Just got tagged by Sylvaine to list ten books that had an influence on you. Actual copy:
Rules: In a text post, list ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take but a few minutes, and don’t think too hard — they don’t have to be the “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you. Tag ten friends, including me, so I’ll see your list. Make sure you let your friends know you’ve tagged them.
So I took out a piece of paper. Wrote ten and then stopped.
This is my list:
1. 1984 by George Orwell
Having lived through this year as a youth. I remember hearing so many commentaries about how we were or were not going toward the future portrayed in this book. This was not a post-apocalyptic depressive future. This was a future that was supposed to happen if the governments kept getting larger and more powerful.
Still scary. Still possible. Still influential.
2. Dragon singer by Anne McCaffrey
I loved Anne McCaffrey's dragon rider books, but this little side series touched me more. This is the story of a girl who loved music but was told that it was not something that a girl like her could ever pursue professionally. Her family hide her because they are ashamed that she will embarrass her, and even do little to help with an injury that could end her career.
She escapes to a school where everyone loves music, and her talents are encouraged. The total worldview change is frightening and confusing to her at first, but when she realizes that she will be able to pursue her dreams, she is very happy.
Also, Masterharper Robinton, is he hot or what?
3. A wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K LeGuin
Sometimes you read a book, especially a book marketed for children that you liked, and when you go back you find that it was not as impressive as it seems. This is not the case for the Wizard of Earthsea trilogy. The books become deeper and more true the older that you get.
I loved the story of Ged who finds that he has magic. His training, his struggles with evil and pride, his fear of his own power which unleashes a great evil on the world, his running, his finding his way, and his facing death. Very powerful.
A also thought that the story in the tombs of Atuan was so cool. The girl raised to be priestess to a nameless evil is so strange and evocative. Unmatched.
4. The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien
I can't talk about writing influences without mentioning the master JRR Tolkien. The reason that I listed this middle book in the series is because of one character, Eowyn.
When the movies came out, and everyone started yelling about how there were no strong female characters, I was confused, because I always identified with Eowyn Lady of Rohan. I mean, she could ride a horse, wield a sword, lead others into and out of battle, and she looked hot in a dress. How could you beat that.
I also was a sucker for her tragic unrequited love of Aragorn. I mean, you had to read really finely to realize that he was already taken, and the way he brushed her off...well believe me, to a teenager that was tragic.
She also was able to pull out the corniest line in the book if not all of fantasy fandom.
KING OF THE NAZGUL "No man may kill me!"
EOWIN removes helm, hair flows down dramatically, " Ha! Well I am no man!" Dead Nazgul follows.
5. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever by Steven R Donaldson
This was probably my introduction to the concept of the antihero. Man is put into a fantasy universe, and instead of following the rules, discovering his power, and performing the quest like he was meant to, he says that he doesn't give a f*ck and rapes the nearest pretty girl. An act with consequences that continue through the entire series.
6. Cyteen by CJ Cherryh
I already loved this author for her universe created in the hugo winning "Down Below Station" and her Chanur books which are fun space opera, but this glimpse into the lives of the super scientists who design the bodies and minds of Union's bioengineered slave population was something that I had never seen before or since.
In the other series, bioengineered slaves were pitied or feared, and the people who made them were just evil. On this side, where the population is much too small to develop a new world, the bioengineer people are a tool to spread humanity throughout the universe, and to preserve human diversity in the same way that zookeepers think of preserving rare animals.
As a person who tends to over think things, it was cool to read about people who would always be one step ahead of you. Psychologists who spend all of their time trying to figure out what other psychologists are trying to make them think about.
In the end, you pity their screwed up lives, while you wonder what it would be like to have your own personal bioengineered lover, toyboy, dependent, azi. Twisted.
7. Little House on the Prairie by Louisa May Alcott
Here we are back to wholesome. This story of a little girl and her families travels in the Prairies of the American West were inspiring in a way that I never thought they would be. The girl is a sort of unreliable narrator in that she sees thing from her simple view that when you look at it from another way is grand and challenging.
Their lives but up against history, such as when they get kicked out of Oklahoma due to the signing of a treaty. They lose their money when grasshoppers destroy their crops. She sits watching as her father stays up all night to guard them against a wolf pack as they huddle in a cabin with only a quilt over the door, and her father has a rifle that can only shoot one bullet at a time.
I can't help but be impressed by the skills of her parents, and the honest open style of her writing is so accessible. It clearly describes a moment in time, and it will always be classic.
8. The silver metal lover by Tanith Lee
This is a novella or a short story, not a novel. It sticks in my mind for two reasons. One, because it was one of my first stories with a sex scene, and with an android no less. Second, because once I put it back in the library, I couldn't find it again.
This is one of my noted examples of the impermanence of written work. I had been raised to believe that things that were written down as books lived forever, but pulp science fiction and fantasy had limited runs, and if they weren't popular, they were never reprinted. This was a minor work by an older author, and after a while, no one carried it anymore.
I love the lyricism of this author and other favorites from her include Don't bite the sun and The Flat Earth series or stories which are noteworthy for their fairy tale quality and their dark themes. But when I think of lyrical writing, I think of...
9. Dreamsnake by Vonda McIntyre
I first read this as a novella, and then later bought the novel. When I think of this story, it isn't so much the plot that captivates me, but the imagery and the evocative almost psychedelic nature of the writing,
Also, the idea of bioengineered snakes that delivered medicine in a post-apocalyptic world was very evocative to me.
10. The Snow Queen by Joan Vinge
And we are back to space opera. I loved the idea that this read like a fantasy, but had the underpinnings of science fiction. I loved that this was based on the fairytale "The snow queen" by Hans Christian Anderson which is perhaps my favorite children's story. I loved the idea of the beautiful and corrupt city of carbuncle. The imperialist spacers who were exploiting the natural resources of the natives, and the girl who discovers that she is a clone of the queen who by law must be killed when the regime changes.
There are so many more books if I think about it, such as Dune, and books by George Martin, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and Collette. But my ten are done.
If you do a list, please put a link in the comments so that I can read it.