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The stars of science fiction name their favorite novels

These kinds of lists are utterly pointless and terribly fun. m.guardian.co.uk
William Gibson The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester (1957) The idea of literary "favourites" makes me uneasy, but Alfred Bester's 1957 novel The Stars My Destination has remained very close to the top of my list for science fiction, since I first discovered it as a child (though I much prefer Bester's original title Tiger, Tiger, which was evidently deemed too arthouse for the trade). Bester was an urbane and successful Mad Av dandy, an anomaly among American SF writers of his day, and his best work is deliciously redolent of the brains and flash and bustle of postwar Manhattan. TSMD is a retelling of Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo, its protagonist one Gully Foyle, lumpenprole untermensch turned revenging angel in a world utterly transformed by the discovery that teleportation is a natural and teachable human talent. Perfectly surefooted, elegantly pulpy, dizzying in its pace and sweep, TSMD is still as much fun as anything I've ever read. When I was lifting the literary equivalent of weights, in training for my own first novel, it was my talisman: evidence of how many different kinds of ass one quick narrative could kick. And that sheen of exuberant postwar modernism? They just aren't making any more of that.

May 12, 2011

Did yyou know there are Navy SEAL romance novels?

Yglesias -- The Weird, Delightful World of Navy SEAL Romance Novels
I had not actually know that such a subgenre existed until Nick gave me a copy of Marliss Melton’s Know No Fear, one of seven books she’s written about hunky guys with dog tags. One of the frequent jokes after bin Laden’s death was that a lot of guys were going to dine out for years on claiming to be the dude who pulled the trigger, but judging by Amazon search results, SEALs had a built-in advantage with the average American lady even before they took out the world’s most infamous terrorist. There’s Stephanie Tyler’s Hard to Hold series, which uses crises in Africa as a catalyst for romance, Mary Margaret Daughtridge’s SEALed series, which sticks closer to home with issues like child custody and who gets control of the family car dealership, and even, I kid you not, the Mammoth Book of Special Ops Romance. Having read Know No Fear last night, I can attest that SEALs romances have the same essentials as their counterparts in other bodice-rippers: hot, secretly wounded hero; heroine who tries to be too brave for her own good; terrorists/FARC rebels/insane weapons dealers instead of Regency baddies, etc. Although the sex is more likely to be “implacable,” apparently. The SEAL thing is more a way of creating heightened situation for the characters to angst in before they get hot and heavy than it is any particular fetishization fo the military. But now I know about these, now that gamers have their Bin Laden Raid and their Counter-Strike maps, Kathryn Bigelow has signed up the guy who’s going to kill bin Laden in her movie, and the clubs have their bin Laden party anthem, I’m pretty sure we’re set on bin Laden Pop Culture Artifacts For Every Occasion. And it didn’t even take us two weeks.