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I came across this meme over on SF Signal, and it reminded me of the olden days of Live Journal, when it seemed like all anyone did was post answers to sets of themed questions. For nostalgia’s sake, and because I’ve been too busy to do much reading, writing, or blogging lately, here are my answers:

  • The first science fiction, fantasy or horror book I ever read was:
  • The last science fiction, fantasy or horror book I read that I’d put in my “Top 20″ list is:
    • I guess I would say Wool by Hugh Howey is the last book that has really wowed me enough to earn five stars on Goodreads, and I’m pretty stingy with my 5-star ratings. You can read my full review here.
  • The last science fiction, fantasy or horror book I couldn’t finish was:
    • I don’t often give up on books partway through. I guess the last time I did was for Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson. I’ve heard great things about the Malazan series, but I put this one down after just a few chapters because it wasn’t working for me. Of course, my impatience with this book might be because I tried it during the primary operations period for the Curiosity Mars rover, when I was living in an apartment in Pasadena, working bizarre hours on the rover team, and my leisure hours were very precious. Maybe I’ll give this another try someday when I am more rested and less stressed out…
  • A science fiction, fantasy or horror author whose work I cannot get enough of is:
    • I’m not so fervently loyal to any one author that I don’t get tired of them eventually. Sure, I am waiting eagerly for the next book in certain series, but no author is perfect and variety is good. For example, I love George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, but before A Dance with Dragons came out, I re-read the whole series and I was definitely ready for something else afterward. The same thing happened when reading a massive collection of Ray Bradbury’s stories. I love his writing style, but after such a large dose of it I was ready for something different. So basically, I don’t have a good answer for this question.
  • A science fiction, fantasy or horror author I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t read yet is:
    • Peter S. Beagle is the first that comes to mind. In particular, several authors who I respect greatly have recommended The Last Unicorn, but I have not gotten around to reading it yet. Also, I am ashamed to say that I have never read anything by Kurt Vonnegut!
  • A science fiction, fantasy or horror book I would recommend to someone who hasn’t read sf/f/h is:
    • I suspect most people have actually read something that is sf/f/h, or at least watched movies in these genres. But for someone who really has no idea what to read, I would have to say The Fellowship of the Ring for fantasy, just because it is so fundamental to the genre. Some people say that books like Game of Thrones are a better “gateway” because they are not so prominently fantastical, but I would argue that in many ways Game of Thrones is a response to Lord of the Rings, so it is much better if you are already familiar with the genre. Also, I guess I favor going “all in”: If someone wants to try fantasy, I prefer to recommend something that is clearly fantasy (while still being excellent).
    • For science fiction, I would recommend Fahrenheit 451. It’s a wonderful book with beautiful writing, and clearly has a speculative element to it, but also shows how sci-fi can be used to say something about current issues and society.
    • I don’t read much horror, but I really enjoyed George R.R. Martin’s Fevre Dream, so I guess I would recommend that. Stephen King’s The Stand was also great, but I think I consider post-apocalyptic a genre of its own that overlaps with horror and science fiction.
  • A science fiction, fantasy or horror book that’s terribly underrated is:
    • I had to think about this for a while, but I will go with City by Clifford Simak. For some reason, while Asimov and Bradbury and Clark are still well-known names from golden age sci-fi, Simak is not. I really enjoyed City, and the stories have a quiet poignancy that stands out from some of the more gee-whiz technology-oriented older sci-fi.
  • A science fiction, fantasy or horror book that’s terribly overrated is: