1. One book that changed your life?
No contest. Battle on Mercury by Eric van Lihn (later I learned that was a pseudonym of Lester del Rey). It was part of the Winston Science Fiction juvenile series. I was big into space science at the time, and was searching the Nesbitt Memorial Library card catalog for books on planets. This one came up. It obviously wasn’t non-fiction, and on top of that, it was a chapter book with lots of words and no pictures. Despite my misgivings, I checked it out and took it home to read. My life has never been the same.
2. One book you have read more than once?
There’s not a lot of them, but the one I’ve reread the most is The Lord of the Rings. I know it’s trendy to dump on Tolkien’s writing, but his worldbuilding always leaves me in awe. I’ve reread the thing somewhere around six times, and every time I open it back up, practically every page has something I don’t remember. It’s like reading an new book every time.
3. One book you would want on a desert island?
Don Quixote by Cervantes. I’ve never read it, although it’s one I’m convinced is right up my alley. I figure that on a desert island, I’d eventually get around to it.
4. One book that made you laugh?
The Princess Bride by William Goldman. You know how perfect the movie is? The book is even perfecter.
5. One book that made you cry?
I’m with Deanna Hoak on this one: Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. Oh, man, I still have vivid pictures in my mind of the aftermath of the mountain lion fight. The movie’s sad enough, but the book is brutal. And I didn’t cry on this one, but Nevil Shute’s On the Beach left me deeply depressed for days afterward.
6. One book you wish had been written?
Ken Grimwood’s sequel to Replay. Sure, it may very well have sucked. But the first one was such a brilliant riff on the old “live your life over” schtick (I mean, who saw that serial killer coming? Tell the truth now) that I have great confidence Grimwood could’ve dazzled again without the scenario turning stale. It’s sad he died just as he was starting work on it.
7. One book you wish had never had been written?
Any red-meat partisan wankfest. I mean, really people. Don’t we have better things to do with our valuable reading time?
8. One book you are currently reading?
The Compleat Meadmaker by Ken Schramm. Need you ask why?
9. One book you have been meaning to read?
Lisa Tuttle's The Silver Bough is next up on my to-read list. It's currently sitting patiently on a chair beside my desk. In a more nebulous, universal sense, China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station is up near the top of my "must read" list. Yes, I admit it. I’m the one person in genre circles who hasn’t read it yet. I’m a leper. So sue me.
10. Now tag five people.
Michael A. Burstein
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