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Pebble In The Sky: Asimov’s first novel

Pebble In The Sky by Isaac Asimov

In a now-famous interview, sci-fi legend Isaac Asimov once revealed how he avoided getting stuck with writer’s block. The hugely prodigious author would often be working at four or five books at the same time, with five typewriters arrayed side by side, and when he would get inextricably bogged down with one book, he’d simply move to the neighboring typewriter, and recommence work on that one! Thus, one can almost understand how it was possible for Asimov — who claimed, in his later years, to do nothing but write, eat, sleep, and talk to his wife — to rack up the almost superhuman tally of just over 500 books written before his death in 1992, in every subject category of the Dewey Decimal System (does anybody here even remember the Dewey Decimal System, or am I just aging myself uselessly?) except, I believe, philosop... Read More

The Dying Earth: Ludicrous and sublimely intelligent

The Dying Earth by Jack Vance

The Dying Earth is the first of Jack Vance’s Tales of the Dying Earth and contains six somewhat overlapping stories all set in the future when the sun is red and dim, much technology has been lost, and most of humanity has died out. Our planet is so unrecognizable that it might as well be another world, and evil has been "distilled" so that it's concentrated in Earth's remaining inhabitants.

But it's easy to forget that a failing planet is the setting for the Dying Earth stories, for they are neither depressing nor bleak, and they're not really about the doom of the Earth. These stories are whimsical and weird and they focus more on the strange people who remain and the strange things they do. Magicians, wizards, witches, beauti... Read More

The Magician’s Nephew: Excellent addition to the Chronicles

The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

The Magician's Nephew was the sixth book that C.S. Lewis wrote in the Chronicles of Narnia, although chronologically it is placed first in the series, as a prequel to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. This leads to many debates on when and where it is supposed to be read — but really, it doesn't make much of a difference considering that all seven of the books are complete stories within themselves. However, if you take my advice and are new to the world of Narnia, I suggest reading The Magician's Nephew after The Lion, as half the fun of reading it is to piece together the history of Narnia and how it fits into the rest of the books.

Digory Kirke is a young boy in London, living with his great aunt and uncle due to the fac... Read More