Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

Related Post Roulette

70 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak.Report

  2. Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

    To the Ends of the Earth by William Golding.

    The Club Dumas

    I also just picked up Fridays at Enrico;s by Don Carpenter (finished by Jonathan Lethem.)Report

  3. Avatar Maribou says:

    Had I finished Rock’s The Passing Bells when I commented last week? Well, I have now, in any case, and the next volume is on its way. Downton fans, you may want to read these.

    I read a really adorbs, raunchy comic called something something Rat Queens something something (there is now a considerable waiting list for said comic at my place of employ, due to people saying OOH, what’s that). I read another of the Lady Trent books (dragon naturalist in alternate-nineteenth-century-place).

    My in-the-middle-of-ness got way out of control over the past few weeks of stress, so I am trying to whittle down the number of books I’m reading:D. I think finishing The Interestings will be next.Report

  4. Avatar Maribou says:

    Hm. I wrote a long comment about books but I can’t see it. Either it got stuck in mod or I’m have the weird can’t see comments thing going on again.

    Also, I watched all 6 seasons of The Guild this weekend. I don’t MMORPG, but I did play Torchlight solo while watching most of it :D.Report

  5. Avatar Glyph says:

    Reading (books) for myself is pretty much out the window right now. Reading a page at a time in the can just doesn’t work very well. Web reading is in bite-size chunks, kids’ books are short, but novels etc. are just not tenable right now. We’re even having to time-shift Game of Thrones, and that…just does not happen. Sunday night TV used to be sacrosanct. I’ve got Fargo‘s piling up, and I’m at least an ep or two behind on The Americans (which has been excellent this season).Report

    • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Glyph says:

      Oh parenthood.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Glyph says:

      Might I suggest audiobooks? I mean, your kids don’t try to talk to you or anything, do they?

      I can’t wait for The Americans to wrap up. It may be the series I’m looking forward to the most.Report

      • I’m just starting The Americans. These days it seems like every show gets so ridiculously hyped that I wait a year or so just to see if the buzz keeps going, then I do a little test run, and usually back out because I don’t want to make the commitment. But with The Americans I was hooked. I’m actually kind of watching each season concurrently right now, which is interesting

        The other thing: I’m passionately rooting for the show’s Bad Guys, or at least against its Good Guys (I realize the show is in general challenging whether the Good Guys are good and the Bad Guys are bad, but I do think it tries to get you to root for the right people). I’m really enjoying it that way.

        Vf vg zr, be qbrf Fgna npghnyyl frrz yvxr n ernyyl yvxnoyr sryybj jub’f whfg nyy zvkrq hc jura vg pbzrf gb ybir? V qba’g trg jul ur’f fb haybivat gbjneq uvf jvsr, rfcrpvnyyl tvira jung uvf wbo (naq uvf urneg) erdhverf uvz gb qb ivf-n-ivf Avan. Fb gung pregnvayl chgf n qnzcre ba ubj n terng n thl jr pna guvax ur vf, ohg vg uneqyl znxrf uvz fgnaq bhg nf n onq thl ba Nzrevpna GI qenznf. Trarenyyl vg frrzf yvxr uvf urneg vf va gur evtug cynpr, naq ur’f whfg qnza yvxnoyr. Vs V jnf abg fhccbfrq gb ebbg sbe uvz ntnvafg n pbhcyr bs pbyq-oybbqrq xvyyref bs vaabprag Nzrevpnaf, gurl fubhyq unir tbggra fbzrbar bgure guna Abnu Rzzrevpu gb cynl uvz. V’z ubarfgyl rawblvat gur frevrf ynetryl ivn zl vaibyirzrag va ubcvat sbe onq guvatf gb unccra gb Cuvyvc naq Ryvmnorgu (gubhtu abg gurve xvqf) guhf sne (n pbhcyr rcvfbqrf vagb rnpu frnfba). Vg’f gur 80f, fb va nal pnfr V srry cerggl pbzsbegnoyr vairfgvat va gung ubcr sbe n pbhcyr bs lbhat Fbivrg fcvrf va gur H.F. ng guvf cbvag. Uvfgbel cerggl zhpu qrgrezvarf gung guvf vf n jub vf pbhcyr unccvyl yvivat bhg n pbzsbegnoyr Obbzre ergverzrag fbzrjurer va fhoheona Jnfuvatgba rira nf jr fcrnx gbqnl.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Will Truman says:

        @will-truman – they talk. All. The. Time. I work from home, so I am not in the car frequently (and if I am, they are too. Talking. If I am *lucky*). And if I tried to put in earbuds so that I missed my wife or kids calling for help, that’d be an entirely different problem.

        What I am saying is, if you like to read, don’t have three kids under six (that’s a quantity and an age, not a fraction) in your house.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Will Truman says:

        @michael-drew – I feel SORRY for Beeman, but I don’t particularly LIKE Beeman. I don’t think he’s really likeable at all, though his schlubby bad decisions engender a sort of pity (seriously, he’s moving into “poor, poor Martha” territory at this point.)Report

      • @glyph

        Right on. I think he’s moderately likable, but I haven’t seen all of the series to date. I don’t feel particularly bad for him, though. He pretty much will deserve whatever he ends up getting within reason. I just think he’s kind of… likable.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

        Re: Beeman,

        V guvax jr’er fhccbfrq gb guvax gung uvf ynfg nffvtazrag shpxrq hc fb rkgrafviryl gung ur fvzcyl pna’g eryngr gb uvf jvsr nalzber, be fur gb uvz, naq guvf vf jung yrnqf uvz vagb gur nezf bs n XTO ntrag jubz ur oynpxznvyrq naq gura chg ure yvsr va qnatre naq, ur vf fhccbfrq gb oryvrir, fvzcyl sryy vagb uvf ybivat nezf nsgre gung. (Ur nyfb xarj gung fur jnf jvyyvat gb qb jungrire vg gbbx, tvira ubj fur vavgvnyyl tbg uvz vasbezngvba.) Gung jubyr guvat naablf zr n ovg, ohg V fhccbfr vs ur ernyyl vf n ovg bs n fbpvny vqvbg, be na vqvbg va ybir, vg znxrf frafr. Pbzovarq jvgu gur fvghngvbaf ur trgf uvzfrys vagb jvgu jbex, naq V guvax Orrzna znl or gur yrnfg oryvrinoyr punenpgre ba n fubj jvgu gjb qrrc pbire Fbivrg fcvrf jub qb rirelguvat sebz fgrny fhoznevar cynaf gb xvqanccvat fpvragvfgf naq nffnffvangvat crbcyr jub unccra gb yvir npebff gur fgerrg sebz uvz.

        Don’t get me wrong, I like the show. I would just like it better without the Beeman character, particularly his Season 2 version.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Will Truman says:

        I am really liking the Americans this season more than last season. If there’s one story arc I don’t care for, it’s Page finding religion, because of the fact that being casual members of the local Methodist church *should* be part of a 1982 white-bread DC suburbanite cover.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Will Truman says:

        V srry onq sbe Zef. Orrzna gbb. Fur frrzf yvxr n fjrrg ynql jub’f gelvat. V bevtvanyyl gubhtug fur jnfa’g n irel tbbq npgerff ohg V unir pbzr gb guvax fur’f npghnyyl irel tbbq, fur unf n oryvrinoyr angheny njxneqarff nobhg gur punenpgre gung svgf ure gelvat gb anivtngr nebhaq n zneevntr jurer fur unf ab vqrn jung vf tbvat ba.

        Lbh’q guvax Orrzna jbhyq ernyvmr Avan vf JNL bhg bs uvf yrnthr.

        Sbe zr gur yrnfg oryvrinoyr cneg vf ubj Cuvyvc naq Ryvmnorgu pna OBGU or bhg nyy avtug, fgrnyva’ cynaf naq zrrgva’ pbagnpgf naq xvyyva’ crbcyr naq fhpu (naq Cuvyvc RIRA UNF NABGURE SNZVYL) naq lrg gurve xvqf qba’g ernyyl abgvpr ubj zhpu gurl ner abg nebhaq. V zrna, gurl ner FGNEGVAT gb, naq gung unf orra n cybg cbvag, ohg frevbhfyl, V nz urer gb gryy lbh svefgunaq gurer nva’g rabhtu ubhef va gur qnl gb qb jung gurl qb. Naq gung pbhyq or cnegvnyyl-erfbyirq ol rvgure N.) uvevat n yvir-va anaal be fbzrguvat be O.) fraqvat bayl bar crefba bhg ba zbfg zvffvbaf (vg’f n ybg rnfvre gb pbzr hc jvgu n pbire fgbel bs jul RVGURE zbz BE qnq jba’g or ubzr sbe n juvyr, ohg abg obgu.)Report

      • V qrsvavgryl qb srry onq sbe Zef. Orrzna nf jryy. Gur cbfvgvba fur’f va naq ubj fur ornef vg vf nabgure fbzrjung haoryvrinoyr guvat nobhg gur fubj. V yvxrq ure nf na npgerff sebz gur fgneg, gubhtu. Ernyyl angheny va cbegenlvat fbzrbar va fhpu na vzcbffvoyr cbfvgvba.

        V nyfb nterr gung whfg va trareny Cuvyvc & Ryvmnorgu’f yvsr vf cerggl haoryvrinoyr. V thrff gur fubj unf n srj fvtavsvpnag oryvrinovyvgl ceboyrzf. V ubcr vg qbrfa’g tb gur jnl bs Ubzrynaq. Vg rnfvyl pbhyq.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

        The spy life keeps you busy, I suppose. I mean, too busy for just one spy at a time.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Will Truman says:

        Though one thing the Americans does better than many other tv series is get their time-geography continuum more or less correct – it takes all day to do a driving round trip from DC to Hampton Roads in real life and the Americans, while in NCIS they do it on their lunch hour.

        (and apparently in Hawaii 5-0, you can get to San Diego and back before your dinner gets cold)Report

  6. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I just finished one of Adam Carolla’s books. Meh. I enjoy his podcasts, even though I find certain views he holds — or espouses to hold… I think they are more shtick than anything — problematic. Reading them in print was less funny and more offensive than hearing him discuss them. Next up is Jonan Keri’s “The Extra 2%” on the Tampa Bay Rays.Report

  7. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    This is that time of year where I started getting really excited for binge-viewing. I save up a few choice series during the regular season and start plowing into them as everything else winds down. So today I am doing about 6 hours of yardwork and then going to treat myself to the first several episodes of Turn.

    Also still working on The Lost City of Z. It’s fascinating and reads at a perfect tempo for non-fiction.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      I’ve started to do the same thing. Wait until a show is done, and then binge-watch. There are a few I watch week-by-week, but I determined that I was missing too much by forgetting what was happening from one week to the next.

      I watched Scandal last week, which I would comment on but No Politics. I’m watching Siberia right now, waiting for more shows to wrap up.Report

  8. Avatar Chris says:

    Must… have… more… spy… novels.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chris says:

      @chris What do you think of John LaCarre? A friend lent me some of his stuff.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

      Have you read any Graham Greene? I’d recommend both The Quiet American and Our Man in Havana. Also Donald Westlake’s The Spy in the Ointment.Report

      • Avatar aaron david in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        @chris Also, Maugham’s Ashenden, and The Riddle of the Sands by Childers. @mike-schilling is right about Greene, although I would add The Human Factor.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        @mike-schilling @aaron-david , I mentioned below that I once read 12 Greene novels in a row ;). I am a fan. I will have to check out The Spy in the Ointment, as it’s the second time I’ve heard that title this week.

        Aaron, I had found Ashenden on several lists of great spy novels, and I read The Razor’s Edge in college, but copies of Ashenden are not easy to come by (or cheap). Going to check the used book store this weekend when I take the list of stuff y’all have recommended.Report

      • Avatar aaron david in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        @chris this might be your best bet for finding Ashenden (which is criminally out of print)
        Also, its always good to find another who has spent time in Greeneland, though if you haven’t read the Human Factor, Go Read It Now! I think it will mean a lot to you.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I have not read that, and it is now on the weekend’s shopping list.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Chris says:


      I read a LOT of those, though the ones I read may be more ‘thriller’ than ‘spy’. Some of my favorites:

      Vince Flynn (sadly he passed away a while back so the series came to an end)

      Brad Thor

      Daniel SilvaReport

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        Oh, I was just thinking about A Death in Vienna, so with your Silva recommendation, I think that’s what I’ll do next. Thank you.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        Chris, have you already finished Buddenbrooks? What’dya think?Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        All the Silva books are great and he’s up to what, 9 or 10 now? You could easily spend most of the summer powering through them. Great books with a lot of twists and turns.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        have you already finished Buddenbrooks?

        Hahahahahahah… hold on, hold on… hahahahahaha… Oh man, that’s a good one.

        No, I’m not even close. In fact, realizing it was going to take a while, I decided to make it my “bus book,” which means I’ll only read it on the bus and when out and about, so it is going to take a looong while. And it is, so far, the easiest of Mann’s long novels, so…

        Now, I am loving it, but I am a big Mann fan, and Magic Mountain is easily one of my top 10 favorite novels. If you like Mann — Magic Mountain, Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man: The Early Years, Doctor Faustus, Joseph and His Brothers, and the shorter stuff like Death in Venice — you will like this. I read it before, maybe 15 years ago, but it feels brand new.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        Mike, awesome. I’ve been sitting here reading about his books, and if I dig this one (which, along with The Kill Artist, people seem to agree is his best), I definitely see a binge in my future.

        I don’t know about ya’ll, but I find that it’s often better to get into a groove with an author and stick with him or her, to get the most out of books. Reading a new author in particular can be a bit like a boxing match at first, trying to find the right rhythm and coming to grips with the style and the world view (in an abstract sense), so if you can get all that out of the way and then remain in rhythm, it can make for much more pleasurable reading. I once read twelve Graham Greene novels in a row.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        Like this, eh?

        Well, it is a big book. I’ve read some Mann including Buddenbrooks but it was so long ago it’d be like reading it for the first time. I haven’t read Magic Mountain tho, so I’ll definitely put that on the kindle.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        Still, exactly like that.

        Mann is one of the more difficult authors to read in English. My understanding is that he’s difficult, but not as difficult, in German. Magic Mountain is a spectacular book and, like much of his work, basically an extended metaphor. It is one of the few books I’ve ever read that made me tingle at times it was so utterly well done, both as a story and as prose. Felix Krull is interesting, and unfinished, not a masterpiece but a great book. Doctor Faustus is both the most difficult and one of the most rewarding books I’ve ever read. It is the literary equivalent of walking through deep mud, but at the end you arrive in a spectacular cavern filled with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. It also is an extended metaphor (allegory doesn’t seem quite right, though it might work as a description of Magic Mountain.Report

    • Avatar mike shupp in reply to Chris says:

      Le Carre can be very good. Let me recommend a couple of his last famous works: A SMALL TOWN IN GERMANY, the novel following THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, in much the same mood. And THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL. The latter was made into a movie, with Dianne Keaton if memory serves; alas I haven’t seen it.

      Also, before “pure” spy novels, Le Carre wrote some mysteries with George Smiley as protagonist. A MURDER OF QUALITY is the title that sticks in my mind; I seem to recall there were three.

      The problem with Le Carre, of course, is that he has this One Great Truth about spies being sad and neurotic and not James Bondish, and after a while the point has been made and it gets tiresome to be hit on the head with it over and over.

      At which point it’s time for a change of view. I have four other series to recommend: The Boysie Oakes series, written by Brian Gardner, is one. The first is THE LIQUIDATOR, and that was made into a movie also, way back when. Good funny stuff. It was a short series, I don’t think it got past 5 books, back in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

      The second change of pace would be Len Deighton’s stuff. There’s a bunch here, starting off with THE IPCRESS FILE and FUNERAL IN BERLIN (made into a rather nice film with Michael Caine in the lead role) and winding up near 30 years later with the Bernard Samson books (you should read WINTER as well, if you’re tackling the Samson series, although it’s technically history rather than spy story).

      Third, reaching way back, is Manning Cole’s Tommy Hambledon stuff. The first two books, DRINK TO YESTERDAY and A TOAST TO TOMORROW are rather sad and sentimental, dealing with British agents in WW I Germany (the books came out in the very early 1940’s). They were followed by more “contemporary” books, a couple of dozen, also involving Hambledon, which ran up into the 1970’s, and these were mostly more comical than serious. ALIAS UNCLE HUGO is a title that comes to mind.

      Fourth, a real stretch but worth the reach, a trilogy by Burke Wilkinson, PROCEED AT WILL, RUN MONGOOSE, and LAST CLEAR CHANCE. These came out in the 1948-53 time period; there was eventually a one-volume THE ADVENTURES OF GEOFFREY MILDMAY which came out in 1977 (Amazon has it). Possibly not your cup of tea, as they’re rather understated The notion is that the Mildmay adventures are recounted by a somewhat dubious acquaintance, who’s not at all certain that Geoffrey is really quite the hero he is taken to be by others.

      Also, William F. Buckley, Jr. wrote some spy novels, mostly readable. And, if you’re really desperate for spook books, E. Howard Hunt wrote a few, before and after Watergate. And Eric Ambler and …

      Most of this is vintage stuff, I admit. But if you’re going to read Le Carre, you might find it interesting to see the nature of the genre in which he appeared, and emerged. And actually, they were worth reading, and would have been even if John Le Carre and Ian Fleming had never set pen to paper.Report

  9. Avatar Will Truman says:

    Hey everybody (specifically science fiction fans), you may be able to help me!

    I’ve been listening to Isaac Asimov audiobooks. I was getting really tired of straight-up crime novels (though Caves of Steel is still a crime story of a sort) and wasn’t ready to delve back into Graphic Audio superhero productions or anti-terrorism/geopolitical thriller novels. I’m enjoying it and want to add more science fiction to my catalog.

    So what do you recommend? I’m more interested in terrestrial stories (whether on Earth or not) than I am in intergallactic warfare, though a really good series of the latter would be okay. I’m also interested in series of books more than standalone novels.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Will Truman says:


      I’m a huge Iain M. Banks fan, though some do go toward the ‘galactic warfare’ fringe and some are disgustingly violent. His culture series is awesome; and I really really loved The Algebriast and Surface Detail.

      If you haven’t yet read William Gibson, do so. Particularly the ‘sprawl series’ (that name is new to me,) Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive and the short-story collection Burning Chrome

      Tad Williams is pretty awesome, and you might like the Otherland series.

      Going back, I’d say Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelazney are probably overlooked. Hal Clement wrote hard sci-fi. CJ Cherryh, particularly her earlier stuff.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to zic says:

        and David Brin’s Uplift series.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to zic says:

        This is a great list, Zic. Thanks!Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to zic says:

        And Lois Bujold’s Vorkosigan series. I can’t recommend those strongly enough.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to zic says:

        Lord only knows why my Dad had them on the bookshelf, but Hal Clement’s Mission of Gravity was the first science fiction book I ever read, and Poul Anderson’s Three Hearts and Three Lions the first piece of fantasy. Even looking back after 40 or so years of reading, you could make a lot worse choices than those.

        John Varley’s trilogy Titan, Wizard, and Demon.

        Niven and Pournelle’s The Mote in God’s Eye is one of the best first-contact novels around, despite Pournelle’s fondness for hereditary aristocracies as the ideal form of government (I’ve always been somewhat surprised by how many science fiction writers seem to have that attitude, despite the West’s long experience that it doesn’t work out well in the long run). Their Oath of Fealty is much less known, but interesting.

        Zelazney’s Lord of Light. I still go back and reread it every five years or so.

        Geez, you’d think I didn’t ever read anything new.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to zic says:

        …40 or so years of reading…

        A bit of wishful thinking there, I guess. Almost 50 by now.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to zic says:

        Anyone played the Neuromancer game?Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Will Truman says:

      If you’d like to try an SF comedy of manners, there’s Walter Jon Williams’s Drake Maijstral series, handily collected in Ten Points for Style. For an old-fashion super-science galactic war series, read his Dread Empire’s Fall trilogy. Williams is an excellent writer who has never managed that one big hit that would make him famous.Report

    • zic and Mike Schilling ought to write a nice sarcastic essay about just how wrong science fiction writers have gotten computer technology over the years. Just sayin’.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Ha. I was really amazed, reading through the Gibson books I mentioned upthread, how the environment (fax paper littering the landscape, for instance) changed from book to book. Gibson writes close to now, so his stuff stands out.

        But my all time favorite, ‘got it right’ is actually considered horror — Hyperion and the follow-up Shrike novels (nasty stuff they are, too), by Dan Simmons pretty much predicted the internet accurately. I told a friend about them in 1989 (I could swear it was ’87, I was pregnant with younger sprout, but wikipedia says ’89), and he later said “you’re the first person to tell me about the internet,” which existed, crudely, at universities and research facilities, but hadn’t yet been opened to public access.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Brunner’s Shockwave Rider got a lot of the internet right too, back in (looks…) ’75.

        The internet was around in the mid-80s. I recall discovering Usenet in ’88 and hanging out on rec.arts.sf.written for the next 15 years. But it was all text until the Web got popular in about ’93.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Michael Cain says:

        John Brunner; very underrated writer; I’d forgotten him. I suspect The Sheep Look Up had a pretty shaping influence on me in my late teens.

        And I know @will-truman doesn’t want space opera but. . . Fred Saberhagen’s Berserker books are a blast.

        And in wondering around my shelves, I remembered Vernor Vinge, who’s 2007 Hugo-winning novel, Rainbows End seems worth a read.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Stand on Zanzibar is awesome too.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Will Truman says:

      @will-truman I have a few such books I have been pimping lately:

      Towing Jehovah by William Morrow

      The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway

      The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

    • Avatar mike shupp in reply to Will Truman says:

      A couple more Brits for you: Alastair Reynolds has about a dozen books out now, some in a loose sequence sequence starting with REVELATION SPACE. Maybe a tad dry, as Reynolds is a former ESA scientist and likes to stick to physics-as-we-know-it-today, but there manages to be quite a bit of SensaWonda.

      Then there’s Peter Hamilton, who started off with three books about someone named Greg Mandel (haven’t read them, so no comment), then moved on to The Night’s Dawn trilogy, followed by the two volume Commonwealth Saga which had as sequel The Void Trilogy. Plus some unconnected works, FALLEN DRAGON and GREAT NORTH ROAD. Hamilton doesn’t seem to be regarded as top-rung among British SF authors — they don’t talk about him, and he doesn’t talk about them — but his stuff is certainly readable, and it moves along quickly. As it should — Hamilton writes loooong; 4 or 5 of his works hit over 1000 pages.

      Two Canadians. Karl Schroeder emerged from the very same Mennonite community as did the late A.E. van Vogt, and is another believer in sticking to current physics. As a standalone work, you might enjoy PERMANENCE. If you get ambitious, there’s a five volume series set in Virga, an artificial world orbiting Vega in the far far future. He wears a second hat as a futurist working for the Canadian Defense Department; I haven’t seen what he’s written for them.

      The other Canadian is Peter Watts, author of BLINDSIGHT, and a series set in Earth’s oceans several centuries hence. Recommended highly — the guy could legitimately spend the rest of his life telling people “I wrote BLINDSIGHT.”

      Two more Brits: Charles Stross. Whom you’ve probably heard of, and thus needs no introduction. and Richard Morgan, author of ALTERED CARBON, BROKEN ANGELS,
      and several other novels in several common settings.

      Some might recommend China Mieville, author of THE CITY AND THE CITY and other stuff; I find some of his books work for me and some don’t, so …

      American authors: Greg Benford hasn’t had a whole lot of fame locally, although he’s still publishing. If you don’t find reaching into the past and haven’t read it, you might like TIMESCAPE. It’s been a while since Neal Stephenson published anything, but ANATHEM wasn’t all that long ago, and CRYPTONOMICON wasn’t too much before that.. Stephenson writes historical stuff which somehow reads like SF; Cryptonomicon was an example, also the 4-5 volumes in his Baroque Cycle, set back about 1700. Currently, I;m reading THE MONGOLIAD, a 5+ novel sequence he and some friends have done set in that wonderful year of possibilities, 1241, when the heirs of Genghiz Khan threatened to sweep over poor little underdeveloped Europe.

      Women authors: Connie Willis, Elizabeth Moon, Lois Bujold. They’ve all been around for a few years, they’re still producing, they write series. You can look them all up on Wikipedia, so I won’t go into detail, other than to say I recommend all three.

      And I’m probably unfairly neglecting several hundred other worthy authors.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to mike shupp says:

        I would like to cosign all of these except Hamilton (with whom i am just not familiar) and also add that
        1) I would recommend King Rat, of the Mieville, as an excellent starting point
        2) I think, Will, that you specifically might appreciate Michael Swanwick. Especially the Iron Dragon’s Daughter, which is one of my favorite books in the world (warning: BLEAK).

        Really I could write sff recommendations for YEARS and not run out of things to burble enthusiastically about – it’s my “home genre” and you all know how much I read :D.

        A meta-rec: Jo Walton recently published a book of blog posts entitled “What Makes This Book So Great” (it was a series, made into a mainstream published book by popular acclaim). Almost all the essays are explanations of books she is rereading out of love. They are both delicious ESSAYS *and* a really good set of recommendations. One of my someday-I-won’t-be-in-school projects is to reread that book with interruptions to read or reread everything she recs – I trust her taste that much.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to mike shupp says:

        @mike-shupp excellent recs. Will have to read some Hamilton.

        China Mielville’s books serioiusly disturbed me; I still have weird dreams about Perdido St. Station; I own King Rat, and won’t crack it until I stop dreaming about the bird man.

        And Stephenson. On the theme of computer stuff not quite right, there’s always ‘Snowcrash,’ and Anathem is an incredible read. Historical reminds me of the fantasy/magical realism of Guy Gavriel Kay, particularly the Sarantine Mosiac, the Lions of al-Rassan and “Under Heaven,” which I enjoyed so much that as soon as I finished, I read it a second time.

        @maribou thanks for the Jo Walton recommendation.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

      I’d recommend Analog. But I always recommend Analog. Good short stories, you can skip any you don’t like. It’s like getting a “book a month” club, with more variety.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

      David Gerrold’s Chtorran series is worth a read.

  10. Avatar zic says:

    I’m re-reading Neil Gaimon’s “Neverwhere,” which I wanted to read again before listening to the BBC audio play.

    After that, Orlando is up, probably followed by the movie too, at Maribou and dhex’s recommendation.

    I also want to go back and re-read The Satanic Verses. I’ve heard so many descriptions of this book (and Rushdie’s writing) as dry and dusty and musty. Those are obviously lies told by people afraid to delve into his worlds.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to zic says:

      If you like radio dramas, check out Graphic Audio to see if there’s anything you like. I can’t speak for anything outside of the superhero genre in terms of story quality, but the production quality is top-notch.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Will Truman says:

        Thanks, Will, I’ll do that. I struggle with the balance of how to knit and read at the same time, and audio books need to fill that space more in my life.

        Just in case you haven’t read any, I also wanted to recommend reading/listening to anything and everything by Kurt Vonnegut. It’s sort of like what you learn from doing acid or shrooms without actually having to do the acid or shrooms.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Will Truman says:

        I love early Vonnegut, but lose interest as his writing gets more and more self-conscious, and don’t much care for anything after Slaughterhouse-Five:. Cat’s Cradle is an amazing book: it manages to be cynical about everything.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Will Truman says:

        Everybody should read Cat’s Cradle.

        I re-read everything he’d written (to date) in the mid 1990’s, and Breakfast of Champions, which I’d loved as a teen was sort of thin. Player Piano was better, and God Bless you Mr. Rosewater, which I’d initially disliked totally charmed me. I’m not such a big fan of Slaughterhouse Five; partly, I think, because my stepfather spent a year in a POW camp, too much personal discordance for my comfort.Report

  11. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Python documentation pages. I have a piece of software that I promised someone I would write for them, and am using it as an excuse to do another piece of “learn Python” coding.Report