100 SF Books ... to start with

I just came across mention of this list of 100 science fiction novels everyone should read. In keeping with the current meme, here's the list, with the books that I've read in bold. Yes, I'm a geek - though not much of one, apparently, only clocking in at 58%. One the other hand, I've got a list of apparently good books that I've managed to miss. And on the gripping hand, I'm able to make classic SF references with the best of 'em, so at least I can fake it when in the company of those who are more geekier than thou.

I'm surprised at the inclusion of some novels on this list. I wouldn't consider Ayn Rand, for example, to show up. On top of that, there are authors that are suspiciously absent from the list. In terms of classic SF - come on, there's absolutely no mention of Clifford Simak, Jack L. Chalker, Roger Zelazny, David Drake, Sheri S. Tepper or Lois Bujold. In terms of more modern SF, names like Ian M. Banks, C. S. Friedman, Alastair Reynolds, and Glenn Cook are suspiciously absent.

Hence the title of the post. This list might be an interesting starting point, but there's a much, much greater world of really good SF out there than what is represented here.
  1. The Postman – David Brin
  2. The Uplift War – David Brin
  3. Neuromancer – William Gibson
  4. Foundation – Isaac Asimov
  5. Foundation and Empire – Isaac Asimov
  6. Second Foundation – Isaac Asimov
  7. I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
  8. The Long Tomorrow – Leigh Brackett
  9. Rogue Moon – Algis Budrys
  10. The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury
  11. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
  12. Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury
  13. Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke
  14. The City and the Stars – Arthur C. Clarke
  15. 2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C. Clarke
  16. Armor – John Steakley
  17. Imperial Stars – E. E. Smith
  18. Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
  19. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
  20. Speaker for the Dead – Orson Scott Card
  21. Dune – Frank Herbert
  22. The Dosadi Experiment – Frank Herbert
  23. Journey Beyond Tomorrow – Robert Sheckley
  24. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  25. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick
  26. Valis – Philip K. Dick
  27. A Scanner Darkly – Philip K. Dick
  28. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K. Dick
  29. 1984 – George Orwell
  30. Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut
  31. Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
  32. The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  33. The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  34. The Island of Doctor Moreau – H. G. Wells
  35. The Invisible Man – H. G. Wells
  36. A Canticle for Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller, Jr.
  37. Alas, Babylon – Pat Frank
  38. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
  39. A Journey to the Center of the Earth – Jules Verne
  40. From the Earth to the Moon – Jules Verne
  41. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea – Jules Verne
  42. Old Man’s War – John Scalzi
  43. Nova Express – William S. Burroughs
  44. Ringworld – Larry Niven
  45. The Mote in God’s Eye – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
  46. The Unreasoning Mask – Philip Jose Farmer
  47. To Your Scattered Bodies Go – Philip Jose Farmer
  48. Eon – Greg Bear
  49. Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton
  50. The Andromeda Strain – Michael Crichton
  51. Lightning – Dean Koontz
  52. The Stainless Steel Rat – Harry Harrison
  53. The Fifth Head of Cerebus – Gene Wolfe
  54. Nightside of the Long Sun – Gene Wolfe
  55. A Princess of Mars – Edgar Rice Burroughs
  56. Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
  57. Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson
  58. The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester
  59. Solaris – Stanislaw Lem
  60. Doomsday Book – Connie Wills
  61. Beserker – Fred Saberhagen
  62. Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
  63. The Word for World is Forest – Ursula K. LeGuin
  64. The Dispossessed – Ursula K. LeGuin
  65. Babel-17 – Samuel R. Delany
  66. Dhalgren – Samuel R. Delany
  67. Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes
  68. The Forever War – Joe Haldeman
  69. Star King – Jack Vance
  70. The Killing Machine – Jack Vance
  71. Trullion: Alastor 2262 – Jack Vance
  72. Hyperion – Dan Simmons
  73. Starship Troopers – Robert A. Heinlein
  74. Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert A. Heinlein
  75. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein
  76. A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
  77. More Than Human – Theodore Sturgeon
  78. A Time of Changes – Robert Silverberg
  79. Gateway – Frederick Pohl
  80. Man Plus - Frederick Pohl
  81. The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham
  82. Mission of Gravity – Hal Clement
  83. The Execution Channel – Ken Macleod
  84. Last and First Men – W. Olaf Stapledon
  85. Slan – A. E. van Vogt
  86. Out of the Silent Planet – C. S. Lewis
  87. They Shall Have Stars – James Blish
  88. Marooned in Realtime – Vernor Vinge
  89. A Fire Upon the Deep – Vernor Vinge
  90. The People Maker – Damon Knight
  91. The Giver – Lois Lowry
  92. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  93. Contact – Carl Sagan
  94. Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
  95. The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
  96. Battlefield Earth – L. Ron Hubbard
  97. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court – Mark Twain
  98. Little Brother – Cory Doctorow
  99. Invasion of the Body Snatchers – Jack Finney
  100. Planet of the Apes – Pierre Boulle

The Leftward View of Religion

I think TJIC hits the nail on the head:
Religion is supposed to be a cute accessory, and thus it can be tolerated in that sense.
Urban planning, on the other hand, is next to godliness, and anyone who doesn’t believe in that is a true heretic.

Bible Translation Worries

An interesting article over at the Velveteen Rabbi on the perils of Bible translation.

For another example, Hoffman cited Psalm 23: "Adonai is my shepherd; I shall not want..." What does a shepherd look like? "Dirty guy in a sheepskin," someone offered. In our minds, he's a loner with a crook, wearing shmattes -- "not a people person!" But in antiquity, shepherds were brave, mighty, and regal. The opposite of what we think of when we think of shepherds now. "Back then, it would have been John Wayne!" Shepherds were like the Marines are in our consciousness today. So while ro'eh literally means shepherd, the English word has all of the wrong connotations. "When we read that line as 'the Lord is my shepherd,' we're missing the point." Shepherds weren't meek. They had extraordinary power. Picture a six-foot-six musclebound guy cradling a tiny lamb.

The Look

Saying prayers tonight with my oldest and youngest (middle sister gets to stay up for a special night with Mama :-) I started tickling my oldest, who - since she's pushing 11, now - stoically refused to laugh. My youngest caught on, and told me, "You can't make me laugh, either!"

"Pfft," I said. "I can make you laugh just by looking at you."

"No you can't!"

I give her The Look.

One second.

Two seconds, and she's giggling hysterically.

Three seconds, and she's laughing out loud.

Kissed her on the forehead, and told her, "Can too!"

Some days, it's just good to be Dada.

The Numbers Game

Take a look at this page on Wikipedia. It shows US federal tax revenue by state. The interesting figure is at the bottom of the table: total revenue per-capita of $8,528.22.

Let's imagine that we got rid of a huge swath of government programs - entitlement programs, mostly. Including things like medicare, medicaid, social security, and the like. Let's be optimistic and imagine that we can pare the government down to 20% of it's current size. (Actually, I think that's pessimistic, but bear with me).

20% of $8,528.22 is $1705.64. So we're imagining we can run the federal government for a year at a cost of $1705.64 per person.

That leaves $6822.58 per person that's collected each year in excess income taxes. Not per filer, per person. Just to keep things simple, let's round that number down to $6000. Now imagine that congress, instead of doling out tax receipts to whatever organization promised it the most votes, still collected taxes... but at the end of the tax year, everybody - every man, woman, and child - got $6000 back.

That's almost 2 trillion dollars fed back into the economy every year, year after year. That's one heck of a stimulus. It will never fly, of course - you're too ignorant to be trusted spending your own money. You'd probably just fritter it away on food and health care instead of the important things in life, like artwork.