News

Welcome to Paula's Reading Room. Recent updates are listed below.

Flash Forward...One Year Later...(2019-05-01)

Well, 2018 turned out to be a strange year with teenage children, home remodeling and a major rotator-cuff injury. It was also a pretty decent year for some science fiction collecting and I have added over 170 new entries to the site at this time.

One super cool thing I came across last summer was a small collection, not complete, of Galileo Magazine of Science Fiction. I didn't know this was a thing and was pretty excited to find these. It is my plan to complete the collection at some point since there were only 16 published. Hopefully, I can find a set in great condition. I hate that this magazine folded after such a short run because it is great! The editor and publisher did an astounding job of not only collecting good science fiction by major authors, but also creating interesting interview pieces and articles of adjacent topics. I have created an article entry with excerpts from the interviews here.

I had planned on doing a big article on Dune, especially with the anticipation of the new movie being released in 2020. I have done quite a bit of research, but ultimately decided that youtube channel Ideas of Ice and Fire had already done a superb job of analyzing the books. I would refer my readers to his channel for a wonderful explanation and analysis.

I have combed through The Mirror of Infinity; A Critics' Anthology of Science Fiction by Robert Silverberg. I was going to create an article around this work, but now familiar with its content, I felt it more appropriate to add excerpts from the critics' commentary in line with the stories they were discussing. Therefore, there is some new content attached to various authors throughout the site including (but not limited to): H. G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Harlan Ellison and Cordwainer Smith.

In other arenas of science fiction, I have started a rather modest science fiction board game collection. So far I have accumulated Xanth, Jump Drive and a super weird older, limited-release game called Future. I haven't quite decided whether I'm going to add an entire new section to the website dealing with SF board games or simply make some article entries. It will depend on how many of the games I find that I'd love to have. There are so many to choose from! Let me know if you have or have played a super cool science fiction board game that I should add to my growing collection.


Happy Fall! (2017-10-06)

Over 300 books have been added at this time thanks to some great book sales and garage sales this summer. E. C. Tubb, L. Ron Hubbard and John Brunner have seen particular increases.

Much has also been added to biographical sections and notes throughout the site and about a dozen reviews have been completed. The site now has nearly 70 reviews in total.

I have continued the "String Ship" project and you can see some updated progress photos here, here and here. There are actually five panels to this wall hanging and it will be pretty large once completed. I would expect this project to be finshed by early next year. I am super excited to see how it turns out.

My previous update mentioned adding excerpts from Dream Makers, a collection of interviews by Charles Platt. I have updated this entry and it can be viewed here.

Recently I acquired a science fiction lecture series created by James E. Gunn in the 1970s. I completely enjoyed viewing the material and have created an article on the subject which can be viewed here.

"The single definition of government I've ever seen that makes sense is that it's the organization which claims the right to kill people who won't do what it wants." - Poul Anderson


Spring Update (2017-04-05)

Over 150 books have been added in this update. Jack Vance in particular has seen a massive relative increase. Several new reviews have been entered as well.

I finished working with Hell's Cartographers, a great collection of interviews from the mid-1970s, edited by Brian Aldiss and Harry Harrison. I have created an article entry with some interesting excerpts. Finally, there is now a nice list of Ace and Tor Double pressings in an article titled The Doubles. While most of the releases are listed, I don't feel like it is 100% complete, so if some of you see an edition missing, please let me know through the contact link and I will add it.

I have just finished reading a collection of interviews by Charles Platt called Dream Makers and have acquired an edition of The Mirror of Infinity, edited by Robert Silverberg. I expect that both of these sources will bring lots of new information and critical analysis to the site.

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." - Lazarus Long (Robert A. Heinlein)

First Update for 2017 (2017-02-13)

There has been a plethora of books added to the site since the last update. I have added some additional biographical information, particularly about Brian Aldiss, Kenneth Robeson and Edward Page Mitchell. I also added several reviews this round - as always, those titles reviewed are highlighted in blue on the index page.

This site has been around a year and a half now, and is growing by leaps and bounds. Upcoming, expect additional biographical information on many authors, as this has become a focus for content that needs filled out. I have obtained Hell's Cartographers, which is a work filled with personal histories of several prominent sf writers, and will be adding a page about it in the near future. I am still working on articles about major SF editors and have begun a very slow review of the work of Sam Moskowitz. I would expect all of these topics to generate content over the next year.

"One of the liberating effects of science fiction when I was a teenager was precisely its ability to tune me into all sorts of strange data and make me realize that I wasn't as totally isolated in perceiving the world as being monstrous and crazy." - William Gibson

Happy Halloween Update (2016-10-31)

As usual, a few hundred books have been added to the site since the last update. I have also put up several new reviews (look for the blue highlighted titles in author lists).

I finally scored a reasonably priced copy of both issues of SF Horizons, a periodical of science fiction criticism by Brian Aldiss and Harry Harrison. I posted the editorial comments in a new article. Sadly, there were only two issues of this journal, but the ones that did get published were very influential in the field of SF criticism and really set the bar for what critical commentary should be.

"Remember, science fiction's always been the kind of first level alert to think about things to come. It's easier for an audience to take warnings from sci-fi without feeling that we're preaching to them. Every science fiction movie I have ever seen, any one that's worth its weight in celluloid, warns us about things that ultimately come true." - Steven Spielberg

Periodicals Section Completed (2016-07-22)

There have been many books added to the site since the last update, but the most important addition I would like to mention is the addition of the Periodicals section. The tireless efforts of those involved in the pulp industry and the massive popularity of their contributions have shaped science fiction throughout the years. I don't have a giant collection of magazines from the early days, but I do tend to grab what I come across. I have added those issues in my possession to this site and will continue to do so as I come across other issues.

One of the book stores I frequent suffered a massive fire recently. It was devastating to the owners and while their entire stock was not lost, the room which housed all the interesting science fiction was a total loss. It is very disappointing and to be honest, this is a prime example of why I collect as many books as I do. It is not just because I love them; I do. It is not just because the artwork and writing is awesome; it is. It is because this is a portion of our literary culture that *must not* be lost to time or disaster. Through science fiction we can examine human potential, technological potential. We can explore the influence of technology on our race and the hope that lies in leaving our small, beautiful planet. The intelligence, reason, creativity and philosophy contained in these stories tell, on so many levels, about the existence of our species and our struggles that we encounter as we evolve and adapt. These works are by authors who dared to move beyond the petty, emotional, nothing issues that concern us today and they have traveled, through these stories, to worlds and existences which inspire hope and curiosity.

"Science fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it's the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself..Science fiction is central to everything we've ever done, and people who make fun of science fiction writers don't know what they're talking about." - Ray Bradbury

Three Major Additions (2016-04-03)

It has been my goal for some time to write a series of articles on the major editors of the science fiction genre. I have completed reading and researching Hugo Gernsback at this time, and have added the article to the website. My next piece in this vein will be on Donald Wollheim.

Recently I read Harry Harrison! Harry Harrison!. I found this autobiography to be extremely informative and entertaining. I simply miss Harry and this gave me a chance to learn more about him and his works. I have added several important notes to the Harry Harrison page.

Finally, several years ago I purchased Speaking of Science Fiction by Paul Walker. This is an amazing collection of interviews with science fiction's greatest authors. I have added an article page with excerpts from this work, and highly encourage science fiction fans who are interested in the brains behind the literature to seek out this publication.

I love to hear from readers of my page. Reach out and let me know what you think and what you would like to see in the future.

He Who Controls the Spice Controls the Universe (2015-12-25)

Over 100 books have been added with this update - way too many to mention each author as I have done previously. One addition worth singling out is the Kenneth Robeson page. Of course, Kenneth Robeson is a house name used by Street & Smith to publish their famous Doc Savage novels. Most of these stories were actually written by Lester Dent, though several notable SF authors contributed to the series over the years. I will be working on the page in the future, but for now the books are there with scanned covers and authors listed, for those who are inclined toward this series.

I'm still working on the SF quilted wall hanging project and have finished another two embroidered spaceships for it. You can see them here and here

Finally, nothing says Christmas like Dune. Fifty years ago, Chilton took a risk and published Herbert's work in its full form, giving us the greatest science fiction story ever written. In doing a little research into the origins of Dune I came across an interesting interview with Frank and Beverly Herbert from 1969. In it Frank discusses the ecology, religion and morals encompassed in this epic work. You can view this interview here. Happy Birthday Dune!!

"A person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside, allowing you to grow. Without them, it sleeps- seldom to awaken. The sleeper must awaken." - Frank Herbert Dune

More New Additions and Random Other Stuff (2015-09-30)

I've processed another batch of books. Here's the list of authors with new additions: Lin Carter, Jeffrey A. Carver, Louis Charbonneau, C. J. Cherryh, John Christopher, Arthur C. Clarke, Hal Clement, Stanton A. Coblentz, Allen Cole, Groff Conklin, Edmond Cooper, James Dashner, Avram Davidson, L. P. Davies, Samuel L. Delany, Lester del Rey, Gordon Dickson, William C. Dietz, Gardner Dozois, David Drake, Roger Elwood, Philip Jose Farmer, David Feintuch, Michael Flynn, Alan Dean Foster, William Gibson, Ron Goulart, Martin H. Greenberg, Joe Haldeman, Lee Harding, M. John Harrison, Harry Harrison, Robert A. Heinlein, J. Hunter Holly, Walter E. Hunt, Lawrence James, Nancy Kress, John Land, Simon Lang, Keith Laumer, Tanith Lee, Ursula K. le Guin, Fritz Leiber, Murray Leinster and Stanislaw Lem.

Over time, I am adding reviews for the books I read. At this point there are probably 30 or so scattered through the site. Reviewed titles are now listed in blue so that they are more easily located.

As an aside, I have decided that a proper science fiction library needs appropriate decoration, so I have began to combine some of my hobbies to create one. I like to quilt and crochet and things of that nature and I've always been a fan of Red Work, a particular quilting style, so I decided to make a wall hanging that would be appropriate for my library. I did some research online and it turns out that science fiction, embroidery and quilting have rarely met. On my own for ideas, I thought it would be cool to highlight some interesting spaceships. Because no one else has shared projects of this type, I will be documenting this project as it grows. Here and here are the first few images of the embroidered quilt squares that will eventually comprise this wall hanging.

One last thing I wanted to share. I am often asked why I like SF almost exclusively. Well, I've had myriad answers, but these past few months, while reading Judith Merril's 10th Annual Edition The Year's Best Science Fiction (published in 1965), I was reminded of a passage from Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. It fairly well sums up how I feel about SF.

"I Love you sons of bitches," Eliot said in Milford. "You're all I read anymore. You're the only ones who'll talk all about the really terrific changes going on, the only ones crazy enough to know that life is a space voyage, and not a short one either, but one that'll last for billions of years. You're the only ones with guts enough to really care about the future, who really notice what machines do to us, what wars do to us, what cities do to us, what big, simple ideas do to us, what tremendous misunderstandings, mistakes, accidents and catastrophes do it us. You're the only ones zany enough to agonize over time and distances without limit, over mysteries that will never die, over the fact that we are right now determining whether the space voyage for the next billion years or so is going to be Heaven or Hell....The Hell with the talented sparrowfarts who write delicately of one small piece of one small lifetime, when the issues are galaxies, eons and trillions of souls yet to be born."

New Additions and a Cool "Found" Short Story by Gordon Dickson (2015-07-31)

I've been spending considerable time as of late entering a very large number of books into my database and scanning them in. There will be over 200 new additions over the coming months, but updating everything takes time as well, so I will be entering them in installments. This time I've added new works by the following authors: Antony Alban, Brian Aldiss, Lou Anders, Kevin J. Anderson, Poul Anderson, Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov, Jean Auel, James Baen, Kage Baker, T. J. Bass, John Baxter, Greg Bear, James Blish, Hannes Bok, Ben Bova, Ray Bradbury, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Fredric Brown, John Brunner, Anthony Burgess, James Branch Cabell, Orson Scott Card and Terry Carr.

Also, while researching HP calculators, my husband came across an awesome little piece written by Gordon Dickson in the Hewlett-Packard Personal Calculator Digest called Thank You, Beep!. It appeared in 1979 and was written especially for the digest. You can view a PDF of it here.

Site Update Complete (2015-06-17)

As an original concept this site was just supposed to be a list of the books I owned and scans of their covers. As I have worked on it, more and more ideas for site improvement have occurred to me and I have added biographies of varying detail, reviews and notes. Eventually the site became so big, it seemed to beg for a more sophisticated design, and as always, husband was willing to oblige. He was kind enough to redesign the site for me and today I am rebooting Paula's Reading Room with this awesome new look. I think it will be easier for everyone to find what they are looking for and will allow for more expansion.

I have added a section for articles, the first of which I am adding today. Many years ago I became interested in the "movers and shakers" of SF and of course I found John W. Campbell. There wasn't a lot of information available about him from one source, so I wrote my own detailed biography.

Hello World (2015-06-16)

As long as I can remember I have been a fan of science fiction. When I was younger and more idealistic, I imagined myself as an author - someone who could spin tales of the future and wondrous imaginings that would entice, entertain and enchant others. My first story was about an alien spacecraft landing on our planet. It was full of little blue creatures with antennae who wanted to share their inventions with us so we could explore with them. I was in first grade.

I got into Piers Anthony fairly early in my life, scoring a copy of Centaur Asile at a garage sale for a dime. It started something. I expanded my reading palate beyond Xanth and into Mr. Anthony's science fiction with Bio of a Space Tyrant. This was a tremendous series for me - full of spacey goodness. I treasured it for years. It wasn't until I read Hitchhiker's Guide that I really started exploring science fiction though. I swam through "The Guide," laughing and spouting milk from my nose with each turn of phrase.

I married my husband when I was 20. This was important for many reasons, not the least of which was he introduced me to Frank Herbert. I read Dune. My reading habits changed. Dune is the most fantastic of all science fiction. I am certain some people would debate this with me, but I stand by the wonderfulness of this work. Never before and never since has such a complete world been spun. Herbert did with Dune what all authors aspire to do. This work does not age; it does not get tired. I've read the entire Dune series at least six times in the past 20 years and always find something new that is fascinating.

As it turns out, I am a lot of great and fabulous things, but a writer and illustrator I am not. What I have become instead is a rabid fan and collector of science fiction literature and in particular the amazing illustrations that cover the paperback versions of these tales. I have scoured book sales, second hand shops and garage sales for more than 20 years to amass this collection. Recently, it became apparent to myself and my husband, who has watched this collection grow and change with me, that a list needed to be made so that I, at least, knew what I had; it was decided this list should be shared. This artwork should be shared. This website was born in our living room, my husband doing the awesome design and me typing and scanning endlessly. I hope that it is enjoyable and informative for all who read it.

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