SF writers' quirky reading choices

Eileen sez, "Aqueduct Press has posted its 2007 finale: 22 year's best lists from some of the liveliest and most political of speculative fiction writers and critics, including Nicola Griffith, Kelley Eskridge, Rebecca Ore, Jeff Ford, Eleanor Arneson, Cheryl Morgan, Nisi Shawl, Cat Rambo, Josh Lukin, Lucy Sussex, L. Timmel Duchamp, and Eileen Gunn."

There's plenty of oddball stuff you've never heard of here — and it sounds superb.

A View from the Chuo Line by Donald Ritchie. Printed Matter Press, 2004. I bought this slim collection in September, on my last night in Tokyo, at midnight in an all-night bookstore, and read it on the plane going home.

The stories in it are very short, very precise, often from a woman's point of view, or a child's. They are structured around the characters' small, internal epiphanies rather than plots, and, although they are set in present-day Japan and deal with present-day issues, they read like tiny slices of life from a film by Yasujirō Ozu: the essence of Fifties Japan thrust into the 21st Century. They are written from within a particular character's point of view, and they do not in any way meet the reader's eye.

They might even be called character studies rather than stories. I don?t know why I like them, but I do, as I liked Richie's peculiar memoir The Inland Sea, part travelogue, part. The voices and concerns of the characters remind me of Mai, the protagonist of Geoff Ryman's Air, which I also read this year.


(Thanks, Eileen!)