PDA

View Full Version : Need a bit of help remembering a few books from 20 ish years ago



Iskandar
2011-10-27, 11:35 PM
I hate doing this, I know these topics can be a bit annoying, but this is driving me crazy.

I read a LOT of books. I have bookshelves and boxes and e-readers crammed full of books. This is a change from my childhood, when most of what I read came from the library. Which means that a lot of what I once read has been forgotten. Every now and again, a memory will surface and I will track a book down, just to see how well the memory matches the reality, is the book still a good read.

In 99% of the cases, I can track a book down on my own, the internet blessing for that, really. Two books, however, have been constantly dodging my Google-Fu for the past 7 or so years, so I'm asking for help, so these books can quit bugging me.

The first one should be easy, ish. Read this back in elementary school, so it was AT LEAST 30 years old now, maybe a bit older. Two kids exploring their attic come across a ghost cat who tells them about his (or her? his I think) 9 lives, separate short stories, all tied together through the outer tale of the two kids and the ghost cat. This plot has been done quite a few times, so separating the signal from noise has been hard, and I can't quite find out which book it was.

The second one is harder, because I read it just about the same time I read Starship Troopers. Over the years, re-reading Starship Troopers has pretty much ground most of my memories of the other book into nothing. This would have been high school, near enough to 20 years ago. The plot was at least superficially similar to Starship Troopers, as in the protagonist goes through basic training to learn to operate a mecha type suit. The only sure thing I remember now is that the drill sergeant referred to the protagonist as "vac skull", I think, or "zat skull" maybe. And at the end, the drill sergeant and the protagonist meet up just as they are about to drop on an alien planet. This one is annoying, because I cannot remember enough about to yank a story title loose, but I remember just enough where the memory REFUSES to die.

A little help from anyone would be greatly appreciated, as these two books have been niggling memories in the back of my head for a decade or so.

Mr.Bookworm
2011-10-28, 08:37 AM
The first one is the Ghost of Opalina (http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Opalina-Nine-Lives/dp/0316075027/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top).

The second one.. not sure. Any more details you can remember?

Iskandar
2011-10-28, 09:51 AM
The first one..... might be right. Apparently it is going to be annoying to verify because it doesn't seem to actually exist anywhere for a reasonable price. I might need to head down to my local library and see if they have a copy. I'm sure to get a weird look being an adult wandering the kid's section.

As for the second, I wish I did. The problem is memories of that book are all tangled up with Starship Troopers. The two were similar, but not the same, and memories of reading the latter have hashed my memories of the former. I kinda remember one of the characters, in the beginning, writing a fairly sarcastic letter home making fun of basic training and getting in trouble for it.

It is frustrating, I know I read this book, I remember it being fun, and an awesome read, something I laways meant to read again.... and the rest kinda sorta slipped away.

otakuryoga
2011-10-28, 10:06 AM
2nd one maybe..."Armor"?
do you remember if there was a scene where the guy threw a puppy down a well and then threw large rocks to kill it quickly before it got tired of swimming and drowned?

Iskandar
2011-10-28, 10:48 AM
Armor isn't it. Book was almost certainly 1st person throughout, and, I think, much lighter in tone.

Telonius
2011-10-28, 11:39 AM
Would this (http://www.amazon.com/Creatures-Man-Howard-Myers/dp/074349900X)be similar to it? Publication date is 2003, but it's basically an anthology of a bunch of sci-fi magazine articles published from the late 60s-early 70s. That was the only Google result for "vac skull," other than this thread, and some guy talking about a shop-vac and a skull (did not click the link to find out why).

comicshorse
2011-10-28, 02:42 PM
Sounds vaguely like the 'Forever War' by Joe Haldeman

Iskandar
2011-10-28, 02:46 PM
Thanks fo the help all. No luck so far.

@Telonius Not it, but available in the free Baen library, and looks to be a fascinating read. Thank you.
As I said, might not be vac skull, zat skull maybe or something. It is MADDENING, actually, because I can clearly remember how much I liked this book, and so very little else. I know, or think I know it roughly resembled Starship Troopers, and I know that it ended up with the protagonist and his drill sergeant meeting up as they are about to drop on an alien planet.

Normally with my memories of a book this hazy I can just forget about it, and move on. This thing REFUSES to go, and has been annoying me for most of a decade.

Serpentine
2011-10-29, 03:37 AM
The first one should be easy, ish. Read this back in elementary school, so it was AT LEAST 30 years old now, maybe a bit older. Two kids exploring their attic come across a ghost cat who tells them about his (or her? his I think) 9 lives, separate short stories, all tied together through the outer tale of the two kids and the ghost cat. This plot has been done quite a few times, so separating the signal from noise has been hard, and I can't quite find out which book it was.I know one that sounds a lot like this one, except that the cat wasn't, as far as I recall, a ghost. Just a cat on its last life. Are you sure it was a ghost?

Iskandar
2011-10-29, 09:43 AM
No? It has been 30 ish years.

jorgealarcon
2011-10-29, 12:57 PM
It would be helpful if you can provide more details on the second book.

Iskandar
2011-10-29, 07:32 PM
@jorgealarcon I wish I could. It would make searching for it so much easier. I just have tiny pieces though, and the back of my brain saying "you really should read this again, it was awesome" without giving me enough information to FIND the blasted thing.

@Serpentine I'd love to hear the book you thought of. Since I can't find the other one to verify one way or another, yeah.

Serpentine
2011-10-30, 01:35 AM
I think it was Time Cat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Cat). If so, it means I've read a Lloyd Alexander book. So there you go.

Kjata
2011-10-30, 01:47 AM
I don't know how legit this is, but i figured I should post it.

http://sandiego.ebayclassifieds.com/books-magazines/san-diego/the-ghost-of-opalina-or-nine-lives/?ad=5904443

If you get the story from this person, let me know. I want to read this story worth hundreds of dollars, but can't even afford the $10 right now.

Surfing HalfOrc
2011-10-30, 06:55 AM
Could the armir be "Zoot Suits?" If so, look at David Weber's "Crusade" and "In Death Ground."

I just finished Crusade, where the powered armor is called a Zoot Suit, a reference to the Zoot Suits of Los Angeles in the 1940s or so. The next book in the series: In Death Ground has Aracnids(sp) as the alien antagonists, similar to the bugs in Starship Troopers.

Probably not even close, but worth a guess.

Lord Seth
2011-10-30, 04:26 PM
The first one..... might be right. Apparently it is going to be annoying to verify because it doesn't seem to actually exist anywhere for a reasonable price. I might need to head down to my local library and see if they have a copy. I'm sure to get a weird look being an adult wandering the kid's section.If it's so rare the prices are in the hundreds, it probably won't be in your library. It might be smarter to try for an interlibrary/outerlibrary loan of some sort, if your library has that option. Much higher chance of getting a copy that way.