Through the use of magic, alchemy, corpse theft and the Konami code, Charles Dexter Ward resurrects a long-dead ancestor. This ancestor then proceeds to bore him with stories about how necromancy used to be done in good ol’ days.  I’ve always thought necromancy is a ‘gateway’ magic, not because it leads to eviler magic, but because it literally opens a gateway through which Yog-Sothoth can enter our world. And once he’s here, he crashes on your couch for, like, three months, drinks all your beer and won’t leave. While T.C.O.C.D.W. is great for hardcore Lovecraft lovers, H.P. noobs might want to stick to his shorter works. This one employs too much obfuscating language.

On a scale of famous cases ranging from The Case Of The Distressed Lady to The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, this book is: a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

‘It rubs the lotion on its skin.…’

Advertisements

When the Galactic Empire threatens to collapse (Galactic termites in the rafters) the sum knowledge of the universe is taken to a planet which will serve as the ‘Foundation’ of a brand new empire. Y’see how the title ties back to the content? Clever. This book made me realize I hate Isaac Asimov. I’ve always hated him, but I’ve been too afraid of what people would say if they found out, so I pretended to be someone I wasn’t. But now I’m saying it loud: I hate Asimov and I’m proud! Out of the closet and into the streets! But not the street where the store that sells Isaac Asimov’s books is, because his writing is gay! Also, I don’t care for the Beatles.

On a scale Village People members ranging from the cowboy to the construction worker, this book is: the accountant.

ScifiScentury Fun Fact: Isaac Asimov died of AIDS.

1961: Solaris by Stanislaw Lem

September 14, 2008

A sentient ocean on a distant planet invades the minds of visiting space-o-nauts and brings their innermost thoughts and memories to life. Which begs the question: where’s a sentient ocean when I’m thinking of a tuna sandwich on rye, or remembering that one keg party in university? You know – the one where that chick flashed us from her dorm window and we drew on Skeeter’s ass when he passed out? Can you believe Skeeter’s a lawyer with two kids now? Crazy!

On a scale of scary bodies of water ranging from Dead Moose River, MN, to Murder Bay, DC, this book is: Skeleton Lake, Alberta.

"You make me wet."

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.

There was a Farmer wrote a book, and Philip was his name-o.

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.

Published in Canada as 'Oot Of The Everywhere'.

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.

Some primo stuff.

After a ‘plague cloud’ 86’s humanity, the last (and most boring) man on Earth traverses the globe waxing philosophical about life, art, architecture, love, and the best brand of wax for waxing philosophical (I prefer Lemon-Scented Heideggerian Pledge, myself). The cover of this book claims it’s a ‘towering masterpiece’, but they must’ve been thinking of the World Trade Centre, because it’s a smouldering disaster of story.

On a scale of clouds ranging from Cumulus to Cirrus, this book is: Cumulonimbus. 

This book was an inside job.