Friday, February 11, 2011


Well, it's been one year since I started The Steel Bookshelf, and I'm quite frankly surprised to have made it this long. The "chore" of reading around 200 books was not at all difficult, but forcing myself to sit down and write something about each and every one of them takes far more discipline than I usually like to employ.

It has been great to hear your comments and to get to know some folks I'd never have met otherwise, and I appreciate those 50 folks who have become public Followers this year. It's a nice round number, and maybe I can make it 100 by the end of the next year.

One of the things I've been aware of for years, reading as much as I do, is that Sturgeon's Law is never out of play. Long-time SF editor and author Theodore Sturgeon is reputed to have said "90% of anything is crap." in especial reference to the story submissions he had to read. One of my goals in posting here at the Steel Bookshelf has always been to help my friends fight the Law, by telling you exactly what I think about a book, letting you know whether it's worth reading, and for what reasons.

Quite frankly, there's not a lot of science fiction and fantasy out there today that I'd consider life-changing or thought-provoking. There is, however, a huge stock of stories that are good, solid entertainment. For the price of a movie ticket, you can pick up a paperback novel that will take you away for a few hours. The recent glut of paranormal fiction, with its werewolves and vampires, elves and wizards, is exactly that. You might occasionally get a flash of socially conscious rage against discrimination, understand someone's "daddy" issues a bit more, or be disgusted by white slavery in the Eastern Bloc, but there's generally not  a lot of depth there.

I find myself turning to non-fiction when I want real brain fodder. I tend to actually take notes, place bookmarks, and then discuss the issues raised or associations made, and the reviews generally trend quite a bit longer than fiction reviews. Unfortunately, it can take me a few weeks to work my way through the non-fiction books, so the ratio of fiction to all the rest is pretty high in the content here.

For the coming year, when I run out of some of my old material to recycle on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I'm either going to introduce some reviews of short stories by classic SF and Fantasy authors, or try to focus on some of their "forgotten" fiction works. Heck, I can do a couple of months on Heinlein, alone.

As Bartles and James used to say, "Thank you for your continued support." Happy Anniversary!


Kylie1403 said...

Hopped over

- Kylie

Sally Bibrary said...

Thanks for stopping by, hon, and congratulations on your first year! I'm still a few months shy of that myself, so I know what an accomplishment it is.

I definitely see some common titles your reviews and your TBR pile, so I suspect I'll be dropping by regularly for your second year.

Yvonne said...

Congrats on your one year anniversary!

Barb said...

Congrats on your one year anniversary Jon! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog! I think I could enjoy this blog so I'm following you. You are a man after my heart. I have something like 5000 books :) btw the story about the blog name is long - one day I'll blog about it!

Barb at Sugarbeat's Books