October 14, 2008
A medieval village is transported to a technologically-advanced planet, where 12th century weaponry and terrestrial cunning miraculously defeat hoards of laser-toting aliens. This book proves that Earth is the USA of the galaxy – EARTH! EARTH! EARTH! – because we kick ass and take names. And that ain’t easy, because alien names are hard to spell, and our limited knowledge of xenobiology often makes finding their asses difficult. Recommended.
On a scale of medieval weapons ranging from the misericorde to the scramaseax, this book is: the zweihander.
October 2, 2008
Having gotten over humans crucifying Jesus, God decides to send another messiah to Earth. But this time, it’s a woman. Not only that, but Morrow infers that God Herself is a She. A female God? Sounds crazy but he might be right; God is demanding, prone to frightening emotional outbursts and no man can make Her happy! Rim shot. I guess the Eleventh Commandment would be ‘Thou shalt not leave the toilet seat up’! Double rim shot. Vagina! Goodnight everybody. Highly recommended.
On a scale of miracles Jesus performed ranging from turning water into wine to driving demons from a pig, this book is: that time He made the Statue Of Liberty disappear.
September 28, 2008
Before H.G. Wells became morbidly obese and started doing wine commercials, he wrote this book, in which two 19th century Londoners journey to our nearest celestial neighbor. A celestial neighbor, by the way, is good to have when you leave Earth on vacation and need someone to water your plants. Anywho, they discover a highly complex society living beneath the barren lunar surface, like we all kinda knew they would. With its blend of spirited adventure and heady social commentary, The First Men In The Moon is a story everyone can enjoy. Well, almost everyone; conspiracy theorists believe this entire book was a hoax staged by the Nixon administration to draw attention away from the war in Vietnam. Recommended.
On a scale of people mentioned in the Neil Diamond song ‘Done Too Soon’ ranging from Genghis Khan to Ho Chi Minh, this book is: H.G. Wells.
September 22, 2008
A mind-blowing future history of humanity, beginning in the present day and ending in the year 200,000,000. You think cramming for a test on the War Of 1812 is hard? Try writing 200,000,000 years of cheat notes on your arm. This book is an unsung literary sci-fi gem, but not for long, because I wrote a song about it: Gimmie a bouncy C! Hello? Where’s that guy I hired to play the piano? What do you mean he doesn’t work on Sundays? Fuckin’ pianists union. Dense, long-winded, but recommended.
On a scale of Toronto mayors ranging from Rob Ford to David Miller, this book is: Mel Lastman.
September 11, 2008
Every human who ever lived is resurrected along the banks of a mysterious river where they are fed, clothed and made impervious to death by an outside force beyond comprehension. That’s on page three. From there, the authour pits a reanimated Sir Richard Burton against a revived Hermann Goring as the two of them compete for supremacy and understanding of a paradise that may be anything but. If scifi is a what if? genre, then Farmer is a why not? writer, bound by no convention whatsoever. Recommended, if only for the sheer bravado of subject matter and storytelling.
On a scale of things that come back to life ranging from the African lungfish to Jesus, this book is: zombie John Dillinger.
September 7, 2008
James Tiptree writes like a girl, because he was one. Alice Bradley Sheldon assumed a male nom de plume to avoid the discrimination faced by female writers in the early days of scifi (it was not uncommon, for example, to see a leering Isaac Asimov chasing a busty, short-skirted Ursula K. Leguin repeatedly around a desk while imploring her to ‘prove you’re not a robot, sugar pie’). But as this excellent anthology shows, any fear Tiptree had about not being taken seriously was unfounded; her scifi hammer hangs lower than most male writers’. Highly recommended.
On a scale of famous men who were really women ranging from Pope Joan to Billy Tipton, this book is: Samus Aran.
1991: The Bradbury Chronicles: Stories In Honor Of Ray Bradbury edited by William F. Nolan and Martin H. Greenberg
September 5, 2008
Reading Bradbury’s short story catalogue is like taking a highly-addictive, euphoria-inducing drug. It’s a glorious, almost spiritual experience while it lasts. But there’s a limited supply, and eventually you run out. In desperation, you buy some Asimov from a guy you don’t really know and read it by yourself in the bathroom at the bus station. Soon you’re watching Will Smith in I Robot through half-closed eyes and telling yourself you can stop any time you want. The Bradbury Chronicles is like methadone for everyone jonesin’ for more of the master’s works; a series of stories that aren’t the real thing, but will tide you over until you can get some help. Recommended.
On a scale of Bradbury-related withdrawl symptoms ranging from Dandelion Wine D.T.’s to S Is For The Shakes, this book is: A fever of Fahrenheit 451.