Worth Reading (Fiction)

  • Mamet, David: Chicago: A Novel
    In Roaring 20's Chicago, a Great War veteran turned hard-boiled reporter falls in love with the wrong woman and then seeks to find her killer.
  • Nelson DeMille: The Cuban Affair: A Novel
    Two million dollars to charter a boat for a fishing tournament? A great way for the owner to pay off the boat's mortgage, but it turns out to include slipping into Castro's prison island in search of a lost (and perhaps imaginary) treasure.
  • Kate Atkinson: Life After Life: A Novel
    Ursula Todd has the opportunity to relive her life, over and over and over, moving steadily through the Great War and its sequels and accumulating shards of memory.
  • Connie Willis: Crosstalk: A Novel
    An empathy app leads to complications involving telepathy, Irish women and a true love that runs most unsmoothly. Classic Willis comedy.
  • Mark Steyn: The Prisoner of Windsor
    In a 21st Century sequel to Anthony Hope, the heir to the Ruritanian throne must fill in for the kidnaped Prime Minister of Great Britain.
  • Tim Powers: My Brother's Keeper
    Werewolves, the Brontë sisters, their wayward brother, their heroic dog and a conspiracy to unleash an almost dead deity.
  • Tim Powers: Declare: A Novel
    An intricate Cold War fantasy that seems so plausible that one wonders whether it is the true story of why the Soviet Union rose and collapsed.
  • H.F.M. Prescott: The Man on a Donkey
    Set during the Pilgrimage of Grace, this is the rare historical novel that captures the mindset of the actors. The hero, Robert Aske, was martyred in a way that makes burning at the stake look merciful.
  • Theodore Odrach: Wave of Terror
    Based on the author's experiences when the Soviet Union occupied his homeland after the Stalin-Hitler Pact, this book melds Chekov and Solzhenitsyn. By stages, the isolated folk of the Pripyet Marshes learn that there are worse masters than their former Polish overlords.
  • Simon Montefiore: Sashenka: A Novel
    Both grim and funny, this historical novel peers into the inner world of an upper class Russian girl turned loyal Bolshevik, highlighting her youthful fling at revolution-making in Petrograd, her fall from grace under Stalin, and an historian's effort, after the end of communism, to ascertain her fate.
  • Harry Turtledove: The Man with the Iron Heart
    Can the U.S. maintain its resolve against a defeated enemy's terrorist campaign? Imagining a post-World War II Nazi insurgency, Harry Turtledove puts this question into a new context. As Reinhard von Heydrich's "werewolves" devastate Germany, war-weary Americans call for withdrawal, regardless of the consequences.
  • Neal Stephenson: Anathem
    If you have not a smidgen of interest in how Platonic philosophy relates to the "many worlds" version of quantum mechanics, you still may like this novel, though you'll probably wish that the characters talked less. Persevere. After a slow start, the story grows compelling, and the intellectual dialogues turn out not to be digressions.
  • Alfred Duggan: Lord Geoffrey's Fancy
    Perhaps the finest book of one of England's finest historical novelists. The setting is 13th Century Greece, where Crusaders fought each other and the shattered Byzantine Empire. The history is accurate, the writing graceful and the characters not merely modern people in fancy dress.
  • Rodney Bolt: History Play : The Lives and Afterlife of Christopher Marlowe
    A pseudo-history springing from the premise that Shakespeare's flashy predecessor survived the famous Deptford brawl and fled to the continent, where he secretly wrote almost all of the Bard's works. A clever, tongue-in-cheek reworking of literary history that also recreates the milieu shared by many real Elizabethan exiles.
  • Charles W. Chesnutt: Stories, Novels, and Essays (Library of America, 131)
    Fiction and essays by a black American writer who deserves a wider audience.
  • Harry Turtledove: Gunpowder Empire
    Debut of a juvenile series set in parallel worlds. 22nd century teen siblings, trapped without adult aid in a besieged city, must cope with the bizarre (to them) customs and prejudices of a never-fallen Roman Empire.
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Saturday, August 16, 2008


The possible European Worldcon locations given by Vince Docherty at the "Fannish Inquisition" were: Glasgow (the same facilities as the 2005 Worldcon), Liverpool, London Docklands, Amsterdam, and The Hague.

When Denvention’s hotel rates came in well above predicted levels (a side effect, ironically, of the Democratic Party’s decision to nominate The One in Denver)

I would say it had a lot to do with the committee failing to lock in their rates or hotel rooms prior to winning.

What will stick in my mind from the 2008 presentation is George R. R. Martin, dressed in a black suit, wearing a black hat, his locks flowing profusely, announcing that the Best Novel Award would go to The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.

As Cheryl noted, your memory is faulty. George accepted for Michael, but the winner was announced by Ed Bryant.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden (this year’s Best Editor (Long Form) winner, incidentally),
Patrick won the award last year, David Hartwell won it this year.

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Scalzi expressed the hope that he will not be chosen next year. It’s delightful that he and I have come to a meeting of minds.
I think more important than just saying that was John's comments that nobody should receive the award year-after-year-after-year and that there are numerous good and deserving fan writers out there.

the Official Gimmick is Confounding Science Fiction, a bidzine featuring pulp-inspired short stories by Chicago authors.
As the editor, let me say that not all the authors are from Chicago and we may not continue the title Confounding, although it is a title that ties into the idea of a convention.

As I recall, Ed Bryant announced the Best Novel Hugo. George was the designated acceptor for Michael Chabon. If Brasyl had won,. Ian McDonald would have accepted it himself (though I don't think he had a soccer kit on under his suit).

I did go back to the hotel on Sunday and asked one of the dealers -- surrender is not allowed.

Someone want to tell Martin to quit galavanting to cons and finish the bloody latest "Song of Ice and Fire" novel?

Darn! I was in the Atlantis Hotel today walking around the facilities and trying to see for myself how things fit together. Had I known, I would have gone and asked about surrender. Lisa and I were considering trying their Sunday Brunch tomorrow morning before we leave for home, and I'll go check the tables for you if I remember.

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Books by Tom Veal

Worth Reading (Non-Fiction)