"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

March Booked by 3

Name 3 of your favorite series.

  • Bill Pronzini's Nameless Detective. I got hooked on this with Shackles, which is now somewhere in the middle of the series. It's showing its age, but Pronzini has mixed things up in recent books and his sparse, taut writing keeps this series working.
  • Ukiah Oregon series by Wen Spencer. This science fiction series is fairly new, but I love it. I love the main character and the supporting cast. I love the fascinating alien traits of the protagonist, so much that I can forgive grammatical and typing errors and that's saying a lot!
  • Joan Vinge's Cat trilogy. I wish there were more. I love Cat. He's the character I wish I'd written.

Two newer series I hope continue for a long time if the quality of the first few books can be maintained are: Eric Garcia's Vincent Rubio books and Barry Eisler's John Rain series.

Name 3 series you think went on too long.

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey was about as perfect as a science fiction book can get. I don't know why Clarke or anyone else felt the need to continue it.
  • Susan Matthews' Judiciary series. A brilliant first book showed a lot of promise for a continuation, and the second book was fine, but each subsequent book has gotten more political (not a problem) while losing the edginess that made the first and second books stand out. The main character is a tormented torturer who trained as a doctor. His angst over doing something he hates and taking perverse enjoyment from it is what made this series stand out. When that's downplayed, the level of overwriting becomes too glaring a problem for me to ignore.
  • The Mars series by Kim Stanley Robinson. I loved Red Mars, but it was too long and felt padded in spots. Green Mars, then Blue Mars were longer still and had a lot more padding. Plus, they were dull. So, while more a trilogy, not a series per se, unless The Martians is counted, it was too long for my taste.

Name 3 books you wish had been series.

This was the hardest. I wonder why I keep coming up with questions I have trouble answering. :) But here goes.

  • I believe Robert Wilson has a detective series, but the book I'd like to see have a sequel or two is his A Small Death in Lisbon. That was a masterfully told tale with great characters.
  • Two of Jonathan Lethem's books would make wonderful series: Motherless Brooklyn, which I just finished reading, and Gun, With Occasional Music.
  • And if Lethem's two are counted as one entry, maybe more of those Watership Down rabbits.