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Friday, January 01, 2010

Catching up on my reading



This time last year I was ill in bed, suffering from trachyitis (croup, which meant that I coughed uncontrollably every time I tried to do anything. In the end, all I could manage was to sit upright in bed and keep still. So I caught up on my reading, starting with every Robert Heinlein short story he wrote, followed by all his juvenile novels up to and including "Starship Troopers" which had been rejected by his publisher was being too adult and was subsequently published in the mainstream to great acclaim. Please don't confuse the Hollywood film of the same name with this masterpiece. The film is just another shoot em up video arcade game, while the book deals with much weightier matters. It's in my top ten recommended books to read by the way. After about ten days I'd recovered enough to go back to work, but continued reading anyway.
After reading so much Heinlein (I think I read twenty nine books in as many days) it was time for something different. So I started on the short stories of Philip K Dick, another of my all time favourite writers. He wrote a lot of short stories and novellas, and it's not helped by the fact that many weren't published for years and years, and a lot were republished with different titles. I'm completing my collection of his work via Ebay, and I've been caught out more than once like that. Some of my older paperbacks are falling apart and won't stand another read, so I must get newer copies anyway.
Dick wrote mainstream novels as well as superlative speculative fiction, and it hurt him that he couldn't get any of his mainstream books published while he was alive. So my next course of reading involved re-reading his mainstream novels for the first time in twenty years, starting with "The man whose teeth were all exactly alike" and ending with "In Milton Lumky territory". Powerful stuff, and I can understand why mainstream publishers of the 1950s shied away. He was a man before his time.
Thanks for reading this far. I'm grateful for any comments you may choose to make.

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