
July:
Apologies for the lack of beating up dumbfucks lately.  
August:
When we went to Arizona last year, my intrepid companion and I crossed Hoover Dam.
September:
I don’t know whether to thank the Cons or scream:
October:
I have to go to bed early so that I’m nice and fresh for fending off used car salesmen in the morning.
November:

A Bloodbath, Not a Massacre

Because if it was a massacre, Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell would’ve ended up added to our list of national embarrassments. 
December:

Today in the Dojo: Why the willing suspension of disbelief and the factual facts depend utterly upon each other.

 Right, then.  There it is.  And you can bet I’ll be working on snappy first lines in the new year, because this was rather a bit embarrassing.
If you’re up to the task of posting your last twelve, consider yourself tagged.

Now Would Be a Good Time to Tell Me How Awesome You Are

(Postdated in hopes all shall participate. Speak up! I beg you! Love and hugs to all who already have. New content below.)

There was a meme running around ScienceBlogs for a while there, asking lurkers to de-lurk, stand up and be counted.  You know what, why not?  The most important part of blogging is you, my darlings, and at least just this once, step into the spotlight and take a bow!  I promise you can run back to the shadows afterward, if the shadows are your preference.

Tell me who are you (although you can choose to remain anonymous, pseudonymous, or any -mous of your choice).

How did you get here?

Why are you here?

What do you want from me?  Which is actually a pretty serious question, although you can be snarky if you like.

Any of you wanting to engage in shameless self-promotion, by all means do!  This is your time to shine.

Right, then, my darlings, it’s over to you.

Oh, Dear. An Award.

My dear heart sister NP has won the Kreativ Blogger award.  Huzzah!  She promptly passed the thing on to me.  And, like so many things in life, it comes with strings attached.  Deary, deary me.

It seems the requirements are thus: award seven other bloggers, and then list seven favorite fiction authors.  Those of you who frequent the cantina know how I feel about sevens.  So Dana’s doing eights, and you lucky recipients can revert back to sevens if you like.

Onward ho, then.  Alphabetical order so as not to play favorites.

Cujo359’s Slobber and Spittle.  Seeing as how he’s the official Thinking Brain Dog of ETEV, I think you can see why he’s chosen.

Efrique’s Ecstathy.  Mathematics and charts aren’t so scary when he’s around.

George W’s Decrepit Old Fool.  Going there always makes me feel smarter and happier than I was starting out.

John Pieret’s Thoughts in a Haystack.  Nobody spanks the creationists quite like John.

Last Hussar’s Barracks.  An Elitist Bastard tried-and-true.

NP’s The Coffee-Stained Writer.  Her enthusiasm for the craft keeps mine burning.

Paul Sunstone’s Cafe Philos.  The world always seems a lot more beautiful after a visit there.

Z’s It’s the Thought that Counts.  Always plenty of thought to be had, and fine Elitist Bastardry it be.

Damn it.  Too many wonderful bloggers, not enough room.  Consider a free drink poured for all of you I didn’t get a chance to mention.

And now, the authors.  Not bothering with alphabetical this time.

J.R.R. Tolkien.  Dear Professor Tolkien didn’t used to be one of my favorites, but now he most certainly is.  He set out to create a mythology for England.  He ended up creating something much greater.  And the fact that it took him so damned long is a great comfort to me.

Neil Gaiman.  He’s one of the most extraordinary authors I’ve ever read.  If it weren’t for him, I would never have appreciated comics. What I feel for Roger Clyne in the music world, I feel for Neil in the writing world.

Terry Pratchett.  Comedy in his hands turns into some of the most incisive social commentary I’ve ever had the privilege to read.  In the old days, he would’ve been a bard feared by kings.

Connie Willis.  She’s hands-down one of the finest science fiction authors ever.  Her serious stuff makes me weep, and her funny stuff also makes me weep.  I will never see space programs or spice pogroms the same way again.

C.S. Friedman.  Her Coldfire Trilogy contains one of the greatest anti-heroes ever written.  Her science fiction includes one of the best space battles ever written.  Reading her is an all-encompassing experience.

Robert Jordan.  My only complaint is that he died before he finished the Wheel of Time.  He created one of the most richly-imagined worlds ever to exist in fantasy.  Tolkien’s heir, for sure.

Patricia McKillip.  She’s one of the most lyrical writers out there.  When I need poetry in prose, I turn to her.

Guy Gavriel Kay.  Basically, the male version of Patricia McKillip.  Words like music, stories like symphonies.

Right, then.  Duties discharged, congratulations handed around, now it’s time for another drink, my darlings.  Salud!