Sunday, January 24, 2010

Frederick Paul Kiesche, Jr.

November 6, 1935 to January 24, 2010

Then Almitra spoke, saying, We would ask now of Death.
And he said:
You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of life.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heat wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.


("The Prophet", Kahlil Gibran)

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Name Is Inigo Montoya

(Administrative note, as previously promised and following hard on the most recent review...may I present...Sarah A. Hoyt in the first guest posting at this blog!)

My Name Is Inigo Montoya

Sarah A. Hoyt


I'll start this blog by coming clean and admitting I swiped the title from a speech given in Johannesburg by my friend Dave Freer. I swiped the intention of the title, too. Dave used it to mean that the pseudo-literary aspirations of science fiction had killed what was different and interesting about the genre. He meant that classical science fiction had "fathered" him and that he meant to carry on its legacy, regardless.

My reference is more specific. Years after Robert A. Heinlein had died, my husband and I managed to—yes, it did take some work—have the child we’d been trying to conceive for six years. He was—still is!—a boy, so we named him what we had always planned to name him: Robert Anson Hoyt. Because he’d been due on the Fourth of July (I spent months singing Yankee Doodle Dandy to my belly!) when—incidentally—labor started, we didn't realize the significance of his birth date on the seventh. Not until my husband called my brother and told him the name of his brand new nephew. My brother said, "Oh. And on Heinlein's birthday."

The coincidence was too much for my husband who forced me (trust me, it took forcing) to send a birth announcement to Mrs. Heinlein. This initiated a correspondence between us which—eventually—extended to my having her AIM handle. This handle was Astyanax. In one of the last conversations we had I asked her about its significance.

I was, of course, aware that Astyanax was the offspring of Hector and Andromache and supposedly thrown from the walls of Troy after the sacking of the city. But in some versions of the story Astyanax lived on to found settlements in Corsica and Sardinia.

Ginny—I could never call her that while she was alive, though she asked me to. Respect forced me to call her Mrs. Heinlein—told me that was exactly what she meant. Just like the Greeks thought that they'd successfully put Hector down and that no one would survive to avenge him, so the establishment thought it had successfully put Heinlein down and no one would survive to avenge him.

On the face of it, this seemed absurd. After all Heinlein died in his eighties, after a successful career. He was not murdered. His city was not sacked. Even for a metaphorical city, where it referred to Science Fiction, you could attribute falling readership to myriad conditions, including changes in US retail.

However, I knew exactly what she meant. You see, I'd come at Heinlein from an odd direction. In fact, it was many years before I realized that the first book of his I read must have been when I was nine or so. Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. At the time I didn't realize it was science fiction. I had no concept of Science Fiction. To me my Science Fiction reading started with—of all things—Out of Their Minds, by Clifford Simak. In fact, when I first read Heinlein after realizing what science fiction was, something about the way his characters acted and talked, scared me a little.

I was more comfortable in Clifford Simak's quieter universe, with its more docile heroes. Except some books of Heinlein’s would demand to be read again and again—Puppet Masters; The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress; Starship Troopers. Little by little, Heinlein grew on me. The first time I encountered the notion that taxes were a form of extortion was in his books. First argument against gun control, too, in Red Planet. First argument for individual freedom—The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. First statement that the future is always better than the past—The Door Into Summer. Growing up in a country that had been a monarchy for most of its existence, a country where in fact, the citizens were held to owe something to the country, not the other way around, this seemed like insanity. But it stayed with me. And it took root.

By the time I was in my early twenties, I knew that Heinlein was not only my favorite author, but—hands down—the greatest influence in forming my mind and spirit. (This, by the way reading mostly his adult books, as only about half of his juveniles were ever translated to Portuguese and available at the time I was buying.)
I was very shocked when I came to the US and found that it was not fashionable, and—in some quarters—not acceptable to be a Heinlein fan. Considering his beliefs, and his work, ranged from hard left to pragmatic right, not just because he was not captive of a view point, but because his beliefs changed through his life, Heinlein is, like the Bible, something in which everyone can find something to criticize. There were, for instance, the people who objected to what seems to be the militarism of Starship Troopers. (Never understood that one. Starship Troopers is if you're hit, hit back and you have a right to survive but that's me.) There are people who object (oh, of course. Even Heinlein saw that more than the rest, I think, because he expected it) to the sex which ran the gamut of everything people might consider offensive. There are people who object to his views on religion. There are people who object to his female characters wearing high heels. I'm sure I'm leaving a lot out.

(Though I never heard anyone object to Puppet Masters, which is odd, since the story questions our perceptions; our ability to know we're our own people; media behavior and, incidentally, the limits of Constitutional liberties. No, I don't object to the book. You see, like Heinlein I believe scary subjects are the ones that should be explored. In an entertaining manner. To make money and make people think, too.)

However, over time, criticism in the field I aspired to enter coalesced around objections coming mostly from the left. This happens possibly because with obvious and clear exceptions the writers and critics in the field, range from left-of-center to left-of-Stalin. (This is not a criticism, merely an observation.) So we hear that Heinlein was unfair to women, too militaristic, too pro-business, too pro-space-colonization and of course, that one thing he could never escape forever (given that if he’d lived he'd now be 102) a dead white male. And yes, we DO hear that he has too much sex, from people who clearly haven't read their field for a while. Needless to say those who think the proper place of genre literature is competing for space in college reading lists find him "too simplistic" and not nearly "nuanced" enough.

By far though, the shrillest criticism I’ve heard of Heinlein—perhaps because being female I move in female circles socially and sometimes professionally—comes from college-educated women. A female friend told me she'd gotten furious when reading Friday's rape in the beginning of Friday and had never read him again. The idea baffled me, since lots of authors write about rapes—lots of romance authors, who are mostly female. Mystery, too—and it doesn't mean they enjoy them or approve of them. It was clear from the raid after Friday's liberation that the rapists were killed and their organization destroyed. (Yes, one survives, but he was constrained to rape her, which changes things. And at any rate, he undergoes his own trials by fire. And he was like Friday, an artifact, so not a free man.) There was punishment for the act, so why the outrage?

And then I started hearing it from everywhere. Heinlein was anti-woman, they said. This despite the fact that he always maintained in his books that women were superior to men in most ways, and my having first encountered the concept of "date rape" in his books. Heinlein didn't even write real women, only men with tits. This last baffled me even more since, on a smaller scale—I was never built on the heroic scale. Emotionally and mentally, at least. The hips are getting downright monumental, these days—I'd always identified with his women. And I knew lots of women like them. Ironically some were women who didn't like him because—they said—he wrote men with tits. At the same time, while being accused of being too masculine, his women were attacked for liking men, for enjoying sex and wanting to be pregnant and for not having ever been told that "all penetration is violation." (Like a lot of Heinlein criticism, the contradictions can make your eyes cross and your head spin around three times.)

Sometimes the very fact that his women were larger than life was brought up as evidence that he hated women. A puzzling idea, since his men were also larger than life. It's what made his books so appealing. Very few people—outside college reading lists—want to read about average Joe getting up and struggling with the heart break of Psoriasis.

Sometimes the fact that his women liked men and were willing to dress and behave to please men was brought up against him. Children, if you don't know what's wrong with that reasoning, I can't help you. (Though I might find you some diagrams and a couple of very good manuals.) Women will always dress and behave to please men (even when that includes pretending they won't) and men will always dress and behave to please women.

Yeah, there are the exceptions, but then they're really only playing on the opposing team and the same rules apply. Heinlein himself said that everything from poetry to nuclear physics were only variations on the old game. Humans—mirabile dictu—are driven to mate and will go out of their way to make themselves attractive. (Shame on Mr. Heinlein for making his women human, instead of poreless rubber dolls with agendas.)

I soon realized none of these people—mostly women, though also a few men—had ever actually read Heinlein. Certainly no more than a few pages. They had heard how terrible he was and made up their minds about him before they read the first sentence. But they knew...just knew...all that they’d been told was true. And possibly more.

Which is how we came to the sad state of affairs where pros in panels can dismiss Heinlein by saying that like any old man he was obsessed with sex and politics.
The true reason for all this—though I won't say it was coordinated. Most of it can be attributed to stupidity, a wish to belong and fear rather than malice—is that Heinlein scares the living daylights of those who would restrict the operation of human reason. And so he should.

Yes, his politics varied over his lifetime. He tackled themes that no sane human being would tackle, for fear of retribution. Themes in which powerful elites have a lot invested. Power. Sex. Money. Religion. The definition of human. Obliquely and sideways, race. The changes technology can bring to all of those.

Now, some of the themes were less than elegantly handled. Sex for instance. But when you're examining the effects of extreme longevity on the incest taboo, it is quite possible there is no delicate way to tackle it.

However, more important than his themes or his political inclinations, or his preoccupation of the moment was his determination that the human mind should be free...free to examine and discover. Free to know. Free to find the truth. Which is why I perceived him—first in rejection, and later in embrace—as the quintessential American writer. His values were—always—of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. The primacy of the individual over the state or the church or the coercive group. It could be argued that having been educated in Heinlein I had to become an American citizen. In fact, had become one, in all but name and law long before I landed on these shores.

As he said it, himself When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, "This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know," the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, - not anything - you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.

He never anticipated...or perhaps he did (he did after all mention the crazy years)—an ideology (political correctness) that would make it impossible for anyone to talk about anyone else's problems, particularly for a man to write about the problems of women without oppressing them by his very act of "usurping" their "victimhood." An ideology—or perhaps merely a belief—that would make it impossible to disagree with the verdict of the cognoscenti once they’d declared any person’s ideas forbidden, any person’s reasoning offensive.

Mighty little force is needed to control a man—or a woman, or a child—whose mind has been hoodwinked.

They've managed to lock Heinlein's ideas, his thoughts, his persuasive, infectious insistence on individual will and free reasoning, behind walls where most people won't dare trespass. They have killed him as dead as they can, because—to quote Shakespeare, possibly talking about Marlowe—When a man's verses cannot be understood, nor a/man's good wit seconded with the forward child/Understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a/great reckoning in a little room.

They think they are safe. The man's words are dead. His wit is not available to the new generations. Even his gallant wife is gone.

But, alas, they counted without Astyanax. We are legion. And as long as there is a library standing, as long as the net remains reasonably free and gives us access to his works and those of other believers in freedom, more of us will appear.

I am not going to pretend I am equal in greatness to Heinlein. Would that I were. It was in full humility and sense of my own ineptitude that I dedicated my book Darkship Thieves to him. I hope there is in it at least a spark of his genius, but I know there’s probably no more than that.

But I was raised by Heinlein through his books, and I hope at least the spirit and the intention of the search for truth and individual freedom remains in my work. As well as the certainty that it's always easier to be a live lion than a live lamb or a dead lion.

I am sure many stand ready to kill me—or at least my career—I'm sure I'll be held to have despicable personal habits and low mental prowess. Heaven knows, I quite often feel tired and dispirited, as though I'm bleeding from multiple wounds.

But the need to awaken people drags me up again. I start writing to remind others of their innate freedom to think beyond the boundaries imposed by any ideology, any government, any church, any in-group, any literary current. The belief animates me that, so long as we keep fighting for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness and using our minds to improve the present, the future will always be better than the past.

And then, like Inigo Montoya, the mad Spaniard in The Princess Bride, I rise again and resume my search for those that killed my father: that intransigent refusal to think; that serf-like willingness to believe the wisdom of the self proclaimed "betters"; that boneless, spineless conformity that goes along to get along.

My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.
A Black Cat in the Coal Cellar at Midnight

Sarah A. Hoyt, Darkship Thieves (Baen Books; 2010; ISBN 978-1-4391-3317-0; cover by Allan Pollack).

The first book completed for the year is by a new-to-me (sort of) author, Sarah A. Hoyt.

Sort of, because I am embarrassed to admit that it is the first book I've read by her. And I've "known" her for a couple of years now. Between Baen's Bar and Facebook, I've exchanged messages dozens upon dozens of time.

My excuse? Sigh. So many books. So little time. So many ex-lovers to bury...

O.K., true confessions are past. On to the book!

Athena Hera Sinistra is the only child of one of Earth's rulers, one of the so-called Good Men (she knows him as Daddy Dearest). While on a visit to a space station (Circum Terra), she awakes to find a stranger in her bedroom. With her quick wits, a nightgown (and a handy boot with a deadly heel), she manages to escape her attacker...only to find that her father's ship appears to be under control by a mutinous crew and staff with her father knocked out and being readied for an operation.

She flees the ship only to collide with a powertree, an plant that grows in deep space and harvests the sunlight (which can then be used on Earth). While there, she meets one of the mysterious and legendary darkships, piloted by a somewhat strange-looking man named Christopher Bartalomeu Klaavil (or Kit).

Hilarity ensues as Thena is taken from her spoiled existence (more on that later) and thrust into Kit's society and then back to Earth where she in embroiled in a plot at the highest levels of Earth's society. Curtain falls...with potential for much to come.

The book was a quick read, no so much as it was lightweight, but because it kept my interest up. There are strong overtones of Robert A. Heinlein (which Hoyt acknowledges in the dedication, but also Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger (you probably know him better as Cordwainer Smith).

Heinlein is all over this book, from "Daddy Dearest" to an apparently spoiled yet highly competent female character, to "Earthworms" to a highly individualistic society to a revolution. I detected hints of Cordwainer Smith in the cycle of history that Hoyt outlines, the mysterious ruling class (with the "Good Men" in place of The Instrumentality of Mankind), to the spaceships (or "darkships"), to the powertree and even to Kit himself.

Science fiction with elements of...O.K., mystery is obvious. But also romance. Ick! It was written by a girl! Romance!

Just kidding, Sarah. Put down that burner!

The mystery comes from things like Thena herself. Daughter of one of Earth's rulers, she has spent much of her youth in hospitals, clinics and various other institutions. She ran with a rough crowd. Now, many children of the rich and powerful have problems or run with less than savory characters, but it gets all nicely tied up in the overall mystery.

The romance comes from the relationship that develops between Thena and Kit. O.K., it is a mild romance. Not even PG-13. Certainly nothing that my daughter would have trouble with (some of the manga she reads is more explicit). Beyond one nightgown that barely survives the first couple of chapters, there are no ripped bodices or too many heaving breasts.

Two things generally mark a "good thing" when I read a book by a new author. Readers of this blog may recall my initial impression upon coming across Travis S. "Doc" Taylor or John Ringo: I read the books fast, and I wanted more soon. Both these things are true of this book as well. Back to the bookstore!

FTC Disclaimer: This book, despite having received a very lovely review (even if I do say so myself) was 100% purchased with cash on the barrelhead at the local big box bookstore.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Coming Soon!

The first guest posting on Ye Olde Blog. By a Famous Author of Science Fiction and Fantasy! Stay tuned!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Once a Month...Like the Moon

Issue 270 of Ansible!

Talking Squid Redux. 'Your campaign is working!' writes Ric Cooper: 'On BBC Radio 4's Today programme at 08:41 on 28 December the presenter Evan Davis, interviewing Brian Aldiss and "science-fiction writer Ian Stewart" (Prof. Ian Stewart FRS), without prompting excoriated mainstream writers for belittling SF as being about "talking squid in space". / Aldiss was in fine elder statesman form, refusing to be cut off by the young whippersnapper, feigning to forget the name of the "crime lady" who perpetrated such very sincere flattery of his Greybeard (P.D. James with The Children of Men) and even coining a new name for SF – "metaphorical realism". / The respect shown to SF just might have had something to do with the fact that the programme's "guest editor" was a certain Martin Rees – that's Prof. Lord Rees, Astronomer Royal to you, sonny! He added his two penn'orth to the discussion, saying that he habitually told his students it was better to read first-rate SF than second-rate science writing.'

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Black Company

Glen Cook; Chronicles of the Black Company (consisting of The Black Company, Shadows Linger and The White Rose) (Tor Books; 2007; ISBN 978-0-7653-1923-5; cover art by Raymond Swanland).

Glen Cook has been active in the field for a couple of decades now, but I bet most readers today of military science fiction, urban fantasy or magical realism would not recognize his work. That's a shame, because a lot of what the readers of those three sub-genres love can be found in Cook's books. You are in luck! If you are lacking in these books, both Tor Books and Night Shade Books have been reprinting classics such as the series reviewed here, or his space opera books (Passage at Arms, etc.). His hardboiled fantasy detective series, Garrett, is pretty easily found in paperback and omnibus editions from the SFBC.

The Tales of the Black Company are a sprawling series dealing with various members of a mercenary company as they battle for and against various powers that are vying for supremacy over the world. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? The stuff of any one of dozens of fantasy epics crowding the shelves (farmboy discovers that he is really the lost prince, is taken in by a wizard, goes on quest, discovers love, wins throne...blech...).

These tales are quite different. What makes these stories different is the dirt.

O.K., it is more than the dirt. There are no waving banners, no knights in shining armor. Soldiers talk much as real soldier talk. They fight, they get wounded, they are healed, and wearily stagger back into the lines. They eat and whore, drink and curse. They might be fighting for the greater good, but they are also fighting to survive the day, to survive the mission.

The stories are interesting (and click on the previous link for outlines), but what really drew me into the books were Cook's dialogue, characters and interplay. Good stuff!

"That's not your department, though, is it? Catcher doesn't second-guess your surgical procedures, does he? Then why question the grand strategy?"

I grinned. "The unwritten law of all armies, Captain. The lower ranks have the privilege of questioning the sanity and competence of their commanders. It's the mortar holding an army together."

The Captain eyed me from his shorter stature, wider displacement, and from beneath shaggy brows. "That holds them together, eh? And you know what keeps them moving?"

"What's that?"

"Guys like me ass-kicking guys like you when they start philosophizing. If you get my drift."


One final comment: Tor used Raymond Swanland for the cover art. They also used Swanland for another pair of Cook's books and Night Shade Books used Swanland for several of their reprints. Not only is Swanland an amazing artist, but having multiple publishers use the same artist gives the author's works a unified look across the field that I don't think anybody else has tried to do. Great idea!

(Part of the 2009 Year in Books.)

FTC Disclaimer: This book was entirely purchased by me. I doubt the publisher even knows I exist and has done a review of the book.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Knights of the Round Table

Hal Foster; Prince Valiant: Volume I: 1937-1938 (Fantagraphics Books, Inc.; 2009; ISBN 978-1-60699-141-1; cover by Hal Foster).

Once upon a time, boys and girls, comics were an important part of your daily newspaper. They had their own pages, they had their own style, they sometimes ranged across as much as a page. Then came cost-cutting, enhancement of shareholder value and more and the comics were squeezed and squeezed and edited and cut and sliced and diced and put into a blender until the only place you can really find anything decent these days is in de intertubes and the webcomics.

Collections like this will make you weep with what was lost (click on the link and you'll see another link that allows you to download a sample from the book). Magnificent art. Panels that range from three or so across medium-sized panels and the occasional painfully detailed and colored super-sized panel. An ongoing story...with blood and gore even! Dooming predictions, wounds, loss and death.

Fantagraphics is to be thanked for working so hard to produce a book that shows Foster's artwork in a decent size and with the colors corrected. This is not a cheap book, and with one volume covering one year, I can see that this is going to be an expensive series to acquire. But it is a series that I'd gladly give up lunches to get!

FTC Disclaimer: This book was a gift. It was purchased by my lovely wife and given to me for Christmas. It was not a gift from the publisher.
Operational Pause

Normally at this time I would tally up everything I read in the previous year and post a combined month-end and year-end report. That will be delayed for a bit for two reasons. One, I want to write up more reviews of what I read (I've already posted several in the past day). Two, I need to look over the short story reads a bit more carefully (for example, I returned to the library a short story collection by Jeff VanderMeer and managed to lose my notes on it, so that has not been included in the count).

Final tally for the year should go up "soon".
2010: The Year in Shorts

While I've made it a habit over the past several years to try and read one short work a day, for a count of at least 365 for the year...I'm giving up that formal approach for the coming year.

The problem was it always turned from being a way to keep track to yet another pressure. I'm falling behind! I haven't read enough! Don't read that non-fiction magazine, it doesn't count! Don't listen to that podcast, you aren't reading!

I mean, for example, I listened to 365 podcasts coming out of The International Year of Astronomy last year. Should I count them? Should I have just read short stories?

So, I will continue to read and log stories here. But the formal race to the goal of 365 (or vastly more) is over. I'll maintain a count, but it don't...ummm...count...

Short work count: 2948 (through December 31, 2010).

Short Works: Independent, Anthologized, Single Author, Multi-Author:

John Joseph Adams: The Living Dead (5 stories, continuing to read). The Living Dead 02 (3 stories, continuing to read).

Dan Abnett (editor): Warhammer 40,000: Sabbat Worlds (3 stories, continuing to read).

Christopher Anvil: Interstellar Patrol (10 stories read, continuing to read).

Sidney Austen: The Frightened Planet (1 story, completed).

Robert Hayward Barlow: REH (1 story, completed).

Christopher Barzak: The Language of Moths (formerly available from Fictionwise) (1 story, completed).

Peter S. Beagle: The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche and Other Odd Acquaintances (13 stories, collection completed). Mirror Kingdoms (19 stories read, collection completed).

Albert Berg: Derelict (1 story, completed).

John Berlyne (compiler and editor): Powers: Secret Histories—A Bibliography (20 entries, continuing to read).

Judith Berman: Awakening (1 story, completed).

Zoe Blade: Identity. Less Than Human.

Nelson Bond: Lighter Than You Think (1 story, completed).

J.F. Bone: A Question of Courage (1 story, completed).

Anthony Bourdain: Medium Raw (21 entries, collection completed).

Leigh Brackett: Black Amazon of Mars (1 story). Beyond Mars (5 stories, collection completed) (samples here) (review here). Martian Quest (7 stories, continuing to read) (samples here).

Terry Bramlett: Child Maiden Woman Crone (formerly available from Fictionwise) (1 story, completed).

Lois McMaster Bujold: The Mountains of Mourning (part of the Young Miles omnibus) (1 story, collection completed). Borders of Infinity (3 stories, less the previous entry from another collection, collection completed). (Omnibus review here.)

Howell Calhoun: The Lost Temples of Xantoos (1 story, completed).

Lillian Stewart Carl and John Helfers (editors): The Vorkosigan Companion (22 entries, collection completed).

L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt: Tales from Gavagan's Bar (10 stories read, continuing to read).

Arthur C. Clarke: Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds! (Collected Essays, 1934-1998) (45 entries, collection completed).

David Drake: The Complete Hammer's Slammers Volume 01 (20 entries, continuing to read).

Freeman J. Dyson: A Many-Colored Glass (8 entries, collection completed).

Marc Gascoigne & Christian Dunn (editors): Let the Galaxy Burn (12 entries read in previous years, 11 stories in 2010, continuing to read).

Harlan Ellison: The Essential Ellison (32 entries read, continuing to read, reboot from previous year).

Edmond Hamilton: Sargasso of Space (link to story here). Crashing Suns (5 stories, collection completed) (review here).

Barry Malzberg: Breakfast in the Ruins (24 essays, continuing to read).

Michael Moorcock: Eric, Stealer of Souls (9 stories, continuing to read).

Larry Niven: Tales from Known Space (9 stories, continuing to read).

Jerry Pournelle: Exile and Glory (7 stories and 1 novel, stories completed, continuing to read novel).

Tim Powers: The Bible Repairman and Soul in a Bottle (both "chapbooks", so they will also be listed in The Year in Books).

John Scalzi: Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded (84 essays, collection completed).

Lucy Snyder: Installing Linux on a Dead Badger and Other Oddities (12 entries, collection completed).

Bud Sparhawk: Jake's Gift. Mary's Present.

Charles Stross: The Atrocity Archives (4 entries, collection completed). The Jennifer Morgue (3 entries, collection completed).

J.R.R. Tolkien: The Tolkien Reader (6 entries, collection completed).

Vernor Vinge: Fast Times at Fairmont High and The Coming Technological Singularity.

Non-Fiction Periodical Reading:

Sky & Telescope: January 2010 (counts as 4 entries). February 2010 (counts as 4 entries). March 2010 (counts as 4 entries). April 2010 (counts as 4 entries). May 2010 (counts as 4 entries). June 2010 (counts as 4 entries). July 2010 (counts as 4 entries). August 2010 (counts as 4 entries). September 2010 (counts as 4 entries). October 2010 (counts as 4 entries). November 2010 (counts as 4 entries). December 2010 (counts as 4 entries).

Podcasts:

Dan Abnett: Horus Rising (exerpt): 1 episode.

Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing: 33 episodes.

The Agony Column: 214 episodes.

All About Miniatures: 8 episodes.

All Things Considered: 1 episodes.

John Anealio and The Sci-Fi Songs Podcast: 11 episodes.

Angry Robot Books: 6 podcasts.

Robert Ashley's A Life Well Wasted: 1 episode.

Astronomy Cast: 1 episode.

Author's on Tour: 2 episodes.

Balticon Podcast: 18 episodes.

The Babylon Podcast: 62 episodes.

Bat Segundo: 45 episodes.

Peter S. Beagle: 7 episodes.

Berkman Center Audio Fishbowl: 1 episode.

The Beyond: 5 episodes.

The Biblio File: 20 episodes.

Binge Thinking History: 7 episodes.

Blue Room Podcast: 6 episodes.

Brew City Gamers: 1 episode.

Lars Brownworth's 12 Byzantine Rulers: 40 episodes.

The Butcher Block: 24 episodes.

Robert Cain and Ancient Rome Refocused: 5 episodes.

Carpe GM: 8 episodes.

Paul Kennedy (CBC Radio Show): 1 episode.

The Command Line: 4 episodes.

The D6 Generation Podcast: 80 episodes.

Dan Carlin's Common Sense: 146 episodes.

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History: 36 episodes.

Dead Robots' Society: 4 episodes.

Arthur C. Clarke & Others: 2001: SF or Man's Future: 1 episode.

Deepstrike: 3 episodes.

Dice Like Thunder: 13 episodes.

The Dice Tower: 4 episodes.

Dr. Karl: 16 episodes.

DragonPage: 24 episodes.

The Drop Pod Cast: 2 episodes.

Mike Duncan's The History of Rome: 80 episodes.

Len Edgerly and The Reading Edge: 4 episodes.

The Eternal Warriors: 3 episodes.

Eye on the Internet: 1 episode.

Fear the Boot: 13 episodes.

Fell Calls: 72 episodes.

The Forge Pod Cast: 1 episodes.

Fresh Air: 2 episodes.

The Fringeworthy Podcast: 17 episodes.

Stephen Fry/Stephen Fry's Podgrams: 9 episodes.

Functional Nerds: 34 episodes.

The Future and You: 2 episodes.

Neil Gaiman: 1 episode.

Gamer's Haven: 1 episode.

Geek Fu Action Grip: 15 episodes.

The Geek Life: 64 episodes.

The Geek Spin Podcast: 3 episodes.

Geeks Guide to the Galaxy: 22 episodes.

Guts 'n' Gears: 6 episodes.

George Hageman/The Military History Podcast: 19 episodes.

George Hrab's The Geologic Podcast: 1 episode.

The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast: 67 episodes.

IEEE Spectrum Radio: 1 episode.

I Should Be Writing: 18 episodes.

If You Are Just Joining Us: 68 episodes.

Imperial Voxcast: 1 episode.

In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg: 5 episodes.

The Incomparable Podcast: 19 episodes.

I've Been Diced: 1 episode.

The Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas: 17 episodes.

The Living Proof Podcast with John Williams & Thomas Gideon: 3 episodes.

Meeples & Miniatures: 1 episode.

Morning Edition: 5 episodes.

Movie Mantras with Marvin Darkly: 70 episodes, counting as 7 entries.

Jim Mowatt's Historyzine: 3 episodes.

The Nerdist Podcast: 40 episodes.

Nowhere in Mulberry: 2 episodes.

NYAS: 2 episodes.

On the Media: 1 episode.

Philip K. Dick Festival: 3 episodes.

Plus Magazine: 2 episodes.

PodCastle: 3 episodes.

PodCulture: 14 episodes.

Podhammer: 11 episodes.

Pods & Blogs/Outriders: 30 episodes.

Point 2 Point: 1 episode.

Popular Mechanics Magazine: 1 episode.

Pray As You Go: 55 episodes.

Pulp Gamer Podcast: 2 episodes.

Radio Lab: 72 episodes.

Random/Sturgeon's Law: 30 episodes.

Scalzicast with John Scalzi: 1 episode.

Set Cast Podcast: 1 episode.

SF Signal Dot Com/The SF Signal Podcast: 21 episodes.

SFFaudio Podcast: 1 episode.

Skillswap on Speed: 1 episode.

Slice of Sci-Fi: 4 episodes.

Spider Robinson: 8 episodes.

The S-Words Podcast: 1 episode.

The SciFiDimensions Podcast: 3 episodes.

The Sci-Fi Guys: 1 episode.

The SF Review Podcast: 69 episodes.

Sidebar Nation: 3 episodes.

Matthew Sanborn Smith/Beware the Hairy Mango: 1 episode.

Spacewesterns Podcast: 3 episodes.

The State of Things Podcast: 1 episode.

Neal Stephenson's: Quicksilver (excerpt): 1 episode.

Studio 360: 6 episodes.

Sword and Laser: 5 episodes.

Table Gamer Weekly: 2 episodes.

Talk of the Nation: 1 episode.

THACO: 6 episodes.

This Week in Wargaming: 19 episodes.

The Time Traveler Show: 1 episode.

Tolkien Professor Podcast: 6 episodes.

Tor Dot Com Episodes: 6 episodes.

Mitch Wagner/The Copper Robot: 1 episode.

Jo Walton: 1 episode.

The Webcomic Beacon Podcast: 3 episodes.

Weekend Edition Saturday: 2 episodes.

Weekend Edition Sunday: 1 episode.

What the Cast: 11 episodes.

Wil Wheaton's Radio Free Burrito: 33 episodes.

World's End Radio: 7 episodes.

Writing Excuses: 57 episodes.

YSDC/Yog-Sothoth Radio Podcast: 3 episodes.

Z/Radio Free Hipster: 9 episodes.

The 365 Days of Astronomy: 365 episodes.

3 Chip Media LLC/What the Cast?: 72 episodes.

40K Radio: 21 episodes.
2010: The Year in Books

Count for the year-to-date: 107 books. Most recent book read: The Lessons of History by Will & Ariel Durant.

Pete Abrams: Dangerous Days (Sluggy Freelance Book 9) (April).

Robert Lynn Asprin: Another Fine Myth (May). Myth Conceptions (May).

Peter S. Beagle: The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche and Other Odd Acquaintances (April). Mirror Kingdoms (December).

Gregory Benford: Across the Sea of Stars (November).

Anthony Bourdain: Medium Raw (July).

Leigh Brackett: Beyond Mars (link here) (July).

Lois McMaster Bujold: Falling Free (April). Shards of Honor (May). Barrayar (May). The Warrior's Apprentice (June). The Vor Game (June). Cetaganda (July). Ethan of Athos (July). Borders of Infinity (July). Brothers in Arms (July). Mirror Dance (October). (Omnibus review here.)

Jim Butcher: Storm Front (June). Fool Moon (June). Grave Peril (August). Death Masks (September)

Lillian Stewart Carl and John Helfers: The Vorkosigan Companion: The Universe of Lois McMaster Bujold (April).

A. Bertram Chandler: Spartan Planet (August). The Inheritors (August).

Arthur C. Clarke: Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds! Collected Essays: 1934-1998.

David Drake: What Distant Deeps (November).

Wil & Ariel Durant: The Lessons of History (December).

Freeman Dyson: A Many-Colored Glass: Reflections on the Place of Life in the Universe (December).

Nathaniel Fick: One Bullet Away—The Making of a Marine Officer (March).

Eric Flint & Ryk E. Spoor: Boundary (August). Threshold (August).

Phil and Kaja Foglio: Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm (Girl Genius Book Nine) (August).

C.S. Forester: Rifleman Dodd—A Novel of the Peninsular Campaign (March).

Hal Foster: Prince Valiant, Volume I: 1937-1938 (January).

Fred Gallagher: MegaTokyo 01 (with Rodney Caston). MegaTokyo 02 (with Rodney Caston). MegaTokyo 03 (February). MegaTokyo 04 (February). MegaTokyo 05 (February). MegaTokyo 06 (August).

Matt Gallagher: Kaboom (October).

Martin Gardner: The Universe in a Handkerchief: Lewis Carroll's Mathematical Recreations, Games, Puzzles, and Word Plays (December).

William Gibson: Virtual Light (April). Pattern Recognition (September). Spook Country (September). Zero History (September) (Combined review here.).

Harold Leland Goodwin (as "John Blaine"): Smuggler's Reef (Rick Brandt #07) (free eBook here) (August).

Colonel David H. Hackworth and Julie Sherman: About Face (August).

Edmond Hamilton: Crashing Suns (link here) (July).

Mark Hodder: Burton & Swinburne in The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack (October).

Sarah A. Hoyt: Darkship Thieves (January).

Jeph Jacques: Questionable Content Volume 01 (December).

Jerome K. Jerome: Three Men in a Boat (August). Three Men on the Bummel (September).

Robert D. Kaplan: Imperial Grunts (October).

John Keegan: The Battle for History: Re-Fighting World War II (February).

Kazo Kibuishi: Amulet 01 (October). Amulet 02 (October). Amulet 03 (October).

Jeff Kinney: Diary of a Wimpy Kid (March). Rodrick Rules (March). The Last Straw (March). Dog Days (March).

Masashi Kishimoto: Nartuo: The Official Fanbook (December). Naruto #048 (December). Naruto #049 (December). Naruto #050 (December). (Combined review here.)

Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (July). The Girl Who Played With Fire (November). The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (December) (Combined review here.).

Alastair MacLean: The Guns of Navarone (February).

Peter R. Mansoor: Baghdad at Sunrise—A Bridgade Commander's War in Iraq (March).

S.L.A. Marshall: The Soldier's Load and The Mobility of a Nation (March).

Sandy Mitchell: Scourge the Heretic (August).

Craig M. Mullaney: The Unforgiving Minute (May).

Nina Matsumoto: Yokaiden 01 (February). Yokaiden 02 (March).

Tsutomu Nihei: Biomega 01 (August).

Larry Niven: World of Ptavvs (December).

Andre Norton: Star Born (part of the Star Flight omnibus) (July).

Patrick O'Brian: Master & Commander (combined review, of sorts, here) (March).

Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata: Bakuman 01 (August).

Tim Powers: The Bible Repairman (August) and Soul in a Bottle (August) (both "chapbooks", so they will also be listed in The Year in Shorts).

Terry Pratchett: Night Watch (October).

Thomas E. Ricks: Fiasco (September).

John Ringo: Live Free or Die (March). Citadel (October).

J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (March). Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (March). Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (March). Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (March). Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (March). Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (March). Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows (March) (Previous review here.)

John Scalzi: Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded (December).

Lucy A. Snyder: Installing Linux on a Dead Badger and Oddities (December).

Charles Stross: The Atrocity Archives (April). The Jennifer Morgue (April) (combined review here).

James Swallow: Faith & Fire (January).

Howard Tayler: The Tub of Happiness (March). The Teraport Wars (March). Under New Management (March) The Blackness Between (April) The Scrapyard of Insufferable Arrogance (April) Resident Mad Scientist (August) (previous review here).

Travis S. Taylor and Les Johnson: Back to the Moon (eARC) (October). Back to the Moon (final) (December).

J.R.R. Tolkien: The Tolkien Reader (May).

Sun Tzu: The Art of War (March).