I have been challenged by a friend on FaceBook to list 10 books that have stayed with me in some way and tag 10 people to do the same. Rules were 1) don’t take more than a few minutes and don’t think too hard; 2) they don’t have to be the “right” books or great works of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way. I posted on Facebook and tagged other friends there, but I thought I would also post it here… literature (even fictional) is a powerful motivator and life-shaper.
#1 Catseye by Andre Norton (1961) THE FIRST science-fiction book I ever read way back in elementary school. For that, Ms. Norton has a place in my heart forever.
#2 The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson (1908) The first and only book that terrified me so much that I had to sleep with the lights on for a couple of weeks and had horrific nightmares for days.
#3 The Martian Chronicles by Rad Bradbury (1950) The sheer genius of a collection of short stories that are independent of each other, but when combined make a cohesive, sweeping novel still has me in awe of the man decades later.
#4 The Voyage of the Space Beagle by A. E. Van Vogt (1950) If you watched the original Star Trek series, then you’ve already read this novel. All the scenarios in this novel were later used as episodes in Star Trek. What has left me with a profound respect for Mr. Van Vogt and this novel is that some of the components of it were written in the late 1930s and early 1940s – well before modern culture began developing the hard-core science fiction mythos. Mr. Van Vogt was so ahead of the game!
#5 The Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov (1966) Each novel by itself was “okay”. But the far-reaching scope and magnitude of the entire concept when combined is sheer genius. Mr. Asimov taught me that patience in literature can bring awesome rewards.
#6 Dying of the Light by George R. R. Martin (1977) Initiated the discovery process of relationships involving more than two people which eventually lead me to the awareness, acceptance, and embracing of polyamorous relationships (among other things).
#7 The Gaea Trilogy (Titan, Wizard, Demon) by John Varley (1979+) John Varley had severe sexual issues, yet his trilogy involving so many spiritually and sexually broken people led me to an understanding of the differences in people and the appreciation for those who are different from me.
#8 The Door into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein (1957). This was the first book to overload me with raw emotion. Betrayal. Loss. Hopelessness. Then Resolution and Justice. The memory of the novel still evokes dark feelings in me and compels me to hug my cat fiercely; for even at 62, I am still looking for my door into Summer.
#9 Implied Spaces by Walter Jon Williams (2008) I thought I wasn’t enjoying this book, and yet when a pivotal crisis point occurred the hair rose on the back of my neck and I realized I was totally involved. It was one of the few books (out of hundreds and hundreds of books I’ve read) where I was compelled to continue to read it – unable to stop until the crisis was resolved.
#10 The Matthew Swift Novels (aka The Urban Magic Series) by Kate Griffin (2009+) Kate Griffin was able to find magic in cement streets, neon signs, graffiti, and waste disposal contracts. Her too-short Swift series is proof that magic need not be confined to the medieval genres and non-tech realms. My hat is off to you, Ms. Griffin. Now… GIVE ME BACK MY HAT!