Tuesday, July 10, 2007

(Book) Space Race

This is really a TIME and SPACE race - my usual big dilemma on a business trip, what book(s) to take for in-flight reading. This is only a quick trip to LA in the middle of a very jam-packed business week, not an endless Asia flight with 24+ hours to play with. But still, the book decision weighs on my mind and computer bag. Space AND time are limited, and there's always the risk of serendipity at the airport bookshop (though not as likely with a 6:45 am flight). So here are the candidates. Only one will fit in the PC bag, with probably one backup book in the small suitcase. The candidates are
  • The Cobra Event by Richard Preston - a bioterror novel by the author of the scary but excellent non-fiction book The Hot Zone
  • The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson - an old SF friend (this would be read #3 for this one)
  • The Gold Coast by Kim Stanley Robinson - #2 of the Three California's Trilogy of alternate future SF
  • Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban - read it many years ago, a post-apocalypse tale written in an invented future English variant; meaning to re-read for years
  • Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson - a 2000 page slippery slope, 900 in this first of three volumes of the Baroque Cycle of hard-to-say-what-kind-of verbose fiction by a favorite author, a big book to carry even in paperback
  • Astroturf by M.G. Lord - a memoir by a daughter of the golden age of space, a small hardcover I've been browsing in (serendipity on another Pasadena trip), connected to JPL and quite cool.
Decisions, decisions. I want to go with Quicksilver, but it scares me. At least the sequels are done if I do get hooked.

P.S. I re-read Riddley Walker on the trip - it was just OK this time. Maybe I'm not as post-apocalyptic as I once was. Maybe I'm post-post-apocalyptic (1981 NYT review here for a more positive view). It wuz vere clevver tho. We hav boats in the ayr & masheans uv Warr but Im glad we dint have the Berstin Fyr (the 1 Big 1, or nuclear war).

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