Additions to the Tbr Pile 

Happy New Year to everyone! Here’s to another year of reading and (hopefully) blogging.

I enjoyed a great trip back to Manchester, England to visit my dad. The return journey to Japan took longer than expected due to delayed flights and a rather surreal transit in Beijing airport. But I made it home with bags and senses in one piece. Just.

I tried my hardest NOT to buy more books over in the UK but as you can see from the picture above, I failed. Only four, right? That’s what I keep telling myself. At least I didn’t have to post any over this time. Continue reading

The 2017 William Gibson Read-Along

“I think I’d probably tell you that it’s easier to desire and pursue the attention of tens of millions of total strangers than it is to accept the love and loyalty of the people closest to us.” William Gibson, Idoru

 

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2016 has been the year of Dick for me, Philip Kindred Dick. Taking part in Bookpunks’ mind-warping “Exegesis with a Side of Fiction: The PKD Read-Along” has brought me closer to Dick. I regularly found myself questioning what was real after being submerged in the latest book. Despite struggling through the dense and diffuse Exegesis, I looked forward to my monthly dose of PKD paperback, wondering what kind of bizarre and unhinged world I would discover inside. It was also a great opportunity to focus on the work of one writer, to see the different worlds they had imagined and built, to compare the later stories with the earlier ones.

So, I propose spending 2017 in William Gibson territory. One book per month, commencing with his collection of short stories Burning Chrome. Continue reading

Halloween Reads 2016

What scares you?

Is it that BUMP in the middle of the night that only you hear?
Is it the walk home through the woods with only the moonlight to guide you?readings__1224527389_9277

How about that movie you watched that gave you nightmares for a week? Or the dream that felt so real that you fought to wake up and escape it, a cry on your lips?

What was the last book or short story that REALLY scared you? As I’ve got older, I find a scary movie affects me more than a ghost story. Is that because a visual shock is more immediate than a comparable scare in a story? The filmed image is there, right in front of you, without you having to do any work creating it in your head. Is it just me? Continue reading

Radio Free Albemuth (1976) by Philip K. Dick

 

‘As his eyes adjusted to the gloom he saw the floating patches of colour, but they were receding from him faster and faster as his thoughts – manic, the psychiatrist had said – matched their velocity. They’re escaping, he thought, and so is my head; my mind is going along with them.’

 

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Cover art by Tony Roberts

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Back cover

Radio Free Albemuth was written in 1976 and published posthumously in 1985. It has been suggested that this was only a first draft which Dick abandoned before going on to write VALIS (published in 1981). He wrote it between A Scanner Darkly and VALIS during what is referred to as his ‘mature period’. It’s a short novel, one which I found easy to read. I enjoyed its simple, autobiographical style and fairly simple plot, especially after the bizarre reading experience of Ubik, which I loved.

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‘2016 Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge’

 

(c) Worlds Without End.com

Here are the rules: read 12 books by 12 new-to-you women authors in 12 months. One of your author choices should be totally random. Have a friend pick one for you and you pick one for your friend.”

On the wonderful Worlds Without End website they offer a number of Reading Challenges each year. This year, I am joining three of them. The one I am looking forward to the most is the ‘Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge’. The main reason for this is my unintended neglect of reading female authors up until now. I have only read a few works by authors including Ursula K. LeGuin, Hope Mirrlees, Margo Lanagan, Virginia Woolf, Susanna Clarke and Mary Shelley. Compared with the number of works by male authors that I’ve read, it’s pretty paltry.

There are a number of lists of recommended books by “women of genre fiction” available on the net, but I decided I’d rather ask my fellow speculative fiction bloggers for their suggestions. I put the word out on Twitter and got enough responses for two years of the challenge. Thank you! Continue reading

The Moment of Eclipse (1970) by Brian Aldiss

I can’t help believing that these things that come from the subconscious mind have a sort of truth to them. It may not be a scientific truth, but it’s psychological truth. -Brian Aldiss

 

This is the first Brian Aldiss work that I’ve read. It won the BSFA award in 1971. It’s a collection of fourteen short stories he wrote between 1967 to 1970. It includes ‘Super-Toys Last All Summer Long’ which was the inspiration for the movie ‘A.I.

I didn’t know much about Aldiss or his writing, but I’d heard his name before. Coincidentally, just before I began reading this book I saw him in a Phillip K. Dick documentary I watched on youtube. He came across very well and spoke highly of PKD.

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