30 April, 2009

Review: The Confederation Series, by T. Huff

The Confederation series, by Tanya Huff, is a tightly focus collection of military style science fiction. The series is comprised, so far, of four books: Valor's Choice (2000), The Better Part of Valor (2002), The Heart of Valor (2007), and Valor's Trial (2008), which are all published by DAW. Do I detect a common theme?

The Setup

Hard-as-nails hardly comes close to describing Marine Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr, the protagonist and focus of the series. In the first installment Kerr and her squad are assigned to a spit and polish diplomatic escort mission to a prospective member of the confederation. Little does the unit know that they are going to be battle tested against thousands of humanoid lizards in their bid to win a new ally against the Others.
The second book in the series, following Kerr's incredible success in winning over the lizards to the confederation, has her and her team assigned to a special recon mission of an alien vessel. Just to spice things up, they are sealed onboard with a squad of Others. Close quarters combat ensues between the two factions, only to discover that the ship itself is the real enemy. Apparently, a vastly powerful and sentient species that can take on the form of, well, anything has decided to take an interest in the confederation as well as the Others.
The last two installments are by far my favorite. From a training mission gone wrong to the escape from a hidden underground prison, the reader is led on a merry, adrenaline filled ride. Turning impossible situations into victory is what Sergeant Kerr does, and does well.

My Take in Brief

I truly enjoyed this series. From its quick pace, to the flawless interactions between radically different species, there is something in here for everyone. The tech aspects of the books are slightly glossed, which might disappoint some of you reading this, but they remain perfectly credible. The focus is fixed, throughout, on social and physical interactions. Coupled with some flawless military lingo you get the impression that your just out of boot-camp and looking for Kerr to save your life at every turn.
Fundamentally, this is a work of military science fiction with sprinkles of space opera. The space opera aspect is most definitely secondary to the action/military genre; it serves to get Kerr to interesting places where stuff goes boom, or squish for that matter. That said, those aspects of the book remain compelling, thanks mostly to an accurate and artful portrayal of the relationship between war and politics. The focus is on the integration of disparate alien cultures into a single unified fighting force.
I do recommend this series because it is a captivating and entertaining read. I think I went through all four books in under two weeks. The style and pace are markedly similar to the military science fiction of David Gunn, which I have recently reviewed. If you like Huff you'll want to check him out as well.

  • Realistic military lingo and power relationships.
  • Distinct and fascinating cultural interactions.
  • Captivating, if somewhat drawn out battles.
  • Quick, smooth, and entertaining prose.
  • Acts of desperation.
  • Endearing characters that are nevertheless mortal.
  • Everything that you have to sacrifice in order to get desperately epic battles in a short and fast-paced military science fiction book.
Your Take

I realize I have been focused pretty heavily of late on the military/space opera genre, so I am going to read some epic fantasy after I finish with Altered Carbon. What's your general take on the the Confederation series? Do you even enjoy military science fiction or I am boring the hell out of you?

Ratings & Links

Amazon: 3.25/5
B&N: 4.5/5
My Rating: 3.5/5

Tanya Huff's Live Journal: A couple nice recipes there!
And an exciting interview with Tanya Huff.

Piqued Your Interest?

Make sure to check out the omnibus of the first two novels, A Confederation of Valor, if you are considering the series. From what I understand the extra edits were beneficial and you get two for the price of one!

Check It Out: Site Remodeling Complete

    After a full day of messing with Templates, HTML, CSS, and Widgets, Only The Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy is starting to look pretty decent. From knowing nothing about making a blog to uploading a custom template and editing it to my specifications, I have learned a lot!
     The trickiest part was undoubtedly getting the blog pages to fold so as to make new post easily visible. The only glitch that that left me with is the "Read More..." that stuck to posts created before the change. All considered that is fine with me since I need to go back over those anyway and format them to the style of my Bright of the Sky review.
     My favorite part by far of the whole site redesign is the header pic. It pretty much captures exactly what the site is about, science fiction and fantasy.
     I know I was sneaky making you click the "Read More..." just there but I needed to test it to see if it works properly! Thanks for being my unwitting test dummies.
     Of course, as I add more sorely lacking content, I'll have to add more widgets and navigation tools. I am betting that it will be a pleasure compared to the day I just had though.
     Lastly, I want to know what you think. Does the redesign hurt your eye? Are you prompted to spam you back button? Or are you pleasantly surprised? Especially to the SFF book bloggers out there, let me know what you think I should add/change. I value your vast experience and perspective on the matter.

27 April, 2009

Review: Bright of the Sky, by Kay Kenyon

The Bright of the Sky, by Kay Kenyon is the first book of her Entire and the Rose tetralogy, is published by Pyr (Feb 2008), and is blessed with some truly beautiful cover art.

The Setup

     A semi-sentient super-computer destroys a space station trying to answer a question posed to it by a research physicist. The answer turns out to be, drumroll, a world that exists beyond our own, replete with fascinating aliens and cultures. Of course, Titus Quinn has been there before, but no one wanted to believe him. Now the opportunity presents itself for  him to go back to the Entire and save his wife and daughter. 
    The Entire offers a safe means of space travel far exceeding the current Kardachev tunnels, and is itself a feudalistic world controlled by remorseless alien rulers. Quinn must subdue the ambitions of the mega-corporation that sends him back to the Entire while avoiding the alien overlords who want him dead. Enter Anzi, Quinn's willing guide, a beautiful native of the Entire and niece to the ruler of a powerful province. Will her shrouded past and murky pledge of loyalty see Quinn safely reunited with his family or will his own lost memories prove his undoing?

My Take in Brief

    I need to say first off that I came into this with high expectation given some of the respected blog reviews of The Bright of the Sky that I read, specifically those on MentatJack, SFSignal, and Pat's Fantasy Hotlist. I was hooked by the first chapter, and that got me through the rest of the book, but just barely.  
    To say that it was a let down would be an understatement; I struggled to finish the book. I felt like I was stuck on one of those terribly slow Amtrak trains --- you know exactly where its going to stop but your just not getting there quick enough. There were some high points to be sure, but all in all these failed to compensate for what was invariably a dull ride. If Kay Kenyon had kept the energy and unpredictability of the first chapter going this would have been an amazing read. Unfortunately that was not the case.
    The Bright of the Sky subtly incorporates hard science fiction with earthy fantasy in a convincing way, but if you are looking for that kind of mix, then maybe fall back on someone who leaves you wanting to come back for more, such as Peter F. Hamilton in his Void trilogy

The Characters

    Titus Quinn and especially his daughter Sydney are compelling, believable, and colorful. They lead vivid if somewhat restrained internal lives, and are for the most part endearing.
Without exception I found everyone else to be flat, monochromatic, and strikingly unconvincing. 
    I had to stop reading a few times when, for example, the scholar Su Bei, after an interminable internal monologue in which he swears to himself that he will not give anyway any secrets to Quinn, promptly does exactly that. 
    Anzi, Quinn's guide for most of the novel is so bland I almost sprayed the book with ketchup. Although to be fair she is a fitting representation of her culture as a whole. Kenyon is exceedingly proficient at drawing out cultural stereotypes and personifying them as characters in her work.

  • The first chapter was a hard science fiction work of art.
  • The rich, almost poetic textures of the world just beyond our own.
  • The blind riders of the Inyx and their symbiotic telepathic relationship.
  • The colorfully unique if sometimes brutal mores of the peoples of the Entire.
  • A compelling and imaginative story.
The Setup
  • Exceedingly poor and glossed description of a future earth.
  • Inconsistent and monochromatic secondary characters.
  • Poor transitions between chapters and even paragraphs.
  • A generally confusing sense of perspective; you are left wandering who is talking.
  • The brutal linearity of the story.
  • An ending that seems never to end... like subway doors that refuse to open.
  • I could go on but I like to think of myself as a nice person.
Your Take

    Someone please tell me why I am wrong here. I honestly don't get what others saw in this beyond the general beauty of the Entire and its peoples. I'll even repost your comments here just to give a balanced view.


Amazon: 4.75/5
B&N: 5/5
SFSignal: 4/5
SFReviews: 3.5/5
My Rating: 2.75/5

Piqued Your Interest?

     If I haven't scared you off already or you just want to go ahead and prove me wrong. Go ahead and check out Bright of the Sky

26 April, 2009

On Torture: A Look at the Use of Pain in SFF

With President Obama taking out the trash with respect to our nations dirty torture secrets, I thought it a fitting time to discuss the function of torture in science fiction and fantasy.

For the purpose of this blog post, I will take a fairly broad understanding of torture, defined as
the infliction of intense pain to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure.
The word torture comes from the Latin torquēre, to twist. Already form this we get a presage of the use of torture in SF/F. By reducing reality to it most fundamental components, pleasure and pain, life and death, authors are able to drawn in the clearest detail the basic building blocs and motivations of their characters.

I am reminded of Achamian in the The Warrior-Prophet, by R. Scott Bakker, whose torture at the hands of the Thousand Spires reveals the depths of his relationship to his School and his gnostic magic:

How many times had Achamian survived the Wall of Torment in Dagliash? How many times had he bolted from the anguish of his sleep, weeping because his wrists were free, because no nails pierced his arms? In the ways of torture, the Scarlet Spires were mere understudies compared with the Consult.

No. Achamian wasn’t strong.

For all their merciless cunning, what the Scarlet Magi never understood was that they plied two men, not one. Hanging naked from the chains, his face slack against shoulder and chest, Achamian could see the foremost of his diffuse shadows fan across the mosaic floor. And no matter how violent the agonies that shuddered through him, the shadow remained firm, untouched. It whispered to him, whether he wailed or gagged . . .

Whatever they do, I remain untouched. The heart of a great tree never burns. The heart of a great tree never burns.
Two men, like a circle and its shadow.

The torture, the Cants of Compulsion, the narcotics—everything had failed because there were two men for them to compel, and the one, Seswatha, stood far outside the circle of the present. Whatever the affliction, no matter how obscene, his shadow whispered, But I’ve suffered more . . .
The passage not only underlines Achamian's relationship to his magic through Seswatha, but further underscores the brutality of the Schoolman's nightly dreams. Achamian, more so than ever before in the trilogy, is uniquely defined by his suffering, his nightly torture at the mercy of his magical heritage. In contradistinction the reader finds Esmenet, the only point of hope and love in Achamian's life and instantly understands Kellhus' 'theft' of her love to be the deepest betrayal Achamian has even know, thereby justifying his twenty year obsession with Kellhus in the following trilogy.

R. Scott Bakker's use of torture is by no means unique, but the frequency with which it is visited upon some of his characters makes them somewhat monochromatic. All of their thoughts and actions are animated by their painful trials and so robs them of much of their originality, depriving the reader of what could be a much more complex and endearing personage.

Torture is also used in is science fiction and fantasy as a simple means of defining the villain or the 'other'. I would name at least a dozen arch villains who fit this profile, some more realistic than others. In fact, looking at the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind , I have difficulty thinking of at least one dubious antagonist who does not in some way indulge in torture, either out of pleasure or what they consider to be necessity.

Setting aside discussions of Mr. Goodkind's literary talents, fabricated or not, I understand the ease with which authors fall back on torture to define their villains. Indeed, what simpler way is there to brand someone as evil than to make them take pleasure form the debasement and suffering of the righteous or innocent?

Torture is implicitly used as a defining mechanism of the human condition. For example, either torture admits the ultimate malleability of its subject, rendering them utterly to the will of the torturer, or the author elevates some specific a priori value beyond the reach of torture, and thus of change in general. Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell is a prime example of a case in which the protagonist is utterly remolded, in this case to the precise political specification of the torturer.

Some authors, such as Terry Goodkind, whom I have already mentioned, strike a delicate compromise. Richard is effectively remolded to Darken Rahl's specifications by Denna, after months of agony, yet is able to reclaim himself through the use of magic. We can interpret this as admitting malleability with the rare possibility of resistance through profound inner strength.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have protagonists, generally considered the 'good guys', who indulge in torture out of necessity. These scenes generally speak to an overarching philosophical principle that the author wishes to express. Means justify the ends, love permits all, desperation knows no reason, ect. These instances of torture are however generally brief and lack some of the more intimate and frightful details that qualify the other types of torture I have discussed.

Lastly, we have characters who laugh in the face of torture, demanding more simply to rebuke their captors. In these instances, I have always thought first that the character is somehow dehumanized, elevated yet distanced from his fellow human beings. Second, that the character becomes the personification of a certain philosophy or ideal that they hold above all other concern. We return here to monochromatic personage whose utility I understand, yet whose use I find trite and unoriginal.

I have given here a brief overview of the use of torture specific to fantasy and science fiction literature, and tried to break it down into distinguishable categories. I do not doubt that they overlap and even that I have omitted some, and so invite readers to submit their interpretation and understanding of torture and its uses in science fiction and fantasy literature.


A fascinating article on the erie parallels between recently released torture memo's and famous literary works on torture.

25 April, 2009

Why to trust blogosphere over Amazon?

Great book blog article on the way publishers and authors unjustly hype up books on Amazon. Trust the homegrown reviews and you'll won't be lead astray!

My Mission Statement explores the principles of an honest review and lays the rules for the science fiction and fantasy book reviews I will post here in the future. If it isn't great it doesn't make the list.

24 April, 2009

Review: The Sword of Truth, by Terry Goodkind

The Sword of Truth, by Terry Goodkind follows the trials and tribulation of Richard Cipher through countless adventures. This is one of my favorite series hands down. The general philosophical underpinnings of the Sword of Truth series do tend to scare me a bit but are ultimately justified in the context of the world the Mr. Goodkind created. Think of a world completely overtaken by an abysmal failure of pseudo communism in which the apparatchik rule all and mankind sullenly accepts its well deserved suffering. The only solution is brutal honesty with a good backing of military might, and Richard has more than enough to go around.

They recently spun off a televised mini-series from the first novel that moved me to tears, in a bad way. Maybe its because after reading the book there is no way, short of a three hour hollywood blockbuster (per episode), that you can capture the entirety of the story line. It really is well crafted and the plot twists escape you till the last minute.

Terry Goodkind is a master of delving deep into his characters' psyches and coming out with something that resonates with the reader. The most memorable part of the whole Sword of Truth series, in my opinion, is when Richard is capture by a Mord Sith, and tortured for months on end. Those were a twisted few chapters that made me think that Terry Goodkind should have switched to the Horror/Thriller genre.

The system of magic always seemed to lack something, but that's mostly because it isn't the main focus. Richard wields his power not through knowledge but through instinct and desire. The reader is left hanging, waiting for him to discover the actual technical knowledge that will allow him to defeat his enemies, but after ten books it turns out not to be needed. This is epic fantasy at its finest, with larger than life characters, arch villains, world shattering magic, and true love!

One thing which always nagged me was the preachiness factor of the books. It seemed every time Terry Goodkind was at a loss of substantive plot development he would fall back on the old chapter-long philosophical monologues. Did anyone else that read the series get this feeling? I know there is a lot of funny hate out there on other blogs for Mr. Goodking but I believe that a lot of it is undeserved.

Review: The Judging Eye, by R. Scott Bakker

The Judging Eye, by R. Scott Bakker is set twenty years after his previous trilogy, The Darkness That Comes Before, which follows Anasurimbor Kelhus in his quest to kill his father and save the world. Kelhus is an off the charts genius Übermensch bred in the traditions of the Dunyain, a secret cult whose only goal is to breed smarter children. Having been polluted by the outside world through a dream sent by his father, Kelhus is exiled from the Dunyain and sent to kill him. I highly recommend the first trilogy for anyone who enjoyed the Ender's Game series as there are a few significant parallels that give the book a remarkably similar feel. Although this is a work of fantasy and not science fiction you won't be sorry you made the transition.

This is a real philosophical work of fantasy, incorporating many elements of traditional religion, such as Islam and Christianity in a nation state framework that lends the book a gritty realism. It took me a few chapters to get used to the style and the sheer abundance of proper names, but it all falls into place fairly quickly. While all in all I feel that it was a solid series, there is a certain lack of mystery and plot twisting which makes reading this similar to falling head first down a tunnel; you can watch everything go by, and its pretty, but you ultimately know where you are going to end up.

For those just starting out in the genre, I would not recommend this, but for those who are looking to round out there experience its a great pick that is clearly distinct from anything else out there.

The Judging Eye, the first book of the new trilogy suffers from the same defects as its forbearers, I am currently half-way in, and had I not read the previous trilogy, I am fairly certain I would be lost. The real let-down here is that Kelhus is no longer a central character, or at least not yet. What good is having someone with god-like powers if you don't get to see him use them!?

Two great content based reviews from The Wertzone and Neth Space.

A brief side note, I am going to be working on the mission statement this week, tweak it a bit to be more in-line with what is actually going on here.

23 April, 2009

Review: The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Timeseries by Robert Jordan is a massive (13+books) Tolkein like world revolving around three protagonists from the same village who are out to save the world. They embark on desperate adventures while surrounded, and for some wielding the mystical One Power. The series is a seamless integration of magic and daring, a truly unique world in which armies are marshaled and the fate of, well, everything will be decided.

Its hard to say much about this series without giving it away since so much happens from book to book, but the one thing I can guarantee is that it will provide months of entertainment. Be warned, you might hate women by the time you are done with this book because of the way the author fits them into the story line. On the other hand, my girlfriend, who is currently on book four, seems to think the women courageous and daring. It goes without saying that she thinks all the men are louts and rascals.

This is the series that really introduced me to high fantasy, after having read a couple books by C.S. Lewis. I got hooked after the first three in the series and have been waiting well over ten years for the last book to come out. Sadly, Robert Jordan died with the series unfinished, but don't despair. He left a solid outline, had already written the conclusion, and hand picked Brandon Sanderson to continue writing for him (the conclusion part is significant because the final chapters of each book are always the most epic). To my huge disappointment, the 'final book' to the Wheel of Time Series is being split into three books with the first to come out this year and then proceed at the pace of one book per year.

Regardless, the The Eye of the World, the first book in the series, got me hooked from page fifty on. I still remember the shiver the book gave me like it was yesterday. There is nothing like epic high fantasy to bring on the shivers, besides perhaps morphine. I am pretty certain I have been chasing the dragon ever since.

Given my personal attachment and the sheer quantity of books in the series, condensed they easily make it onto our top 10 list. If you loved The Lord of The Rings there is no way that you won't like this series. Give it a try while remembering not to come out of the experience hating women, or men if you are a woman.

I promised in my mission statement not to bring in too much of the older fantasy and science fiction writings, but since this series is till current, even though its original author is no longer with us, I think it is justified.

22 April, 2009

April Science Fiction Book Recommendation

It might be much calling what follows a book, but Death's Head: Maximum Offense, by David Gunn (can you get a name better than that for military sci-fi?) is a quick and hugely entertaining read. The pace is break neck and it doesn't let up for a second. I found my self leaning forward in my chair, airline style, braced for impact. I finished this in one sitting, not because it was a must read but because its simple good honest fun.

The main character of this military science fiction novel is a muscular skin envelope stitched together to cover a ton and a half of pressurized testosterone, who leads a rag tag unit of dysfunctional super soldiers. Macho hardly begins to describe the protagonist--insane probably does. But boy o boy insanity is fun when you combine it with future tech and a frequent desire to exterminate your enemies, and generally anyone that's an annoyance.

Hive minds, godlike emperors, ring worlds, and desperation make this an enjoyable if slightly shallow read. Highly recommended if you just want to go along for the ride.

Here is a fairly comprehensive listing of military science fiction out there for those of you that might enjoy other titles. Enjoy!

Review: The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman

The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman is a moving tale about war. There is no simpler way to put it. The great science fiction and fantasy books out there always carry a deeper meaning or theme; the better the book the more timeless that theme is.

The Setup

William Mandella is a time traveler and a soldier, suffering the relativistic effects of deployment to cosmically distant battlegrounds against the Taurans, earths only enemy. As he rises through the ranks, thanks mostly to an uncanny knack for survival, the reader is exposed to social and technological metamorphoses back on earth. These changes in turn effect Mandella's unit, the tactics and technology at his disposal, and even his relationship to his only love, herself a conscript in the war. A superhuman helping of grit and realism make this one of the quickest and most enjoyable reads I have ever had the enormous pleasure to consume.

My Take

Mr. Haldeman strikes a cord so deep and timeless that should The Forever War ever be forgotten, we would not recognize the world in which we live. The book springs from the heart of a psyche that has endured the pains of war and seeks to communicate the futility of violence to the world. The prose flows simply and beautifully and captures the essence of what it means to fight, to die, and to suffer the deprivations that war brings.
If all that is a bit too poetic for you, let me just say that a lot of stuff goes boom, again and again, in so many awesome and original ways its hard to count. The great thing about the way the book is structured is that it allows the reader to see the development of technology and social moors as a clear Hegelian clash between thesis and antithesis. Nothing is spared by the progress of millennia, only the War itself.

Your Take

The general consensus is that the Forever War is a timeless work of art, similar to Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein. There are a few detractors however, who find that some of the themes go against their moral grain. I personally loved it and found even the most daring turns to be thought provoking and intellectually stimulating. If you have read it, what is your view?

Ratings & Links

Amazon: 4.5/5
B&N: 4.25/5
My Rating: 4.75/5

Read a great interview with Joe Haldeman.

Piqued Your Interest?

This is, quite simply, not a book to be passed over. If you are a science fiction lover then The Forever War needs to be added to your repertoire. If you are just starting out in the genre, there are few better places to start.

Review: The Dreaming Void, by Peter F. Hamilton

The Dreaming Void (The Void Trilogy)by Peter F. Hamilton is the pinnacle of the space orchestra genre. Politics, economics, future tech and religion all intersect to create one of the most compelling 'worlds' I have ever had the privilege to discover. More importantly, the different plot lines are all enthralling, which in my opinion is fairly rare. To top it off, you also get a fantasy novel within a science fiction novel. I have no doubt that you could would be crying for more were you to read only the Dream sections of this masterpiece. It might sound disconcerting without having picked up the book, but I promise you satisfaction from page fifty nine forward (you need a little room to get started on this 700 page + beast).

The tech is perfectly convincing, the suspense is never ending and the meshing of plot lines is seamless. If you thought fantasy authors were good at creating worlds you need to see Mr. Hamilton create two universes. Meet unimaginably ancient aliens, relentless enemies, and an emotionally distraught and love-sick alcoholic whose ex beau was (is?) a living messiah.

If there was any negative that I would have to point out it would be the slightly repetitive nature of the fight sequences. Even so, you'll keep turning the pages as if your life depended on it. Once you get past The Dreaming Void, you will hop right into The Temporal Void (Void Trilogy), which came out not a month ago. Buy them both at the same time or your hate yourself during the whole long walk to the bookstore because its even better than the first book.

Once I get a couple more posts under my belt this will easily make it into the top 10, and MAYBE into the top 5.

MISSION STATEMENT: Only The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy

I solemnly swear to provide only the best science fiction and fantasy literature I can get my hands on. I promise to already have read every SciFi or Fantasy book posted here, and to have loved it. If it isn't loved it doesn't get posted, end of story.

Are you tired of walking in to Barnes & Noble or Borders and despairing of ever finding the right science fiction or fantasy book for you? Well, look no further because now you can leave the bookstore with your arms laden with pounds of the finest printed word out there.

There is a serious lack of good references for new science fiction admirers and even old vets like myself. You either get stuck with some terrible rankings from places like Amazon, or you get mired in an endless list, ie "TOP 100 SciFi Books of All Time" that don't say much besides giving the name and author, because we all know that's is going to do you a lot of good.

No more throwing darts in the dark and hoping to find a gem, I will provide you with the treasure chest full of sparkling rubies, sapphires, and diamonds. And for those of you who, like myself, still enjoy going even though you know your chances of finding a new and exciting science fiction or fantasy novel are slim, I'll provide a couple suggestions and tricks for improving your odds.

Now, when I go to the book store and walk into my section (is it strange that I think of it as my section?) I have to fight back waves of despair. My anger is so hot and visceral when I see that the twenty seventh book in the Recluse series just came out, that I think that the stack of books next to me might combust.

The sad fact of the matter is that trashy Science Fiction and Fantasy sells, not as well as the good stuff to be sure, but well enough to keep wasting paper. I will ward you clear of these literary horrors and steer you toward the ambrosia that is a good, make that a great book.

While I will be posting my top picks at the pace of one per week I will also build a top 10 list in which books will compete for the privilege of those distinguished spots.

I will start out with those that off the top of my head deserve to be read and I will add more titles and reviews from there. I should note that I will not focus on some of the older science fiction and fantasy, as first off a lot of it is out of print and secondly, I would like to focus on more recent works: those that have so far failed to be recognized for how sublime the really are, and so deserve a top spot on our list.

Lastly, and most importantly please post your recommendation for even though my book finding skills are finely honed I am not capable of reading everything out there (I wish I was).