Sep 19 2008 7:51pm

SF Scene: KGB Fantastic Fiction 9/19/08

This month’s KGB was about as packed as you might expect from a bill shared by one of the most popular authors in the YA field and an up-and-comer with a much-buzzed book. The authors in question are Holly Black, whose first comic book, The Good Neighbors, is just a few days from release, and Lauren McLaughlin, whose book Cycler came out in August. Lauren read two sections from Cycler: one from the perspective of protagonist Jill, and one from Jack, the boy Jill turns into for four days a month. Since it’s hard to do a reading from a comic book without special technology, Holly elected to read her story “The Boy Who Cries Wolf” from the forthcoming anthology Troll’s Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales (edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling).

And before and between the readings, I conducted this month’s Ridiculous Survey. This time I asked people for their favorite book in high school, for presumably obvious reasons. We logged 41 answers in total, including responses from Holly and Lauren. And only six of them started with “Lord of the”!

Like last time, if I got your response wrong—or if you’d rather I linked to a different page, or didn’t use your full name—please let me know via my shoutbox. And if I missed you this time, please come find me at the next event!

[Image by Flickr user Anosmia, CC licensed for commercial use.]

Mary Robinette Kowal
1. MaryRobinette
It's toss-up between Stranger in a Strange Land or Jhereg.
Kerry Kuhn
2. Kerry
Way back in high school?
I guess that would have been The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart.
3. Salom
In high school? It's odd that I can't remember, since I only graduated two years ago. I don't think I had one...maybe I'm still too close. I do know my favorite book in middle school was Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams, though.
Jeffrey Richard
4. neutronjockey
Hmmm a toss-up between Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and Salvatore's Dark Elf Trilogy.
5. Paul M. Berger
Yep, I was thinking of Mark Helprin's _Winter's Tale_ ( meaning no disrespect to Shakespeare).
Liz Gorinsky
6. TooMuchExposition
Paul @ 5: Thanks for clarifying. It's funny how I both mentally inserted the leading article when you almost certainly didn't say it, and then left it off in my post.

I was intrigued by how this question was very tough for some people and others could answer instantly, almost without thinking. In this case, I was in the latter camp, not because I was certain that The Kindly Ones was a favorite for all or even most of high school, but because it was the book that started off a second wave of comics fandom that dominated my pleasure reading for the latter half of my teen years. So in this case the biographical significance might have loomed even larger than the favoritism itself.
7. Nick Mamatas
The Moronic Inferno And Other Visits to America
zaphod beetlebrox
8. platypus rising
Fredric Brown's Cosmolinea B1 and B2 (a 2-volume translation of his collected sci-fi short stories)
9. OtterB
Hmmm. Hard question. It was going on 35 years ago for me. I remember a shelf full of books behind the door in my room, but for the most part I can't remember specific books on it. I remember especially liking Knee Deep in Thunder by Sheila Moon. Otherwise it's easier to remember authors than books ... Heinlein, Georgette Heyer, Dick Francis. An interesting triumvirate, that.
J Dalziel
10. BunnyM
I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one that had War For the Oaks as my favourite book in High School.

Of course, these days, it's no longer number one, but I would almost certainly never found Finder without being blown away by Eddi and Co. first. And WftO is still in my all-time favourites list.
Joshua Starr
11. JStarr
Catch-22 would have been my answer, definitely, but runners-up would have included Hitchhiker's Guide and (this one I'm fairly surprised no one picked) Ender's Game.

And if we were to talk about favorite/most influential bodies of work, both Vonnegut and Philip K. Dick would have been there, too. So basically, my high-school self was five parts pessimistic absurdism to one part messiah/persecution complex.
Dave Robinson
12. DaveRobinson
A split between Pat Frank's "Alas Babylon" and E.E. "Doc" Smith's "Second Stage Lensmen."

No way to decide between those two at this late date.

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