m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...

The Prolific and the Forgetful

I try to read a few books by a lot of authors rather than all the books by a few authors, but in certain cases I’m a fangirl and I try to read them all. Usually this is easy to do, because the books are laid out in a particular order (Lois McMaster Bujold, Gene Wolfe), there aren’t so many of them (Mary Doria Russell, Greg Egan), or I’ve been following them long enough to pick everything up (Walter Jon Williams, Doris Lessing).

But in some cases the task is overwhelming. I find myself fifteen or twenty years behind on the output of some prodigies of literary prodigality. I pick away at the backlog by borrowing books from the library, or buying them used then lending them out again. By the time I walk into a bookstore and am faced with a shelf of Jack McDevitt novels with their one or two word titles, I really can’t recall which ones I’ve read and which I haven’t. Skimming is no help due to the frequently-recurring characters. Iain M. Banks is even more of a challenge because he’s prolific and hard to find in the U.S. I’ve known for a while that I should find Feersum Endjinn, but I’ve never seen it.

In any event, I have finally checked my list of read books against their bibliographies, and I have a shopping list. Funny, but I could have sworn I’d read Infinity Beach, at least one of the O-novels (Omega, Odyssey), and Excession.