Books acquired: “Forgotten Bookmarks,” Michael Popek.
Books read: “The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction 30th Anniversary Issue (October 1979),” Ed Ferman, ed.; “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus,” Mary Shelley.
A mere two books this month, and to make matters worse, one of them’s not strictly a book. That would be a squarebound issue of a 1979 magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, which published a book-like 30th anniversary edition of some of its best work. (That was 36 years ago, by the way.) I bought it used in the early 1980s and never read it, a recurring theme of these posts. but it’s been filed like a book on my SF shelves all these years, and recently I decided to read it.
At 320 pages, it’s got a lot of classic stories: “All You Zombies…” by Heinlein, “Flowers for Algernon” by Keyes, “A Canticle for Leibowitz” by Miller, “The Quest for Saint Acquin” by Boucher, and many more. Personal to Doug Evans: There’s an Asimov story, “Dreaming is a Private Thing.”
As a casual SF fan, it’s long past time that I familiarized myself with these stories, and I’m glad I did. I read everything, by the way, even the book review, the unimpressed critique of “Alien” and the classifieds (“Health newsletter by biochemist,” “Send 25 cents for catalog of Scientifantasy books and pulps,” “Self-mastery newsletter,” “Japanese Girls Make Wonderful Wives”), and I tried working the acrostic, but couldn’t finish it even with some cheating from the Internet. Does anyone have the solutions from the November 1979 issue? Or know a seven-letter word for “Atreides clan,” a five-letter word for “Amorous caller from planet core” or a 12-letter word for “Inflammation of the eye”? Thanks anyway. (“Herbert” might be the Atreides clan solution, come to think of it.)
That lone sort-of book might well have been it for February, but I squeezed in “Frankenstein,” which I’d read in boyhood and repurchased a few years back. The movies bear only a passing resemblance to the novel, in which an ill-described monstrosity is created in vague fashion, lumbers off and returns later to torment its master, in part by delivering a 43-page monologue.
Of course it’s a great book anyway, one that has captured the imaginations of readers, moviemakers, artists and more for centuries, but it’s not precisely what you would expect. It’s more about the scientist’s guilt at having unleashed a monster upon the world than anything else.
“Frankenstein” was bought in Portland in 2010 at a small bookstore, not Powell’s, as a pity purchase after arriving near closing after a long bus ride across town and not wanting to leave empty-handed. I bought the magazine at some Midwestern used bookstore or other in the early ’80s.
I’m a ways into three wildly different books for March, with hopes of finishing all three plus a fourth, all with a certain theme expressed in the titles, but we’ll see how that goes. One of them is by Mary Shelley, by the way. How was your February, and have you read “Frankenstein”? Or solved acrostics?
Next month: The last and the next to last.