Reading Brought Back from Worldcon, Plus Book-Pimpery


If you don’t get some new reading material when you’re at a Worldcon, you’re basically an idiot. So here’s some of the reading material I’ve picked up. From left:

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow: Cory, who wuz robbed — robbed! — of the Hugo this year (albeit by Peter Beagle, a very fine person and writer) has banged out a YA novel that is really excellent so far. Personally it had me by the second paragraph, when it described a high school vice-principal as “a sucking chest wound of a human being.” I knew vice-principals like that, I have to say. It’ll be a little bit of a while before Little Brother gets to the rest of you, so allow me to say: Neener neener neener, I get to read it and you don’t. But you’ll want to, when it finally hits the stores.

The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride by MaryAnn Johanson: I totally have a secret online crush on MaryAnn Johnson, who runs the FlickFilosopher web site, one of my favorite movie sites online. Some time ago Johanson got a deal to write short, fun guides on popular movies for a book publisher, but then that publisher closed up shop before the books came out. So she figured, well, it’s good enough, I’ll put it out myself. And here we are with a geeky guide to The Princess Bride, which Johanson is (appropriately) really geeky about.

And she’s right; it is good enough — and more than that, actually. It’s a funny and fast overview about the things people love about Princess Bride; it nods towards deeper themes in the film and mostly appraoches the film affectionately and fondly, looking at what it is that makes that film more than just a pleasant way to spend 90 minutes or so. Personally speaking, I’m not as geeky about The Princess Bride as Johanson is, but her enthusiasm for the film is catching, and a kick to read.

If the book does well enough, Johanson is considering adding to the series. So here’s hoping it does well enough.

Echelon, by Josh Conviser: As I noted in my Worldcon wrap-up piece, I got the chance to meet Josh after a particularly contentious panel, and chatting with him and Deanna Hoak gave me a chance to wind down without strangling someone. So I was readily anticipating checking out his novel. I’ve literally just started the first couple of pages, so I’ll have to report on the whole thing later, but it’s got a hell of a premise, which is basically that Echelon, the spy program the US uses to keep track of nefarious foreigners, has expanded in the near future to become something of an electronic big brother. This cuts down on things like war, which is good, but also, you know, also cuts down on things like personal freedom, which is bad.

Josh has the extraordinary good fortune of having the book drop at exactly the right time — i.e., when we’re having serious discussions in the real world about how far our government should be able to invade our privacy for the sake of safety and security. Every author should be so lucky. Anyway, it looks really interesting, so I’m looking forward to digging in.

Having thus pimped my reading, I invite you to do the same: Pimp a book or other reading material you’re loving in the last few weeks. Doesn’t have to be new, just interesting. Also: Don’t pimp your own book — there’ll undoubtedly be a self-pimp thread coming along soon. Share the love, friends. Share the love.

מלחמת האדם הזקן


You’re looking here at the cover of the Hebrew edition of Old Man’s War, which as far as I know is the first foreign-language edition of the book to hit the streets. I snagged it from this online Hebrew bookstore, which in turn was forwarded to me by Whatever reader Abigail Nussbaum. Thanks Abigail! Someone who knows Hebrew will have to tell me what that page says, and if, indeed, “סקאלזי ג`ון” is, as I suspect, my name in Hebrew.

The Israeli publisher is obliged to send copies of the novel my way; I can’t wait to get a copy in my own little hands. Having one’s first foreign edition is cool.