Monday, December 31, 2001

2001: The Year in Books

(This posting is made from 100% previously posted electrons and bits!)

(I will note that this compilation was originally posted to an online community vaguely like Live Journal. Posting lengths were very limited and could not be linked, so instead of posting a whole bunch of entries to review each book, I just wrote down a list. Someday I will go back and do reviews for all of these.)

A tough year to read in for several reasons. First, work was heck. Second, 9/11 was hell. Working post-9/11 in downtown NYC was beyond hell. But, I managed (somehow!) to read 61 books. Here is a rundown of the titles.

Best titles of the year? A tough one! Vernor Vinge probably on the science fiction side, with the various Frederik Pohl titles tied for second place. The books by Bear, Benford and Landis all were outstanding. The Clifford D. Simak collection helped to pull me back from the brink.

On the non-fiction side, a lot of heavy hitters. The one by (Freeman) Dyson and the one by (George) Dyson were just about the best. Vincent de Cordoba expose of the way politics and bureacracy have ruined the space station was spot on. The works of John McPhee are excellent, no matter how many times I've run over them before.

Isaac Asimov: In Memory Still Green.

Greg Bear: Darwin's Radio.

Gregory Benford: Eater. The Martian Race. Cosm. Timescape.

Peter Bergen: Holy War, Inc.

J.D. Bernal: The World, The Flesh and The Devil (read here or here. Read Freeman Dyson's follow-up here.).

Ben Bova: Mars.

Mark Bowden: Blackhawk Down (read serial version here).

Kenneth Brower: The Starship and the Canoe.

Ray Bradbury: The Halloween Tree.

Arthur C. Clarke: The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke.

"Hal Clement (Harry Clement Stubbs): Needle. Mission of Gravity. Iceworld. (All three from the volumes published by NESFA Press.)

Vincent de Cordoba: "Is 'Peckerhead' Hyphenated?" Building the International Space Station (Read this book! Really!)

Gordon R. Dickson: Necromancer. Tactics of Mistake.

Arthur Conan Doyle: A Study in Scarlet.

Freeman Dyson: The Sun, the Genome and the Internet.

George Dyson: Darwin Among the Machines.

Julia Ecklar: Kobayashi Maru.

D.C. Fontana: Vulcan's Glory.

Michael Jan Friedman: Republic.

David Gelernter: Drawing Life.

William Gibson: Virtual Light. Idoru.

James Gleick: Faster. Genius.

Stephen Hawking (and others): Brief History Companion. (Also recommended is Hawking's...ummm...alter ego!)

Robert A. Heinlein: Beyond this Horizon. (Compare this novel with the recently-published "lost novel".)

Shirley Jackson: Haunting of Hill House. (The best dang ghost story out there! The film rocks! However, avoid the remake of the film at all costs.)

Lisa Jardine: Ingenious Pursuits.

Thomas J. Kelly: Lunar Lander.

Gene Kranz: Failure is not a Option.

Geoffrey Landis: Mars Crossing.

David Levy: Shoemaker by Levy.

John McPhee: A Sense of Where You Are. La Place de la Concorde Suisse. Pine Barrens. Table of Contents.

Ward A. Moore: Lot/Lot's Daughter. (Let's not forget the film!)

The Editors of The New York Times: September 11, 2001: A Record.

Frederik Pohl: The Gateway Trip. Gateway. Beyond the Blue Event Horizon. SFWA Grand Masters Book 1 (as editor). SFWA Grand Masters Book 2 (as editor).

Clifford D. Simak: Over the River and Through the Woods.

Simon Singh: Fermat's Enigma.

Tom Standage: The Neptune File.

Neal Stephenson: In the Beginning was the Command Line. (See here.)

The Editors of Time-Life: One Nation.

J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit.

Linus Torvalds: Just for Fun.

Various: 8:48 9/11.

Vernor Vinge: A Deepness in the Sky

Donald A. Wilhelms: To A Rocky Moon. (For an online version of Wilhelms other major work, see here.

Jack Williamson: Lifeburst.

P.G. Wodehouse: The World of Jeeves.

Saturday, November 3, 2001

Friday, November 2, 2001

A New Look

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a sample image from the THEMIS instrument on the Mars 2001 Odyssey orbiter. Cool images to come!

Tuesday, October 30, 2001


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day show "anticrepuscular rays" over Colorado. What mad universe.

MPOD: October 20, 2001

Today's images courtesy of the Mars Global Surveyor include: Ancient layered rocks in Schiaparelli Crater; fractures and pits in West Utopia; dune fields in Herschel crater; and the toe (!) of the Ganges Chasma Landslide.

Current SF

My current reading in SF is mostly firmly set in good old (and new) space opera. Primarily, it has been: David Weber's "Honor Harrington" series: "Something new" in the litany. Not the greatest things since sliced bread, but a lot of fun. Plus, Baen Books distribution methods (more on that in a separate note) makes it easy to get into the series. A. Bertram Chandler's stories of "John Grimes": Classic SF by the late Aussie-based author. I've got most of the books, but now I've been able to buy the Grimes stories (and I hope that this gets expanded to the rest of his writings) in the PalmOS-based Peanut Press format. I've read three of the books so far, two of them were new-to-me, the third was a collection of short stories that I first encountered way-back-when in "Galaxy" magazine (what a great meagazine that was!). Good stuff. various authors...Perry Rhodan: Over 2,150 books in the series (running since the early 60's). I'm only looking for the books published by Ace books in the late 60's and in the early to mid-70's. Definately hack, definately pulp, but fun. I've got most of the books right now, but I'm continuing to buy (primarily via eBay), trying to get a unified set (the early volumes were published twice, so there are different covers) in good condition (difficult!). 2013 Update: The entire Grimes series can now be gotten from Baen Books in DRM-free multiple formats. How far we've come...but I keep hoping the non-Grimes SF stories will see the light of day. Please?