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1993 was the year I went back to school. I had been working as a research assistant at the Canadian Network for Space Research, helpfully located in the sub-basement of the Biological Sciences building at the University of Alberta, since just after my graduation with a B.Sc. in Physics in 1991 up until the fall of 1992, when funding was cut for the "Network of Centres of Excellence" program that CNSR was part of, and my position disappeared. I spent pretty much the next year unemployed, deciding early in 1993 to go and get a Computing Science degree instead.Here's what I was reading during the first half of that year...

1. Lorna Toolis & Michael Skeet: Tesseracts4 (December 30, 1992-January 3, 1993, Anthology, Science Fiction/Fantasy)
For years I was an ardent supporter of the Aurora Awards for Canadian speculative fiction, and in 1993, apparently, I was determined to read as many Aurora-eligible books--written by Canadian authors and published within the previous two years--as I could. I started with this one, the most recent Tesseracts anthology, which of course contained a number of eligible short fiction works as well.

2. On Spec Winter 1992 (January 3-5, Magazine)
Then on to the latest issue of On Spec, for more Canadian short fiction candidates.

3. Senary 1 (January 5, Magazine)
Senary was a new Canadian SF magazine that had just come out...and as far as I know, this was the only issue. I don't have the full story on what happened to it, though.

4. Tanya Huff: Blood Trail (January 5-6, Fantasy (Urban))
This is the second book in Tanya Huff's series--now called "Blood Ties", I suppose, after the series, but at the time often called "Blood X" (after the pattern of the titles) or "Victory Nelson" (after the main character). The first book introduced vampires and demons, and this one adds werewolves to the mix. I reread this series within the last year or so.

5. Antony Swithin: The Lords of The Stoney Mountains (January 6-11, Fantasy)
Another Canadian author I heard about at ConText, though now I can't remember if it was in '89 or '91. He had a four-book series set in a world where the tiny mid-Atlantic island of Rockall was actually a large continent, and our protagonist gets to explore it; this was the second book. Mostly a milieu-oriented story, character and plot generally taking a backseat to the travelogue, though the plot does pick up a big as the series goes on.

6. Robert J. Sawyer: Far-Seer (January 11-13, Science Fiction)
Robert Sawyer mailed out copies of his first novel, Golden Fleece, to...I guess I'm not sure if it was attendees of ConText '89, or members of SF Canada, or who, but it included my wife, in any case. I was interested enough to pick up his second novel, which is the first in his Quintaglio Trilogy, about a race of sentient dinosaurs on an alien planet. This one I remember being quite enjoyable; it's about their own equivalent of Galileo.

7. S.M. Stirling: Snowbrother (January 13-16, Science Fiction)
This is another book in the Fifth Millennium series. As I understand it, S.M. Stirling, Shirley Meier and Karen Wehrstein were all writing SF novels set in a postapocalyptic far future (probably between 4000-5000 AD), with some similarities, and decided to combine them into one world, with crossovers. This book introduces Stirling's character Sh'kai'ra, a woman of the Kommanzanu tribe descended from American military units, mostly primitive but with stray bits of technology here and there. I don't remember much about the plot, just that this is probably my least favourite Fifth Millennium novel, though I've enjoyed many Stirling novels since then, so I may revisit it sometime.

8. Crawford Kilian: Greenmagic (January 17-19, Fantasy)
Kilian was a Canadian author I hadn't heard of before he appeared on the eligibility lists. This is another book that I don't recall much about, so I suspect it wasn't anything special, and I may have weeded it from my own library by this point. (In general, I used to keep every book that I bought and read all the way to the end, but I'm trying to teach myself to get rid of ones I don't think I'll ever plan to reread...)

9. Michelle Sagara: Into The Dark Lands (January 20-22, Fantasy)
This is Michelle Sagara (a.k.a. Michelle West)'s first novel, Book One of her tetralogy "The Sundered". It's dark fantasy in a lot of ways, considering that the good guys don't do very well in the book, and our main character is romantically drawn to the Prince of Darkness type--which is something that Sagara/West does a lot in her later books.

10. Dave Duncan: The Reaver Road (January 22-24, Fantasy)
This originally looked like a one-off from Duncan (though it did have a sort of sequel later), done in an interesting format which, for the most part, consisted of the main character, Omar, telling stories of legends from the past, but by the end those legends become all too relevant to current events... Due for a reread, I'd say.

11. Sean Russell: The Initiate Brother (January 24-27, Fantasy)
This was Sean Russell's first novel, the story of a monk who gets involved in complex intrigues in a sort of hybrid Chinese-Japanese society which I found fascinating. This was the first book of what turned out to be a duology (as many of Russell's series were). Still part of my Aurora reading.

12. Spider & Jeanne Robinson: Starseed (January 27, Science Fiction)
Spider Robinson's work, with or without his wife, was usually quick reading, and this one apparently was no different, though I don't recall its events specifically. It would have been a few years by this point since I had read the first book in the series, Stardance,

13. Robert Charles Wilson: A Bridge of Years (January 28-31, Science Fiction)
I think this was my first Robert Charles Wilson, though certainly not my last. I don't remember the plot much, except for having something to do with a stranded time traveler, but the image that has always stuck with me were the tiny little metal insects that scrupulously cleaned the one character's house of any organic waste, because I would still so love to have those things.

14. Don H. DeBrandt: The Quicksilver Screen (January 31-February 2, Science Fiction)
A first novel by another new author I tried for the first time because he was Canadian. This one was cyberpunk, and a little bit derivative, but he got better later.

15. Sean Stewart: Passion Play (February 3-4, Science Fiction)
Once again, another first novel by a Canadian author, this one a science fiction murder mystery whose details have faded from my mind, and so probably also ripe for a reread, though I recall Stewart doing better work later as well.

16. Lesley Choyce: Ark of Ice (February 5-8, Anthology, Science Fiction)
An anthology of Canadian science fiction, though I don't recall many of the individual stories. Looking at the contents list, I recall the Jean-Louis Trudel story, the Spider Robinson (a reprint, as his shorter output was dwindling around this time), and none of the other titles ring bells. I think Choyce was the chief editor of Tesseract Books at the time, but I could be wrong.

17. S.M. Stirling & Shirley Meier: Saber & Shadow (February 11-15, Science Fiction)
Another Fifth Millennium book (technically coming after Meier's Shadow's Daughter, but I hadn't found that one yet), featuring Sh'kai'ra and Megan Whitlock, who turn into an awesome female Fafhrd & Grey Mouser-type combo. Contains several memorable scenes, like the swordfight high on the rafters above bubbling vats of candy.

18. Antony Swithin: The Winds of The Wastelands (February 16-17, Fantasy)
The plot of the Rockall series picked up a bit in this book, as I recall, as it became less of a travelogue and had a few more interesting characters, and an actual antagonist.

19. Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens: Shifter (February 17-19, Fantasy)
First in "The Chronicles of Galen Sword", this book seems, in retrospect, to be a bit ahead of its time in being what today would be basically called "urban fantasy", with the protagonist fighting supernatural creatures in the modern world. Pity the series didn't do better...

20. Karen Wehrstein: Lion's Soul (February 19-22, Science Fiction)
The conclusion of the story of Fourth Chevenga, also tying into some of the later events in the other Fifth Millennium books, so again, a little bit out of chronological order. In particular, this crosses over with Shadow's Son, which came after The Cage, which came after Saber & Shadow. But even just taken together with Lion's Heart it was a great story.

21. Guy Gavriel Kay: A Song For Arbonne (February 24-26, Fantasy)
I thought I had already read Kay's Tigana by this point, but my records say otherwise. I had definitely read the Fionavar Tapestry, at least. I probably borrowed this one from a friend who had bought the hardcover and already read it, and I definitely had other people's praises of Tigana ringing in my ears, but for whatever reason this one didn't gel for me. I'm not sure why--perhaps it's because there was little or no actual magic, or because there were major viewpoint characters who ended up being strictly peripheral to the plot, or...I don't know. Maybe I'll like it better on reread. In any case, not my favourite of Kay's.

22. OnSpec Spring 1993 (February 27, Magazine)
This was still part of my Aurora reading, even though these stories wouldn't have been eligible until the next year... It probably had just come in and I put it into my reading order right away.

28. Elisabeth Vonarburg: In The Mothers' Land (February 27-March 4, Science Fiction)
I'd already read Vonarburg's The Silent City (to which this book was, apparently, a sequel--don't know if I picked up on that before), and seen her read at ConText '91. This novel, also published as The Maerlande Chronicles), I always thought must have been an amazing translation job, because the setting is a world where women dominate the society, and the very language has been affected by it. In French, this would have been done by making many words feminine that would have been masculine before, and somehow, even in the English translation, this comes across.

29. Michelle Sagara: Children of The Blood (March 4-5, Fantasy)
Second book of The Sundered; I wouldn't have normally read them so close together except for their Aurora eligibility. This one takes place a while after the first book, introducing several new characters, but still mostly focuses on the romance with the Prince of Darkness type, as I recall.

30. Ann Marston: Kingmaker's Sword (March 6-7, Fantasy)
This must have been a manuscript copy, because the book didn't actually come out until a few years later. Must have been for one of our writers' group meetings...

31. Shirley Meier: Shadow's Daughter (March 7-10, Science Fiction)
Now I'm finally catching up on Megan Whitlock's backstory, before Saber & Shadow; better late than never. I liked it better than Snowbrother, but her and Sh'kai'ra work better as a team.

32. Tom Henighan: Strange Attractors (March 10-13, Collection, Science Fiction)
One of the more obscure of my Aurora reads, since I'd never heard of the guy before seeing his name on the eligibility list, and I had to special-order it. Mostly shorter works that have failed to stay with me, though there is a novella, something like "The Book of Tobit", which took up a large chunk of the book.

33. Samuel M. Key: From A Whisper To A Scream (March 13-14, Horror)
Samuel M. Key is a pseudonym for Charles de Lint, who I was just getting into reading. I'm not much into horror, but since I'd recently discovered that Stpehen King and Dean Koontz weren't all bad, I thought I'd try Mr. de Lint's as well. It was just okay, though.

34. Heather Spears: Moonfall (March 14-20, Science Fiction)
Still in my Aurora reading, another new author, though this one apparently an award-winning poet, Canadian but living in Denmark. Very dense going, as you can judge based on my usual reading rate at the time, and I think I weeded this book some time ago as I never intended to read it again...

35. Sean Russell: Gatherer of Clouds (March 20-24, Fantasy)
Conclusion of the story begun in The Initiate Brother, and it doesn't quite live up to it, but it wasn't too bad either. Again, I would've probably left it for a few months more if not for the Auroras.

36. Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens: Nightfeeder (March 24-26, Fantasy)
The second Galen Sword book--and, what do you know, according to the Internet there was a third book that came out years later. I presume that this one was more vampire-oriented while Shifter was werewolves, but I can no longer recall.

37. Robertson Davies: Murther & Walking Spirits (March 26-28, Literature)
I'd already read Davies' Cornish Trilogy and two-thirds of the Deptford Trilogy, and I was intrigued by this one actually showing up on the Aurora list. Admittedly, The Rebel Angels had featured some actual angels, but mostly as observers, not participants. This one was kind of fun; the main character is murdered--in literally the first sentence--and the beginning of his afterlife involves him (a film critic) attending a "film festival" of his ancestors' lives. So it's really a historical novel in a lot of ways, but from an interesting perspective.

38. Charles de Lint: The Little Country (March 28-29, Fantasy)
This was the book I had first heard Charles de Lint read from at ConText '89, and it took this long for it to actually come out in paperback (because I was still eschewing hardcovers at this point). Was it still Aurora-eligible even, still, at this point? A number of these weren't, I suppose, but were prequels to ones that were, perhaps? I did enjoy this book a lot, once I finally got to read it.

39. Shirley Meier, S.M. Stirling & Karen Wehrstein: Shadow's Son (March 30-April 1, Science Fiction)
The climax of the Fifth Millennium series (though at this point I still hadn't managed to find The Cage), with all three major characters crossing over, though Fourth Chevenga's part was fairly peripheral, as I recall. I don't remember much about the plot or how good it was or anything. Also, may be the last of my Aurora reading for the year, finally.

40. Nicole Luiken: Mirror, Mirror (April 2-5, Fantasy)
Another one of my wife's manuscripts; I can't recall now if this was the most recent draft, or the first draft (which I seem to recall reading at some point, and which had a very different plot). Still unpublished.

41. Margaret Atwood: Wilderness Tips (April 5-7, Collection, Literature)--library copy
Atwood is still Canadian, of course, but I don't think there were any SF elements in these stories (though I could be wrong, Atwood has strayed in that direction from time to time), so probably post-Aurora reading. Reading The Handmaid's Tale and Surfacing had made me curious enough to try more Atwood, but she's not an author I've really kept up on.

42. Marion Zimmer Bradley: Sword And Sorceress (April 7-10, Anthology, Fantasy, Reread)
I'd read the first few Sword & Sorceress books, and probably the first one had come from the library, so when I got my own copy I wanted to reread it. I haven't read any of the anthologies since then, and I suspect I may have weeded this copy, but I probably discovered a few authors through these books.

43. John Crowley: Ægypt (April 11-18, Fantasy)--library copy
At least, it's possible this book may have been fantasy. Still gung-ho about Crowley after the first two I read, I grabbed this one at the library and plowed through it. It was a slower read than the others (it took me a week, which was forever, at the time), and at the time I think I liked it, but it didn't inspire me to go on with more books when I discovered that it was the beginning of a series... In some ways it almost fits in with books like The Eight (and maybe even The Da Vinci Code), about discovering secrets from the past, but maybe that's just my vague recollections that it had something to do with John Dee. And the central thesis of the book is that, from time to time, the past changes to match the assumptions of the present.

44. Nicole Luiken: Ribbons Red (April 18-20, Mystery)
Another early manuscript of my wife's, this one her second novel ever written, which almost got published when she was a teenager, but that fell through. I don't remember much of the plot except that it was a murder mystery, and may not even have had any paranormal elements at all in it. Oh, and I think I remember who the murderer was, too.

45. Philip K. Dick: A Scanner Darkly (April 20-22, Science Fiction)
A harrowing book about an undercover narcotics cop whose drugs begin to affect his brain and how he perceives reality. So, you know, like a Philip K. Dick novel. I found it a good read, as I recall, though it's disturbing to discover (from Wikipedia, just now) that it was somewhat autobiographical, if science-fictionalized. (And he wasn't a cop.)

46. Roger Penrose: The Emperor's New Mind (April 22-26, Nonfiction)
I don't normally put nonfiction in this list, but this one I did, for some reason--perhaps because it was borrowed? Penrose is a mathematician well known for his "Penrose Tiles", shapes which tile the plane in an aperiodic manner. This book, a rumination on the brain and the nature of consciousness, I seem to recall descending into special pleading to allow the mind to be the product of quantum-mechanical uncertainty to preserve the idea of free will. Seems like wishful thinking on Penrose's part, and I found it entirely unconvincing.

47. George Eliot: Silas Marner (April 26-28, Literature)
I remember reading a Classic Comics version of this when I was younger, though a lot of it went over my head. Reading the actual book (and being a little bit older as well), I enjoyed it a fair bit, putting Eliot on the list of authors I should try again sometime. (I have a copy of Middlemarch sitting around somewhere...)

48. IASFM December 1989 (April 28-29, Magazine)
Looks like I was a little bit behind on my IASFM reading. Not sure if I ever did catch up...

49. Woody Allen: Without Feathers (April 29, Humour)
Another book I wouldn't bother logging as a read these days, borrowed from my brother. Amusing enough--I've never seen much for Woody Allen movies, or his standup or anything, but I don't mind him in prose form.

50. Frederik Pohl: Jem (April 29-30, Science Fiction)
I picked this book up becuse of its striking cover, as I recall, bright pink with the title in big letters, and then in smaller letters "This is the way the world ends..." I have an actual review of it on my site, but essentially it's a somewhat dystopian novel of a polarized Earth being brought to conflict by their efforts to enlist the primitive sentients of newly-discovered planet Jem. A very Cold War-era novel in many ways.

51. Sheri S. Tepper: Beauty (April 30-May 2, Fantasy)
At this point I was so eager for a new Sheri S. Tepper that I actually bought this one in trade paperback rather than wait for the mass-market. Was it worth it? Well, I waited for the mass-market with all the rest... This book was enjoyable enough, as our main character is bounced around in time through real-life versions of many famous fairy tales (including "Sleeping Beauty", of course, but she also gets to be the witch in "Snow White"...), as well as a bizarre city outside of time and a dystopian future world, and eventually gets her happy ending.  Also something I reviewed at the time.

52. Theodore Sturgeon: E Pluribus Unicorn (May 3, Collection, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Reread)
This collection would probably have been the first Sturgeon I read, back in high school. There is a unicorn story, which explains the clever title, but the story itself is kind of trite, and there's much better work in here, such as "The Professor's Teddy-Bear", "Bianca's Hands", and "It Wasn't Syzygy". Probably a few duds, too, but those are the ones that stick with me.  Reviewed.

53. Fred Saberhagen: A Spadeful of Spacetime (May 3-5, Anthology, Science Fiction)
I don't know if I ever saw Saberhagen do another anthology, so this must have been some kind of pet project. The theme of the anthology was stories that involved time travel without a time machine. I also have an online review for this one, so let me just say that it was kind of uneven, had a few good stories in it, and was altogether not what I expected--and not necessarily in a good way.

54. Glen Cook: The Silver Spike (May 5-7, Fantasy)
I continued on into the later Black Company books at first mostly by borrowing them from my friend Jeremy. This book is an odd sideline book to the series; it doesn't contain many of the main characters--Croaker, Lady, etc.--from the series, but follows a couple of minor ones, and ties up a few plot threads involving old enemies. Pretty good, but not essential unless you were really wondering what happened to these guys.  Reviewed.

55. Clifford D. Simak: Way Station (May 7-9, Science Fiction)
I'd never read much for Simak, but at the urging of random folk on rec.arts.sf.written, I tried this one, his Hugo-winning novel. I agree that it's pretty good, but I've still hardly read any Simak.  Reviewed.

56. Andrew Weiner: Station Gehenna (May 9-10, Science Fiction)
I hardly remember this book, sad to say. I probably bought it because Weiner is Canadian, and I may have bumped it up in my queue because of reading his excellent short story "The News From E Street". But this book did not stick with me.  I also seem to have run out of steam for my online reviews.

57. Piers Anthony: Split Infinity (May 10-11, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Reread)
As my taste for Piers Anthony dwindled, I mustered one last reread of the Apprentice Adept, one of my favourites of his series. As I recall, on this reread, this book held up pretty well.

58. Gene Wolfe: The Sword of The Lictor (May 11-13, Science Fiction)
After the first two books of Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun, I was beginning to get interested, though it was still a disorienting series to read. Things were starting to come together a bit, though, with the third book.

59. Gardner Dozois: Strangers (May 13-15, Science Fiction)
When I see a book written by someone that I normally see as an editor, I often pick it up, out of curiosity, to see if they can write. Judging by this Gardner Dozois novel (he is, of course, the longtime editor at Asimov's), he can't. This book has two big strikes against it, for me. One is that its central premise relies on the fact that members of this alien race can interbreed with humans. By the time I read this I knew how unlikely that was, given how unlikely it is that any two creatures on Earth are genetically compatible that way, let alone on other planets, where they might not even use DNA. The other was that, even given this, and that somehow the Earth genes would affect the alien female's normal reproductive process, our human protagonist had ample evidence to deduce the "secret plot twist", which is that (who cares about spoilers, I'm saving you the trouble of reading this book) the alien women all died in childbirth. I think the clincher for me was the discovery that the alien language's word for "virgin" and "old woman" were the same, but there were lots of other clues, which our human was too stupid to notice. So I guess you can see that I do remember its plot, even after all this time, and yet all it did was encourage me to steer clear of Gardner Dozois's writing in the future.

60. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: When The World Screamed (May 17, Collection)
I'm not one of those huge Sherlock Holmes fans, but I have read a few stories here and there. Nonetheless, it was the non-Holmesness of this book that intrigued me, because I was curious what else he had going on. The title story is a sort of science-fictional cautionary tale, but I confess I don't remember much of the rest. I have since passed it on to a more devout Doyle fan.

61. IASFM Mid-December 1989 (May 18, Magazine)
Isaac Asimov's SF Magazine kept, for years, to a 13-issue annual schedule. For a while they just displayed the calendar dates for each issue (e.g. "March 15, 1982"), but at some point they stopped; perhaps people wondered where the other 352 issues were? So they reverted to displaying them by month, and their thirteenth issue was labelled "Mid-December". I'm not sure why December got picked, rather than, say, July or August; maybe it gave them more opportunity to publish Christmas stories?

62. Howard O'Hagan: Tay John (May 18-20, Literature)--library copy
This is one of the books that I picked up at the library based on its mention in John Robert Colombo's seminal Canadian SF anthology, Other Canadas. It's not very fantastical in nature, though, being more in the nature of folklore than anything else, so I'm going to classify it as mainstream. "Tay John" is a version of "Tête Jaune", or "Yellow Head" (i.e. "blonde"), so possibly the first European blonde to set foot in the region. Since I live not too far from Alberta's Yellowhead Highway, and have even driven over the mountains on it, I found that aspect interesting, but on the whole the book didn't do much for me.

63. Dave Duncan: A Rose-Red City (May 20-21, Fantasy)
Filling in the gaps of the early Dave Duncan books, I borrowed this one from my sister-in-law (who let me keep it). I don't remember much about it, probably due for a reread, but it may have had something to do with Greek mythology or something...

64. Piers Anthony: The Colour of Her Panties (May 21-23, Fantasy)--library copy
The first Xanth book I never bought, and probably about half the reason I stopped buying Piers Anthony. The title had already put me off, but I thought I'd give it a try from the library, and it managed not to exceed my already low expectations. I was used to some of his odd fixations by this time, but not this one.

65. James Blish: Titan's Daughter (May 23-24, Science Fiction)
Having enjoyed Cities In Flight, I tried another early Blish novel, but this one did nothing for me. There was some genetic-engineered subrace of tall humans, something about them being "tetraploid" (which is based on a bad back-formation of "diploid"), and I don't remember much else.

66. Guy Gavriel Kay: Tigana (May 24-26, Fantasy)
This is when I finally got around to Tigana, apparently. Quickly became one of my favourite books (once I got past the annoying prologue, at least), and held up quite well on a recent reread, too. For those who don't know, it's a fairly epic (if one-volume) story of the titular province, under a curse designed to let its name be forgotten, and how its various denizens strive to throw it off. Chock full of memorable scenes.

67. Philip José Farmer: Image of The Beast (May 26-28, Science Fiction, Reread)
I read this one from the paperback racks in the library as a horny teenager who was intrigued by the promise of smut. In that respect it was a little disappointing, being more weird than sexy, but it still had some interesting bits discovered on rereading.

68. D.R. Bensen: The Unknown (May 28-20, Anthology, Science Fiction/Fantasy)
This was a collection of stories from the old pulp magazine "The Unknown", and, interestingly, was not entirely science fiction, though any fantasy-esque stories within were generally more "magic in the real world" than sword and sorcery. I don't remember anything about more than one or two of them by this point, though.

69. Glen Cook: Dreams of Steel (May 30-31, Fantasy)
The next Black Company series (and last for several years), which was a bit of a switch because our usual narrator/annalist, Croaker, was MIA, so instead Lady was the annalist for this book. Not sure if that was an improvement, because Croaker is such a great character, but it was an interesting change. Sadly, the book ended on...not quite a cliffhanger, but a downturn, and then, as I said, it was years before Glen Cook was able to resume the series (with what was supposed to be one book, Glittering Stone, but turned into three or four...).

70. Robert Silverberg: Next Stop The Stars (June 1, Collection, Science Fiction)
A short story collection by Robert Silverberg, but like most such, I've forgotten the exact contents, so not much for reminiscences here.

71. OnSpec Summer 1993 (June 1-2, Magazine)
Apparently I was doing better at keeping up with OnSpec than I was with Asimov's, probably due to my Aurora interests.

72. Robertson Davies: World of Wonder (June 2-4, Literature)
Finishing up Davies's Deptford trilogy, with the examination of the story of the boy who left town and returned as a magician. Not quite as engaging as Fifth Business, perhaps, but still entertaining, securing Davies as perhaps my favourite "CanLit" writer.

73. Piers Anthony: Blue Adept (June 4-5, Fantasy, Reread)
Continuing my Apprentice Adept reread, the second book still held up as quite good. In fact, I'm almost wanting to reread it again now.

74. Kate Wilhelm: The Infinity Box (June 5-7, Collection, Science Fiction)
Not sure if this was my first Kate Wilhelm or not, but it's another short story collection whose details I don't remember.

75. Charles Dickens: David Copperfield (June 7-12, Literature)
My first venture was very rewarding, and I enjoyed this a lot; this was another book I'd read in Classic Comics format, but there I found it too confusing to follow. Or maybe I was just too young at the time.

76. Kevin Robinson: Split Seconds (June 12, Mystery)--library copy
Kevin Robinson was someone I encountered online in the Fidonet Writing Echo. He was a quadriplegic writer doing a mystery series about a paraplegic detective in a wheelchair, which sounded intriguing, so I picked this one up at the library, even though I'm not that much of a mystery reader. I enjoyed it enough to look for the others in the series, though I don't know if there were ever more than three. (At the time, I seem to recall him complaining that male detectives were out of vogue, because people associated them with "hardboiled" Sam Spade types. You'd think the wheelchair would have helped with that...)

77. IASFM March 15, 1982 (June 13, Magazine)
See, this is what I'm talking about--day of the month right there. Middle of the month, too, so it didn't start at January 1st. Was that the date it shipped, or the date it was supposed to be on shelves, or just some random date? Because I recall that magazines, and comics, often had a month or date on the cover that bore little resemblance to the date it was available in stores.

78. C.J. Cherryh: Chanur's Legacy (June 14-16, Science Fiction)--library copy
I had heartily enjoyed reading the Chanur series, so when a new one came out I eagerly grabbed it from the library rather than wait for the paperback (or, you know, buy the hardcover myself). The Pride of Chanur concentrated on the hani themselves, and the trilogy that followed spent a lot of time with the kif; this one, more than anything else, shows us the stsho. Our main character is mostly Pyanfar's niece Hilfy, Pyanfar and the human Tully off doing other things, though our secondary character is a male hani who is trying to overcome his race's sexual stereotypes and run off to space. A charming coda to the series.

79. Margaret Laurence: A Jest of God (June 16-17, Literature)
Despite myself, I kind of enjoyed The Diviners when I read it for university English, so I looked up some other Laurence. I didn't much care for The Stone Angel and The Prophet's Camel-Bell was interesting, but more of a travelogue. This one was kind of slight, a short novel about a woman in her 30s who experiences love for the first time, and then, you know, her life changes forever.

80. Mary Renault: The Mask of Apollo (June 17-21, Literature)--library copy
I was encouraged by...someone on Fidonet, maybe Pamela Dean? to check out Mary Renault. I seem to remember seeing The Mask of Apollo on my parents' bookshelf as a kid, but never read it. I enjoyed it a lot; while it did have some fantasy trappings, it was set in historical ancient Greece, and you could easily write off any character's communications with the gods as just hallucination, or maybe just something to do with the bicameral mind.

81. Fritz Leiber: The Book of Fritz Leiber (June 21-23, Collection, Science Fiction/Fantasy)
At some point one publisher--I think it was Daw--brought out a whole bunch of "The Book of" collections, each with stories for a given author. One of them--was it Fritz Leiber, even?--had a "Second Book" as well. Anyway, I read a few Fritz Leiber collections after finishing the Nehwon stories, and I enjoyed a lot of his short fiction.

82. Piers Anthony: Virtual Mode (June 23-26, Fantasy)
Even after that last Xanth book, I hadn't quite given up on Piers Anthony, and I still had a few unread books of his that I hadn't read. I'd already stopped buying him on sight (I think Mercycle was the first one that I saw on the shelves that I passed over), but this one looked interesting, so I picked it up. I will always remember reading this one, too; we'd driven to Quesnel, B.C. for my wife's cousin's wedding, and staying in a hotel there the night before. In the next room, somebody had left their alarm clock set to go off at 6:00 AM, and it went off for an entire hour, because there was nobody at the desk to call and turn it off. So we gave up on sleep and sat up and read...and this was the book I was reading. I have other books in the series, and somehow have not yet gotten around to finishing it, but I may still someday.

83. James Blish: Star Trek 10 (June 26, Science Fiction, Reread)
I loved reading the Blish Star Trek episode adaptations, though I was never sure if I had read all of them or not. At this point I assume that I have, but I still have a few gaps in my collection, so when I do pick them up, I reread them just to be sure. I wonder if these are still in print in any form, if anybody has ever bound them into omnibuses. They're thin enough, they could probably put them all in one book these days and nobody would bat an eye.

84. Gordon R. Dickson: Dorsai! (June 28-30, Science Fiction)
I've tried Dickson's Dorsai books a few times, and each time I try them I enjoy them, and yet they've never really taken hold of me. They were all supposed to be part of one huge sprawling epic called the Childe Cycle, which includes such bricks as The Final Encyclopedia (which I've heard some really discouraging reviews of), so I've never gotten that far into the series.

84 books in the first half of the year--I don't think I managed much more than that in the entire year of 2011.  I guess that's what being unemployed and childless will get you.  Plus books were shorter back then; maybe someday I'll compare page totals and see if that makes recent years look better.

Anyway, the summary stats: By genre, we have 31 science fiction, 28 fantasy, 9 literature, 7 magazines, 2 mystery, 1 horror, and 1 non-fiction and 1 humour that were atypically included in my tally.  5 anthologies of stories by multiple authors, 7 single-author collections, 5 rereads, 2 of my wife's manuscripts, and 7 library books.  Comparing to the just over 6 months of 1992 I posted earlier, that's much fewer literature and library books--a total of 61 books against my "unread books" total.  A whopping 39 of those books, from the beginning of the year, were my Aurora Awards reading, Canadian SF/Fantasy books that had been eligible for the Auroras that year (or were, perhaps, prequels to eligible books if not eligible themselves).  Also includes the beginning of the last gasp of my Piers Anthony reading, something that had dominated my teenage years, and a few of my online reviews.

Hopefully I'll find the time to get to the rest sometime.

May 2017

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