Planning a road trip to Montreal next weekend, Akemi and doggies in tow. Looks like my visit will coincide with the Montreal Comic Con (Montreal Comic Con). “You excited to meet Stan Lee and Adam West?”my sister texted me. Yes, would love to meet Adam West and check out the original batmobile (was and still am a fan of the campny 60’s t.v. series), but got the chance to meet Stan Lee years ago in Pasadena. Brad, Paul and I were there as part of a SyFy/USA event celebrating Psych, the launch of Who Wants To Be A Superhero?, and SG-1’s 200th episode. We had just had dinner at Robert Picardo’s beautiful house and were milling about the open-air function when I spotted my childhood hero: Stan Lee. He was looking incredibly relaxed, seated, surrounded by a half-dozen of his crew. He looked to be holding court as the various well-wishers – many of them established actors and directors – stepped up to shake his hand and exchange a few words. I’m not one to be star struck but this was Stan Lee! I waited until the queue dispersed and eventually approached him. I introduced myself and told him I was a long-time fan. Well, he couldn’t have been nicer, smiling hugely, thanking me for stopping by and then, upon learning I was part of the Stargate franchise, lauding the show’s success and wishing it many more seasons to come (from Stan’s mouth to the network’s ear!). Very cool.
Last week, I received an email from my old friend, J.P. Frantz of SFSignal, who wanted to know if I had time to take part in an upcoming Mind Meld discussion. Well, as it turns out, due to recent developments (see previous issues, ed.), I have oodles of free time, so I welcomed the opportunity to weigh in and force my opinion on the unwary masses.
The question for this go-round: If you could, what books or stories would you like to read again for the first time?
I read a lot (or, frankly, used to be before landing my last gig) and, while I’ve certainly read many good books, it’s not often I’ve come across a truly great one. But on those rare occasions it does happen, I set these books back on my special shelf, a space reserved for those titles that so surprised, so touched, so thrilled, that I would actually consider revisiting them some time in the future. I don’t think anything can equal the experience of reading a great book for the first time, but I’ve found that recommending the book to a friend and seeing their enthusiastic reaction comes a very close second.
The following are my “most recommended”, all of them great books I would love to read again for the first time…
- Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi: Revitalized my long dormant love of reading – books in general and SF in particular. Smart, humorous, and impossible to put down.
- A Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin: The greatest ongoing fantasy epic boasts a dizzying roster of colorful characters, twists, turns, and the type of surprises you don’t see on t.v. Until recently.
- The Blade Itself, by Joe Abercrombie: Deft, dark, and disturbingly visceral, it turns High Fantasy on its ear – then slices it off and stomps on it.
- Fast Forward 1, edited by Lou Anders: While Old Man’s War reignited my passion for reading, it was this anthology that renewed my love for the short form.
- The Dark Beyond the Stars, by Frank M. Robinson: An underappreciated gem that I discovered, interestingly enough, on a list of underappreciated gems. If you’re a fan of science fiction, I defy you not to love it.
- Camp Concentration, by Thomas M. Disch: A masterpiece by one of SF’s greatest minds. Sharp and subversive, it packs an emotional wallop that lingers long after it’s been read.
- The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events Book #1), by Lemony Snicket: I picked up this book on a lark because I found the cover art amusing. Little did I realize I’d become hooked on the work of the most devilishly dark and wickedly clever children’s (?) authors since Edward Gorey.
- The SFWA European Hall of Fame, edited by James Morrow and Kathryn Morrow: Another overlooked gem, this collection brings together an outstanding selection of European SF and Fantasy. It actually pains me that they didn’t do a second volume.
- The Speed of Dark, by Elizabeth Moon: One of the most touching books I’ve had the pleasure to discover. I loved it so much I made it a book of the month club pick on my blog even though I’d already read it.
- The Empire of Ice Cream, by Jeffrey Ford: My introduction to the works of the wildly inventive Jeffrey Ford. Ever since, I’ve picked up everything he’s written – and continue to be blown away.