Lately, I can't seem to finish shit so I took break from my usual reading material.. picked up some short sci-fi stories, namely from J.G. Ballard and James Blish. I enjoyed Ballard's "Billenium". It's a very short story (probably published in a magazine). The story isn't fleshed out but it's a thought provoking (if depressing) look into the effects of overpopulation.
I'm just now starting on Common Time (Blish). Anyone familiar with these writers?
I love Ballard. He was due to guest lecture at my university but died just a couple of days before he was due. I was gutted. I signed up for that particular module just to have the opportunity of meeting the guy and listening to him speak.
If you want short stories, have you ever read the Sherlock Holmes stories? Everybody is aware of them but very few people I actually talk to have read them. They're a really great read, surprisingly different from the cliched, over parodied version of Holmes that I expected. The novels are a decent read as well, and are fairly short and digestable (they were written to be serialised in short form, so they move at a rapid pace with plenty of twists and turns, and cliffhanger after cliffhanger). I would recommend starting with the first novel, "A Study In Scarlet" (which introduces the two central characters brilliantly) and then you're pretty much free to read them in any order you please (continuity wise they shift about in time a lot anyway).
If you like Ballard, try reading some of HG Wells short stories. I recently saw a book of his complete short stories in a lush, faux-leather bound hardback for about £30 - sounds a lot but this volume contained EVERY short story he ever wrote (literally hundreds). You can obviously pick them up in smaller editions as well, and I'd suggest 'The Country of the Blind'. Every single one of his short stories is so packed with ideas and invention that most could all easily have been stretched out into novels. Remember, this is the same dude who brought is 'The Time Machine', 'The Invisible Man' and 'War of the Worlds' - three of the pivotal cornerstones of modern sci-fi and three of the most iconic stories in any genre. All worth exploring.
Raymond Chandler's short stories have been collected in a volume called 'Killer In The Rain', which is a must-read. He ended up recycling a lot of these stories and turning them into novels, but the original shot stories have a more gritty, brutal, less polished nuance. Worthy reading.
Originally Posted by SheamusO'Shaunessy
Just started "The Dice Man"
IT's pretty awesome.
Here is a quote:
“I shared my office on 57th Street with Dr Jacob Ecstein, young (thirty-three), dynamic (two books published), intelligent (he and I usually agreed), personable (everyone liked him), unattractive (no one loved him), anal (he plays the stock market compulsively), oral (he smokes heavily), non-genital (doesn’t seem to notice women), and Jewish (he knows two Yiddish slang words). Our mutual secretary was a Miss Reingold. Mary Jane Reingold, old (thirty-six), undynamic (she worked for us), unintelligent (she prefers Ecstein to me), personable (everyone felt sorry for her), unattractive (tall, skinny, glasses, no one loved her), anal (obsessively neat), oral (always eating), genital (trying hard), and non-Jewish (finds use of two Yiddish slang words very intellectual). Miss Reingold greeted me efficiently.”
That's a brilliant book. There was a brief period of my life where that book seemed to crop up everywhere I went. I found it on the tube (twice), left in a pub, in the staffroom at work and then (strangley) at Alton Towers. It seemed to be following me everywhere I went. It's a good read, though.