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Missed Opportunities for SF in SF

I’m San Francisco this week on business. I had hoped to check out the science fiction scene here, by which I mean visit some used bookstores and beef up my already over-beefed sf collection. Another thing I had hoped was to attend some sci-fi events but, alas, they conflict with the business thing.

There’s a San Francisco based sf group here, who point to such goodies as Monday’s X-Men 3 publicity meet at the Golden Gate Bridge (which appears in the movie). I missed it. I was hoping to meet Halle Berry to, you know, compare notes on sci-fi. Two very large notes. (Did I just type that?)

On Tuesday there’s a monthly “SF in SF” author reading by Pat Murphy and Terry Bisson. I’ll be missing that too.

I also just learned that this past weekend was the World Horror Convention with attendees including authors, artist John Picacio and the crew from Locus Magazine. Too bad I missed it. I could have asked Locus to send my issues in a metal container as someone in the U.S. Postal Service insists on unsealing all of mine to read it and deliver it late.

This weekend, Alan Dean Foster will be appearing at Borderlands Books. By then, my business will be over, so I hope to be going there. Too bad I haven’t read any of his stuff.

About John DeNardo (13013 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

7 Comments on Missed Opportunities for SF in SF

  1. That still gives you half a week to find one of his books in a used books store, and read it.

    My personal recommendations will be to go with the earlier Flinx books (for fast paced SF, action, psionics, and simple intrigue), or the Spellsinger books (for light fantasy). His short stories (ideal if you really don’t have the time, but still want to read something) are also pretty good, both the Mad Amos ones (fantasy in the wild west, light, and usually witty), and the more general Friends Like These collections.

    I didn’t like as much the Cathechist series, and the Founding of the Commonwealth series, but YMMV.

  2. Alan Dean Foster’s A Splinter in Mind’s Eye was the first science fiction story I ever read. It was a good read but I remember it mainly as an accidental stepping stone to Niven.

  3. I second the Flinx and Spellsinger books.

    And Splinter of the Mind’s Eye recalls to memory the Han Solo books I read, yes I used to read SW books, Han Solo and the Lost Legacy, Han Solo at Star’s End, and Han Solo’s Revenge. Not bad reads. Splinter was written before Empire Strikes Back and so has some, now, err….uncomfortable interactions between Luke and Leia. It makes you wonder whether Lucas had this all figured out before hand, and if he did, why he let Splinter be written the way it is.

  4. I actually never touched any of his books which are movie related. And he has quite a few of those if I remember correctly. Books in a movie’s universe are alright (though usually I do tend to put them on lower priority, and limit myself to known good writers), but many of Foster’s movie-related aren’t in the universe, but are the novel version of the movie. And I really don’t like those, as a concept. Movies based on a book I can take, even if usually they’re loosely based, but there’s just something that feels wrong about a book based on a movie.

    Niven is an excellent writer, I’ll second that. But I don’t get the “stepping stone” reference, it’s not like you have to choose. You can read both Niven’s books and Foster’s books.

    Niven at his best is better than Foster (personal opinion, obviously), and I didn’t yet encounter a Niven book I didn’t like (Well, maybe the Heorot sequels) while Foster had a few, but the good Fosters are certainly a match and well worth reading.

  5. A girl came up to me with two paperbacks when I was a kid. They had belonged to her dad and she was getting rid of them for pocket change. She said she’d give me both books for 50 cents (it may have been 25).

    One of those books was a collection of Niven’s shorts, the other was a star wars novel (one of, if not the first). I wasn’t at all interested in some guy called Niven but I liked Star Wars. She wanted to sell them as a set so I bought both. After that I figured since I already paid for the Niven book I might as well read it. And that’s was me hooked on SF.

  6. Darn, that’s so unfair!

    Why don’t I ever meet any girls who want to sell me good books at ridiculously low prices?! 😉

  7. One other missed opportunity, this one thankfully missed.

    While walking on Market Street the other day, the Church of Scientology had a membership-drive table set up on the sidewalk. I saw one of the famous e-meters, or whatever the heck it is they use to measure your susceptibility to be brainwashed. I wished I remembered to bring my camera.

    I kept on walking.

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