November 2011 BotM: Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Erfael, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. Erfael

    Erfael Lemurs!!! Staff Member

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    This month's book of the month is Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts. It's one fictional author's account of the alien invasion of 1986.

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    Discuss!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2011
  2. algernoninc

    algernoninc Now I'm an axolotl

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    nobody wants to start? I didn't want to open the discussion with a negative review. . .
    Read this last month, wasn't bowled over. Setting aside the bitter taste left by the mean and ugly portayal of the Russian culture as my personal issue, I thought the science-fiction part of the story was too thin. Maybe it would have worked better as a short story or as a novella. Between the prologue with the writers brainstorming session and the denouement in the last chapter there was practically nothing dealing with SF. Just the main character moving around from one dismal location to another.
    I also thought the romantic angle was poorly executed and rather shoehorned into the story in order to justify the title.

    Still, the book wasn't a total waste of my time. I rather liked the several essays on the nature of science-fiction as a genre and the role of the writer in society. And Roberts is a talented writer, with a clear prose and intelligent speculations.
     
  3. Westsiyeed

    Westsiyeed The Fifth Dominion

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    After reading By Light Alone I was eager to start on another of Roberts' books, but have paused about half way through to try something else.

    It started off OK with an interesting premise, but as Algernonic said, it's just become a fairly repetitive story following the main character around. I've also found there's too much dialogue between the characters; it's been fairly constant for the last 100 pages.

    That said, there's a fair amount of humour throughout (the main character is constantly coming back with witty or smart-a*#e comments), but it's not doing enough for me.

    Might return after a book or two.
     
  4. Ropie

    Ropie Member of the Monthâ„¢

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    I thought this was primarily a superbly well written book in a literary sense, by far the best I've read by a contemporary British SF author in quite some time. There is a lot of dialogue in it, and with nods to Stanislaw Lem and the Strugatskys, it totally floated my SF boat. The plot wanders about and it turns from an alternate history into a strange sort of espionage thriller, and from that into a (rather unconvincing) first contact/earth takeover novel. The whole thing is wrapped up in the slightly confused, if not downright unreliable, narration of the main character, who is in turns disturbingly emotionless and absolutely hilarious. I can't think of a funnier scene I've read in SF than the tape recorder in the police station incident!

    Although the ending, as I mentioned, left me unsatisfied, this is still one of the best books I've read this year, with a great cast of characters.

    Four out of five stars from me.
     
  5. Erfael

    Erfael Lemurs!!! Staff Member

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    I pretty much fall in line with all the comments on writing quality and story quality here. I also didn't much care what happened much past part 2, and the stuff that did follow pretty much felt like they came out of left field. But the writing was thoroughly engaging throughout. And, I agree, funny, though there were some bits that felt forced on that front.

    algernoninc: Can you elaborate a little on what you found objectionable about the portrayal of the Russian people? I can't say I found anything that I really felt pointed at any particular group in any way. It seemed to me that it was just farcical throughout and that all the characters that the main character met were in some way caricatures of real people, the few Americans not excluded. I thought it could just have easily been set in other places or other time periods and had largely the same character types throughout.
     
  6. Ropie

    Ropie Member of the Monthâ„¢

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    Most of the characters showed their faults in quite obvious ways - the Americans with their lack of understanding of the language; the nasty Russian guy who took advantage of their linguistic limitations when the main character was translating (but later the male American showed themselves to have understood every word, no?!) ; the CIA bodyguard who lacked a few brain cells. Overall, the book did not paint a pretty picture of human kind in general.
     
  7. SuzieOz

    SuzieOz Registered User

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    I found the main character quite hilarious, and really quite liked him. And I enjoyed the romantic relationship between him and his large lady friend - a woman with spirit I must say!

    For me the aliens turned up too late, and I was becoming quite bored with the story. I was beinning to wonder if the aliens existed at all.

    I admit I didn't really find it a particularly exciting read until the park scene (which was soooo funny, with everyone lining up for oranges!). I thought the whole concept of the aliens existing in different realities in such a way that they couldn't be seen so they could gradually take over without detection was brilliant! I would have loved to read more about that, and was disappointed that it was such a brief part of the book and so near the end.

    Oh well, I enjoyed some of the book and found most of the characters quite interesting anyway.

    Not a bad read.