Just bringing this discussion over to ning...

What books are you reading right now that don't have a narrative driven by images as well as words?

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I had some problems with science-fiction writer Gene Wolfe's novel Home Fires when I read it recently, but a lot of folks seem to like his earlier work better. So I started The Best of Gene Wolfe: A Definitive Retrospective of His Finest Short Fiction this week. It's organized in more or less chronological order, so the third story in is the novella "The Fifth Head of Cerberus," which shows up on a lot of recommended lists. It's a good story, and I've liked the shorter ones as well. Wolfe has a tendency to plunk the reader down into a future world without explaining much, which bothered me in the novel. The approach seems to work better with short fiction...or maybe these earlier stories are just better written.
Baseball season is right around the corner, and now I am finally reading Jim Bouton's Ball Four.
I've continued to enjoy the collection of Gene Wolfe's short fiction, especially the novella-length ones. But I decided to take a break and read Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants. Jeanine just finished it and loved it, and it's not due back at the library for a couple of weeks. The setting is a circus during the Depression, which I'm really enjoying so far.

I just finished In The Pit With Piper by Rowdy Roddy Piper. I was disappointed with it. I felt he kept trying too hard not to let you behind the curtain. I also think he gave himself too much credit for the success of the WWE. To hear him tell it he was as big as Hulk Hogan.


I am currently reading A Headless Body In A Topless Bar: Headlines From The New York Post.

Gospel of the Living Dead, by Kim Paffenroth.

I was just listening to Librivox.org version of "The Mask" by Robert W. Chambers, from his collection The King in Yellow. As read by the reader, it comes to a powerful conclusion.


I asked about early subatomic worlds stories a little while back. A precursor story is "The Diamond Lens" by Fitz James O'Brien (1858), in which the narrator falls in love with a woman he sees in a drop of water through a microscope.


I asked about early subatomic worlds stories a little while back. A precursor story is "The Diamond Lens" by Fitz James O'Brien (1858), in which the narrator falls in love with a woman he sees in a drop of water through a microscope.


I'm also very interested in this particular Sci-Fi scenario.  Both Micronauts and Morrison's work play on it to various degrees.  Did you get any other responses?  1858 is going back a ways, isn't it?  Lovely idea for a story.  Right on the cutting edge of science as it was then.


I'll have to check it up, but I think I read a 50's/early 60's Adam Strange story about shrinking down to a tiny world.  It would probably predate the FF's first trip into the Microverse, at least.

In the O'Brien story the woman is merely microscopic. The earliest actual sub-atomic world story I know of is "The Girl in the Golden Atom" by Ray Cummings, from 1919. I don't know for sure it was the first, but I think it was an important source of the theme's use in later SF. I found a description of it here.


The theme goes right back even in comics.

-The newspaper strip Brick Bradford featured a story in 1937-38 in which he goes on an expedition to a sub-atomic world in a copper penny.

-In Blue Ribbon Comics #17 from 1941 Mr. Justice, MLJ's imitation of the Spectre, pursues a demon called the Green Ghoul into a sub-atomic world. In #18 the Ghoul traps him on it, grows and smashes it and another atomic world together in an attempt to destroy him. (For me, this is really entertaining stuff.)

-A Captain America two-parter using the theme appeared in Captain America Comics ##25-26 in 1943. According to the GCD this was based on a Cummings work and written by Cummings himself. The GCD's pages on the issues have synopses of their parts.

-Wonder Woman fought Queen Atomia, the queen of an atomic world, in Wonder Woman #21 from 1946.

-A series of stories involving shrinking and growth formulas appeared in the final issues of Rex the Wonder Dog (really). The series started in #43, with a story introducing the shrinking formula. In the second, in #44, 1958, Rex visited a sub-atomic world. Synopses of the four tales can be found at www.dcindexes.com, in the "DC Indexes" section.

-The Atom first (I think) visited a sub-atomic world in The Atom #5 in late 1962.
-The JLA visited a sub-atomic world the next month in Justice League of America #18, 1963.
-Another appeared the month after that in Green Lantern #20, 1963. Fantastic Four #16 came out a couple of months later.


I'm sure there are many other early examples. The comics stories mentioned are just ones I happen to know about (except for the Atom one - I looked that one up).

I'm reading the new Rob Bell book, Love Wins, which has caused a lot of craziness in the evangelical community.  I like it a lot and it has helped me organize thoughts I've had for a long time. 


I'm also working my way through the Hunger Games triology and reading bits and pieces of Michael Caine's recent autobiography.

I am hoping to read "Love Wins" soon. I am listening to Maggie Stiefvater's "Shiver".
It's a really comforting book...I keep thinking of people I want to buy a copy for or lend mine to as I'm reading it.

Also, I finally finished the Nihongi.  Wow, that took awhile. I'm glad I read it, but it's not something I can recommend to anyone unless you're really interested in the minutiae of ancient Japanese history. More so than I am, for example. The early section of the book is the most interesting, as it contains details of the various Japanese creation myths. After awhile, it settles down to endless pages of the sort of information that the Imperial government of the time thought needed to be preserved for the ages. These tend to fall into the following categories:


1)"Fifth month, seventh day: The Empress proceeded to the palace at Wakitabaki.

   Fifth month, fourteenth day: The Empress returned from the palace at Wakitabaki."


2) "Third month,.second day: In Watsituya district, a crow was captured with blue feathers and nine legs. It was presented to the district governor as an omen of long life and good fortune.

     Third month, third day: The governor of Watsituya district was run over by a London bus."


3)"Eighth month, tenth day:  An expedition of three thousand warriors was sent to chastise the Koreans.

    Ninth month, third day:  After an unbroken string of victories, the fifty survivors of the Korean expedition returned home  in triumph."


4)"Twelfth month, third day:  The Emperor decreed that henceforth, officials of the sixth through forty-ninth ranks shall wear red hats with purple stripes.

    Twelfth month, tenth day: The Emperor decreed that henceforth, officials of the sixth through forty-ninth ranks shall wear purple hats with red stripes."


5) "Fourth month, first day: There was an earthquake.

Fourth month, fifth day: There was an earthquake.

Fourth month, eleventh day: There was an earthquake."


After the first five hundred pages or so of that, it can get a little tedious.





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