my reward awaits.

Here’s a picture of the stack of books sitting on the corner of my desk:

April 1st, 2009 003

Those are all books I’ve bought in the last few months, books that are still unread because I’m limiting my leisure time until the novel is finished.

At some point in the next week or two (providing I don’t get a bug up my ass and do radical surgery on the completed draft), I’ll write THE END at the bottom of the final page of The Great Big Military SF Opus (not its official title, mind you), stuff it into a manuscript box, and send it off to Great Important Acquisitions Editor (not his actual name, mind you.)  Then I will rinse my brain of fiction writing for a while by starting at the top of the stack pictured above, and working my way down.  I have made an agreement with myself to not start on the next piece of fiction before I’ve read every book in that stack back-to-back.  (I figure that’ll mean a week or two off for Mr. Brain.  Hey, I have kids to manage.)

Well, back to the grindstone, as they say.  This son of a bitch isn’t going to finish itself.


21 thoughts on “my reward awaits.

  1. i guess you have your reasons for that pecking order…i’ve read just two of those seven, so i can’t say for sure that helprin’s book is the best of the lot…it may not be a quick read, but it is outstanding. otoh “the forever war” should be started in the a.m. on a light-work day because you’re not likely to put it down till you’re done.

    if those two are any indication of the quality of your stack, i’m going to have to take a look at some of your other choices.


  2. Tiffani says:

    That is one of the shortest “to-read” piles I’ve seen in a while… unless there are more hiding behind there. But this is a good thing because it shows that you (unlike, say, me) are standing in the *realistic with my time* line. And thumbs up on the two Gaimans!

  3. KTP says:

    The Winter’s Tale is one of my favorite books ever. Enjoy!

  4. ErnestThing says:

    Neverwhere was a fun read. Kind of an Alice in Londonland.

  5. wolfwalker says:

    Were I you, I’d throw away the top two. American Gods is pure horror, and filthy horror at that (well-written as horror goes, I’ll grant you, but still horror), and The Forever War is anti-military peacenik drivel. Ever since I read that thing, I’ve looked on the sluglines “Hugo Award winner” and “Nebula Award winner” as marks against a book, not for it.

    The rest, I don’t know anything about. Though I’ve heard enough good things about Neverwhere that it might someday lead me to give Gaiman a second chance.

  6. Jay G. says:

    When the SF military book hits the shelves, would you do me the honor of signing a copy?

  7. Marko says:

    But of course.

  8. Mike says:

    Another vote for Neverwhere. One of the best books I’ve read.

  9. perlhaqr says:

    I liked American Gods and Forever War. Hated Winter’s Tale.

    Neverwhere is also good. Haven’t read the others.

    Your mileage may vary. 😀

  10. Tam says:

    You haven’t read The Forever War?

    You’re in for a treat.

    Sure, as the ideological commissar above me stated, it’s “anti-military peacenik drivel”. So was Catch-22 and All Quiet On The Western Front.

    It’s a brilliant book that manages to be funny, poignant, farcical, and bleak, all at once.

  11. Tam says:

    Heh. “So were…”

    As you were.

  12. MarkHB says:

    You’ll get a kick out of The Forever War, all right. American Gods was… odd. Compelling, for sure and oddly sad. Neverwhere, however, is much more of a romp. He’s got a real thing for the hidden worlds, has Gaiman, and he manages to pull it off even with a grouchy SF nerd like myself. He treats deities and hidden spaces with the same kinda matter-of-fact approach Scalzi takes with aliens and parallel universes. Not read any of the other ones, so I can’t really opine too much on ’em.

    I’m noshing through Saturns Children at the moment, completing my Hugo List Roll Call. Really gotten into Stross recently, if you find time to at least drop Accelerando into that list, you’d be doing yourself a favour.

  13. Alan says:

    I enjoyed American Gods. Horror? Certainly not. More like dark fantasy, only a little more reality-bound than most of Gaiman’s other dark fantasies. I don’t want to compare and contrast Gods and Neverwhere too much, because it could bias your reading of them. If you haven’t read a lot of Gaiman, I will suggest that you read Neverwhere first.

    Forever War was good, but I liked Haldeman’s The Hemingway Hoax more, only because the subject interested me more.

    I plowed through the first half of The Yiddish Policeman’s Union in a day and then stalled out. Still haven’t finished it. It’s not bad, but it’s no Kavalier and Clay. It’s definitely unusual. I haven’t yet decided whether it’s unusual in a good or a bad way.

  14. BryanP says:

    Neverwhere and Forever War are both well worth reading. American Gods happens to be next in my pile as soon as I finish the current leisure reading. I haven’t read any of the others, so be sure to give us reviews.

  15. LabRat says:

    I’m apparently in the minority- I loved American Gods and regard it as a MUCH better book than Neverwhere, which I consider Gaiman’s awkward transition between writing comics and writing print-only novels.

    Mileage, varying, etc.

  16. Tiffani says:

    wolfwalker: What the hell is “filthy” horror? I don’t recall any good pron bits in that book!

  17. Marko says:

    Damn…and here I was hoping for some after that description.

  18. wolfwalker says:

    Tam: I’ve only read parts of Catch-22 and none of All Quiet on the Western Front, but I would be surprised if either one of them is antiwar in the same way that The Forever War is. I remember Catch-22 as vicious satire, but skillfully written and not especially heavy-handed or patronizing, considering the context and the time in which it was written. Forever War, on the other hand … when I first read it, when when I was about fifteen, I really enjoyed it. I thought it a crackerjack bit of writing. Years later, I went back and re-read it, and was stunned to find the crackerjack bit of writing had somehow been stolen away and replaced by unsubtle, unfunny, heavy-handed, preachy, pompous, patronizing schlock.

    I read for entertainment, not to be preached at. [shrug] I guess that somewhere along the way, I lost the ability to filter out the “offensive propaganda” aspect.

    Tiffani — that’s the problem, there are what I consider porn scenes in it, but they weren’t good. In any case, I call it horror because of the way I distinguish between horror and dark fantasy: the subject matter is similar, but if it’s well written it’s dark fantasy, while if it’s clumsy and crude and badly written, then it’s horror. I classed the fifty or sixty pages of American Gods that I read as horror because I thought it was clumsy, crude, and badly written — starting with the gratuitous cruelty Gaiman inflicted on his main character.

  19. emdfl says:

    Get the DVD of Neverwhere. It’s almost better then the book.

  20. Mr. Bruce says:

    And the bear is there because?

  21. Marko says:

    He’s the librarian.

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