Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Curse of Great Books

I've less than 100 pages to go in reading Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire - it's taken me a while to get to the fourth book in this series, but I was inspired to finally read it before the movie comes out (which is likely within the next 6-12 months) - I've enjoyed going to each of the movies so far with my neice Taylor (who, of course, being a voracious reader, is on top of the Potter series and eagerly awaits the 6th book coming in a month or so), and wanted to ensure that I've read each book before the movie comes out. I have to say the last 200 or so pages of this novel are phenomenal - I was least impressed with the first 100 pages of this one, but the second half of the novel more than makes up for it.

Next on my "to read" pile (man, but the pile is huge - so many great books waiting for me to read - it's an ongoing curse of course that I am glad to say afflicts me) is Robert J. Sawyer's Mindscan. Rob is a brilliant writer who creates interesting characters and intriguing stories - he has deservedly won as many sci-fi awards as I can think of, including the big ones like the Hugo, the Nebula, as well as the Canadian Aurora Award - in 2000, I was fortunate enough to make the Aurora short-list for Best Short Form Work English for my story "Erratic Cycles" but lost to Rob. I certainly couldn't have lost to a nicer guy - despite his success and popularity, Rob is a decent, down-to-earth and approachable guy and a good friend who is always willing to help out fellow writers. He is also a fascinating speaker as well - it's always a pleasure to go to one of his readings or speaking engagements. Seeing such a genuinely nice person accomplish such praise, awards and success is a good feeling - he's worked hard to get where he is and yet he doesn't pause in efforts to help others succeed or learn from his own hard work. Rob was generous enough to give me a nice blurb for the back cover of my short story collection One Hand Screaming, in which he wrote:

"Mark Leslie is an exciting new voice in Canadian fiction, and sure to be one of the SF stars of tomorrow. He's a wonderful writer, and a joy to read."

I've included a link to Rob's own blog, which is always interesting to read. I have to admit, I think I'm going to enjoy reading Mindscan a bit more than his blog, but his recent post about the Rob & Bob Tour (he did a book tour with Robert Charles Wilson - another great talent in Canadian sci-fi - recently), is quite enjoyable, with lots of great photos.

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