Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Oct '11

Awesome-est Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy List

John here. I know Shannon is the one who gets the Post glory in these parts, but I had to comment on the awesome-est flowchart I’ve seen in a while (and yes, awesome-est is absolutely correct—it’s in the dict-tionary, I promise).

So NPR (that’s National Public Radio, I am indeed referencing to it) recently conducted a survey of its listeners to get their take on the top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy books. Well they released their list of books and that was that. No descriptions or commentary. Just a list. If you wanted to—you know—actually pick one to read you were on your own. Brush off your top hat that you’ve been keeping in the attic for just such an occasion and pick a title at random.

SFSignal, however, has taken those 100 books and created a flowchart to help you navigate to those books you might be interested in. Whether you’re “new to the fantasy genre,” looking for your next Cyberpunk-With-Funny-Hats novel, or want something Science Fictiony / Fantasy-esk without being seen in that section of the bookstore, then they got you covered.

You can start navigating the flowchart here.

If you prefer your flowchart mapped out (i.e., you like to know what kind of trouble your response might get you into) then the whole chart is viewable too.

Click to embiggen

Sep '07

Stephanie Meyer Review

Well, I wasn’t going to post any thoughts about the last three books I’ve read–Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse–but I changed my mind after I found myself talking about the books so frequently with others.


First of all, the books are young adult novels about a teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire and is also best friends with (and eventually a little in love with) a werewolf.

Okay. Not really my type of plot. But my visiting teacher lent me Twilight and after reading that one I had to keep going.

Everyone upon everyone who likes to read has been talking about these books. You’ve probably heard them. But even after reading the books myself I kept wondering why: Why are these books such a hit?

I should point out that the books are probably most popular among the female readers because, in spite of the genuinely cool parts dealing with vampires and werewolves, the books are still fundamentally a love story. And a really intense love story at that.

So here’s my theory about why these books are so popular (in spite of the fact that the teenage girl, Bella, gets more and more annoying as the books go on): Stephanie Meyer has created another Mr. Darcy in Edward Cullen.

Unlike Mr. Darcy, Edward is seventeen, a vampire, and immortal. But other than that he and Mr. Darcy are one and the same: Extremely attractive. Sexy. Impeccably polite. Gentlemanly. And, more than anything, would do anything for the woman he loves.

This is the type of man women love to read about, love to dream about, love to think of themselves with. (Some of us, of course, are fortunate enough to already be married to someone with exactly these qualities. Minus the seventeen, vampire, and immortal bits.) I mean, how many women out there have watched BBC’s Pride and Prejudice a zillion times just for that part where Mr. Darcy dives into the pond and walks back in his wet shirt? What woman doesn’t wilt at the intense expression in Mr. Darcy’s eyes when he stares at Elizabeth Bennett? What woman doesn’t equate Mr. Darcy with the quintessential romantic hero and secretly wish they were Miss Bennett so they could be the object of Mr. Darcy’s attentions?

Don’t deny it, girls. You know it’s true.


Edward is the same way. Irresistible.

I think that’s a large part why we keep reading. We want to see Bella and Edward end up happily together, even though it possibly involves Bella becoming a vampire herself and breaking her best friend Jacob’s heart. And I know some people are really on Team Jacob and are rooting that he and Bella will end up together, but sorry, I think you’re in the vast minority. I’m all for Edward, and hope that Bella will get over her whininess and make us think that somehow she deserves such a man as Edward.

Aug '05

SciFact–What A Little Moon Dust Can Do

Something as benign as dust seems to merit little attention. Most people worry more about the microorganisms and organic material that have significant consequences for things including allergies and agriculture. But when you factor in the moon (and other planetary objects, for that matter) dust itself becomes far more significant.