My Reading List (A Science-fictiony Christmas)

On May 2, 2103, Elwood Caswell walked rapidly down Broadway with a loaded revolver hidden in his coat pocket. He didn’t want to use the weapon, but feared he might anyhow. This was a justifiable assumption, for Caswell was a homicidal maniac.

Thus begins Robert Sheckley’s Bad Medicine. On December 9, one of the few authors present in Project Gutenberg with copyrighted works, Sheckley passed away at age 77 in Poughkeepsie, USA. The New York Times says in its obituary of Sheckley that he “is considered one of science fiction’s seminal humorists, and a precursor to Douglas Adams”; but “a better comparison might be to Kafka, a fabulist who could never understand why his friends didn’t laugh when he read his stories to them”.

Speaking of lineages: the other day I saw someone observe that Terry Pratchett “must surely have read, and enjoyed, the Kai Lung books by Ernest Bramah“. I am fairly new to Pratchett, but have read enough to feel that checking out Bramah may be worthwhile.

The connection between Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams is of course that of both has been said that they admire(d) P.G. Wodehouse. Adams discovered Sheckley and Wodehouse after he had started his Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy trilogy, and claimed that the Wodehouse influence must have been immediate when writing The Restaurant at the End of the Galaxy.

(Also posted at Teleread.)

2 responses to “My Reading List (A Science-fictiony Christmas)”

  1. […] As I wrote earlier, I was going to read Bramah and Sheckley over Christmas, which I have. I also suggested that Bramah’s Kai Lung may have influenced Terry Pratchett; but I read a book from that other series of Ernest Bramah, so I won’t be able to compare the authors. Yet. […]

  2. […] Another story I was going to read over Christmas was Robert Sheckley’s Bad Medicine, from which I quoted the beginning: On May 2, 2103, Elwood Caswell walked rapidly down Broadway with a loaded revolver hidden in his coat pocket. He didn’t want to use the weapon, but feared he might anyhow. This was a justifiable assumption, for Caswell was a homicidal maniac. […]

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