A year and a half ago, I made two posts in which I added authors to a wishlist. Unlike some people I know, I don’t count a book as being on my TBR unless I actually own it. The wishlist represents books and authors that I want to read, but don’t currently own. The first of these wishlist posts was of the Heavy Hitters of science fiction. The second was of authors I’d read a book by without necessarily enjoying it, but wanted to give a second chance to. With it know being a year and a half since these posts, I decided it was about time to take a look at how that wishlist is looking now, and how well I’ve kept up with my plans.
Neal Asher (Second Chancer)
In hindsight, a book set several series into an existing universe, written in the aftermath of the author’s wife’s death, probably wasn’t the best place to start with Neal Asher. But the cover of Dark Intelligence was just too good to resist. That book still sits on my shelf, much maligned. Asher is an author I’m still planning to go back to, but I haven’t made any progress on that just yet.
David Brin (Heavy Hitter)
Having enjoyed his contribution to the Second Foundation Trilogy, I had high hopes for Brin. Earth did not meet these expectations. It’s an intricate novel, but ultimately felt like an extended essay rather than a work of fiction. This month I intend to revisit Brin again, this time with a more traditional space opera of his. My enjoyment of Sundiver will determine if I pursue Brin’s writing further.
Ben Bova (Heavy Hitter)
Ben Bova is the great success story of my Heavy Hitters list. Though he has over a hundred books to his name, I’m focusing on his Grand Tour series. So far, they’ve all been fantastic. Mars and Moonwar stand out, but they have been universally fanatic. With each new book I read, Bova reaches ever higher in my rankings of sci fi greats. Even second hand, the Grand Tour can be tricky to get hold of in the UK, but this has helped me ration out the books so I don’t grow tired of them.
Peter F. Hamilton (Heavy Hitter)
There’s a lot about Hamilton that I like, but it’s weighed down by the things I don’t. While I appreciate his adherence to scientific logic, his books are incredibly bloated. I read Fallen Dragon, and really did not need the lengthy tangents about football and veganism. The prevalence of sex scenes is also off-putting, meaning that Hamilton is crossed off my wishlist. A shame, as I’m still tempted by his works, but not enough to sit through hundreds of pages that I know I won’t enjoy.
Keith Laumer (Second Chancer)
Though it’s his Worlds of the Imperium series that I want to complete, the Laumer I’ve actually picked up is End as a Hero, which I plan to read this month. With a lot of short standalones to his name, I can easily see Laumer becoming an author I keep giving chances to.
Frederik Pohl (Second Chance)
Likewise, I have picked up a Pohl/Kornbluth co-written novel, of which there seem to be several. Once again, I am planning to read this soon, so should be able to either cross him off the wishlist, or move him higher up.
Alastair Reynolds (Heavy Hitter)
I did my best, but Alatai Reynolds is officially crossed of the wishlist. Between the disappointments of Aurora Rising, House of Suns, and Revelation Space, I have concluded that Reynolds just isn’t the author for me. I’ll definitely look into a short story collection if he puts one out, but his longer efforts just fall flat for me.
Clifford D. Simak (Heavy Hitter)
Having taken a look at some of his blurbs, I have reached the conclusion that Simak is not the author for me. Off the wishlist he goes.
Vernor Vinge (Heavy Hitter)
Having read A Fire Upon the Deep, I can see why Vinge has such a towering reputation. But while his work has a lot going for it, it ultimately didn’t work for me.
Having a wishlist is a great way of shaking up my TBR. Even though Bova is the only author I’ve discovered so far, there’s always the potential for more. Right now I’m reading through the SF Masterworks series, but you can expect another wishlist to arrive fairy soon.