The Cranky Old Reader

I'm a Goodreads refugee, looking for a new home. Old books for children, science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, and humor are my main areas of interest. I've little interest in books that were written after 1975 or so, and prefer books that are older still. There are, however, a few still-living authors that I respect.

The Fabulous Clipjoint: An Ed and Am Mystery Novel (A Nonpareil detective mystery)

The Fabulous Clipjoint - Fredric Brown This was one of the first science fiction books I ever bought for myself. I was in my mid-teens, living in Westport, CT. The store was called "The Bookworm", I think, and it was run by an aging hippie. The shop was small and dark, with a largish brass bowl filled with sand and sticks of burning incense on the counter; it was a magical sort of place.And so it was only appropriate that I lucked into buying a rather magical sort of book. Store of Infinity is one of those all too rare, gem-like books of remarkably clever short science fiction stories; stories that stick in your mind, tickling your funny bone and stimulating your imagination. Sheckley has produced an astonishing number of such stories over his career (he's far better in that form than in novels), and these stories were written at the very height of his talent. I'm reminded of O. Henry, and even more so of Fredric Brown. Ron Goulart has also written many books which are similar to Sheckley's short story style, although Goulart in general tends to be a bit more surreal and quirky than Sheckley in his best period.Credit must be given to Sheckley for great prescience; his story "The Prize of Peril" (one of the longer stories in the book) is a brilliant prediction of the current reality-TV fad, and a logical projection of where that trend might go in the future. What makes that story particularly amazing is that it was written in the late 1950s. And while being a stunning piece of sociological prediction, it also manages to be gripping, extremely exciting, funny, and a biting satire.The story seems to have been ripped off wholesale by Steven King for his novel and movie The Running Man, but it's so much better than either of those that it shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath.And yet that's only one of the incredibly memorable stories in this book. If you like clever, witty, imaginative short stories than this is definitely a book you don't want to miss.

Currently reading

Basic Roleplaying: The Chaosium d100 system (Basic Roleplaying)
Sam Johnson, Charlie Krank
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
Rebecca Solnit