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Summer Reading (Had Me A Blast)


What to read, what to read, as one takes a summer holiday...

Here are some books that you might not have heard of (I've talked up stuff like the Mars Trilogy and Transmetropolitan before). They're all science fiction or fantasy, and one's a graphic novel, but I'm not feeling like putting up a list of really depressing non-fiction books right now.

Anyway, I've read all of these, and liked them:

The Epic of Gilgamesh: An English Verison with an Introduction (Penguin Classics) by Some Mesopotamian Guy ~5000 years ago (paperback, Kindle)
No, really. This is one of the very first epic stories ever written, influencing storytelling for millennia.

The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang 2010 (hardcover) Free HTML version
Novella-length (hardcover runs 150 short pages), but utterly captivating. AI story with a heart.

Phonogram: Rue Britannia by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie 2007 (paperback)
Music is magic, and somebody is trying to resurrect the goddess of Britpop. Uh oh. Has a sequel, Phonogram Volume 2: The Singles Club, which is if anything even more brilliant.

River of Gods by Ian McDonald 2007 (hardcover, paperback, Kindle)
Compelling exploration of identity, AI, and power set in late 21st century India.

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey 2009 (hardcover, paperback, Kindle)
James Stark spent 11 years in Hell, and now he's living in Los Angeles. You make the jokes. Urban magic noir. Has a sequel (Kill the Dead: A Sandman Slim Novel ), and another out soon.

Spin by Robert Charles Wilson 2006 (paperback, Kindle)
Aliens put a shell around the Earth, slowing time -- a million years pass outside the shell for every year passing on Earth. This has, as you might expect, some troubling implications... Has a sequel (Axis ).

Vast (The Nanotech Succession) by Linda Nagata 1998 (Kindle Only)
Hard science fiction story of survivors of an interstellar war trying to escape an enemy warship, each traveling at near light-speed. Some of the survivors are still human. Actually has three very good novels leading into it (Tech-Heaven, The Bohr Maker, and Deception Well), but stands alone nicely.

When Gravity Fails by George Alec Effinger 1987 (paperback & Kindle)
Cyberpunk novel (with all that implies) set in a future Middle East. Yes, it's an old book (not Gilgamesh old, but still). Read it anyway. Has two sequels, A Fire in the Sun and The Exile Kiss.


Vast is a neat book, a good example of posthuman sf before that became big. Even weirder and more fun without the preceding books, too.

Based on hearing you at socap this year, I think you would like "daemon" and "freedom(tm)" by daniel suarez. Great blog. I'm enjoying it muchly. - @lisajoytrick

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