All seated on the ground Connie Willis

A frivolous seasonal parlour game, which is due to Patrick Nielsen Hayden. (Patrick claims it’s Gardner Dozois’s fault, but if we started listing the things in the field that are Gardner Dozois’s fault, we’d be here a very long time indeed.) The question: for what books (whether sff or otherwise), can the title and author be run together to make an unstrained, grammatically correct English sentence?

Some years ago, Patrick collated a list of books that fitted this bill, including many classics – The Sheep Look Up John Brunner, Two Sisters Gore Vidal, The Right Stuff Tom Wolfe. But time has passed, and I’m sure there are plenty more books that fit this criterion. Indeed, some authors seem to be making entire careers of it (Salt Adam Roberts, Stone Adam Roberts, On Adam Roberts, Splinter Adam Roberts, Land of the Headless Adam Roberts.) And with others, we learn that they’re almost impossible to buy clothes for (Red Mars Kim Stanley Robinson, Green Mars Kim Stanley Robinson, Blue Mars Kim Stanley Robinson). So….what extras can you suggest in the comments?

A couple of notes. Firstly, you might want to check Patrick’s original list to be sure you’re not duplicating suggestions that have gone before. As suggested above, elegance is a virtue here. So Cats Cradle Kurt Vonnegut gets at most half-credit because you have to ignore the apostrophe in “Cat’s”. Entries get extra points if, as Patrick says, you change a word’s part of speech (Home Fires Gene Wolfe). It’s also especially appealing if they conjure up a startling visual image (Air Geoff Ryman, The Deepest Water Kate Wilhelm). And extra bonus points for any titles with a particularly seasonal feel.

37 thoughts on “All seated on the ground Connie Willis

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  • December 12, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Feed Mira Grant
    Sixty-One Nails Mike Shevdon
    The Unblemished Conrad Williams
    The Nameless Ramsey Campbell
    First and Only Dan Abnett
    The Noise Within Ian Whates
    Wicked Gregory Maguire
    Wireless Charles Stross

  • December 12, 2010 at 9:26 am

    The Love We Share Without Knowing Christopher Barzak
    Tokyo Cancelled Rana Dasgupta
    Take Back Plenty Colin Greenland

  • December 12, 2010 at 10:12 am

    The Dreaming Void Peter F. Hamilton
    The Sky That Wraps Jay Lake
    The Light Ages Ian R. MacLeod

  • December 12, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Sentence fragments:
    When gravity fails george alec effinger… (he loses his pocket change)
    The man who never missed steve perry. (huge journey fan)

    Alien influences kristine kathryn rusch
    Giant bones peter s. beagle
    Widowmaker unleashed mike resnick

    Movie news:
    Violent stars phyllis gotlieb.
    The seedling stars james blish.

    Bad things happen:
    A man betrayed j. v. jones.
    A signal shattered eric s. nylund.
    A wizard scorned patricia lucas white.
    Destiny kills keri arthur.
    Paradise passed jerry oltion.
    The barbed coil j. v. jones.
    The gilded chain dave duncan.
    The horribly haunted school margaret mahy.
    The jagged orbit john brunner. (no matter how hard he tries to get rid of them)
    The light ages ian r. macleod.
    The man who folded himself david gerrold. (extreme origami)
    The ringworld engineers larry niven. (thought it was the other way around)

    Good things happen:
    The ship avenged s. m. stirling.
    From the dust returned ray bradbury.
    The atrocity archives charles stross. (good to keep backups)

    And some could be good or bad:
    Atlantis unleashed alyssa day.
    Jupiter magnified adam roberts.
    Mage: the hero discovered matt wagner.
    The first named jonathan wylie.
    The demon awakens r. a. salvatore.

    Mind Control:
    The dragon masters jack vance.
    The stars compel michaela roessner.

    The astonished eye tracy knight.
    The brass bed jennifer stevenson.
    Ella enchanted gail carson levine.

  • December 12, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Little, Big John Crowley (seriously, how has no one else said this one yet?)
    Bloodshot Cherie Priest
    The Missing Sarah Langan
    The Return of the Sorcerer Clark Ashton Smith
    In the Forest of Forgetting Theodora Goss
    Speak to the Devil Dave Duncan
    Dead Beat Jim Butcher

  • December 12, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    The Seedling Stars James Blish
    Spin Robert Charles Wilson
    The Turing Test Chris Beckett
    The Selfish Gene Richard Dawkins
    The World Inside Robert Silverberg

  • December 12, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Feed Mira Grant
    Redemption in Indigo Karen Lord

  • December 12, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Contact Carl Sagan

  • December 12, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    The Raw Shark Texts Steven Hall
    The Love We Share Without Knowing Christopher Barzak

  • December 12, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Forfeit Dick Francis.

    It’s almost possible to get a narrative out of Francis:

    Break in
    Knock down
    Come to grief,

  • December 12, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Keep the Giraffe Burning John Sladek
    Other Days, Other Eyes Bob Shaw
    Schismatrix Plus Bruce Sterling (cheating here)
    Spin Robert Charles Wilson
    Rainbows End Vernor Vinge
    Starwater Strains Gene Wolfe
    Innocents Aboard Gene Wolfe

  • December 12, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Loves Labors Lost William Shakespeare. (To use the quarto title.)

    Everything That Rises Must Converge Flannery O’Connor. (An exercise in decollimation.)

  • December 12, 2010 at 11:02 pm



  • December 13, 2010 at 12:11 am

    As instructions:

    Quarantine Greg Egan

    Spin Robert Charles Wilson

    Or labels:

    Barking Tom Holt

    Little Fuzzy H. Beam Piper

    Berserker Fred Saberhagen

    The Master T. H. White

    Or just enigmatic:

    Man Plus Frederik Pohl

  • December 13, 2010 at 10:19 am

    A Fire Upon the Deep Vernor Vinge
    The World Inside Robert Silverberg
    We See Things Differently, Bruce Sterling
    The Unthinkable Bruce Sterling
    Running Wild J.G. Ballard
    Beyond Apollo Barry Malzberg

  • December 13, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Gosh, well that’s a pretty good response. Thanks all. Short titles are especially amenable to this, I guess. (I can’t be the first person to suggest The Firm John Grisham?) Russell, I think Charles N Brown of this parish would have especially appreciated the Dick Francis suggestions. My personal favorites so far:

    The Love We Share Without Knowing Christopher Barzak (David H, Liz)
    In the Forest of Forgetting Theodora Goss (Rose Fox)
    Keep the Giraffe Burning John Sladek (F.)
    The Man Who Folded Himself David Gerrold (John Leavitt)
    The Light Ages Ian R Macleod (SF Strangelove, John Leavitt)
    The Atrocity Archives Charles Stross (John Leavitt)
    Running Wild J G Ballard (F)

    And the winner so far…

    The Raw Shark Texts Stephen Hall (Liz)

  • December 13, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Some writers offer lots of possibilities:

    The Rain Will Stop Brian Aldiss
    The Primal Urge Brian Aldiss
    Report On Probability A, Brian Aldiss
    Frankenstein Unbound Brian Aldiss
    and then–and then– (to echo The Coasters)
    Dracula Unbound Brian Aldiss

  • December 13, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Some headlines from the Bat-Boy Tabloid:

    Strangers gardner Dozois
    (if “Gardner” can be a verb)

    The Demolished man Alfred Bester

    The Forever machine Mark Clifton and David Riley

    The Big Time-Fritz Leiber

    Starship troopers Robert A. Heinlein

    Stranger-in-a-Strange land Robert A. Heinlein

    And Call Me “Conrad Roger Zelazny”

    Flowers for “Algernon Daniel Keyes”

    Stand on “Zanzibar John Brunner”

    Where Late the Sweet Birds sang “Kate Wilhelm”

    Helliconia spring Brian W. Aldiss

    Enders game Orson Scott Card

    Falling free Lois McMaster Bujold

    The Vor game Lois McMaster Bujold

    The Terminal experiment Robert J. Sawyer

    The Time ships Stephen Baxter

    Darwins radio Greg Bear

    Brute orbits George Zebrowski

    Vacuum diagrams Stephen Baxter

    (Have these been done before? I’m new to this.)

    Harry Potter and “The Goblet Of” fire J.K. Rowling

    The Other wind Ursula K. Le Guin

    The Quantum rose Catherine Asaro

    Market forces Richard Morgan

    Rainbows end Vernor Vinge

    The Yiddish Police Men’s “Union Michael Chabon”

    “The Graveyard” book Neil Gaiman

    Tender morsels Margo Lanagan

    (Ow, my brain hurts…)

  • December 13, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Stalking the Nightmare Harlan Ellison
    Spider Kiss Harlan Ellison
    This Immortal Roger Zelazny
    Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said Philip K. Dick
    Now Wait For Last Year Philip K. Dick
    Run for the Stars Harlan Ellison
    The Haunted Computer and the Android Pope Ray Bradbury
    Somewhere a Band is Playing Ray Bradbury
    R is for Rocket Ray Bradbury
    Speaker for the Dead Orson Scott Card
    Bitten Kelley Armstrong
    Sex and Violence in Zero-G Allen Steele
    Forever After Roger Zelazny
    Camouflage Joe Haldeman
    Replay Ken Grimwood
    You Suck Christopher Moore
    All-American Alien Boy Allen Steele
    Isle of the Dead Roger Zelazny
    Homeward and Beyond Poul Anderson
    Kushiel’s Chosen Jacqueline Carey
    To the Land of the Living Robert Silverberg
    Born With the Dead Robert Silverberg
    Away and Beyond A. E. Van Vogt
    Crazy Hair Neil Gaiman
    Now We Are Sick Neil Gaiman
    Who Killed Amanda Palmer Neil Gaiman
    Match to Flame Ray Bradbury
    Overclocked Cory Doctorow
    Harm Brian Aldiss
    The Loving Dead Amelia Beamer
    By the Mountain Bound Elizabeth Bear
    Seven for a Secret Elizabeth Bear
    October Leaves Michael Swanwick
    The Dog Said Bow-Wow Michael Swanwick
    Carrion Comfort Dan Simmons

  • December 13, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    The Life, the Universe, and Everything Douglas Adams
    Mostly Harmless Douglas Adams
    The Darkness That Comes Before R. Scott Bakker
    Chill Elizabeth Bear
    Hammered Elizabeth Bear
    The Night Shapes James Blish
    Probe Margaret Wander Bonnano
    A Pleasure to Burn Ray Bradbury
    Tales Too Ticklish to Tell Berkeley Breathed
    The Hallowed Hunt Lois McMaster Bujold
    The Captain’s Daughter Peter David
    Speak Daggers to Her Rosemary Edghill
    Ellison Unfrocked Harlan Ellison
    Night and the Enemy Harlan Ellison
    The Dark Design Philip José Farmer
    Death: The Time of Your Life Neil Gaiman
    The Dolls House Neil Gaiman
    Brief Lives Neil Gaiman
    Before You Read This Neil Gaiman
    Unrepentant Harlan Ellison
    Snow, Glass, Apples, Neil Gaiman
    Forever Free Joe Haldeman
    Starbound Joe Haldeman
    Definitely Dead Charlaine Harris
    The Dispossessed Ursula K. Le Guin
    The Gaslight Dogs Karin Lowachee
    Earthbound Richard Matheson
    The Ship Who Sang Anne McCaffrey
    Bite Me Christopher Moore
    Sixty Days and Counting Kim Stanley Robinson
    The Shadow of the Torturer Gene Wolfe

  • December 13, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    If You Really Loved Me Ann Rule
    You Belong to Me Ann Rule
    The Living Blood Tananarive Due
    Bugf*ck Harlan Ellison*
    Man Plus Frederik Pohl
    Those Who Watch Robert Silverberg
    The Thirteenth Immortal Robert Silverberg
    Those Who Lust Robert Silverberg**
    Take My Wife Robert Silverberg**
    Diary of a Dyke Robert Silverberg**
    Sin Warped Robert Silverberg**
    Only the Depraved Robert Silverberg**
    Good Girl, Bad Girl, Robert Silverberg
    Lust Lord Robert Silverberg**

    *it’s in production
    **and many, many more soft porn titles by Silverberg suit this game

  • December 13, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    (This game is irresistible)

    The Kraken wakes John Wyndham
    (He’s not happy about it either)

    To Marry: Medusa, Theodore Sturgeon

    The Cosmic rape Theodore Sturgeon
    (The previous sentence is preferrable)

    The Ticket that Exploded William S. Burroughs

    The Fight-Club chuck Pahlaniuk

    Atlas shrugged Ayn Rand

    The Halloween tree Ray Bradbury
    (Are they that bothersome?)

    October the First is Too Late, Fred Hoyle

    The Night land William, hope Hodgson

    For Your Eyes, only Ian Fleming

    The Living Day lights Ian Fleming

    The Man, with The Golden, gun Ian Fleming

    The Land That Time forgot Edgar Rice Burroughs

    The Cosmic puppets Philip K. Dick

    Flow-My tears the Policeman, said Philip K. Dick
    (Mine is different, see…)

    The Minority report Philip K. Dick

    The Days of Perky pat Philip K. Dick

    Pretty Maggy Money eyes Harlan Ellison

    San Diego, Lightfoot sue Tom Reamy

    Riders of the Purple wage Philip Jose Farmer

    The Elves and the Otter skin Elizabeth H. Boyer

    Merlins ring H. Warner Munn

    The Land Iron clads H.G. Wells

    With the Night, mail Rudyard Kipling

    Before Adam jack London

    The Right stuff Tom Wolfe

    (This is better than Feghoots.)

  • December 13, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    Outward bound Robert A. Heinlein
    The Naked God Peter F. Hamilton (ewww…) lol

  • December 14, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Screwtape Letters C.S. Lewis

  • December 14, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    A Lifetime Burning Linda Gillard
    A Grief Observed CS Lewis
    America Unchained Dave Gorman
    Hell West and Crooked Tom Cole
    Insect Dreams Marc Estrin
    The Dearly Departed Elinor Lipman
    Don’t Move Margaret Mazzantini
    She Captains Joan Druett
    Scratching for a Living Ruud Kleinpaste
    Horseman, Pass By Larry McMurtry
    Dr Neruda’s Cure for Evil Rafael Yglesias
    America Observed Alistair Cooke
    The Disappearing Duke Tom Freeman-Keels

  • December 15, 2010 at 11:25 am

    (More tabloid headlines)

    The Wyrdest link David Langford

    The Apricot files David Langford

    Construction Creativity book, case David Langford

    The Sex, Column, and Other, misprints David Langford

    The Unseen, University challenge Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Quiz, book David Langford

    He do the Time Police Indifferent, voice David Langford

    (It’s not easy being David Langford)

    Guts, a Comedy of Mann, errs David Langford

    Alien Emergence is James White and David Langford

    (I cheated a little on the last two)

  • December 15, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    ‘Dragon’s Egg” Robert Forward

  • December 16, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Meet these magical writers:

    The Magician’s Nephew, C. S. Lewis
    The Wizard Gene Wolfe

  • December 16, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    The Dervish house Ian McDonald

    Blackout Connie Willis

    Among others Jo Walton (sentence fragment)

    Death of the Author Scarlett Thomas

  • December 18, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    “Through Space and Time with Ferdinand Feg!” hoot Reginald, Bretnor

  • December 20, 2010 at 11:53 am

    The Silent land Graham Joyce
    The Sleeper wakes H G Wells
    The Man with the X-Ray eyes Roger Corman

    Solar is Andrei Tarkovsky
    or indeed — Solar is Steven Soderberg.

    … but maybe those are cheating.

  • December 23, 2010 at 5:18 am

    Judas Unchained Peter F Hamilton
    Frankenstein Unbound Brian Aldiss
    Shadow of the Giant Orson Scott Card
    The Other Wind Ursula K Le Guin

  • December 24, 2010 at 1:42 am

    The Graveyard Book Neil Gaiman
    Last Seen Wearing Colin Dexter
    Shock Richard Matheson
    Oliver Twist Charles Dickens
    Into the Green Charles de Lint
    I’ll Be Watching You Charles de Lint

  • December 26, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Cryoburn Lois McMaster Bujold


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