After Hours

The ultimate science fiction book meme

Once again, SFSignal has content so good I simply must steal it: A comprehensive SF book meme. Below are my answers. Feel free to copy and paste your own responses in the comments thread, or in your own blog space (just be sure to give SFSignal attribution).

Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror?
Science Fiction. I was raised on the two Stars (Trek and Wars), and my reading tastes are still informed by such.

Hardback or Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback?
Depends. If I plan to keep the book, hardback. If it's a read-once-throw-away, mass market paperback. Strangely, I have more hardbacks that paperbacks.

Heinlein or Asimov?
Heinlein. He got to me first, and I still adore Stranger in a Strange Land.

Amazon or Brick and Mortar?
Amazon. I'm a cheapskate, and rarely do I need to instantly get a book and pay the convenience premium. I make exceptions for my SF Readers group books, which I usually grab at the local chain bookstore if I can, because time is a factor with monthly meetings.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?
Both. I'm not picky. Books-A-Million gets some love, too.

Hitchhiker or Discworld?
To quote SFSignal: "Hitchhiker, but only because I haven't read Discworld yet. (I'll slap myself for you.)"

Bookmark or Dogear?
Bookmark. Usually the receipt from buying the book, or some other paper scrap I've scavenged around the house.

Magazine: Asimov's Science Fiction or Fantasy & Science Fiction?
Asimov's was my first SF mag, and I always liked their middle ground between Analog's super-hard SF and F&SF's more operatic stuff.

Alphabetize by author Alphabetize by title or random?
Alphabetize by author's last name. I'm anal.

Keep, Throw Away or Sell?
I keep my specially chosen hardbacks. I sell my read-once paperbacks. Keep the stuff in circulation, I say.

Year's Best Science Fiction series (edited by Gardner Dozois) or Years Best SF series (edited by David G. Hartwell)?
Dozois' is the Asimov's guy, so if I bought anthologies (I don't) it would be his.

Keep dustjacket or toss it?
Keep. It makes a great bookmark.

Read with dustjacket or remove it?
See above.

Short story or novel?
Novels. I compulsively read whole short story collections and mags, which is why I gave up my Asimov's subscription—too much time required. I'm a novel guy at heart.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
Neither. Don't care for YA fantasy/horror.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
Chapter breaks. Again, anal.

"It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once upon a time"?
"Call me Ishmael."

Buy or Borrow?
Buy. As an aspiring author, I believe in royalties.

Buying choice: Book Reviews, Recommendation or Browse?
Reccomendations. Browsing puts you at the mercy of cover blurbs and bookstore stock, reviews at the reviewers' agendas. Recommendations are the only unvarnished source.

Lewis or Tolkien?
Neither. I read Narnia as a kid, and wasn't really impressed even then. And I'm sure I'll go to Nerd Hell for saying this, but I don't care for Tolkien. I find his prose indulgent and his pacing horrendous.

Hard SF or Space Opera?
Hard SF. If I want sword and sorcery, I'll read sword and sorcery. Otherwise, give me my infodumps and lets move along.

Collection (short stories by the same author) or Anthology (short stories by different authors)?
If I'm buying, it's because I like the author at least as much as the subject, so collections.

Hugo or Nebula?
I haven't noticed one being a better predictor of my liking it over the other. Both are a fair measure of quality in my book.

Golden Age SF or New Wave SF?
Both have their gems and their embarassments. I've yet to see one radically outclass the other.

Tidy ending or Cliffhanger?
Tidy ending. If you want to get me to buy a sequel, write a real sequel, rather than just finishing the book I've already paid for.

Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading?
Afternoon is preferred, but nighttime is usually all that's feasible.

Standalone or Series?
Standalone. I'm not going to pay for you revisiting the well of one good idea for the next ten books. This is more a crime of fantasy than SF, so I'm usually spared.

Urban fantasy or high fantasy?
Urban fantasy. I've a low unicorn tolerance.

New or used?
New. I'll pay the freight for others gladly, to keep the system going.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
I'm a late adopter, so I don't think I've read any books that are all that obscure.

Top X favorite genre books read last year? (Where X is 5 or less)
1. Glasshouse by Charles Stross
2. The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi.
3. 1632 by Eric Flint.

Top X favorite genre books of all time? (Where X is 5 or less)
1. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
2. Accelerando by Charles Stross
3. Watchmen by Allen Moore.

X favorite genre series? (Where X is 5 or less)
1. Coyote by Allen Steele.
2. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.
3. Y: The Last Man by Bryan K. Vaughan.
4. Mad Scientists Club by Bertrand R. Brinley

Top X favorite genre short stories? (Where X is 5 or less)
1. "Veritas" by Robert Reed.
2. "The Last Question" by Isaac Asimov.
3. "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut.
4. "Lobsters" by Charles Stross
5. "Across the Eastern Divide" by Allen Steele

About Jay Garmon

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

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