A Princess of Mars | Edgar Rice Burroughs
Summary: In the spring of 1866, John Carter, a former Confederate captain prospecting for gold in the Arizona hills, slips into a cave and is overcome by mysterious vapors. He awakes to find himself naked, alone, and forty-eight million miles from Earth a castaway on the dying planet Mars. Taken prisoner by the Tharks, a fierce nomadic tribe of six limbed, olive-green giants, he wins respect as a cunning and able warrior, who by grace of Mars’ weak gravity possesses the agility of a superman. He also wins the heart of fellow-prisoner Dejah Thoris, the alluring, red-skinned Princess of Helium, whose people he swears to defend against their grasping and ancient enemy, the city-state of Zodanga.
Recommendation: Earlier in my life, this book was ‘nearly one hundred years old’. Then suddenly it WAS a hundred years old. Now it is even older, yet I consider it one of those influential works having crafted our modern science fiction and fantasy styles.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy | Douglas Adams
Summary: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the first book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction “trilogy of six books” by Douglas Adams. The novel is an adaptation of the first four parts of Adams’s radio series of the same name, centering on the adventures of the only man to survive the destruction of Earth; while roaming outer space, he comes to learn the truth behind Earth’s existence.
Recommendation: Dry as English humor can be, everything about Adams’ work is funny – sometimes distractingly so. Do you know where your towel is?
Going Postal | Terry Pratchett
Summary: Arch-swindler Moist Van Lipwig never believed his confidence crimes were hanging offenses-until he found himself with a noose tightly around his neck, dropping through a trapdoor, and falling into-a government job? By all rights, Moist should have met his maker. Instead, it’s Lord Vetinari, supreme ruler of Ankh-Morpork, who promptly offers him a job as Postmaster. Since his only other option is a nonliving one, Moist accepts the position-and the hulking golem watchdog who comes along with it, just in case Moist was considering abandoning his responsibilities prematurely. Getting the moribund Postal Service up and running again, however, may be a near-impossible task, what with literally mountains of decades-old undelivered mail clogging every nook and cranny of the broken-down post office building; and with only a few creaky old postmen and one rather unstable, pin-obsessed youth available to deliver it. Worse still, Moist could swear the mail is talking to him.
Recommendation: Another favorite for a light-hearted good time reading, Sir Pratchett is an author who never disappoints and nearly always surprises. The ridiculous has purpose in his work.