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Well THAT was a refreshing change of pace! I picked this up as soon as I put down the terrible Sword of Shannara yesterday and finished it already. I had the good fortune to have Bradbury as a programming guest in my room at Comic-con for a few years in a row, and despite a physical confrontation with an extremely rude journalist one year (between me and the journalist, not Bradbury, for christ’s sake, he was in a wheelchair!), it was always a pleasure. The 18 short stories contained in this book are as classic as you can get - stories of the future, of space travel, of technology that illuminate the basic emotional core that unites all humans. Science Fiction rarely gets acknowledgement in literary canons for being able to really probe into the central core of our experiences, but I found myself moved and terrified, elated and destroyed, all over the course of just a few pages. Hooray for stories!!!
I read Stardust a few years ago when I first ventured into Gaiman’s non-comics. I started with Good Omens and kept reading until there was nothing left. All of his works hold a place in my heart and though all have a different feel, they kind of mash into one emotional place for me, since i read them virtually all at the same time. Stardust isn’t my favorite, but that’s like picking your favorite slice of the same pizza pie (which actually I have done, both with pizzas and with Gaiman books - Neverwhere [#48] is my favorite, but that’s beyond the point). Stardust is a fairy tale, in the best possible way. I highly recommend it as a starting point for people who haven’t read Sandman - it could ease one into the world of Gaiman. If you are already familiar with his style, just go ahead and jump in anywhere - American Gods is a good choice (and #10 on this NPR list).
this is the book that inspired a friend to tell me to keep a blog reviewing all the books i’m reading on the npr list. it is awful. i just finished it and the relief that i feel is greater than i could put into words. i forced myself to drudge through, so i could cross it off the list, but man was it difficult. it somehow manages to be a tolkien clone AND be so badly written it makes some of the lesser known dragonlance books seem like shakespeare. i could see how i possibly could have liked this book when i was, say, 11, which is where i assume the npr listeners first encountered it and formed their fond memory of the series. not one of the main characters was an original creation and the descriptions of emotion seemed to be written by a pre-emotion chip Data, should he have been programmed to have an IQ of 60. crossing this baby off the list will be a joy i shall not long forget.
i’ve been working on reading the books featured on NPR’s 100 Greatest Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of All Time list for a little while now. it’s a crowd-source list, so i expected it to be full of hits and misses, but my goal with the project was to read more fiction, and i figured i’d start in the genre i love best. also i’d covered about a third of them already anyway, so i thought i’d take advantage of my head start. i’m about halfway through, and i’ve set up some specific rules - for instance, many on the list are complete series or trilogies, and i’ve chosen to read only the 1st book to make it count. if i like it enough, i’ll read the rest when i’ve finished the list. someone suggested i keep a blog of my thoughts on all of them, so i will start that…now.