Uncommon Sense

May 26, 2022

Signposts on the Way to Oblivion

Filed under: Art,Culture,writing — Steve Ruis @ 10:54 am
Tags: , ,

I just read this year’s (2021) list of winners of Nebula Awards. Of the writings listed I discovered that I had just bought one of them (at a great discount, which I assume will disappear now the book is a Nebula Award winner).

I have been reading science fiction and fantasy books since I was 13. I am now 75, so it has been 62 years over which I have read myriad such books (all of Edgar Rice Burroughs, all of the Wheel of Time, all of Andre Norton, all of C.J. Cherryh, Tolkien, Jules Verne, all of Isaac Asimov, most of Robert Heinlein, all of Robert Silverberg, all of Michelle Sagara, All of C.S. Friedman, much of Mercedes Lackey and Anne McCaffrey, all of Jack Vance, all of P.K. Dick, much of Katherine Kurtz, and on and on . . .) and I still read dozens and dozens of such books every year. The interesting thing to me is that when I looked at the Nebula Award works, including the runners-up, I did not recognize a single author’s name, not one.

I have officially been passed by.


  1. Brian Aldiss?


    Comment by Ark — May 26, 2022 @ 11:01 am | Reply

    • I didn’t list all of the authors I have read . . .far too many. Aldiss, yes; Brunner, yes; Poul Anderson, yes, Gene Wolf, yes, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — May 26, 2022 @ 12:10 pm | Reply

  2. No you haven’t.

    Have you read Robert Reed’s Great Ship novels? I love em!


    Comment by john zande — May 26, 2022 @ 11:55 am | Reply

    • You recommended him before, one specific novel which I got (Black Milk?) but it didn’t keep my interest. What are the Great Ships novels?


      Comment by Steve Ruis — May 26, 2022 @ 12:01 pm | Reply

      • No, that’s a shitty story, I agree. Hated that one. The Great Ship novels (and a bunch of short stories) are his absolute best. It starts with Marrow, although you can easily kick the whole adventure off with The Great Ship, which is a dozen or so standalone short stories revolving around, you guessed it, the Great Ship… which is a Neptune-sized spaceship humans found (uninhabited) and claimed, and are now sailing around the galaxy, picking up passengers along the way.


        Comment by john zande — May 26, 2022 @ 12:40 pm | Reply

  3. I like Sci-Fi. However, I’ve gotten away from reading over the past several years. I spend a big part of my day on my (seemingly) obsession — BLOGS!! So now I’m more of a Sci-Fi movie fan. However, having said that, I do have strong preferences in the type of Sci-Fi movies I watch. I tend to prefer those that center around “possibilities.” NOT a fan of zombies, ET monsters, adventures/living on other planets, or “far-out” plots.

    I bought a P.K. Dick book –a collection of stories– but have read only the first couple. I also have a few Sci-Fi books in my Kindle library that I just can’t seem to get back to. Maybe some day …


    Comment by Nan — May 26, 2022 @ 2:00 pm | Reply

    • I’m a science fiction fan as well but I started to find the more modern stuff unsatisfying for some reason. Not sure why. I imagine I wouldn’t recognize any of the names on that list either. Mostly of late I’ve been reading the classics, House of Mirth, Jane Austin – just finished Mansefield Park, her last novel and according to critics her most “mature” and best and frankly I hated it. I thought it was cold, even cruel and calculating and lacked the humanity and charm of her other stuff. Got The Beautiful and the Dammed by F. Scott Fitzgerald going now and it started out well but it’s bogging down about halfway through and got distracted by Love Among the Chickens by P.G. Wodehouse which is huge fun so the hell with Fitzgerald for the time being [grin]

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by grouchyfarmer — May 26, 2022 @ 10:33 pm | Reply

      • Too much modern SF is post-apocalyptic and is a downer, picking up the pieces when the pieces have been blown to smithereens isn’t a backdrop for displays of human inventiveness and whatnot. And, it used to be the case that unproven authors sold their works for less, but now it seems the other way around.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Steve Ruis — May 27, 2022 @ 11:53 am | Reply

        • Agreed – the post apocalyptic stuff is depressing and, even worse, it’s become a cliche in the last, oh, ten, fifteen years because there is so much of the stuff being published.

          What I’ve found very tiresome is the “never ending story” nonsense where everyone seems to have to come out with extended series of novels that run three, five, eight or even more. Even the classics like the Foundation series and Dune have been sequeled to death in the never ending desire to cash in on the popularity of the originals.


          Comment by grouchyfarmer — May 27, 2022 @ 10:24 pm | Reply

          • And when they run out of sequels they begin a run of prequels. And when those run out, they “restart” the franchises with new origin stories.

            That said, I still am looking forward to the Part 2 of the latest Dune movie, if for no other reason than the staging and special effects.


            Comment by Steve Ruis — May 28, 2022 @ 12:27 pm | Reply

            • Oh my yes, I’m waiting for Pt 2 of Dune as well. I just saw the first one a couple of weeks ago. It had some rough edges but overall I thought it was quite good and as you said the special effects were good.


              Comment by grouchyfarmer — May 28, 2022 @ 10:27 pm | Reply

    • Okay, everybody, Nan has fallen off of the SF reading bandwagon; we all have to help her get back on. I recommend Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries as being well written and, well, from the viewpoint of a robot!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — May 27, 2022 @ 12:01 pm | Reply

  4. I didn’t know it was safe to admit you were an Edgar Rice Burroughs fan. I…Read…Them…All!

    Admittedly I was a young teen at the time. But I read Burroughs like there was no tomorrow. Pellucidar? Yeah, I went there. John Carter of Mars? Yep, I’ve been there too. Tarzan? Oh yeah. I know now much of his stuff was very fomulaic, even bordering on soap opera dreck, but I loved it all. I even read a good bunch of them again with the wife’s Kindle a few years back. 😉

    I’ve read a lot of King and Koonce over the years. I envy the guy with time to read.

    I wish I had more time to read. Making a short blog circuit is about all I can work in now and I suck at that…


    Comment by shelldigger — May 26, 2022 @ 6:02 pm | Reply

    • Ahhh yes! King and Koontz are hard to beat for fascinating Sci-Fi!


      Comment by Nan — May 26, 2022 @ 6:16 pm | Reply

      • Koontz, I though something seemed off there lol. Welp, if that’s the worst I do today I’m doing alright 🙂

        But yeah, King and Koontz are pretty good at it.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by shelldigger — May 26, 2022 @ 6:23 pm | Reply

    • I attended a talk by Ray Bradbury (in 1972-73?) and he made the point that every young man who went into the sciences had read ERB as a youth. Since the audience was science types, he asked for a raise of hands and got near every damned one of us as in agreement.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — May 27, 2022 @ 11:57 am | Reply

      • Very interesting correlation. I did not go into any science field, unlaess amateur astronomy counts. 🙂

        But, consider my hand raised.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by shelldigger — May 30, 2022 @ 7:39 am | Reply

  5. Oh, I forgot Poe, another fave of mine.


    Comment by shelldigger — May 26, 2022 @ 6:03 pm | Reply

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