In Search of the Lost Chord – a reading list

April 2, 2011 at 3:22 PM

All reviews are from

I did not write any of them, although I have read them all.  I have read most of them at least twice.

The list includes science fiction and surreal contemporary literature.  They are in no particular order.

God Game by Andrew Greeley

This  is the dilemma that faces our hero, who quickly finds that being given  the kingdom, the power, and the glory is dangerous -- but addictive. The  troubles of the people he sees flashing on his computer screen are all  too real -- and his troubles are just beginning. . .

Dhalgren by Samuel Delany

What is Dhalgren? Dhalgren is one of the greatest novels of 20th-century American literature. Dhalgren is one of the all-time best-selling science fiction novels. Dhalgren may be read with equal validity as SF, magic realism, or metafiction. Dhalgren is controversial, challenging, and scandalous. Dhalgren is a brilliant novel about sex, gender, race, class, art, and identity.

Neuromancer by William Gibson

Here is the novel that started it all, launching the cyberpunk  generation, and the first novel to win the holy trinity of science  fiction; the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award and the Philip K. Dick Award.  With Neuromancer, William Gibson introduced the world to cyberspace--and science fiction has never been the same.

Burning Chrome by William Gibson

Ten brilliant, streetwise, high-resolution stories from the man who coined the word cyberspace. Gibson's vision has become a touchstone in the emerging order of the 21st Century, from the computer-enhanced hustlers of Johnny Mnemonic to the techno fetishist blues of Burning Chrome.  With their vividly human characters and their remorseless, hot-wired  futures, these stories are simultaneously science fiction at its  sharpest and instantly recognizable Polaroids of the postmodern  condition.

Santiago by Mike Resnick

When  I bought SANTIAGO, I was expecting a "space opera" type of novel. That  is, a melodrama typified by shallow characterization, simple plot line  and lots of action. What I wasn't quite prepared for was a "space  western". That's what this is, though. It reads like a cowboy story  complete with bounty hunters, a lawless frontier culture, and aliens  calling themselves "the Sioux nation" and living in tee-pees.

The Dark Lady by Mike Resnick

Another  excellent work by Mike Resnick. Told from the viewpoint of an alien  (something most authors have trouble doing), this book spans the galaxy  in the quest for the Dark Lady. Is she Death? Is she a Goddess? The  Bjornn art dealer Leonardo is driven to learn all he can about her, and  what she means for his future, the future of his race, and the future of  Mankind.

The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason

…I  want to add that the writing of this novel was amazing. Rarely do I  read a contemporary book that captures my attention with delectable  diction or captivating structure, but The Rule of Four does just that.  This book is worthy of a reading, if for nothing else, then for its  exquisite language.

The Magus by John Fowles

Filled with shocks and chilling surprises, The Magus  is a masterwork of contemporary literature. In it, a young Englishman,  Nicholas Urfe, accepts a teaching position on a Greek island where his  friendship with the owner of the islands most magnificent estate leads  him into a nightmare. As reality and fantasy are deliberately confused  by staged deaths, erotic encounters, and terrifying violence, Urfe  becomes a desperate man fighting for his sanity and his life. A work  rich with symbols, conundrums and labyrinthine twists of event, The Magus is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining, a work that ranks with the best novels of modern times.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

The  plot is unendingly inventive as it treks its way across the country.  From Chicago to Rhode Island, and Seattle to the magical town of  Lakeside, Shadow's journey seems to follow the back roads of America.  The people he meets are gritty, and the gods are even grittier. Gaiman  creates believable characters with quick brush strokes and builds vivid  landscapes that belie their mundane origins. Gaiman, recently moved to  the U.S. has invited us along on his own quest to discover an America  uniquely his own.

lost boy lost girl by Peter Straub

It  is hard to discuss this story without giving too much away, but the  underlying theme is the persistence of memory (if I can steal a phrase  from Dali). People and events do not simply happen and disappear, some  part continues. Perhaps as ghost or atmosphere, perhaps in us, or  perhaps as something waiting for an opportunity for fulfillment and  closure…Mark stumbled across its last and greatest secret: a ghostly  lost girl who may have coaxed the needy, suggestible boy into her  mysterious domain.

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield


The nine insights are:

1. Life is full of meaningful coincidences

2. Mankind decided to focus from 1500-2000 on simply creating a happy material life

3. An invisible energy field exists everywhere, based on beauty

4. Mankind competes for this psychic energy - feeling good at each other’s expenses

5. If you appreciate beauty and love people, you share psychic energy rather than steal it

6. You need to understand your childhood-based issues to overcome them

7. Trust in your intuitions; listen to your dreams

8. Others bring you new insights, but avoid being addicted to a person for energy

9. Groups energize members jointly helping all to become happier.

There  is no wisdom to be imparted here, soul fans! Not even the slightest  intimation of an original concept. Regurgitated 60’s mantra music, from  the newly anointed guru of pop spiritualism. Redfield makes Richard Bach  look positively profound, by comparison.