About my reading habits
Mostly I like science fiction, but I also read a bit of fantasy,
mainstream and pulp. I'm especially fond of books with a slight
sociological bend. Contrary to most of my friends I like also short
stories and poems. IMHO a `serious' (sci-fi)
book that doesn't give a new angle into some old, common or uncommon
subject, isn't worth much. Besides ideas and strong chracterisation,
good book should also have humor, suspence etc. ingredients that make
you'll not to look at the clock until the book is read or it's 5am...
fiction and Fantasy page
Favorite authors and books
Here are some of the authors I have liked and, in case I remember it the
book which made me the strongest impression (depends a bit on which age
I read it :-)) after first read, by them:
- Ladies first...
- Margaret Atwood, `The edible woman'
- Octavia Butler, `Xenogenesis'-trilogy
- Ursula Le Guin, `The left hand of darkness'
- Doris Lessing, `A man and two women' (short stories)
- Sara Paretsky, good detective stories
- Johanna Sinisalo, short sci-fi stories, realistic street dialog
- Maarit Verronen, myth, filosophy, horror
- Then the gents...
- Douglas Adams, has his own style of humor...
- Brian Aldiss
- Isaac Asimov, some good ones, oldish
- Ian M. Banks, both mainstream and sci-fi
- Alfred Bester
- Ray Bradbury, short horror / sci-fi stories
- David Brin
- John Brunner
- Anthony Burgess
- Orson Scott Card
- Arthur C. Clarke, optimistic near future sci-fi
- Hal Clement, realistic (hard) sci-fi
- Roald Dahl, short horror and children's stories
- Philip K. Dick, Lots of books that makes you doubt reality...
- Philip Farmer, `Strange relations' (short stories)
- Harry Harrison, space opera (got me into sci-fi)
- Robert Holdstock, mythologies
- John Irving `My friend Owen Meany'
- Robert Jordan, `The dragon reborn' series
- Matti Yrjänä Joensuu, realistic,
sociologically strong crime stories
- Stanislaw Lem, thoughful satire
- C. S. Lewis, christian allegories (eg. `Narnia' for children)
- Barry B. Longyear, died too young, good short stories
- Ian McDonald
- Larry Niven
- Frederik Pohl, `Space merchants', lots of others
- Terry Pratchet, humorous fantasy
- Clifford Simak, `The City', sci-fi, optimistic trust in human nature
- John Sladek, biting satire
- Bruce Sterling, `Globalhead' (short stories)
- J.R. Tolkien, shouldn't be too hard to guess...
- John Varley, `The persistance of vision'
- Kurt Vonnegut, `Slaughterhause 5'
- Mika Waltari, one of the greatest (finnish) writers, has an `eye' for humor,
wrote scripts for the succesful `Detective seargent Palm' movies
- Ian Watson
And here are some good books that I have read during the last couple of
years which aren't by the writers on my favorite lists above. :-)
- The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton.
- Three novels... by D.H. Lawrence.
- Cold, red sunrise by Stuart Kaminsky.
- Kim by Ryard Kipling.
- The Losers by David Eddings.
- Chimera by Mary Rosenblum.
- Hyperion by Dan Simmons.
- Krazy Kat 3 by George Herriman.
About comics / sequential art
In case someone hasn't yet noticed that comics is an art form too,
here's a short list of my favorite european comics authors:
- Enki Bilal, sfi-fi and history
- Didier Comes, just look at the play of black and white!
- Rene Goscinny, story writer behind Asterix, Lucky Luke etc.
- J.-C. Mezieres & P. Christian, delightful sci-fi
- Fred, absurd ideas (-: `the man who tamed his left hand' :-)
- Neil Gaiman, the best storywriter (eg. Sandman), wrote the first comic to win the Fantasy Award
- Jean-Michel Charlier & Jean Giraud, western and sci-fi
- Tove and Lars Jansson, finnish, Moomin Trolls ;-)
- Tommi Hänninen, finnish; baroque, filosofical robots
- Kivi Larmola, poetic finnish one
- Joakim Pirinen, best from sweden...
- Miguelanxo Prado, relies on moods and storyline
- Hugo Pratt, `Corto Maltese' adventurer character
Food for thought
Have you noticed how the comics' main characters are usually much more
stylized than their surroundings? It's done (not always on purpose) to
ease reader in identifying with the main character(s). Their generality
of appearance makes them more symbolic. Because our self image is much
less accurately defined (especially if one doesn't own a mirror ;-) than
we perceive others, we'll identify the symbolic subjectively and
realistic objectively. Reading `real' comics needs practising more than
reading books. Comics utilize both the textual and visual to convey
their `message' for the reader.
Note that series apprearing weekly or monthly (disney comics etc.) are
mostly considered qualitatively equal to Harlequin romances... The best
example of this commercialization are probably those mutant ninja turles
that most of us heard from kids in late 80's. The original
comics were a quite funny parody of sci-fi, B-movies etc. Then creators
sold the name and idea to mass producers and the results were something
I wouldn't touch even with gloves. Goodbye humor, artwork and any spark
of originality. Even the girl character was converted to a bimbo to
garantee that american `comics code' for children was satisfied. God
forbid us from giving children ideas!
Picture sequences are an art form far older than text. Although it may
appear primitive, at best it's far away from simple or childish.