melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2017-04-11 07:03 pm
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FMK #8: Short Books

Last week's winner was Growing Up Weightless by John M. Ford. I had mixed opinions of his Star Trek novels that everyone loves, so we'll see how this one goes!

Loser was Rocket Ship Galileo which I kind of really want to read after the discussion in comments ;_; I seem to have accidentally planned an overseas hiking holiday in a couple months, so maybe I will save up the K books that I really want to at least read first to take there and leave behind.

You people voted in another MASSIVE TOME with The Snow Queen so it may be a bit of a delay. It's interesting so far!

In revenge (and to give me a bit of a chance to catch up and do my taxes and stuff) this week's theme is "Books under 200 pages", so there.


How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)


Poll #18175 FMK #8: Short
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 25


Three Worlds to Conquer by Poul Anderson (1964)

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F
9 (56.2%)

M
2 (12.5%)

K
5 (31.2%)

Anton York, Immortal by Eando Binder (1965)

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F
6 (50.0%)

M
2 (16.7%)

K
4 (33.3%)

Bedlam Planet by John Brunner (1968)

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F
6 (40.0%)

M
2 (13.3%)

K
7 (46.7%)

The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke (1956)

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F
7 (46.7%)

M
4 (26.7%)

K
4 (26.7%)

Attack from Atlantis by Lester Del Rey (1953)

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F
4 (33.3%)

M
4 (33.3%)

K
4 (33.3%)

The Forgotton Door by Alexander Key (1965)

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F
9 (60.0%)

M
3 (20.0%)

K
3 (20.0%)

Electric Forest by Tanith Lee (1979)

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F
14 (82.4%)

M
3 (17.6%)

K
0 (0.0%)

The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindren (1975)

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F
13 (61.9%)

M
4 (19.0%)

K
4 (19.0%)

Star Ka'At by Andre Norton (1976)

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F
12 (80.0%)

M
1 (6.7%)

K
2 (13.3%)

Singularity by William Sleator (1985)

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F
9 (60.0%)

M
3 (20.0%)

K
3 (20.0%)

The Frightened Forest by Ann Turnbull (1975)

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F
11 (78.6%)

M
1 (7.1%)

K
2 (14.3%)

The Voyage of the Space Beagle by A. E. Van Vogt (1950)

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F
7 (50.0%)

M
5 (35.7%)

K
2 (14.3%)

A Dark Travelling by Roger Zelazny (1987)

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F
7 (46.7%)

M
4 (26.7%)

K
4 (26.7%)





p.s. I am enjoying observing the latest 'harassers at SF cons' redux, but why has nobody filked "Banned from Wiscon" yet? It scans. You could be really scathing. And "Banned from Wiscon" seems to be that dude's official epithet at this point.
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-04-12 02:17 am (UTC)(link)
The Forgotten Door was a formative book for me, so I can in no way be impartial about it. I rather strongly suspect that it's better in my memories than in reality, but other books by the author that I've reread more recently have been pretty good so it's probably still a good book. It just may not be as deep or complex as I thought it was when I was twelve.

The Frightened Forest is another one I haven't reread in a long time. If I recall correctly, it surprised me in being willing to do something that kids books I read in the 1970s and 1980s wouldn't normally do. I only ever saw two books by this author. I don't know if that's all she wrote or just all that made it to the US.

I voted F on the Sleator because I've quite enjoyed other books by the author. I think his The House of Stairs was the first dystopian book I ever read. My local library had a kids' reading club. We'd meet once a month with sack lunches in the basement of the library, and The House of Stairs was one of the books we read and discussed.

I voted K on A Dark Travelling because it irritated me when I read it. There was so very, very little there, and Zelazny was trying far too hard to write a kids' book which was really not something he was suited to. He's a writer were a lot rests of his command of language covering up holes in the plot and contradictions and such.

The Brothers Lionheart is a K from me because it was baby's first book meets wall moment. I felt betrayed by the ending, and a lot of the logic made no sense. I thought about rereading it recently because, well, I was probably seven or eight, but... I couldn't.

Star Ka'at is a K because it (and the rest of the series) are among the weakest of Norton's books. They're aimed very young and end up being even more superficial than some of her early stuff aimed at tween and teen boys. As I recall, there were some horrors blithely passed over, there by implication but somehow not actually there. I also have a very low tolerance for books that rely heavily on the assumption that everyone loves cats.

I voted K for a few other things based on just not liking other works by those authors. I read a lot of things that I didn't much enjoy while I was in high school because it was the only SF/fantasy I could get right then. It's only been recently that I've managed to convince myself that I really won't run out of books if I skip certain authors altogether or even just don't finish most things I start.
dejla: (Default)

[personal profile] dejla 2017-04-12 05:30 pm (UTC)(link)
I always called the K-type books "corner books" because at some point I threw the book into the corner. In some cases, I retrieved the book and threw it again because I disliked it so much. I think once I got 5 pages in and tossed the thing.
snickfic: (Default)

[personal profile] snickfic 2017-04-12 03:05 am (UTC)(link)
Fs for Poul Anderson because Poul Anderson and for Roger Zelazny because Zelazny is exactly the kind of author the F is for (either brilliant or just scattered, depending on the work, although the shorter the better IMO).

Also an F for The Forgotten Door, which is one of a number of Alexander Key's very odd and of-their-times kids books from the 60s. The oddest was probably The Golden Bear, and the most well-known is Escape to Witch Mountain, but my favorite is The Enchanted Meadow, which is technically science fiction but is really more of a literal escapist fantasy that I found very appealing as a kid.
rachelmanija: (Books: old)

[personal profile] rachelmanija 2017-04-12 05:07 pm (UTC)(link)
Hey! Key's books are all now on Kindle. I might have to check out The Golden Bear/Enemy and The Enchanted Meadow, which I haven't read.
gehayi: (zoesmile (dodo31))

[personal profile] gehayi 2017-04-12 03:10 am (UTC)(link)
I initially voted M for The Brothers Lionheart, which I remember as being good but sad, but then it occurred to me that all I could remember was the beginning (which was excerpted in Cricket magazine) and the ending, which bothered me. So I changed my vote to F...which is what I vote when I'm not sure.

Of the two others that got M votes, The Forgotten Door was one of those books that helped me survive years of bullying. It also managed to slip in some subtle (for the era) lessons about anti-Native racism, adult cruelty, and the importance of compassion and understanding. It features a very 1970s view of Utopia, but I think it still works.

Singularity was less formative than Key's book (a Sleator book of comparative importance to The Forgotten Door would have to be House of Stairs, which still haunts my nightmares), but it's a good story about identity and irrevocable choices, and it made me think.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)

[personal profile] sophia_sol 2017-04-12 02:39 pm (UTC)(link)
In this poll I'm only familiar with one of the books, and it's a book I strongly disliked! The Brothers Lionheart did not work for me in multiple ways. My spoilery discussion of it can be found here: http://sophia-sol.dreamwidth.org/259187.html
sylvaine: Dark-haired person with black eyes & white pupils. (Default)

[personal profile] sylvaine 2017-04-13 07:33 am (UTC)(link)
I read probably every single Lindgren book ever as a kid (they're very popular in Germany, so were easily accessible) but I knew vaguely that the Brothers Lionheart was sad, so even though it was one of the few we actually owned, I always refused to read it.

I adored both the Pippi and the Ronja movies as a kid. I suspect they might even still hold up for me. (I mention this because it's rare that I like a movie almost as much as the book .)
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)

[personal profile] sophia_sol 2017-04-13 02:21 pm (UTC)(link)
imo Ronia's totally worth reading as an adult! Pippi didn't turn out to hold up very well for me upon adult reread, but ymmv
rachelmanija: (Books: old)

[personal profile] rachelmanija 2017-04-12 04:56 pm (UTC)(link)
I was not impressed by The Forgotten Door, but it was hugely formative for a lot of people, so possibly worth a read. The plot is now extremely familiar, but I think it was new and different at the time.

Singularity, the one with the twins and the time-warp shed, is possibly Sleator's best book and is really worth reading if you haven't already - it's fun and different and has a really unusual narrative device, done very well.

I think I was culturally incompetent to read The Brothers Lionheart, which came across to me as "suicide is awesome, kids!"

I know I read Star Ka'at but recall nothing of it other than space cats and super-cute illustrations.
katherine: Spotted cat with tall tufted ears has her tongue sticking out as she stalks. (cat)

[personal profile] katherine 2017-04-13 03:31 am (UTC)(link)
Telepathic space cats, if memory serves!
stellar_dust: Stylized comic-book drawing of Scully at her laptop in the pilot. (Default)

[personal profile] stellar_dust 2017-04-13 10:15 am (UTC)(link)
i wonder what's wrong with bedlam planet? the summary sounds like it might be decent.
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)

[personal profile] stardreamer 2017-04-21 09:14 am (UTC)(link)
I know I've read Three Worlds to Conquer, but it's been a long time and I don't remember anything about it. Still, Anderson tends to hold up better than a lot of Old White Dude authors, so I'd say give it a shot.

The City and the Stars has the odd distinction of being a do-over! Clarke wrote a novel called Against the Fall of Night, and some years later re-read it and decided that he could do it better -- and got a publisher to pick it up. It's probably worth hunting down the first book to see whether or not you agree.