Sunday, September 18, 2016

This season's Lifeline book fair haul

The books that I picked up at our local Lifeline book fair today are mostly SF and fantasy.

Adams D & Carwardine M, Last Chance to See. Very, very happy to have this again. I owned the book years ago, and it was one of a number that I lent to other people and did not get back. It is in my eyes quite possibly Douglas Adam's finest work.

Butcher J, White Night. I have written before about Stormfront, the first book in this long-going series, and currently I am reading the second, a birthday gift from my wife. My thoughts are still the same: I am annoyed by the constant refrain of "people don't believe in magic because they don't want to accept its existence", which is so clearly the opposite of how people function in reality that it breaks my willing suspension of disbelief. And the hero is actually rather incompetent as an investigator, again failing to pursue what appear to be obviously relevant questions. But the books are really well written, so I make a conscious decision to put the first two issues aside.

Clarke AC, Report on Planet Three and other speculations. From the back cover: "Is life possible on planet three? Martian astronomers regard the prospects as extremely poor. The atmosphere with its large quantity of gaseous oxygen is intensely poisonous. The high gravity rules out any large forms of life." Hehe. This just sounds like a cute idea.

Judson T, Fitzpatrick's War. I have read about this book, and it was described as presenting a very depressing but rather thought provoking future, so I thought I would give it a shot. It is the thickest of the novels I bought.

Nichols S, Legion of Thunder - Book 2 of Orcs First Blood. I have the greatest doubts about the wisdom of buying this one, and not just because the first part was unavailable. In this context I should also mention that the fair had volume 1 of the Flora of South-Eastern Queensland but only that volume, and I ultimately decided that there was little point in having only one of them.

Rankin R, The Japanese Devil Fish Girl. Rankin writes comedic fantasy and science fiction, and I have read some of his work with pleasure in the past. This one appears to be comedic alternate history Steampunk SF. Will see.

In addition the wife and daughter got a number of other books and puzzles.

As always I am puzzled by the classification of books used by the fair volunteers. Finding a collection of Darwin Awards under General Science presumably merely shows an individual volunteer's mistake. I am also by now used to finding the Biology section full of a distressing number of creationist propaganda items.

But why, for example, are the subsections on New Age, Alternate [sic] Medicine and Astrology under Non-Fiction? Would they not be better placed under Fiction? And why is there a separate high level Religion section, but Mythology is a sub-section of the high level Humanities section? Some of that seems a bit arbitrary.

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