Continuing the tradition started last year, this is a year-end wrap up for my sf/fantasy/horror experiences for 2004. These are not necessarily things that first appeared this year; they are just the things that I read or watched this year.


THE BEST

  • Twistor by John Cramer. An excellent story that kept me turning pages.
  • Stiff by Mary Roach. Held my attention from beginning to end. (OK, not a fiction book, but still, this was a darn good read.)
  • Nightwings by Robert Silverberg. A highly recommended must-read.
  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini. A hugely enjoyable simple fantasy story.
  • To Marry Medusa by Theodore Sturgeon. A quick but great read and a fantastic classic. Sturgeon is one of my favorites – he never fails to disappoint.
  • Farmer in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein. Another classic that is a fun read.
  • The Genocides by Thomas M. Disch. Disch’s first novel, a post-apocalyptic story, is simply excellent.
  • Diamond Dogs & Turquoise Days by Alastair Reynolds. These two novellas, set in the Revelation Space Universe, are both top-notch page-turners.
  • The Iron Giant by Ted Hughes. The children’s book that spawned the equally great movie is thoroughly enjoyable for adults too.
  • The Golden Transcendence by John C. Wright. A great ending to a consistently well-done trilogy.
  • Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds. Highly recommended and, as a stand-alone novel, this is an excellent introduction into Reynolds’ Revelation Space universe.
  • Redemption Ark by Alastair Reynolds. The middle, and strongest, of Reynold’s wonderful Revelation Space sequence of novels.
  • Some of Your Blood by Theodore Sturgeon. An excellent horror/psychological thriller story.
  • The Martian Child by David Gerrold. Light on the sf, but a touching and engrossing story.
  • The Risen Empire and The Killing of Worlds by Scott Westerfeld. An excellent example of space opera done to perfection.
  • Singularity by Bill DeSmedt. An immersive, taut, science fiction thrill ride.
  • The Incredibles – Another winner from Pixar.
  • The Day The Earth Stood Still – An excellent movie. One of my all-time favorite SF movies.
  • My Short-Story-A-Day Experiment proved to be valuable in terms of discovering new authors and high-quality stories. Sure, there were some bad ones too, but overall, it was a fun and rewarding reading experience. Standout stories read this year are (Go, Go Gadget mail-Merge!)
    • “The Reluctant Book” by Paul Di Fillippo (2000)
    • “Behold The Man” by Michael Moorcock (1967)
    • “Mother to the World” by Richard Wilson (1968)
    • “Paycheck” by Philip K. Dick (1953)
    • “Passengers” by Robert Silverberg (1969)
    • “A Boy and His Dog” by Harlan Ellison (1969)
    • “Pattern” by Fredric Brown (1954)
    • “The Awakening” by Arthur C. Clarke (1952)
    • “Mute Milton” by Harry Harrison (1966)
    • “Close Behind Him” by John Wyndham (1953)
    • “Thirty Days Had September” by Robert F. Young (1957)
    • “To Cuddle Amy” by Nancy Kress (2000)
    • “Regression” by Brian Stableford (2000)
    • “Presence” by Maureen F. McHugh (2002)
    • “When It Ends” by Robert Reed (2000)
    • “The Ladykiller, as Observed from a Safe Distance” by Brian Stableford (2000)
    • “In Paradise” by Bruce Sterling (2002)
    • “Stories For Men” by John Kessel (2002)
    • “Radiant Green Star” by Lucius Shepard (2000)
    • “The Little Lamb” by Frederic Brown (1953)
    • “Caught in the Organ Draft” by Robert Silverberg (1972)
    • “Slow Life ” by Michael Swanwick (2002)
    • “Turquoise Days” by Alastair Reynolds (2002)
    • “Fermi and Frost” by Frederik Pohl (1985)
    • “The Screwfly Solution” by Alice Sheldon writing as Raccoona Sheldon (a.k.a. James Tiptree, Jr.) (1977)
    • “A Pail of Air” by Fritz Leiber (1951)
    • “Black Destroyer” by A.E. van Vogt (1939)
    • “Paying It Forward” by Michael A. Burstein (2003)
    • “Diamond Dogs” by Alastair Reynolds (2002)
    • “Robots Don’t Cry” by Mike Resnick (2003)
    • “Moon Duel” by Fritz Leiber (1965)
    • “On the Orion Line” by Stephen Baxter (2000)
    • “Light of Other Days” by Bob Shaw (1966)
    • “Think Like a Dinosaur” by James Patrick Kelly (1995)
    • “The Empire of Ice Cream” by Jeffrey Ford (2003)
    • “Downloading Midnight” by William Browning Spencer (1995)
    • “Great Wall of Mars” by Alastair Reynolds (2000)
    • “Amnesty” by Octavia Butler (2003)
    • “The Waters of Meribah” by Tony Ballantyne (2003)
    • “Hall of Mirrors” by Fredric Brown (1953)
    • “Brooklyn Project” by William Tenn (1948)
    • “Allamagoosa” by Eric Frank Russell (1955)
    • “The Ice” by Steven Popkes (2003)
    • “Calling Your Name” by Howard Waldrop (2003)
    • “Anomalous Structures Of My Dreams” by M. Shayne Bell (2003)
    • “All You Zombies…” by Robert A. Heinlein (1959)

THE BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS

BOOKS I COULDN’T FINISH

The Merchants’ War by Frederik Pohl and Spin State by Chris Moriarty . The Merchants’ War bored me to tears but Spin State was more a victim of poor timing.

BOOKS I FINISHED BUT WISH I DIDN’T

Terraforming Earth by Jack Williamson and Ceres Storm by David Herter. I disliked both of these books to the point of annoyance.

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