Okay, everybody. Here are some of those cool links I promised you.
It’s Okay to be Takei
Today is the Day
Villain’s Cat: a Job Application
Oh, yes, and I personally believe this is one of the most beautiful songs ever written:
Ship of Stone, by Don Simpson
I may add more later as I discover new songs and/or get permission from the composers/lyricists/performers to post links to them.
As for the promised reading list:
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Lord of the Rings, also by Tolkien
- The Narnia books, by C.S. Lewis
- The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame (a delightful book for both children and adults)
- The Gammage Cup and The Whisper of Glocken, both by Carol Kendall (wonderful children’s books)
- Harry Newberry and the Raiders of the Red Drink by Mel Gilden (a very funny, very punny children’s book)
- Anything by Connie Willis, winner of more Hugos and Nebulas than anyone else, ever. More on Connie later.
- Anything by the late, great Janet Kagan, including her one Star Trek novel, Uhura’s Song
- Another Star Trek novel, this one by Diane Duane, The Wounded Sky
- Anything by Katherine Kurtz, especially her Deryni high fantasy novels
- Emergence, by David R. Palmer (a post-apocalyptic coming-of-age novel from a female perspective)
- David Brin’s Uplift novels (Sundiver, Startide Rising, The Uplift War, and the Uplift Storm trilogy:
- Brightness Reef
- Infinity’s Shore
- Heaven’s Reach
- Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
- Anything, on any subject, by Isaac Asimov
- Ingathering: The Complete People Stories by Zenna Henderson (published by NESFA Press ― NESFA stands for the New England Science Fiction Association)
- The Danny Dunn series, by Raymond Abrashkin and Jay Williams (also children’s books)
- Anything by Robin McKinley
- Anything by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (though I do wish they’d stop using “proceed” when they mean “precede”)
- Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre
- Anything by David Weber, specifically including the Bahzell Bahnakson series and the Honor Harrington series
- Anything in the Ring of Fire series (1632, et. al.), also known as the 1632-verse, created by Eric Flint and published by Baen Books
- Hokas Pokas! and Star Prince Charlie, by Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson
- Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- Anything by Elizabeth Moon
- Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series
- Farmer Giles of Ham by J.R.R. Tolkien (collected in The Tolkien Reader, Tales from the Perilous Realm, and other places.) This one contains Garm, the best talking dog I’ve ever encountered in fiction.
- Smith of Wootton Major, also by Tolkien. These last two are frequently included in the same book. I believe there is a paperback edition that includes both of them, and I know that they both appear in Tales from the Perilous Realm, along with a couple of other stories.
- Anything by James H. Schmitz
- The Little Fuzzy books, by H. Beam Piper
- Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), by Jerome K. Jerome ― first published in 1889, this hilarious book has been in continuous publication ever since.
- Once on a Time, by A.A. Milne. This little book was written as a fairy tale for grown-ups, but don’t hesitate to share it with your children. It turns all of the common fairy tale tropes on their heads. The villainous countess who is trying to take over the kingdom ends up marrying the king and becoming both a good queen and a good step-mother; the “charming” prince who’s supposed to put everything right is neither charming nor competent; and the princess, who believes herself to be a damsel in distress, actually knows exactly how to solve her problems by herself.
- Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type, by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin
- The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig, by Eugene Trivizas, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Both of these last two books work better when you can see the lovely illustrations. This YouTube version of The Three Little Wolves does, indeed, show the illustrations, but the YouTube version of Click Clack Moo is somewhat deficient in this regard.
This brings us to two excellent resources: Project Gutenberg, and its sister organization, Librivox.org. Project Gutenberg is attempting the impossible task of putting all of the English language public domain books that have ever been published into electronic format for free download, and Librivox is attempting to put all of the Project Gutenberg books into audio format, for your listening pleasure. The Librivox books seem to work best when they’re either done by a single reader or are done as dramas, with different people recording the voices of different characters. Public domain books include almost all of the works of Mark Twain and Rudyard Kipling (including Kim), Little Fuzzy (though not its sequels), Once on a Time, The Wind in the Willows, all of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s children’s books, Three Men in a Boat, and more other works than I can even begin to mention.
On to the promised discussion of Connie Willis. Everything Connie writes is wonderful. Much of it is hilarious. There are only three problems with her works:
- They can be hard to find. She is regularly published in Science Fiction magazines, and if you aren’t a subscriber you may well miss something. This is somewhat offset by the fact that the best stories (especially the ones that win awards) tend to be re-published in collections.
- Many of her stories are set in Britain, and she never provides a glossary of British terms. (I can tell you, however, that “vegetable marrows” are zucchini.)
- Many of her books need to come with a body count. Do not begin by reading The Doomsday Book, or Passage. Your best bet is To Say Nothing of the Dog, but you’ll enjoy it more if you read Three Men in a Boat first. If you have any doubt which kind of book you’re getting into, ask me here first.
Connie is the only author I can think of who can kill off her protagonist two-thirds of the way through the book, keep her as the protagonist, and actually make it work (Passage).
Especially recommended stories by Connie are “Spice Pogrom,” “Even the Queen,” “At the Rialto,” “Epiphany,” and “Miracle,” all of which are available in collections.
I hope you all enjoy these books and links, and that you have joyful lives.