It’s June, and that mean it’s time for the summer highpointing season to finally kick off. My plans for this year:
I have concrete plans for the following:
9 June: Laveaga Peak (3801′). Highest and most prominent point of Merced County, CA. With a group of fellow county highpointers for what will be the first legal ascent by any of us. (I’m pretty excited for this.)
4 July: Thurston Peak (9706′). Highest point of Davis and Morgan Counties, UT. In conjunction with SpikeCon. There are a couple of route variations and I’m still locking down exactly how I plan to do this. (And of course, subject to change based on weather.)
I’m also hoping to swing by SoCal at some point in the fall for Santiago Peak (Orange: 5687′), Hot Springs Mountain (San Diego: 6533′), and Blue Angels Peak (Imperial: 4548′). Thanksgiving sounds like a good time for this.
I believe I am out of county high points that can be legally ascended in the course of a day from home, and there isn’t even much that can be sensibly done over a full weekend. The biggest possible exception here is White Mountain Peak (Mono: 14,246′) and the big question there would be whether trying to do it as a weekend blitz is sensible from an acclimation perspective, as well as not being super tired on the drive home.
Unfortunately there’s only one other three-day weekend during the summer season and that’s Labor Day Weekend, which I hope to spend targeting either Eagle Peak (Modoc: 9892′) and Hat Mountain (Lassen: 8745′) in far northeastern California or Salmon Mountain (Humboldt: 6956′) and Bear Mountain (Del Norte: 6411′) in northwestern California. Hard to plan this in advance without knowing weather and wildfire status.
If all goes well this should put me at 44-47 of 58 California county high points by the end of 2019.
I am not currently planning on ascending anything of note during my trip to Ireland for the 77th World Science Fiction Convention. I looked into trying to squeeze in Carrauntoohil (1039m), the country high point, but I don’t think I can make it work logistically without spending way too much time away from the convention. (Kippure (757m), the highest point of County Dublin, is more feasible but still requires a car.) I haven’t figured out what the highest point of the City of Dublin itself is yet.
Not the highest point of anything, but I do plan on completing the Nifty Ninety list on McAbee Overlook (1730′), in Big Basin State Park, on my birthday, 15 June. If anybody wants to come along I expect to be hitting the trailhead around 9am.
This is going to be a very late Sierra season due to high snow levels but I am potentially and particularly interested in weekend ascents of Granite Chief (9006′), Mokelumne Peak (9334′), and Mt. Hoffmann (10,850′), most prominent peaks of Placer, Amador, and Mariposa Counties, respectively.
I climbed Table Rock (2462′) in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park on Saturday. Some quick thoughts:
There are better things in life than sitting where you can look straight down into a valley and see the tiny little signs of habitation. But not many.
When somebody is shooting somewhere below you, it’s really quite loud. And it echoes.
First time in a while a rock has made me bleed my own blood; scraped my elbow downclimbing the Class 3 summit block. Need to practice getting down a bit more, I think.
I am super ready to take a break from peaks with overgrown trails, as I don’t find dodging brush particularly enjoyable. (Bills Hill was the worst for this.) This was Nifty Ninety peak #86 for me, and I tagged Mt. Caroline Livermore and the south peak of Mt. St. Helena on Sunday to make 88. Still aiming to finish on my birthday….
I knew of Ursula’s longstanding love of Steens Mountain in the remote high desert of the farthest corner of southeastern Oregon, a landscape that had informed the world of her novel The Tombs of Atuan, as well as her poetry-photography collaborative collection Out Here.
—David Naimon, Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing (Portland, Ore.: Tin House Books, 2018), p. 53
Steens Mountain’s summit, at 9,733 feet, is the highest point of Harney County. It’s been on my to-visit list for a while but hasn’t really bubbled up to the top due to, as mentioned, its sheer remoteness; the nearest town with a gas station is Burns, about ninety miles away. The Tombs of Atuan mention makes it an even more intriguing visit though, as does the mention of incredible local stargazing. (I really need to remember to bring my binoculars on my car-camping trips; the last truly dark skies I saw were at Hinkey Summit, in remote northwestern Nevada, and they were spectacular.)
I use “Steens Mountain’s summit” advisedly, as the mountain itself is a huge fifty-mile fault block that rises directly from the nearby Alvord Desert, five thousand feet below. Beyond the Alvord Desert is the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which you may remember from the 2016 occupation of its headquarters by armed seditionists. Or “Right-Wing Loonybirds”, as Le Guin called them.
I’ll write about something other than just books acquired at some point, I promise. Just haven’t had time lately.
Kind of a quiet library book sale this week:
Bova, Ben (editor). The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two B. Doubleday, 1973. SFBC hardcover. Second in a set of what SFWA considered to be the best science fiction novellas that predated the Nebula Awards. It’ll sit next to Volume Two A on my shelf.
Brin, David. Infinity’s Shore. Bantam Spectra, 1996. First edition hardcover. Second in the Uplift Storm trilogy. No. 745 on Mt. Tsundoku.
Kuttner, Henry. The Best of Henry Kuttner. Nelson Doubleday, 1975. First edition SFBC hardcover. Predates the trade edition by two months. Another in the Ballantine Classic Science Fiction series, and fortuitously acquired in time to do some Retro Hugo reading—this includes both “Mimsy Were the Borogoves” and “The Proud Robot”.
Dragging the local used book stores for this year’s Hugo finalists finally turned up something!
Nevala-Lee, Alec. Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Dey Street, 2018. First edition hardcover. Hugo finalist for Best Related Work. I nominated this, and I think it’s exactly the kind of thing the Related Work category should be showcasing. A look at the origins of American science fiction viewed through the life of Astounding editor John W. Campbell and those he influenced.
On the way back home from Brushy Peak on Sunday I hit up a couple of library bookstores on the off chance they had anything good. I like to do this when I have time because library “books for sale” sections are both extremely cheap and (when non-local) I haven’t picked them clean recently. The result, from Livermore for $1:
Tuchman, Barbara W. The Guns of August. Macmillan, 1962. Third printing of the first edition hardcover. Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. Replaces a paperback copy. Unfortunately price-clipped, but other than that a quite decent hardcover copy. Obviously this should not be your first stop for an understanding of the causes of the First World War (the historical analysis has not aged well) but a classic non-fiction read nonetheless.
And of course while in the area I had to check Half Price Books:
Dick, Philip K. Martian Time-Slip. Ballantine, 1964. First edition mass-market paperback. A classic Dick novel about a Martian colony, expanded from a 1963 novella. No 140 on Mt. Tsundoku.
I misread an advertisement for a Half Price Books tent sale as applying to everywhere instead of just the Citrus Heights location. Discovering my error, I of course didn’t bother to drive all the way up to Sacramento, but did check the Fremont SFF shelves just in case there was something I particularly wanted.
Novik, Naomi. Uprooted. Del Rey, 2015. First edition hardcover. Nebula Award and Hugo finalist for Best Novel; Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel. Supplements an ebook. I’m not hugely big on fairy-tale inspired stuff but I really liked this; it’s about a girl, a mage, and a corrupted forest.
Monday night means free books from FOPAL, and when there are several shelves of SFBC selections? Yeah. The major limiting factor was the size of my book bin.
Anderson, Poul. Annals of the Time Patrol. Nelson Doubleday, 1984. First edition thus, SFBC hardcover. Omnibus collecting the Time Patrol stories published up to that point.
Anderson, Poul. Beyond the Beyond. New American Library, 1970. SFBC hardcover. A collection of various Anderson novelettes.
Anderson, Poul. The Earth Book of Stormgate. Berkley/Putnam, 1978. SFBC hardcover. A linked short story collection from Anderson’s Technic History.
Bear, Greg. Eon. Bluejay Books, 1986. SFBC hardcover. Shortlisted for the Clarke Award. First in a trilogy. No 12 on Mt. Tsundoku.
Benford, Gregory. Across the Sea of Suns. Timescape Books, 1985. [SFBC hardcover. Second in the six-book Galactic Center series. No 583 on Mt. Tsundoku.
Benford, Gregory. In the Ocean of Night. Dial Press, 1977. SFBC hardcover. Nebula finalist for Best Novel. First in the six-book Galactic Center series. No 582 on Mt. Tsundoku.
Brunner, John. The Crucible of Time. Del Rey, 1984. SFBC hardcover. Fix-up science fiction novel.
Brunner, John. Players at the Game of People. Nelson Doubleday, 1980. First edition SFBC hardcover. Predates the trade edition by two months.
Brunner, John. Stand on Zanzibar. Doubleday, 1970. SFBC hardcover. Hugo Award for Best Novel. A dystopian novel about the overpopulated future of 2010, with narrative techniques borrowed from Dos Passos’s U.S.A. trilogy. One of a small handful of Best Novel Hugo winners that I haven’t read yet. No. 4 on Mt. Tsundoku.
Brunner, John. The Stone That Never Came Down. Doubleday, 1974. SFBC hardcover. Science fiction novel.
Brunner, John. The Wrong End of Time. Doubleday, 1972. SFBC hardcover. Science fiction novel.
Disch, Thomas M. Triplicity. Nelson Doubleday, 1980. First edition thus [K10], SFBC hardcover. Omnibus containing Echo Round His Bones, The Genocides (1966 Nebula finalist), and The Puppies of Terra (supplements an Ace Double edition).
Donaldson, Stephen R. The Illearth War. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1977. SFBC hardcover. Second in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever. Replaces a paperback copy. No 880 on Mt. Tsundoku.
Gerrold, David. The Man Who Folded Himself. Random House, 1973. SFBC hardcover. Hugo and Nebula finalist for Best Novel. No 933 on Mt. Tsundoku.
Gibson, William. Spook Country. Putnam, 2007. First edition hardcover. Second in the Blue Ant Trilogy. A nice copy that I’m surprised was free, although this had a large print run judging from what I’ve seen at used bookstores.
Gunn, James E. The Listeners. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1972. SFBC hardcover. Shortlisted for the Campbell Memorial Award. Fix-up science fiction novel.
MacLeod, Ken. Engine City. Tor, 2003. 1st U.S. edition hardcover. Third in the Engines of Light trilogy. A nice copy except for a bit of dogearing. I should probably track down a copy of Dark Light at some point.
MacLeod, Ken. The Sky Road. Orbit, 2000. Trade paperback edition. Hugo finalist for Best Novel. Fourth and final novel in the Fall Revolution sequence. No 937 on Mt. Tsundoku.
MacLeod, Ken. The Star Fraction. Orbit, 2000. Second printing of the trade paperback edition. Shortlisted for the Clarke Award. First novel in the Fall Revolution sequence. This copy has a big “2 for £10” sticker on the cover from Blackwell’s Bookshops. No 934 on Mt. Tsundoku.
McDevitt, Jack. Cauldron. Ace, 2008. Second printing of the mass-market paperback edition. 2009 Nebula finalist for Best Novel. Sixth in the Academy series. A tiny remainder mark on the bottom.
McDevitt, Jack. Chindi. Ace, 2003. Seventh printing of the mass-market paperback edition. 2004 Nebula finalist for Best Novel. Third in the Academy series. No 701 on Mt. Tsundoku.
McDevitt, Jack. Infinity Beach. Eos, 2001. Third printing of the mass-market paperback edition. 2001 Nebula finalist and Campbell Memorial shortlist for Best Novel.
McDevitt, Jack. Omega. Ace, 2004. Fourth printing of the mass-market paperback edition. Campbell Memorial Award; Nebula finalist for Best Novel. Fourth in the Academy series. No 702 on Mt. Tsundoku.
McIntyre, Vonda N. The Exile Waiting. Nelson Doubleday, 1975. SFBC hardcover. Nebula finalist. The book club edition predated the trade release by five months, but I’m not sure when this copy was printed; there was no gutter code on page 211 and the first printing would have “30R” there. It is a mystery.
Niven, Larry. The Ringworld Engineers. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1980. SFBC hardcover. Hugo finalist for Best novel. Sequel to Ringworld. Replaces a paperback copy. No 295 on Mt. Tsundoku.
Pohl, Frederik. Starburst. Del Rey, 1982. SFBC hardcover. Expansion of the Locus-winning novella “The Gold at the Starbow’s End” (1972).
Sheckley, Robert. Mindswap. Delacorte Press, 1966. SFBC hardcover. Science fiction novel about switching minds for space tourism purposes.
Silverberg, Robert. Majipoor Chronicles. Arbor House, 1982. SFBC hardcover. Collection of linked stories that forms the second in the Majipoor series.
Silverberg, Robert. To Live Again. Doubleday, 1970. SFBC hardcover. Science fiction novel.
Silverberg, Robert. Valentine Pontifex. Arbor House, 1984. SFBC hardcover. Third in the Majipoor series, and last in the initial trilogy.
Simak, Clifford D. A Heritage of Stars. Berkley/Putnam, 1977. SFBC hardcover. Science fiction novel.
Simak, Clifford D. The Visitors. Del Rey, 1980. SFBC hardcover. Science fiction novel about aliens visiting Earth.
Simmons, Dan. Olympos. Eos, 2005. First U.S. edition hardcover. A more battered copy than I’d pay money for (with binding damage from page 337 onward), but it’ll still look good next to Ilium on the shelf.
Tiptree, James Jr. Up the Walls of the World. Berkley/Putnam, 1978. ISFBC hardcover. Tiptree’s first novel (having previously worked at shorter lengths), for which she declined a Hugo nomination. There’s a picture of the author on the back cover, which for some reason greatly amuses me.
Varley, John. The Ophiuchi Hotline. Dial Press, 1977. SFBC hardcover. Part of the author’s Eight Worlds setting. Replaces a paperback copy. No 848 on Mt. Tsundoku.
White, James. Ambulance Ship. Del Rey, 1979. First edition mass-market paperback. Fourth in the Sector General series. No 310 on Mt. Tsundoku.
Yulsman, Jerry. Elleander Morning. St. Martin’s Press, 1984. SFBC hardcover. An alternate history novel in which Hitler is assassinated in 1913. No 138 on Mt. Tsundoku.
Finally, one pickup from the Half Price Books in Berkeley that I stopped by on the way home from a hiking excursion:
Gaiman, Neil. The Graveyard Book. HarperCollins, 2008. First edition hardcover. Hugo Award for Best Novel; Locus Award for Best Young Adult Book. I had held off on picking up a copy of this for a while under the mistaken impression that the U.K. publication had priority, but finally looked up the publication dates myself and found that the U.S. edition was released on 30 September; the U.K. edition was not until 31 October. With that knowledge, this was fairly easy to track down. Another one of the small handful of Best Novel Hugo winners that I have yet to read. No 5 on Mt. Tsundoku.
Friends of the Palo Alto Library book sale weekend:
Asimov, Isaac. The Foundation Trilogy. Doubleday, 1963. SFBC hardcover. Omnibus containing Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation. 1966 Hugo Award for Best All-Time Series. I usually try not to buy book club editions, but this is one of the exceptions; it’s a big omnibus of books that are well out of my price range in first edition. Plus the ebook version is a questionably edited 1990s edition.
Bolander, Brooke. The Only Harmless Great Thing. Tor.com, 2018. First edition trade paperback. Hugo and Nebula finalist for Best Novelette. Supplements an ebook. I had some comments on this in my Nebula novelette roundup.
Boucher, Anthony (editor). A Treasury of Great Science Fiction, Volume 2. Doubleday, 1962. SFBC hardcover. The Discount Room had a massive selection of Science Fiction Book Club releases. As mentioned above, I usually try not to spend money on these, but I have a weak spot for really good collections. James Davis Nicoll mentioned Boucher’s Treasury in a recent Tor.com post. It contains some great classic science fiction. Sadly the Volume 1 present was missing its cover and I do have to have some standards to stop my apartment from overflowing with more books than it already is.
Brown, Fredric. The Best of Fredric Brown. Nelson Doubleday, 1977. First edition SFBC hardcover. My other exception for Science Fiction Book Club purchases is for true first editions—in this case, the book club release predated the trade release by four months. The Ballantine / Del Rey Classic Science Fiction line of the 1970s is one of those lines that I pick up whenever I see reasonable copies at a book sale.
Campbell, John W. The Best of John W. Campbell. Nelson Doubleday, 1976. First edition SFBC hardcover. Similar to the Fredric Brown collection, except the book club release only predated the paperback by one month.
Gerrold, David. When Harlie Was One. Nelson Doubleday, 1972. First edition SFBC hardcover. Hugo and Nebula finalist for Best Novel. Predates the trade edition (a paperback original) by three months.
Le Guin, Ursula K. Lavinia. Harcourt, 2008. First edition hardcover. Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel. This was shelved as historical fiction by the book sale.
Knight, Damon (editor). A Science Fiction Argosy. Simon and Schuster, 1972. SFBC hardcover. Another of those great big anthologies that collect a lot of good classic science fiction.
Russell, Eric Frank. The Best of Eric Frank Russell. Ballantine, 1978. First edition mass-market paperback. See above for comments on this publication line; this is an example of the trade editions. (I don’t think this one got a book club release).
Shakespeare, William. King Henry V. Edited by J. H. Walter. Methuen, 1954. Second Arden edition hardcover. Another thing I like picking up at book sales: critical Shakespeare editions.
Silverberg, Robert. The Second Trip. Nelson Doubleday, 1972. First edition SFBC hardcover. Originally serialized in Amazing, July–September 1971. Predates the trade edition (a paperback original) by five months.
Silverberg, Robert. A Time of Changes. Nelson Doubleday, 1971. First edition SFBC hardcover. Nebula Award and Hugo finalist for Best Novel. Originally serialized in Galaxy, March–May 1971. Predates the trade edition (a paperback original) by two months. Because I am a dumbass, I managed to load this on my car atop some sticky clothing label tape that was impossible to remove without damaging the back of the dust jacket. Less disfiguring than it could be given that it’s white, but I’m still annoyed at myself about this.
Stross, Charles. The Apocalypse Codex. Ace, 2012. First edition hardcover. Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel. Fourth in the Hugo-nominated Laundry Files series, which is currently projected to run eleven or twelve volumes. Bob Howard visits America. The publication history of The Laundry Files is a bit weird so I’ve attempted to summarize it below.
Wells, Martha. All Systems Red. Tor.com, 2017. First edition trade paperback. Hugo, Locus, and Nebula Awards for Best Novella. First in the Murderbot Diaries, which currently consists of three subsequent novellas and an upcoming novel. Supplements an ebook. I mainly didn’t pick this up in print before due to laziness. The story of a secretly free security construct who’s too busy watching TV to go on a murder spree and realizes they might actually care about people. Highly recommended.
A Brief Note on First Editions of The Laundry Files
This is just the novels. For a complete list of fiction and reading order for The Laundry Files, see Stross’s website.
I’ve been to the Ohlone Regional Wilderness a couple times, but never gotten to its highest point, Rose Peak. At 3817 feet, Rose Peak stands just 32 feet short of Mt. Diablo and is the highest legally accessible point in Alameda County. Previous excursions to the Ohlone Wilderness were from the Del Valle Regional Park; to switch things up a bit, I decided that when I tagged Rose Peak I’d do it from the Sunol side.
This past weekend was the first weekend of the year when Sunol Regional Wilderness gate hours extended to 8pm. Wanting to give myself an ample amount of time to finish this 19-mile hike, I decided that this would be a good weekend to go for Rose Peak while still using my Ohlone Wilderness Permit from last year; it doesn’t expire until 10 May. I got to the trailhead at 10am and set off; not from the visitor’s center, as is standard, but from Camp Ohlone Road, where parking was available.
It was a beautiful spring day, with green hills fed by our wet winter. Less beautiful was my Camelbak springing a leak maybe twenty minutes into the hike. Half my water supply was now dripping from my pants. That annoyance aside, the McCorkle Trail soon rose into the Sunol Wilderness and the crowds of people thinned out. After some nice single-track through the woods, I reached signpost 19 and a gate towards camping areas. Past this gate, there was almost nobody except me and the cows.
After a bit of a dip to cross the South Fork of Indian Creek (2800′), it’s a couple miles uphill to the summit of Rose Peak. It might not be the highest point of Alameda County, but it has better views than the true high points due to a paucity of trees at the top. You can see Mt. Diablo, Mt. Hamilton, the Santa Cruz Mountains, the South Bay, and many other points of interest. The Ohlone Wilderness trail map has a good compass indicator of what’s in sight.
The summit register was a complete mess of loose papers. I found a usable pen and a bit of space to sign in. I noted my nominal completion of the Everest by the Bay peak list, although I’m not sure it really counts; I usually took shorter routes than those described. On the other hand I’m pretty sure I have gained more than thirty thousand feet in climbing various Bay Area peaks, so whatever.
I started back at about 3pm; the journey back was uneventful except for a quick view of a coyote running by in the distance. When I got back to the Sunol Regional Wilderness, I detoured once past the gate at signpost 19 to Camp Ohlone Road. It’s much more boring than the McCorkle Trail, but I was okay not reascending a couple hundred feet. I got back to my car a bit after 6:30pm, well before closing time, and headed home.
San Francisco Bay Area Nifty Ninety: 73/90
California Coastal Peak List: 61/302
My annual “cruise the used bookstores right after Hugo finalists are announced” wasn’t particularly successful in turning up this year’s Hugo finalists. However, it did turn up:
Banks, Iain M. The Algebraist. Orbit, 2004. First edition hardcover, with jacket in protective cover. Hugo finalist—perhaps surprisingly, the author’s only. Replaces a U.S. trade paperback. Banks’s third non-Culture science fiction novel.
Bishop, Michael. Blooded on Arachne. Arkham House, 1982. First edition hardcover (with a print run of 4,081), with jacket in protective cover. Bishop’s first short fiction collection, which includes, among others, the title story, “Cathadonian Odyssey”, “On the Street of the Serpents”, and “The White Otters of Childhood”.
Henderson, Zenna. Ingathering: The Complete People Stories. NESFA Press, 2011. Ninth printing of the first edition hardcover, with jacket in protective cover. The definitive edition of the author’s People stories, originally published between 1952 and 1980.