Sunday, January 17, 2010

top ten for 2009

In no particular order, just as they occur to me.

1. City of Saints and Madmen and Shreik: An Afterword by Jeff Vandermeer

2. The Year of Our War and No Present Like Time by Steph Swainston

3. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

The first 3 there are basically the canon 'New Weird' writers/books, but these books/authors are some great reasons why its probably fair to say my preferred reading genre is more fantasy than scifi these days.

4. Mother London by Michael Moorcock

This book cements Moorcock at the center of my literary universe, a sun of impossible size and brightness.

5. Dandy in the Underworld by T. Rex

2009 involved a lot of Marc Bolan, the adding of the entire main T.Rex discography to my personal collection, in fact. But that album, that song, his last, I dunno, I guess there's some 12 or 13 year old boy I used to be that still says this is sorta what rock and roll is/was supposed to be like. Its sentimentality but you also suspect sneakily something else is there, something simpler and pure that can't be found anymore.

6. Slade in Flame by Slade

Slade at their peak are great and Slayed? and Slade Alive and the singles from before Slade in Flame ('Cuz I Luv U', etc) are also great but Slade in Flame is a tour de force.

7. Dr. Who DVDs from Multnomah County Library

Support your public library! I've been watching the available smattering of John Pertwee episodes pell mell, but MCPL has a strong selection of the Tom Baker years which I've been doing my darnedest to watch chronologically. Unfortunately they do not have the very first story i ever saw ('Underworld') which I am not even sure is available on DVD (reviews and synopsis point towards it being rather mediocre).

8. For Your Pleasure by Roxy Music

'Do the Strand' and 'Versions of You' are total jams.

9. Swords Against Death by Fritz Lieber.

A great volume of Lieber's Fafhrd & Grey Mouser stories, but the one about the birds with the women of Lankhmar wearing cages over their heads as fashion statements is unbeatable and gives Lankhmar that tangible being-there feeling that you also get visiting Meiville's New Crobozon or Vandermeer's Ambergreis or Swainston's Fourlands.

10. Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo.

I aquired all six of the Dark Horse collected volumes of Akira this year, and the first three are a bit of a drag, given that if you've seen the movie you're reading a lot of material you've already seen, with some other stuff which is not in the film that you probably over-focus on because its unknown. Volumes 4-6 are fucking dynamite, though, and really cross over into top-notch sci-fi writing territory. And the final twenty pages or so qualify as the sort of 'revolutionary sci-fi' Moorcock spells out in his essay 'Starship Stormtroopers,' Viva the Greater Tokyo Empire!!!