29 December 2012

Skirting the Issue: My Top 6 SF Books

The question is what book dazzled me this year.   Sitting here I cannot arrive at a single book deserving of being placed on my top ten.  Skirting the issue of my best read of 2012  I am revealing my Top Ten.  A Top Ten list while informative is really not about the books themselves.  A Top Ten reveals what you as a reader like, duh.  My Top Ten does not even hold ten.  The top 6 are locked down but four others are up for debate.  

A recent addition, Black Out/ All Clear by Connie Willis triumphantly moved into the number 6  position.   Time travel has never looked so good.   And that is saying something considering Kage Baker has locked down the idea of time travel so soundly in her Company books.  Why I love them:  packed with WWII trivia, solid plot development, time travel.  Read: Twice.  

Can a SF reader call themselves a SF reader if they do not embrace something by Isaac Asimov?  A debatable question maybe controversial enough to launch a side blog focusing on the" Foundation Effect".....   The Foundation Series takes spot 5.  Why I love them:  the idea of pyschohistory - prediction of future events through Mathematics, the suspenseful, alien quality while being old-fashioned.  Read:  Thrice. 

 I am a space opera junky.  Therefore my top 6 would be of little relevance if Louis McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga was not to be found on it. Of all the books, and by all I mean  I am too lazy to count them, my favourites are those featuring the Gems from the Cetagandan Empire.  I love secret societies, especially opulent, weird, genetically perfected societies.  But above all it goes back to Miles; SF's most charismatic hero ever written.   The most recent addition to the Saga, Captain Vorpatril's Alliance is a classic Bujold plot filled with love, intrigue, humour and suspense.  Maybe not the best book to pick up if you are new to the Vorkosigan Universe but definitely one of the author's stronger books released in recent years.  Read:  Most books twice, some more depending on how sappy I felt.

In  third  happens to be about a Company.  Dr Zeus Inc. profits by time travelling  from the 24th century into the past to save artefacts deemed valuable to be then retrieved in the future.  The Company employees, once human, were transformed as children into immortals.  I cannot choose one book from the Kage Baker's series so instead claim the entire group to fill one spot.  Why do I love them:  the humour,  the strong characterization that Kage wrote so well, the love stories and finally her concept of time travel.  Read:  4 times maybe more depending on the book.  

Without a doubt my favourite book of all time is Dune by Frank Herbert.  This blog is really an homage to his genius.   It's hold on me is simple.  Being a lover of reading, there is nothing more powerful than discovering an author who has complete control over his vision.   The wacky thing is. Dune ranks 2.  Although it is my favourite SF book, it is not the book that I return to time again to simply lose myself in its pages.  Read:  Over 20 times....i realize by typing this out that  a. I look insane   b. I look awesome.

Top Spot happens to be Chapterhouse: Dune by Frank Herbert.  Book 6 in the Herbert's Dune series, Chapterhouse:  Dune has been reviewed by many as weak link in the chain of books.  To me though it is the most fascinating of them all.   A reader is permitted  to go behind the velvet rope.  Walk amongst the Bene Gesserit as it struggles to survive against a foe more all encompassing then the God Emperor's (Leto the II, Paul's son, half man, half sandworm...read the books!) Golden Path.  Please excuse me I got all Dune there on you.  Why I love it: look into the Bene Gesserit, an all women powerhouse, the suspense of what is coming back from the Scattering, the final showdown, the speculation of how Herbert would have closed the series...which is defunct thanks to these.  Read:  More than Dune.  Holy Shit Balls.