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Old January 3 2013, 04:23 AM   #1560
Daddy Todd
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Re: So What Are you Reading?: Generations

I was really looking forward to some unformatted time the last week and a half of December, but family tragedy on Xmess Eve put the kibosh on that. So, here's what I read in December:

12/03/2012 The Alternate Martians by A. Bertram Chandler
12/04/2012 Man Plus (audiobook) by Frederik Pohl
12/04/2012 The Way Down The Hill (audiobook - ss) by Tim Powers
12/10/2012 Star Trek Volume 1 (gn) by Mike Johnson/Stephen Molnar & Joe Phillips
12/10/2012 Star Trek Volume 2 (gn) by Mike Johnson/Joe Corroney & Joe Phillips
12/10/2012 The Sea Beasts by A. Bertram Chandler
12/15/2012 Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics Volume One: 1979-1981 (gn) by Warkentin, Harris, DiVono
12/18/2012 Frontier of the Dark by A. Bertram Chandler
12/20/2012 Red Mars (audiobook) by Kim Stanley Robinson
12/22/2012 Space: 1999: Aftershock and Awe (gn) by Various
12/23/2012 The Bitter Pill by A. Bertram Chandler
12/23/2012 Trio (gn) by John Byrne
12/24/2012 Star Trek Volume 3 (gn) by Mike Johnson/Stephen Molnar & Claudia Balboni
12/25/2012 Elric: The Balance Lost Vol. 1 (gn) by Chris Roberson/Francesco Biagini
12/25/2012 Elric: The Balance Lost Vol. 2 (gn) by Chris Roberson/Francesco Biagini
12/25/2012 Elric: The Balance Lost Vol. 3 (gn) by Chris Roberson/Francesco Biagini
12/31/2012 Benchmarks: Galaxy Bookshelf by Algis Budrys

Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars is amazing. Green Mars is also wonderful (currently about midway through that one). I read Red Mars in the '90's, and remembered quite a bit. I thought I'd read Green Mars, but so far have remembered nothing, so maybe I never got around to it. I'm sure I never read Blue Mars, so its novelty won't be based on my deteriorating memory. Robinson has an immense talent for keeping the reader involved through really lengthy narratives. Brilliant. Diving into that immediately after listening to Man Plus was an interesting contrast. I'm a big fan of Fred Pohl, and remember Man Plus as seeming like a game-changer, when I read it at 19. It seems less revolutionary today -- but still enjoyable.

The graphic novel Elric: the Balance Lost wasn't really to my taste. Recent attempts to re-read Moorcock have been uniformly unsuccessful. Maybe I've simply outgrown the Albino Prince.

I did have fun going back through the first dozen issues of Star Trek Ongoing in trade format. It gets better as they go along, as the adaptations get further and further away from the episodes they "adapt." I also think I have some ideas where the new Star Trek movie may be headed, based on the "cookie crumbs" dropped in some of these issues.

I also loved reading the Star Trek Newspaper Comics. I've collected a bunch of the individual strips over the years, but never had them in a convenient format for reading. Fun stuff!

Byrne's Trio just felt like some superhero comics. Not nearly as mind-blowing as Next Men, but good, solid work.

The Space: 1999 gn was far better than I expected. Half of it ("Awe") was a "remastered" reprint of the original Charlton adaptation of "Breakaway". "Aftershock" was an all-original story basically covering the first decade of life on earth, post-"Breakaway." I'm looking forward to more Space: 1999 from these guys.

Four "new-to-me" novels by A. Bertram Chandler. They were fun. Frontier of the Dark is where to start, if you're unfamiliar with Chandler. The Bitter Pill surprised me by also ending up on Mars (SPOILERS!) The contrast with Robinson's Mars could not be more striking. Now if only they would publish Chandler's "Empress Irene" trilogy in e-format, I'd love to dive into those. Someone sent me a comment on my website ( - with fresh updates for the first time in over 5 years!) that I should include them (Empress of Outer Space, Space Mercenaries and Nebula Alert -- especially the third volume) in the John Grimes chronology on my Grimes Fan Page. So, now I wanna read them and see how they fit in! I have copies of the old Ace Doubles, but the print is too fine for my tired old eyes to read enjoyably.

I recently acquired Benchmarks, a volume of A.J. Budrys's book review columns from Galaxy magazine. It was cool reading contemporary reviews of Dune and Ringworld before they became legends. Budrys was a significant critic of SF in those days, and his opinions are always worthwhile. Currently finishing up his novel Michaelmas. Not as good as Who? but pretty damn good. Also have the first of three projected volumes collecting his F&SF columns from the mid-'70's to the early-'90's. Can't wait to get into that.
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