Science Fiction, Coming to a Theater Near You

(From, which has an amazing amount of new content, every day — but of course, they are a conglomerate of writers, while self is just SELF!)

BTW, wonder why there are so few women on this list? Self has actually met one of these authors: Charlie Jane Anders. Long long time ago. Don’t bother asking him if he remembers self.

  • The Man In the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick: Presents an alternate history where America loses World War II and is split between Nazi Germany and Japan.
  • Preacher, by Garth Ennis (writer) and Steve Dillon (artist):  After getting accidentally possessed by a creature called Genesis, Reverend Jesse Custer goes on a quest to find God. Joining him for the journey are his ex-girlfriend and a wise-cracking Irish vampire.
  • American Gods, by Neil Gaiman: It’s about the battles between old gods and new.
  • Uprooted, by Naomi Novik: Plain, clumsy, loyal Agnieszka is handed over to the Dragon, a fearsome wizard who takes one girl from her village every ten years.
  • The Dark Tower, by Stephen King: Combining elements of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and Westerns, it follows a gunslinger on his quest to find a tower that is both physical and metaphorical.
  • Skin Trade, by George R. R. Martin: A private investigator gets involved in a string of gruesome serial killings that reminds her of her father’s death two decades prior.
  • Red Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson: The story tracks the colonization and terraforming of Mars, as told through the perspectives of the First Hundred who are chosen to leave behind an Earth suffering from overpopulation, ecological disasters, and the emergence of transnational corporations threatening to overthrow the world’s governments.
  • Midnight Texas, by Charlaine Harris: Phone psychic Manfred Bernardo relocates to Midnight, Texas, and then winds up overstaying his welcome — probably because of all the murders.
  • How To Talk To Girls at Parties, by Neil Gaiman: Enn and his friends go to a party hoping to talk to girls, only to discover that the girls, especially one named Zan, are not what he expected.
  • Ghost Brigades, by John Scalzi: 75-year-old John Perry enlists in an inter-galactic war that has soldiers fighting in younger bodies into which their consciousness is implanted.
  • Spin, by Robert Charles Wilson: The Big Blackout cuts Earth off from the Stars and Sun through an alien barrier.
  • Six Months, Three Days, by Charlie Jane Anders: Tracks the doomed relationship between a man who can see the future and a woman who can see many futures.
  • Luna, New Moon, by Ian McDonald: In 2110, fifty years after the moon’s colonization, the top ruling families — the Five Dragons — are intermarrying, poisoning, sabotaging, and battling for control of the Moon.

Stay tuned.


Inspired by Stephen King Interview in Vanity Fair, October 2013

Today, self lugged around the huge September 2013 issue of Vanity Fair, the one with Kate Upton and her magnificent, hydraulic chest on the cover.  She had to remind herself to turn it over so that it wouldn’t cause anyone to do a double-take.

The Proust Questionnaire is with Stephen King, one of her absolute faves.  One of the questions was:

Who are your favorite writers?

King responded:  Cormac McCarthy, John Le Carré, John Sandford, Margaret Atwood, Michael Connolly, Lee Child, Ruth Rendell, Patricia Highsmith, Larry McMurtry . . .

The list causes self to think back.  Specifically, to the books she read in 2012.  Which ones stood out in her memory?

  • Caesar:  Life of a Colossus, by Adrian Goldsworthy
  • Atonement, by Ian McEwan
  • The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food, by Jennifer 8. Lee
  • Human Smoke, by Nicholson Baker
  • The Mezzanine, by Nicholson Baker
  • How Doctors Think, by Jerome Groopman, M.D.
  • The Beautiful and The Damned, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Finder, by Colin Harrison (This one she read in, of all places, PARIS)
  • I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Essays About Being a Woman, by Nora Ephron
  • The Last Empress, by Anchee Min
  • A Voyage Long and Strange:  Rediscovering the New World, by Tony Horwitz
  • Dreams From My Father, by Barack Obama
  • Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, by Rhoda Janzen
  • Loot:  The Battle Over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World, by Sharon Waxman

So far this year, the most memorable books self has read are:

  • The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin
  • Fiasco:  The American Military Adventure in Iraq, by Thomas E. Ricks
  • La’s Orchestra Saves the World, by Alexander McCall Smith
  • A Passage to India, by E. M. Forster
  • Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
  • The Quiet American, by Graham Greene
  • The Leopard, by Giuseppe di Lampedusa
  • Sister Carrie, by Theodore Dreiser
  • Little Heathens:  Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression, by Mildred Armstrong Kalish
  • Out Stealing Horses, by Per Petterson
  • Don Quijote, by Miguel de Cervantes, in a translation by Burton Raffel
  • Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Human Factor, by Graham Greene
  • In Praise of Messy Lives, by Katie Roiphe

Perusing the two lists, the authors self might describe as her favorites are:  Nicholson Baker, Jerome Groopman, Anchee Min, Tony Horwitz, Gretchen Rubin, E. M. Forster, Hilary Mantel, Graham Greene, Giuseppe di Lampedusa, Theodore Dreiser, Miguel de Cervantes, Leo Tolstoy, and Katie Roiphe.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Personal Library # 13

Still working on the 2nd bookcase in the dining room.  Here’s the tally so far (2nd shelf of the 2nd dining room bookcase):

502 + 37 = 539 Total Books Tabulated So Far

This shelf has titles like:  State of War, by Ninotchka Rosca;  Avierno, by Louise Gluck; Tom Jones, by Henry Fielding;  The Kissing, by Merlinda Bobis;  Misery, by Stephen King;  Poems:  Selected and New, by Simeon Dumdum, Jr.

Self has to stop here because she loves Simeon Dumdum.  There is a lightness, a playfulness, to his language that self truly enjoys. Here’s a poem from the volume:

Unicorn, Why Do You Travel?

I am pursued by evil.

Where did you get your speed?
From need.

Are you a horse?
By force.

What kind of a horse are you intended?

Where did you get your horn?
From a thorn.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The NYTBR 10 Best Books of 2011

This is a first: Of the five novels selected as the best fiction reviewed in the NYTBR in the past 12 months, three of the five are women. Self also greatly relishes the fact that Stephen King’s latest is one of the five.

To round up the Top Five Fiction of the Year (and self must keep reminding dear blog readers that the pool is limited to those books which were reviewed in the NYTBR in the past 12 months), there is that guy, Chad Harbach, whose long route to fame is the talk of every literary agent and publisher.

So, here are the NYTBR’s Top Five Fiction Books of 2011:

  • The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
  • 11/22/63 by Stephen King
  • Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
  • Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson
  • The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht

In Nonfiction, one of the Top Five is by Christopher Hitchens, who died recently, and only one is by a woman, but her book is the one self really wants to read: A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Stephen King’s Story in Esquire’s “Stories of Our Time” (July 2009) Issue

. . .  which self bought for her reading pleasure on the way home from New York at end of June.

She did not pick this magazine out of the magazine rack simply because she was so smart, but because she noticed a fellow traveler holding a copy and, after perusing the T of contents (Tyler Cabot’s “Stories My Father Told Me,” Charles P. Pierce’s “What If Obama’s Out of His Mind?” among others), decided that it looked like pretty good reading.

So, the featured story is by Stephen King.  And it is about a hapless writer (Stories about writers are the best kind of stories!) who has wrung eighty pages “out of his old and limping Dell laptop.” And he thinks he might screw up his courage and show the pages to an agent.  Which he does.  And the agent tells him, why Read the rest of this entry »

Rating “The Mist”

That’s the Netflix movie she’s watching right now. Hubby, with almost uncanny sense of self-preservation, adamantly refused to stop watching “CSI: New York” last night, even though self swore, swore that “The Mist” was exactly the kind of movie he would like, as it contained lots of “chills and thrills.”

Anyhoo, after a morning’s hard work spent writing and watering the garden, self settled down on the sofa, whipped out the remote, and started the movie.

Her mood was at first extremely sanguine, especially after hearing the lines, “There’s something in the mist! It’s taken Johnny Lee!”

But, alas, shortly thereafter, two things began to happen:

  • Marcia Gay Harden, playing local loony, began to take over the movie.
  • David (Thomas Jane), hero of our story, seemed to be forgetting that his wife was out there in said mist. How very convenient that a lady even prettier than his wife (playing the local fifth grade schoolteacher) happened to be trapped in the food store with him.

Then, the girl who played Jack in “Chronicles of Riddick” got an insect bite and her throat swelled up to massive proportions, and she died.

Then, the short guy who played the consul in “The Painted Veil” got eaten by humongous insect (Too bad, as he claimed to be the “state target shooting champion of 1994”; how very convenient that, when he got eaten, he dropped his pistol, and it happened to land just within reach of David/ hero — well, right on top of his car hood, to be exact)

Then David managed to get four people out of the supermarket (where they’d been trapped for the last two days, valiantly staving off giant insects by stacking super-jumbo-size bags of dog food against the plate-glass windows) into his jeep, and they were able to drive an inordinately long time before running out of gas, and just after David did mercy killings of his passengers, he discovered (Ta-RA!) the U.S. Army.

And there is Enya music playing in the background while he screams, screams, SCREEAAAAMS!!!

Who, WHO is responsible for this calumny? Self waits for the closing credits and sees: Written for the screen by Frank Darabont. And then, a few beats later: Based on a Stephen King story.

And now it is self’s turn to scream: No, no, NOOOO!!!

As she has always harbored a fondness for Stephen King, having read Cujo and Misery and Pet Sematary and Christine and maybe a couple of others whose titles escape her at the moment.

Remember “The Mist”, dear blog readers. And stay away. Stay far, far AWAAAAYYYY !!!

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