This is the January 2004 update of my New Year’s Resolution.


QUICK STATS:

   SF-POINT© QUOTA: 31

   SF-POINTS©EARNED: 40

DATE READ STORY AUTHOR YEAR WRITTEN SOURCE RATING TYPE POINTS TOTAL POINTS
12/31/03-01/04/04 He Who Shapes (a.k.a. The Dream Master) Roger Zelazny 1965 The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Vol. III(ed. Clarke, Proctor) Novella 4 4
01/04/04 The Secret Place Richard McKenna 1966 SS 1 5
01/02/04 Call Him Lord Gordon R. Dickson 1966 Novelette 2 7
01/02/04-01/03/04 The Last Castle Jack Vance 1966 Novella 4 11
01/04/04 The Gravity Mine Stephen Baxter 2001 Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine (April 2000) and online SS 1 12
01/05/04 Starship Day Ian R. MacLeod 1995 Infinity Plus SS 1 13
01/07/04 The Reluctant Book Paul Di Fillippo 2000 Infinity Plus SS 1 14
01/09/04 Green Chains Deborah Wheeler 2000 Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine (April 2000) SS 1 15
01/10/04 Aye, and Gomorrah? Samuel R. Delany 1967 The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Vol. III(ed. Clarke, Proctor) SS 1 16
01/11/04 Gonna Roll The Bones Fritz Leiber 1967 Novelette 2 18
01/12/04-01/14/04 Behold The Man Michael Moorcock 1967 Novella 4 22
01/15/04 The Planners Kate Wilhelm 1968 SS 1 23
01/19/04 Mother to the World Richard Wilson 1968 Novelette 2 25
01/20/04 -01/22/04 Dragonriders Anne McCaffrey 1968 Novella 4 29
01/23/04 Paycheck Philip K. Dick 1953 The Philip K. Dick Reader Novella 4 33
01/26/04 Passengers Robert Silverberg 1969 The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Vol. III(ed. Clarke, Proctor) SS 1 34
01/29/04 Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones Samuel R. Delany 1969 Novelette 2 36
01/30/04 A Boy and His Dog Harlan Ellison 1969 Novella 4 40

The stories that appeared in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Vol. III
are reviewed in another post.
The rest of the stories are reviewed below.

The Gravity Mine by Stephen Baxter
[Read: 01/04/04]
[Rating: ]
[Source: Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine (April 2000) and Infinity Plus]

  • Synopsis: A human from a super-far future attains consciousness periodically and learns about the state of man and the universe; a universe where large clumps of matter (i.e. planets, stars) are no longer evident, and evolved humans mine energy from black holes. Anlic, an accidentally created being, awakens three times. The first time, she has no identity but befriends a co-being name Geador. The second time, millennia later, the inheritor of Geodor’s memories tell Anlic that her birthplace, Mine One, has been long abandoned. The final awakening brings Anlic back to Mine One to nurture another newly-born being.
  • Review: Baxter, in his usual millennia-spanning, and sometimes esoteric, style excels at portraying galaxy-wide concepts filled with a sense of wonder. I mean, humans living in and mining cluster-size black holes? How cool is that?
  • This was deservedly a finalist for the 2001 Hugo nominee for Best Short Story.

    Starship Day by Ian R. MacLeod
    [Read: 01/05/04]
    [Rating: ]
    [Sources: [1] Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine (July 1995) [2] Infinity Plus [3] The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Thirteenth Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois]

  • Synopsis: Celebrations abound due to the upcoming Starship Day, the day when mankind’s first interstellar starship reaches its destination and the sleeping crew awakens.
  • Review: A slow-moving portrayal of Owen, a lonely psychoanalyst who is the only one not excited by Starship Day. Owen is an unlikable character who laments about his lost son, cheats on his wife and is bored with his patients. We ultimately learn that Owen is himself a crew member aboard the Starship dreaming of this life; his son and friend did not survive the journey that, once again, brought them to an uninhabitable galaxy.

    The Reluctant Book by Paul Di Fillippo
    [Read: 01/07/04]
    [Rating: ]
    [Sources: Infinity Plus]

  • Synopsis: The fate of dead man’s library of living, sentient books falls into the hands of another librarian with nefarious plans.
  • Review: Excellent story! The idea of living books is already clever, but the author goes a step further and gives them futuristic functionality and personalities. When the intentions of the librarian become clear, you actually start to root for the books. I have to admit, the beginning description of the original library’s heirs lamenting how their inheritance has dwindled in value because of the librarian’s book buying reminds me of a real-life obsessive compulsive book collector?

    Green Chains by Deborah Wheeler
    [Read: 01/09/04]
    [Rating: ]
    [Sources: Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine (April 2000)]

  • Synopsis: A woman consoles her friend whose Mother has just died.
  • Review: This was a well-written story (easy to read and descriptive), I’ll give it that much. But, excuse me? Where’s the science fiction? There is a vague hint of fantasy at the end of the story when Moselle, the main character, sees her grieving friend through her own dead mother’s eyes (I think). Ultimately, a well-written, but super-boring, story.

    Paycheck by Philip K. Dick
    [Read 01/23/04]
    [Rating: ]
    [Source: The Philip K. Dick Reader]

  • Synopsis: Jennings is a mechanic who wakes up with no memory of the last two years of his life. He has just finished a contract for the mysterious Rethrik Construction company; an agreement that including erasing his memory of his work. On payday, he learns that he has since instructed the company to give him the choice of accepting the agreed-upon salary or a collection of seven seemingly worthless items. Under the assumption that he knew what he was doing, he takes the items in lieu of payment. He is instantly picked up by the Security Police, but escapes. The race is on to find out where the collection of trinkets leads him before the Security Police catch up with him.
  • Review: Excellent story and an interesting premise set against the backdrop of a state vs. corporation society. The story has mystery, sf and puzzle-solving elements all neatly coordinated into a fast-paced adventure. Although some of the plot twists are predictable, they do not detract from the entertainment value of the story.
  • More info: Made into a movie in 12/03 (which I plan on seeing in the next couple of days?hence this reading) – supposedly only loosely based on the story.

    Filed under: Books

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