What makes this book so great / Jo Walton
BOOK | Tor | [2014]
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446 pages ; 25 cm
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Why I re-read -- A Deepness in the Sky, the tragical history of Pham Nuwen -- The singularity problem and non-problem -- Random Acts of Senseless Violence : why isn't it a classic of the field? -- From herring to marmalade : the perfect plot of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency -- "That's just scenery" : what do we mean by "mainstream" ? -- Re-reading long series -- The distopic earths of Heinlein's juveniles -- Happiness, meaning and significance : Karl Schroeder's Lady of Mazes -- The weirdest book in the world -- The poetry of deep time : Arthur C. Clark's Against the Fall of Night -- Clarke reimagined in hot pink : Tanith Leed's Biting the Sun -- Something rich and strange : Candas Jane Dorsey's Black Wine -- To trace impunity : Greg Egan's Permutation City -- Black and white and read a million times : Jerry Pournelle's Janissaries -- College as magic garden : why Pamela Dean's Tam Lin is a book you'll either love or hate -- Making the future work : Maureen McHugh's China Mountain Zhang -- Anathem : what does it gain from not being our world? -- A happy ending depends on when you stop : Heavy Time, Hellburner and C. J. Cherryh's Alliance-Union universe -- Knights who say "F**k" : swearing in genre fiction -- "Earth is one world" : C. J. Cherryh's Downbelow Station -- "Space is wide and good friends are too few" : Cherryh's Merchanter novels -- "A need to deal wounds" : rape of men in Cherryh's Union-Alliance novels -- How to talk to writers -- "Give me back the Berlin Wall" : Ken MacLeod's The Sky Road -- What a pity she couldn't have single-handedly invented science fiction! George Eliot's Middlemarch -- The beauty of lists : Angelica Gorodischer's Kalpa Imperial -- Like pop rocks for the brain : Samuel R. Delany's Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand -- Between two worlds : S. P. Somtow's Jasmine Nights -- Lots of reasons to love these : Daniel Abraham's Long Price books -- Maori fantasy : Keri Hulme's The Bone People -- Better to have loved and lost? Series that go downhill -- More questions than answers : Robert A. Henlein's The Stone Pillow -- Weeping for her enemies : Lois McMaster Bujold's Shards of Honor -- Forward momentum : Lois McMaster Bujold's The Warrior's Apprentice -- Quest for ovaries : Lois McMaster Bujold's Ethan of Athos -- Why he must not fail : Lois McMaster Bujold's Borders of Infinity -- What have you done with your baby brother? Lois McMaster Bujold's Brothers in Arms -- Hard on his superiors : Lois McMaster Bujold's The Vor Game -- One birth, one death, and all the acts of pain and will between : Lois McMater Bujold's Barrayar -- All true wealth is biological : Lois McMaster Bujold's Mirros Dance -- Luck is something you make for yourself : Lois McMaster Bujold's Cetaganda -- This is my old identity, actually : Lois McMaster Bujold's Memory -- But I'm Vor : Lois McMaster Bujold's Komarr -- She's getting away! Lois McMaster Bujold's A Civil Campaign -- Just my job : Lois McMater Bujold's Diplomatic Immunity -- Every day is a gift : Lois McMaster Bujold's "Winterfair Gifts" -- Choose again, and change : Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan saga -- So, what sort of series do you like? -- Time travel and slavery : Octavia Butler's Kindred -- America the Beautiful : Terry Bisson's Fire on the Mountain -- Susan Palwick's Shelter -- Scintillations of a sensory syrynx : Samuel Delany's Nova -- You may not know it, but you want to read this : Francis Spufford's Backroom Boys : the Secret Return of the British Boffin -- Faster than light at any speed -- Gender and glaciers : Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness -- Licensed to see weasels and jade earrings : the short stories of Lord Dunsany -- The net of a million lies : Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep -- The worst book I love : Robert A. Heinlein's Friday -- India's superheroes : Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children -- A funny book with a lot of death in it : Iain Banks's The Crow Road -- More dimensions than you'd expect : Samuel Del
"As any reader of Jo Walton's Among Others might guess, Walton is both an inveterate reader of SF and fantasy, and a chronic re-reader of books. In 2008, then-new science-fiction mega-site asked Walton to blog regularly about her re-reading--about all kinds of older fantasy and SF, ranging from acknowledged classics, to guilty pleasures, to forgotten oddities and gems. These posts have consistently been among the most popular features of Now this volumes presents a selection of the best of them, ranging from short essays to long reassessments of some of the field's most ambitious series. Among Walton's many subjects here are the Zones of Thought novels of Vernor Vinge; the question of what genre readers mean by "mainstream"; the underappreciated SF adventures of C. J. Cherryh; the field's many approaches to time travel; the masterful science fiction of Samuel R. Delany; Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children; the early Hainish novels of Ursula K. Le Guin; and a Robert A. Heinlein novel you have most certainly never read. Over 130 essays in all, What Makes This Book So Great is an immensely readable, engaging collection of provocative, opinionated thoughts about past and present-day fantasy and science fiction, from one of our best writers"-- Provided by publisher.
"A Tom Doherty Associates Book"
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