Comics Creators

What non-comics are you reading these days?


I couldn’t get through God Emperor. It’s the worst book I’ve read as an adult. Leto’s voice in the book is so annoying and petulant, and when the whole plot is basically a flimsy excuse to have Leto share his ideas to a string of people, that’s a problem.

A real shame after Leto was so cool in Children of Dune.

Dune I rank as one of the best novels ever written. Children of Dune is really good, although not at the heights of the first one. Dune Messiah is okay; it gets pretty cool in the last third, iirc. I haven’t read the last two.


I read the first Dune, liked it, and had no desire to read any sequels. :slight_smile:

On another note, I just read Nick Harkaway’s Gnomon, which I loved. I was a big fan of The Gone-Away World and Angelmaker, but was disappointed by Tigerman. This was a real return to form.

It’s set in late-21st century Britain which has become a surveillance state monitored by an AI, but also incorporates plotlines set in the present day and distant past, which may be real or may only exist in the head of a woman tortured in police custody.

I’m going to need to read it again as some parts went over my head, but I was captivated throughout.


I’m breezing through my winter reading list…helps that I work for the schools and have a nice break…regardless, I wrapped up Pygmy by Palahnuik and am almost finished with Wild Sheep Chase by Murakami. I’m sort of racing myself because I just got an email that my pre-order of Black Star Renegades shipped…I want to wrap up WSC before it gets here.

Black Star Renegades is written by Michael Moreci who is a comic writer as well. So. Check it out!


I have a file on my computer where I write down all of the books I read so I don’t forget. These are the books I read in 2017 (maybe going back to October 2016), arranged roughly from favorite down to least favorite. I loved the ones on top, only hated a couple, and I left off books by people I personally know.

John Williams, Stoner
Patti Smith, M Train
Greil Marcus, Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock N Roll Music
Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings
Hanif Abdurraqib, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us
Jesamyn Ward, Salvage the Bones
Paul Beatty, The Sellout
Rob Sheffield, Dreaming the Beatles
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Kurt Vonnegut, Bluebeard (re-read)
Walter Holland, Phish’s A Live One (33 1/3 Books)
Ann Powers, Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music
Sean Maloney, Modern Lovers (33 1/3 Books)
Peter Biskind, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex, Drugs, and Rock-N-Roll Generation Saved Hollywood
Norm McDonald, Based on a True Story
Ahmir “Questlove" Thompson, Mo Meta Blues
Waylon Jennings, Waylon
Fredric Dannen, Hit Men: Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Business
J.G. Ballard, The Drowned World
Philip Roth, The Plot Against America
Rebecca Solnit, The Mother of all Questions
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
Stephen King, The Shining
Dan LeRoy, Paul’s Boutique (33 1/3 Books)
Ashley Burch and Anthony Burch, Metal Gear Solid (Boss Fight Books)
Tina Fey, Bossypants
Richard Russo, Trajectory
Stephen Davis, Gold Dust Woman: The Biography of Stevie Nicks
Spike Lee, The Best Seat in the House
Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men
Michael Kimball, Boss Fight Book: Galaga (Boss Fight Books)


I keep a list like that, too (ones for movies, comics, and albums, too).

This year I read:

The Wise Man’s Fear - Patrick Rothfuss
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
A Scanner Darkly - Philip K. Dick
Misery - Stephen King
American Gods - Neil Gaiman (reread)
Fragile Things - Neil Gaiman
The Secret History of Twin Peaks - Mark Frost
Trigger Warning - Neil Gaiman
Lovecraft Country - Matt Ruff
No Country for Old Men - Cormac McCarthy (reread)
VALIS - Philip K. Dick
Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said - Philip K. Dick
Child of God - Cormac McCarthy
Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier - Mark Frost
Lynch on Lynch - Chris Rodley & David Lynch

My favorites were the Rothfuss and McCarthy novels, and VALIS. The Gaiman short story collections (Fragile Things and Trigger Warning) were highly variable, and Lovecraft Country was a bit of a letdown (leaves a lot of room for Jordan Peele’s HBO adaptation to improve, though!).

I’ve really got to make time to read more proper novels. It’s hard for me to read prose sometimes because my mind wanders more than it will reading comics or watching movies/TV. The internet has ruined my attention span (as a kid/teenager I could read for hours, even all day) and I’ve been trying to cut down on it lately. I’m off Facebook and go on Twitter a lot less.


My right eyeball has had two cataracts removed and ready for another. It’s genetic, so no blithering about causes! Anyhoo, it’s hard to read, as eyeballs refuse to focus together - and the bifocals are not good for anything but spider vision. Haven’t read a book for a good long while now, and it’s sort of like starving. I read really fast, so audio books are never satisfactory. (I also tend to “tune them out” after a couple minutes - that’s just audio blither like background talk, and I don’t pay attention.)

I have quite the backlog!


My list is a bit large. :smile: I tried to organize my favorites from most to least, the rest I couldn’t be bothered with.

What the Hell Did I just Read - David Wong - Wong continues to impress with his absurd take on the supernatural while still examining weightier ideas.
The Ballad Of Black Tom - Victor LaValle - covers similar ground as Lovecraft Country but does a better job of it in my opinion, particularly by looking at an actual Lovecraft story from a different angle.
The Unnoticables - Robert Brockway - this series, The Vicious Circuit, was my favorite discovery of 2017. Similar to JDATE in its semi-absurd approach to the supernatural but it has an identity and tone all its own. It deals with 80s punk/2010s Hollywood wannabes battling “angels”. If you like Wongs books I highly recommend checking these out.
The Empty Ones - Robert Brockway
Strange Weather - Joe Hill - I was massively impressed by Hills early works but found them to be a case of diminishing returns. This new book, a collection of 4 novellas, is a return to form though.
Wax - Gina Damico - A YA novel about a candle factory town being replaced by wax duplicates. The writing style had a bubbly humor to it I really enjoyed.
Babylon’s Ashes - James S. A. Corey - An improvement over the previous book but I’m glad to hear that the end is approaching for this series.
Legion - William Peter Batty - I thought Exorcist was terrible in spots so this was a pleasant surprise. Tense, scary and tonally consistent (which Exorcist wasn’t).
Lunar Park - Bret Easton Ellis by turns hilarious and heartbreaking, this tale of the parental failure and the supernatural really hit a nerve for me.
Provenance - Ann Leckie - Not nearly as good as the Ancillary series but still great science fiction. A breezy, easy read that I just devoured.
Gil’s All Fright Diner - A. Lee Martinez - Martinez does ridiculous fantasy in much the same vein as Christopher Moore and I really enjoy both their works. This isn’t one of Martinez’ best but it’s still highly enjoyable and a truly fun, and funny, read.

It Waits Below - Eric Red
Northwoods - Bill Schweigart
That Which Should Not Be - Brett J. Talley
Fellside - M. R. Carey
Dying is My Business - Nicholas Kaufmann
Die And Stay Dead - Nicholas kaufman
The Graveyard Apartment - Mariko Moike
The Weird Company - Pete Rawlik
Offworld - Robin Parrish
The Night Parade - Ronald Malfi
The Litany of Earth - Ruthanna Emrys
The Apartment - S. L. Grey
Only The Dead Know Burbank - Bradford Tatum
The Kill Society - Richard Kadrey
Black Water Lights - Michael M. Hughes
Witch Lights - Michael M. Hughes
Demon Lights - Michael Me. Hughes
Yesternight - Cat Winters
Wicked - Joanne Fluke
Mirror Image - Michael Scott
The Devil’s Detective - Simon Kurt Unsworth
Dead Ringers - Christopher Golden
Meddling Kids - Edgar Cantero
Winter Tide - Ruthanna Emrys
The Curse of Jacob Tracy - Holly Messinger
Disappearance at Devil’s Rock - Paul Tremblay
HEX - Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Mr. X - Peter Straub
The Rim of Morning - William Sloane
Brightness Reef - David Brin
Infinity’s Shore - David Brin


I was talking to someone about this book just yesterday. My daughter got a Hatchimal (a Furby-type thing) for Christmas, and it has reminded me of reading this years ago. I can understand why Ellis thought those toys were a ripe subject for horror. :slight_smile:


Lunar Park reminded me a lot of Palahniuk’s Rant, mainly due to being very heartfelt pieces from authors that I wouldn’t have expected that sort of tone from.


I just remembered I also read Jesamyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones. It was great. The whole reason I keep a list is so I don’t forget books like that.


Apparently sales of literary fiction are in decline. The Arts Council (a government body with a remit to shove culture down Britain’s throat) has suggested paying government subsidies to writers. I rather like this chap’s alternative suggestion:

I have another idea. They should write better books.


But he makes a serious point (and I think a true one) about why people aren’t engaging with highbrow authors these days:

Worrying about plot and story has long been unfashionable on the literary scene. Style and voice are what gathers plaudits. Martin Amis wrote: “If the prose isn’t there, then you’re reduced to what are merely secondary interests, like story [and] plot.” Edna O’Brien suggested plot was for “silly boys”, which might explain why men in particular are reluctant to buy literary novels.

It might also explain why, when I went to teach postgraduate students at the University of East Anglia – the foremost writing course in the country – about the fundamentals of plot, I was astonished to discover that these superbly talented young writers knew nothing whatsoever about it after years of studying the form.

This has long been the brahmin stance that distinguishes “literature” from mere novels. It consigns storytellers such as Austen, Dickens, Golding and Orwell to mediocrity or redundancy. Literary novelists have been in thrall to modernism since Joyce and Woolf, and latterly postmodernism (a more potentially entertaining template, certainly in the hands of writers such as David Mitchell and Magnus Mills).

But you can be a great writer and a great storyteller as well. Nowadays, long-form television has taken the place of most novels. What distinguishes great TV such as Breaking Bad, The Deuce, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos and many more is the power of the narrative drive. With the great fields of time and scope now opening up on TV, these series have become the new novels. If novelists want to compete they have to up their game.


I think it’s a lot of hyperbole, especially he goes on to condemn all modernism. And if you look at the most important British writers of the last decades, people like Julian Barnes or Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan or Ian Banks or Hanif Kureishi and Salman Rushdie, they all know how to use plot in their novels.


Literature without a story is like a body without a skeleton: not very pretty, and won’t live long.


I’m no big reader but the wife is and she uses Goodreads to keep track of that stuff (and if needed track progress against a target - she did 55 last year), as well as to rate the books she’s read and source recommendations from others.

She’s always wanted me to read more and suggested a few titles that we could read together - I started Manhattan Beach this morning; it’ll likely be a commute read so will take me a while.

I haven’t read a novel in many years - I’m only two chapters in but it’s good so far.


It’s the only way :+1:


Yeah, I’ve thought about doing Goodreads and Letterboxd, and never really got around to it.

I think there’s a similar discussion in the states about trying to figure out who literary fiction is actually for. The thinking is that it’s become too insular—it’s all by people who live in New York City or are ensconced in the MFA programs, and for people in NYC and the MFA programs. Things have kind of always been this way, but I guess people who watch this stuff are feeling like it’s more pronounced. I agree to a point but don’t have vast knowledge of the whole literary landscape.

Personally I can’t remember the time I was genuinely impressed with a work of contemporary literally fiction. I liked the Marlon James book and Jesamyn Ward book of last year but for white people it’s been at least a decade. Although this comes with the disclaimer that I don’t read much of that kind of thing.

All of this said I think overall book sales are doing fairly well these days so I’m not sure about the hand-wringing.


In 2017 I didn’t read a lot of books, I read most of the Bible, apart from that:

A hero of our times - Michael Lermontov (brilliant - everyone should read this masterpiece)
Epictetus’s Discourses
Bhagavad Gita
and parts of:

Heart of the Qu’ran - Lex Hixon
Dialogues and letters - Seneca
Confucius’s Analects


I just started Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, the first book in his Southern Reach trilogy and the basis for the upcoming film by Alex Garland.

I’m only about a quarter of the way into it so far but I’m quite enjoying it - it’s effectively unsettling, strange and alien, and it’s so far managing to be fairly enigmatic without being too detached or unengaging.

I think I’ll get through this quickly.


A bit late to the game, but here’s my list of books I read in 2017, in reading order (NF indicates non-fiction; GN is obvious):

  1. Shamrock Alley – Ronald Damien Malfi
  2. The Princess Bride – William Goldman
  3. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – Seth Grahame-Smith
  4. The Hoffa Wars – Dan Moldea NF
  5. House of Mirth – Edith Wharton
  6. The North Water: A Novel – Ian McGuire
  7. The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton
  8. The Iron Lake – William Kane Krueger
  9. Winter’s Tale – Mark Helprin
  10. Batman: The Long Halloween – Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale GN
  11. Ghost Ship – James D. Hornfischer NF
  12. Bogman – RI Olufsen
  13. The Black Echo – Michael Connelly
  14. Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
  15. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
  16. Spies, Sadists and Sorcerers – Dominic Selwood NF
  17. Birdcage Walk – Kate Riordan
  18. The Grifters – Jim Thompson
  19. Birdman – Mo Hayden
  20. Big Breasts and Wide Hips – Mo Yan
  21. Sandman Slim – Richard Kadrey
  22. Brighton – Michael Harvey
  23. American Phoenix – Jane Hampton Cook NF
  24. Paper Menagerie – Ken Li
  25. The Pawn – Steven James
  26. The Outfit – Gus Russo NF
  27. Fear – L. Ron Hubbard
  28. Baker Towers – Jennifer Haigh
  29. 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories – Lorrie Moore, ed.
  30. The Trespasser – Tana French
  31. Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
  32. Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead – Sara Gran
  33. The Associates: Four Capitalists… – Richard Rayner NF
  34. Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace
  35. Dead Street – Mickey Spillane
  36. Dreaming the Beatles – Rob Sheffield NF


One of the earliest SF books I can recall reading, and definitely the first I can remember owning, is Rip Foster Rides the Grey Planet by Blake Savage (a writer I have never heard of since). The editon I had was a hardcover from 1952, and twenty years later (I think; I must have been around seven) I think I acquired it from the second-hand bookshop in Lichfield that’s no longer there (R.I.P. best bookshop in the world :frowning: ).

I must have read it a hundred times. Forty-odd years later, I could still remember loads of significant details from it. It had spaceships, and action, and heaps of gritty detail about planets and astronomy. And in the intervening years I have convinced myself that this one book was probably responsible for not only a life-long love of SF, but a love of science and engineering that steered my future education and therefore pretty much my entire life. One chapter was called “Peril at Perihelion”. How can you read a phrase as cool as that and not immediately want to find out everything you can about astronomy?

So, last summer I found it in my mom’s loft.

I think there’s a danger in revisiting things you once loved, because you inevitably can’t see them again in the way you once did. So I left it. And left it. And finally read it. And

Holy moley, I think this is the best hard SF novel I have ever read.

Everything I remembered … it’s all true. All of it.

Yes, the book is basically an adventure book for kids. At under 200 pages and written in prose aimed at children, it’s a quick and easy read for an adult. The plot revolves around Lieutenant Richard Ingalls Peter (“Rip”) Foster and his squad of “Planeteers” sent out to the asteroid belt to stake claim to an asteroid of pure thorium, fighting off the evil Consolidated Peoples’ Republic (thinly veiled Soviets, obviously) in the process. There are space flights and missile attacks and zero-g fights and everything else you need for an exciting adventure yarn.

But the heart of the book is an engineering problem. Rip has to work out how to blast the asteroid out of orbit and “ride” it (get it?) to Earth so the thorium can be productively used.

The writer gives you easy to understand and (as far as I can tell with my adult knowledge) accurate and realistic explantions of Rip’s plans, he explains the tools and the celestial mechanics he uses, the perils he faces (at perihelion!), how he deals with working with zero gravity, radiation, and Newtons laws. The whole book is a geek’s dream, wrapped up in an adventure yard for kids.

Why did this ever go out of print? You could read this today, and it all still works. It works for an adult (completely at face value and non-ironically) and I’m sure it would still work for a child. Ok, it’s a product of the 50s and some things are dated: Rip calculates celestial mechanics longhand while on the asteroid, because he doesn’t have access to the “electronic brain” on the space cruiser, for example. But that’s not a flaw, just a point of historical interest.

This is just so, so good. As an adult I am in awe of this book, and I can fully understand why it made such a big and lasting impression on me.

I’m going to read it again…