Thursday, August 20, 2009
15 books that effected me the most.
15 books that effected me
Here are fifteen books that effected me deeply and in profound ways. They are listed in the order for which they inspired me. I have been meaning to do this for awhile...
1.Lucky Starr and the Rings of Saturn by Issac Asimov – This insanely out of date Sci-fi adventure series written for kids in the fifties were re-published in the 80's with cool looking covers. I thought this one looked so cool I asked my mom to buy it for me. I was too young to read it myself, so she read it too me. We figured out quickly it wasn't the first book and read all six together. By the time we finished the last one I was helping out with the reading.
They made me a fan of reading, taught me the power of prose story telling and were something my mom and I bonded on. I am pretty sure she was not a huge fan of the books but kept reading them to me because I liked them. Lucky Starr was the first character I loved who wasn't in movie or TV. I owe those books in a way I can't explain fully.
2-3.The Shining/ Skeleton Crew by Stephen King: It's hard not to picture the movie in your head but it is truly a masterpiece of horror fiction. That changed my perceptions of what horror fiction was. The first book to make me feel nervous reading it. As an adult the tragedy of the Torrance family broke my heart.
One of the most solid books King ever did was Skeleton Crew. A master at the top of his game. The Raft is one of the most perfect horror shorts ever written.
4.Books of Blood by Clive Barker Perhaps the best horror fiction short stories written by anyone. The blend of fantastic,bizarre and visceral has been unmatched before or since. Reading these stories made me want to create like he did. Made me want to use words to evoke emotions.
5.Diet for a New America by John Robbins: The first really powerful book about Veganism. It never ceases to amaze me the mountain of evidence that backs up being vegan. I felt empowered reading this that I could change my ways and have a positive impact on the world. If you haven't read it his more recent book Food Revolution is even better.
6. Vanguard #1 : So it's an 8 page zine. The first issue of the magazine of the hardline movement was basis of my ideology from 1994-99. While I disagree with parts of it now, I can still quote off the top of my head. It was “The time has come for a movement and ideology both physically and morally strong enough to do battle with the forces of evil that are destroying the earth...” Look up hardline on Wikipedia it's actually pretty close to the truth.
7-8. Ishmael and Story of B by Daniel Quinn: For awhile the cult like status DQ was getting from his fans annoyed me but they are life changing reads. These books are humbling, so much of what we take for granted is simply brainwashing by our culture. I think everyone should read these two.
9. I am Legend By Richard Matheson: Perhaps the best living author of the fantastic. This novel holds up amazing consider it was written when Eisenhower was president. Better than most modern horror novels, it is tense, scary, political, character driven and an over all emotional masterpiece. Every time I read it it teaches me something new about the craft of horror novels. Dog chapter breaks my heart every time.
10.Demons by John Shirley: I had started writing screenplays and was dabbling with scripts. I would divide my time between my activism and writing. This was the novel that taught me I didn't need to separate my fiction from my activism. Demons is a brillant short novel about corporations sacraficing human lives not only for profit, but...well read it. Genius book.
11.Swan Song By Robert McCammon : Sure it's a rip off of the Stand. In so many ways it's better. A bleaker tale that never drags in it's 900 pages. Just when you think a novel can not get darker or bleaker this epic adventure in the wake of a nuclear war is one of the best novels I have ever read. This book taught me a lot about keeping the pace and interest going.
12.The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner: Written in the 70's this Sci-fi novel is the silent spring of Science Fiction. I have tried to create that feeling with my third novel The Very Last Drop. This was a important work for it's time, but we need a new novel to address new over looked environmental issues.
13.The Book and The Sword by Louis Cha: Martial arts fantasy, one of the few translated into english. This expanded the arena of Martial Arts fantasy(Wuxia Pan)for me and was the reason I wanted to adapt my screenplay Hunting the Moon Tribe(coming soon from Afterbirth Books) into a novel.Recently adapted into a passable TV mini-series in china with fights directed by one of my favorite directors Ching Siu Tung.
14.Wetbones by John Shirley : The first book I read living in the northwest was Wetbones. This is a horror masterpiece in part it is about addiction. It is also about losing control of ones self, it's also disturbing on levels few novels have ever reached. Lovecraftian at times, like an 80's cronenberg body horror at times, brutal as a novel could get. It is an overlooked masterpiece.
15. Always coming home by UK Leguin : When people think of anarchist fiction Ursla K Leguin's science fiction masterpiece of the late 60's The Dispossessed is often the first book mentioned. But if you were to ask the author what is her best work of anarchist fiction she would say Always Coming Home. This is a dense hard book to read, it is not easy reading but this tale of anarchist culture in a somewhat primitive far future north California is mind expanding and will give hope that humans could one day live like this.