Dec 23, 2008

To 2009 and beyond!

I started with a list and a vague goal at the beginning of this year, and I'm amazed at how far I've come. I worried a little that confining my reading to dystopian fiction would narrow my horizons and get repetitive and boring after a while. Amazingly, I feel like this project's lifted me out of a fantasy/sf rut that I traveled in for a few years.

I dipped into older stories I'd never heard of, classics I just never got around to, cyberpunk you-gottas, and novels that I'd only experienced as movies.

In the meantime, my dreams got freakier, my politics got a little more paranoid, and my friends started saying, "If you mention dystopias one more time, we're going to kick your ass." All in all, a hell of a year.

So, is this the end? Am I ready to give it up and read a little fluff, range a little further afield?

Hell no!

In fact, I want to spread the wealth. Comment to this post. Tell me something about your year, what you read, if you dipped into the dystopian pool at all. Tell me what you'd like to me to blog about aside from the actual books themselves. Include an email address and name with your post, and I'll put it in a hat on 1/5. If I pull your name, I'll send you a book I've read and reviewed this year. I'll start doing this once a month - gotta clear room for this year's books!


Sarah Arr! said...

Hell yes.

I read Fahrenheit 451 and The Handmaiden's tale (and 87 other books, so far, there's still time!) this year and liked them a great deal.

I like reading your blogs. In general, they're thought-provoking or clever. Sometimes they make me laugh. (mainly your lj blog, I mean)

my email address is piratesarah at gmail dot com

(if I don't win, will you still promise to send me zines at a non-specific date in the future? it's kind of our thing. :)

Colin said...

I just finished this amazing YA novel called "The Hunger Games," by Suzanne Collins. About a post-apocalyptic America where the government uses economic oppression to keep the citizens in check. Each year 2 teenagers from each of the 12 districts are picked at semi-random to compete in a reality TV show called The Hunger Games, and fight to the death.

It's fucking incredible.

You have my email address, right?


downtown guy said...

Sarah: Thanks! And of course, as soon as I make some more. I'm sort of between zines right now.

Kyle: Yep, gotchya. I may look into that one, too, see if I need to add it to the list.

hrimcealde said...

I read Into the Forest by Jean Hegland, and I'm working on Earth Abides right now. i also read Dies the Fire, We, City of Ember, and People of Sparks. I read a lot more, but they're mostly post-apocalyptic.

loren twofiveeight two at hotmail dot com

(without spaces and with numbers instead of the words)

Ben said...

I had strange dreams, too, especially after reading "Perdido Street Station" and "Oryx and Crake".

I also had a few dreams of the sort that I've always wanted: Lovecraftian. Strange dreamscapes, monolithic structures, angles that don't seem to work, etc.

They scared the hell out of me.

downtown guy said...

hrimcealde: How are you enjoying Earth Abides?

Ben: I tend to enjoy my more paranoid dreams, but I'm not sure why.

STE said...

this year i read count zero (a year after reading neuromancer, and i plan on reading MLO soon), ubik (maybe not strictly dystopia, but joe chip's present still seems pretty run down); i read through perdido street station earlier and plan on reading through the scar and iron council next, and i recently finished battle royale. now i'm properly reading through 1984 because i'd also neglected to read it for so long.

i want to check out on the beach soon. have you ever read the buyadeen trilogy by george alec effinger? those are my favorite books. effinger is an underrated sf author and if you'd like some hardcore cyberpunk then "when gravity fails", "a fire in the sun" and "the exile kiss" are all excellent. they all take place in a seedy city district in a fictional middle east, which is based on the french quarter in new orleans. the first novel came out two years after neuromancer and they share a lot of similarities, such as the protagonists being modded and drug addicts.

anyway i love this blog :) nightsb at gmail dot com

Olman Feelyus said...

Great stuff! Congrats on an excellent year of reading. My on deck shelf is sagging, so I won't take you up on your cool offer. Okay, gotta get back to my book blog to finish up my 2008 books.

Happy new year!

p.s. good luck trying to be dystopic now that Optimism Obama is in office! :)

Mr Pineapples said...

Give you my address?

You must be joking.

Mr Pineapples said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doc said...

I really enjoyed discovering your blog this year. Thanks for all the awesome leads on dystopian books. I have a few paperbacks set aside to send you one of these days, but I'll email you about that later. BTW, I think your blog gives me a bit of a complex. Taken as a whole, your list is pretty damn serious! This year mine had some pretty silly stuff in it. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

I’ve also really been enjoying the blog, I'm glad you're keeping it up.

My distopian reads last year were, Brown Girl in the Ring, Uglies, Pretties, World war Z, Battle Royale & Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?...I think that’s it.

adamhodgins at hotmail dot com

downtown guy said...

STE: I hadn't heard of the buyadeen trilogy, but I'll check it out. New Orleans is pretty much my favorite place, so that's enough to get me to pick it up.

OF: There's always room for dystopia!

Mr. Pineapples: Your loss, my friend.

Doc: I've actually had a lot of laughs this year (some due to the terrible writing, I admit). If it was all just drab grey seriousness, I'd have given up in March.

Anon: If you read this, tell me a little more about Brown Girl in the Ring.

Mr Pineapples said...

You what?

My loss?

My friend?

It is NOT my loss

And YOU are NOT my friend

Now go and BUGGER OFF

downtown guy said...

What strange personality quirks you have, Mr. Pineapples.

Mr Pineapples said...


Downtrod Gay


downtown guy said...

And yet you're completely genial on my mom's blog - except when you aren't. How many Mr. Pineapples are there?

Mr Pineapples said...

Actually bud

That "gay" was a mistype......but not the "downtrod" bit.


Sometimes P can be fact most of the time P is a very jolly chap...ask My kids....I am the most un-moody-upbeat guy there is.

Sorry to have upset you.

Well not really.

P doesnt care what folks say

And neither should you.

Who's your mother anyway? Perhaps I like your mother (who ever she is) - perhaps I find your mother's blog real and inspirational.

Tell me your mum...and I'll tell you mine.

hrimcealde said...

Earth Abides was okay. Certainly reflective of its pre-Vietnam war time period. I liked the way he interspersed an omniscient narrator with the limited narrator, but on the whole the book was a little too neat and too...i guess optimistic is the word i'm looking for. I don't think the end of the world and its aftermath will be so easy or so neat and clean.

I would suggest both Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke (although it is very sci-fi), and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick. I read this in a volume that also contained The Man in the High Castle. Ideally, I would like to more of Dick's work, but I can only take him in increments.

Great blog! Happy reading!

Doc said...

Funny post! I admire your single-minded dedication to dystopian fiction. It almost won me over to do the same this year. Instead I have been slumming it in some old sword & sorcery fare.

I did dip into dystopian reading again, though, as a result of your blog. I picked up Make Room, Make Room, Escape from New York, The Inverted World, Crash, Lost in Planet China (which is a travel book, but oddly fits the dystopian group since China is so f'ed up), and War with the Salamanders (or Newts, depending on your translation).

Now I find myself drawn to the genre for the first time in years. (I went through a spree in college where I read all the classic dystopias like Anthem, Brave New World, 1984, Clockwork Orange, etc.). I look forward to revisiting some of these and picking up some new ones off your recommendations.

I am still laying aside a book here and there to send you.

downtown guy said...

I'm glad you're picking a few up, because I always enjoy your reviews and I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of them. It's funny - even though my scope is technically narrowed, I feel like I've done more diverse reading in the past year than in the past 5.