Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

Reading has been happening

On a strong reading kick: had to rebuild my reading muscles, I think, after quite a bit of time earlier this year when I was having trouble motivating myself through books. I baby-stepped for a bit of the last couple of months with easy-to-read stuff, and have since been trying to read somewhat more unexpected stuff. Also I'm reading books I've had, unread, for years, because I figure a lot of them I'd only want to read once and then sell or give away, so why not try them now? Though that led to me re-reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis and deciding I wanted to keep that. After all, "Some books are to be tasted, others swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." Plus, hey, it's a small book. Doesn't take up too much space.

I'm very happy that my book digesting lately's included The Demolished Man, the first Alfred Bester I've read. It impressed me how modern this nearly 60-year-old novel is; except for a few details, it almost could've been written this decade. Bester was clever with re-spelled names (The name @kins gave me a strange joy), and was someone who could both think and convey large ideas and be amused by them: I was surprised that this book about a guy trying to get away with murder was light on its feet and almost fun. (The story is set in a future where we've achieved telepathy: the lead character Reich uses mind tricks to hide his murderous thoughts and get away with the crime, and the authorities use mind tricks to try and prove he did it. This ends...nnnnicely unexpectedly.)

As Mike Russell said when we talked about the book, The Demolished Man is great and Bester's The Stars My Destination is better -- "It's cyberpunk. You'd swear William Gibson wrote it." -- so read that I shall. Sometime. Though maybe I first should read TSMD's inspiration, The Count of Monte Cristo. I have that, too.

Now, I'm enjoying a Fritz Leiber short story collection. I'd read his satire The Silver Eggheads many years ago -- I also tried and failed to get into Conjure Wife, though I have that and I'll try it again -- and I'd forgotten how witty a writer he was. "The Night He Cried" made me grin evilly; I like that Leiber wrote it to criticize Mickey Spillane "for the self-satisfied violence and loveless sex and anti-feminism he was introducing into detective fiction." (Plus I know plenty of people who wouldn't mind breasts being able to turn into tentacles... ;-) ) "Space-Time for Springers" made me laugh out loud; rafaela, I'm sending you a copy of it. Leiber also pulled off something like a wistful Ray Bradbury story with "The Man Who Never Grew Young." I have no idea if he was trying to do that or not, but I got a Bradbury vibe.

The Read, It Goes Ever On. Though I think I'll stop for a bit and watch some more Farscape.
Tags: books

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