Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Hello and Welcome...

Some time back in 2008, having noticed there was a hell of a lot of science-fiction novels I'd never read, I upgraded my reading habits so as to branch out, take more chances, read things that had looked good in the store but which I'd never considered as anything I might myself appreciate. Additionally I wished to up my speed a notch so as to avoid ever again suffering some unengaging piece of crap dribbling away on my bedside table for three or four months at a time. Being something of a pedant and compiler of lists, and finding my hands free having given up the music reviews I'd been writing for The Sound Projector for a number of years, I took it upon myself to write about everything I read. It seemed a good way of keeping track, almost like a diary.
Suspecting that my own opinions didn't exist until someone else became aware of them, I began posting these reviews (beginning with Sphere's The Best of Robert Heinlein 1939-1942) on an internet forum under the heading Crappy 1970s Paperbacks with Airbrushed Spaceships on the Covers. It wasn't the greatest title in the world but it did a job of sorts, referencing the sort of things I'd seen on the shelves of WHSmiths when I was a kid, titles by Simak, Asimov, A.E. van Vogt and others which looked both amazing and beyond the means of my attention span; and it soon became redundant as I hoovered up novels dating from as far back as the 1500s, or which had only just been published, things that weren't really science-fiction, comic books, or whatever I felt like reading. The promise of Crappy 1970s Paperbacks was never really intended to be taken literally, particularly as I try to avoid reading anything crappy if I can help it, generic TV tie-in hackery for one glaring example.
There are reasons why I never set down my thoughts on (for example) J.K. Huysmans' Against Nature (1884) or Rudolfo Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima (1972) whilst nevertheless reviewing Will Self, Cyrano de Bergerac, Cervantes, or Philip K. Dick's posthumously published mainstream novels, but they're not necessarily coherent reasons, and certainly nothing so clearly formulated as Brian Aldiss insisting that Frankenstein was the first true science-fiction novel - (wrongly in my view, but never mind). Similarly there's no particularly clear reason why Pamphlets of Destiny, aside from wanting a change (coinciding with giving up on internet forums and continuing these reviews as a blog) and the word pamphlet being 22.7% funnier than paperback.
My reviews of two hundred or so other things I've read can probably still be found elsewhere on the internet if you care enough to seek them out, still lurking in virtual places towards which I no longer feel so charitable as to grant the oxygen of free publicity, or even the oxygen of oxygen for that matter. Or there's always the collected edition, itself a paperback with all of the grammar and spelling tarted up, if you're feeling compelled to order something from a website and aren't too fussed about what it is.
Anyway, enough of that which has been and gone.
Let's do this...

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