Reading: Frederik Pohl — Gateway

7am waiting-room sitting at the Ausländerbehörde so I can be treated like an ungrateful “illegal immigrant” and procure a Fiktionsbescheinigung, thus feeling like I’m back four years ago and begging in precariousness to “please let me stay in your Wunderbar country” … gaaah! Of course I go to a bookshop.

It’s entirely Jo Walton’s fault. Or more precisely, Among Others, or if I was to follow that back, then it’s Charles Stross’ fault. Or maybe Zürich’s because I first read him there, so then maybe it’s Iain Banks’ fault because I read Charlie when I could no longer find a new one of the former, and picked up the latter repeatedly, unsure whether the cover denoted double-plus-good or -ungood. I could quite quickly follow this back at least to the Bang! sssss… of the ultimate genesis.

Depending on who’s counting, there are somewhere between 120 and 160 books mentioned in Among Others, from science-fiction to fantasy to Plato, it’s a library in itself, or a poetic bibliography, or a tree. Maybe a fifth I’ve read, and easily over half I’ve heard of, and the joy of second-hand bookshops so beautifully captured in Walton’s book reminded me of the shelves of Saint George’s, so I decided I might see what I could find from that book on those shelves.

Exit with five newly acquired books.

It could have been many more.

I do have some big gaps in my reading of the science-fiction canon — in all it’s forms, not merely the big names. I also haven’t read much Plato or other classics. Well, let’s begin then, with Frederik Poul’s Gateway. Not the original cover, sadly. I suspect I’ll read it slightly slower than Walton’s protagonist. Anyway, hopefully not short of a few pages for my impending southward trip to Bregenz and Zürich.