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A list of Mainstream Books That Every Self-Respecting Fantasist Really Ought To Own. I've read, um, two: The Master And Margarita and Under The Skin. I own, but have not read, a further one: A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters. There are about half-a-dozen others on the list that pique my curiosity.

Here's a handy guide to genre distinctions. And Adam Roberts discusses SF as a metaphoric genre here.

Finding The Future: A documentary about SF.

Two blog entries about everyone's favourite search engine: discover the secret source of Google's power and the potential of GooOS.

There are webcams for everything, including my high street. If you watch very, very closely at about 9:30am tomorrow, you might even see me walk in front of it.

I went to see the remake of Dawn of the Dead last night, I'm going to watch the original tonight (23:20, BBC2), and I'm going to see Shaun of the Dead over the weekend. Man, that's a lot of zombies. Of course, I won't just be watching zombies; tomorrow I'm off to Manchester tomorrow for a meet with itchyfidget, fba, assorted geekstalt members and others, then it's on to Blackpool and Eastercon over the weekend. See y'all on the other side.

EDIT: Hugely disturbing Alanis Morissette photo. And then there's the Penny Arcade remix project...
 
 
 
 
 
 
Of course, I won't just be watching zombies

I read the emphasis wrong there the first time, and took that to mean that you will be meeting up with other zombies in Manchester.

I need to lie down.
Hee.

(The other interpretation would be that I'll be becoming a zombie, too. Since the next few days are likely to be pretty tiring...)
Heeheehee!

*imagines you spending a fruitless evening in Manchester searching for Brain Bar*
Are you familiar with the joys of the great brain robbery? Give me the braaaiiins!
Hee! No...

loveable Zombie artist Brian Snoddy.

Hahahahah :D
Mainstream Books That Every Self-Respecting Fantasist Really Ought To Own
That's a very interesting list, thanks for linking to that. I think I'd rather like an equivalent list of genre books for mainstream people!

My main comment on the list itself is that Babel Tower is very, very good. Part of it is about LOTR and part of it is about Steve Jone's lovely snails, and there's some quite cute AU stuff hinted at in the background. Which is pretty good going for a book that is decidedly non-genre (thought some of those listed were fairly borderline). But there's also loads of other cool stuff in there.

It's very character-driven and somewhat slow moving; if you hate these things you might not love it as much as I do. But I don't get the impression that you do hate these things as much as a stereotypical SF fan.
I think I'd rather like an equivalent list of genre books for mainstream people!

Oh, don't tempt me. <g>

(thought some of those listed were fairly borderline)

I think the criterion were probably 'what it was published as' rather than 'what it actually is'. I'd like to see some David Mitchell on there, personally. :)

My main comment on the list itself is that Babel Tower is very, very good.

I read a short story by Byatt recently and liked it ('A Stone Woman'), so I'd been vaguely looking out for something else by her. Thanks for the recommendation; the only thing that's making me doubt is that the amazon page describes it as a sequel to earlier books. Is it going to matter too much if I haven't read them?

That said, I've just found this boxed set...

It's very character-driven and somewhat slow moving; if you hate these things you might not love it as much as I do. But I don't get the impression that you do hate these things as much as a stereotypical SF fan.

Hey, I'll try anything once. :)
that is an interesting list. i've read the Iain Banks and the Angela Carter (not sure about the stories collection, but i have read a lot of hers in the past)on there. Eco's Baudolino as well, though i'm not sure i actually finished it before getting distracted. I have a rather huge version of it lying around if you want to borrow next time i see you.
I haven't read enough Iain M Banks, let alone got around to the de-initialled ones; and for Eco, comments from various quarters have made me think that I should go for The Name of the Rose or Foucault's Pendulum first. I have the former on my shelf...

I almost commented on the abscence of Lanark, but decided against it. :-D
the Name of the Rose is very good, and well worth your time. Baudolino is an interesting idea, but i would need to try again to remember if it actually works.
Insert comment about lack of Lanark in list here.
Midget gems?
*blinks*

I think I've missed something. Care to explain? :)
Huh. While I haven't read Song of Stone, everyone says it's not one of Banksie's best.
Personally speaking I don't like it at all. Is a fairly nasty and brutal novel with none of symapthetic protagonists you usually get from a Banks novel. Heck - even Frank is more sympathetic than the main character from SoS (whose name completely escapes me).
9.30am GMT = 1.30am PST ... I think not.

Still, may manage on one of the Fridays I have off. I'll SMS you if I do see you then. ;-)
Oh, I'm not normally walking down Maidenhead high street on a weekday - it's only because I've got tomorrow off. Otherwise, you're more likely to spot me at a weekend. :)
...and you're up that early??? Clearly not working like an American! ;-p
I can lend you a copy of Haroun and the Sea of Stories when I see you tomorrow. It is good, but also extremely weird. It's one of those books I read several times over in an attempt to decide if I liked it or not.
I'll happily borrow it...but I'm starting to feel a little guilty about how many of your books I have! I'll have to give you The Year of Our War in exchange. ;-)
I still have a fair number of yours, so I wouldn't worry about it. I'll happily take The Year of Our War, though I do have rather a lot to read at the moment.
Being the impressively un-widely read person I am, I've read none of these.

And if you think you're going to be zombie like by Monday, at least you're not driving...
See, personally, I'd probably be better off if I was driving. It relaxes me!
I'm quietly confident that I'll manage to out-zombify the both of you by monday. We'll see, eh.
I figure I'll use most of my energy storming the dealer's room when we arrive on friday; after that, I'll coast.
Regarding the list of books, the only one I've read is Time's Arrow. I found it to be a rather dull and unremarkable book which compares unfavourably to Rob Grant's Backwards.

I haven't read the Cement Garden, but I have read other Ian McEwan books and enjoyed them. The one that springs to mind first is The Child in Time, a book set in an undefined 'near future' - a fact I didn't actually notice until my second reading of it. Is worth a read.

Bit of a surprise to see J. G. Ballard, Iain Banks, and William Burroughs on the list. They're all authors who could be claimed for the genre that their inclusion under a list of 'mainstream' books strikes me as a little odd. That reminds me, I might actually have Super-Cannes somewhere. Hmm.
The list is astonishing for its omissions. No Stephen Millhauser, perhaps the finest mainstream 'fantasist' writing today. Only one Don DeLillo, what happened to The Body Artist and Cosmopolis? McEwan's Everlasting Love is missing also. Nothing by Eric McCormack or David Mitchell or Gabriel Garciq Marquez.

Anybody seriously interested in the fantastic needs to have a very real awareness of huge swathes of contemporary fiction, and that list is, at best, only a very tentative and very predictable starting point.
Well, he freely admits the list is a personal choice, not a definitive selection, and that he's deliberately limiting it to easily available titles. It's only meant to be a starting point.

That said, even I'm surprised there's no Jonathan Lethem or David Mitchell.

And I'll keep an eye out for Stephen Millhauser.