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Lurking in the stacks May 1, 2011

Posted by Jeff in Uncategorized.
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I went on another successful book-diving expedition yesterday, and picked up another six novels on my Hugo list. I discovered a mistake in my source, so it turns out that I overlooked a book that’s readily available, Farenheit 451. That one will be next. I still haven’t found the one I want most: The first Hugo winner in 1953, Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man. Also, surprisingly enough, Heinlein’s Double Star is proving to be difficult to find. Curses, I really wanted to tackle this project in chrono order, but I’m not positioned to order anything online at this time. Sigh.

Funny thing is, since the Hugo Awards started in ’53, they omit the Golden Age of Science Fiction: late ’30’s though the early ’50’s. Robert Heinlein earned his bread and potatoes there, as did John Campbell, Isaac Asimov, E.E. “Doc” Smith, Ray Bradbury, James Blish, and others. Many, many great novels came from that time. Down the road, I’ll devote some space (pun unintentional) to that era.

I found an excellent little independent bookstore, Paperbacks Plus. It has a selection to rival most Half Price Books stores. For those of you in the Dallas area, they have two locations: Downtown Mesquite and East Dallas, near the intersection of Skillman and Live Oak. That’s the one I visited. They also have a web presence, check out their site here. And of course, there’s the Half Price Books flagship store, about a mile east of Northpark Mall. That place is huge, it’s worth the drive from anywhere in the Metroplex. Unless, of course, you live in Burleson or something.

One of my video cards bit the dust yesterday. It started making a loud grinding noise, fan-associated, and then the noise stopped. Shortly thereafter, the system shut down and wouldn’t power back on until I removed the offending item. Now I have to limp along on a single video card with a mere 1.5GB of memory. Oh, the humanity! I partially disassembled it and did a little reconditioning on it; I’m going to plug it back in and see if my efforts paid off.

I saw on somebody else’s site that he was in the process of listing all the books he’s read. It made me think – for a moment – about the feasibility of listing all the books I own, much less have read. My gosh, what a monumental task that would be. I might do that later, say, when I’m retired and have nothing else to do. I made a rough estimate earlier today and came up with around 300 books, give or take, and it’s not getting smaller. I can tell you about some of the authors of which I have a high volume of books, and some of my favorite authors that haven’t necessarily put out a lot of novels.

Robert A. Heinlein, of course. David Drake, who writes some excellent military s-f. Larry Niven, need I say more. I have everything that Anne McCaffrey wrote about the Dragonriders of Pern, an astonishing baker’s dozen or more novels. Piers Anthony, a man who has produced an incredible volume of work and yet does not have, to my knowledge, a Hugo award. I wouldn’t call him my favorite author but to my surprise, I may have more books by him than by any other author. Go figure. A.A. Attanasio, my favorite off-the-beaten-track author. C.J. Cherryh – ah, C.J., my favorite female author, and namesake of my furry ferocious four-footed feline. J.R.R Tolkien, including a lesser-known book which I strongly recommend to everybody that wants to know more about Lord of the Rings: The Silmarillion. It tells of the beginning of the Elves, and their war with Morgoth, to whom Sauron was just an apprentice. Let me see, a sprinkling of Arthur C. Clarke and the Good Doctor Asimov. The complete works of Shakespeare in a hardcover boxed set, which I may never read but at least I have it. Got it on sale, it was too good a buy to pass up. A couple by Mark Twain, talk about a radical. The two oldest pieces of fiction known to mankind, Homer’s Iliad and The Odyssey, and that book we all had to read in high school, Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, and yes I have read those. It’s hard to see all the titles because I have books stacked on top of books stacked in front of books stacked on top of books – I need a new bookcase! My poor bookcase is about 4X overloaded.

There’s some others, but it’s almost time for Firefly, so I’m outta here.

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