Reading in July 2012

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Hobbit, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. Hobbit

    Hobbit Administrator Staff Member

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    This is where you talk to us about your monthly SF Reads: whether good or bad, we want to discuss with you what you thought.

    Book Club Reading: The Fantasy Book Club Book this month is Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko. Discuss HERE.

    Mark
     
  2. Chrysippus

    Chrysippus Registered User

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    Just finished Caliban's War. Gonna start The Stars My Destination.
     
  3. Danogzilla

    Danogzilla Couch Commander

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    Started Iain M Banks' Inversions last night. He has yet to let me down.
     
  4. suciul

    suciul Read interesting books

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    I am about 70% (450/650 pages) in The Sacrifice Game by Brian D'Amato - the sequel to the amazing In the Courts of the Sun - and this one is even badder, more brutal, explicit and crazier than the first book (which was not tame by any stretch), all narrated in the same unforgettable voice of Jed de Landa, though so far it is Jed 2 (the 660's Maya one) for most of the book and of course that is part of why I really love this one as In the Courts of the Sun was quite good in the modern 2000's part but awesome in the 660's Maya part which had more alien sense of wonder than the sf with aliens out there...

    Lady Koh, 2 Jeweled Skull, Hun Xoc, 1 Gila and a few others are back and of course quite a few new characters appear, there is one unforgettable game of hipball for the fate of our heroes and much more, not to speak of a human version of the Sacrifice Game and many more goodies...

    Still about 200 pages to go and I am curious where it will end (supposed to be a trilogy after all) but the book so far delivered what i expected and a whole lot more...
     
  5. Random23

    Random23 New Member

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    Just started The Long Earth by Pratchett and Baxter. Not as funny as Pratchett's other novels, but it has some great SF ideas in it. The writing in the first 40 pages is great and it reads quite fast. Very promising.
     
  6. PeterWilliam

    PeterWilliam Omnibus Prime

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    Over the past weekend, I had to set down Brin's Existence. I made it through 260 pages, but even that took me 2 weeks - a very slow pace for me. It was well thought out and intricate, but also too 'clever' for its own good. The only way I can think to describe the sensation is to say that it left me with the extremely annoyed feeling one is left with when encountering a self-proclaimed 'know-it-all,' who has only served to reveal the gaps in his/her omniscience.
     
  7. Danogzilla

    Danogzilla Couch Commander

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    I feel this way after watching/hearing interviews with Brin. His personality has turned me off from his books. I probably shouldn't judge a writer's work by their personality, but I'm human and we are sometimes shallow critters.
     
  8. Chrysippus

    Chrysippus Registered User

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    Has anybody read his Uplift Saga? I've been trying to decide if it's worth reading. The only other thing I've read by him was The Postman way back in middle school, and I loved it then (but don't know what I'd think now). Obviously, it'd be very different from the Uplift Saga, but I'm wondering if anyone here has read the latter.
     
  9. Hobbit

    Hobbit Administrator Staff Member

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    MUCH discussion HERE about The Uplift Saga.

    In short, though, for me, loved the first three (Sundiver, Startide Rising, Uplift War), really didn't like the rest.

    Others quite like them. :)

    Mark
     
  10. algernoninc

    algernoninc Now I'm an axolotl

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    I plan to read more novellas, especially ones mentioned in the Hugo and Nebula wins. I've started with Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge by Mike Resnick. Good stuff, the whole history of humanity condensed in about 50 pages (ebook) , seen from the perspective of an alien team of archeologists exploring the cradle of Man.

    The other SF book I've read this month is a fun alternative to R Daneel Oliwav robot books. A Lee Martinez has Mack Megaton as the protagonist of The Automatic Detective: a robot designed as the ultimate weapon that has developed the Freewill Glitch, and who in between driving taxis is doing a good impersonation of Philip Malowe or Sam Spade, complete with trenchcoat and fedora, as he is trying to find missing friends and put a stop to some evil plans from the underworld ganglords. He is helped along the way by a gorilla, a rat sized police detective and a blonde bombshell that doubles as a genius inventor.
     
  11. Chrysippus

    Chrysippus Registered User

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    Thanks! That's what I get for not using the search function :eek:
     
  12. DDCOrange

    DDCOrange Registered User

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    I just finished Merchanter's Luck by C.J. Cherryh. I really like her Alliance-Union series and though it is very short at only 208 pages this little novel is a welcome segment. I've already read Rimrunners which was quite good and had some unusual luck at the used book store and found two more books in this series. What I like about Cherryh is that her stories are more about people than they are about spaceships, battles (though they are there). There is a very human side to these tales and her characters are not always perfect or heroic as they struggle with their inner demons. Anyway enough blathering, good read here!
     
  13. cleasaal

    cleasaal Registered User

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    After re-reading Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea last month I decided to read some proto-SF, so I've made my way through Jack London's The Star Rover, The Scarlet Plague, and I'm now going over the Professor Challenger stories by Conan Doyle.

    Of the Professor Challlenger stories my favorite's been The Disintegration Machine, though The Lost World and The Poison Belt were enjoyable enough, the problem is that they do come across as being incredibly dated. The Land of Mist, on the other hand, is downright awful and it is taking a lot of willpower to get through it... so much so that a couple of days ago I decided to take a break and read Terry Pratchett's The World of Poo. That one came across as a breath of fresh air (and yes, I know that The World of Poo is not really SF).

    As for my future plans,I will probably follow with Jurassic Park and Crichton's The Lost World, just for the sake of comparison. After that I'll go on to read The Long Earth.
     
  14. Ropie

    Ropie Member of the Monthâ„¢

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    Got to the end of Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312 and I still can't remember the order of the numbers in the title without looking at the spine of the book :rolleyes:

    I didn't understand the way this book was worked out because it had some really beautiful moments in it, such as the descriptions of 'surfing' the rings and sailing in the clouds of Saturn, the Terminator city that travels around Mercury (a' la Inverted World), the adventure through the tunnel under Mercury and being flung off into outer space in a space suit, awaiting rescue. The rest of it was just filler to me, with rather mundane interplanetary politics and a predictable mystery/thriller element taking up the majority of the book. I did like the idea of
    pieces of planetary moons being sold off for use in terraforming and the construction of starships
    but this really felt like a book of ideas held together by a pedestrian set of characters on a mission to solve a terrorist crime. Why is it that people in space operas are always like spoiled children who just happen to be 123 years old?

    OK, it was well written and had some excellent moments but my interest in 2312 ebbed and flowed and as such I couldn't consistently enjoy it.

    *** stars
     
  15. Hobbit

    Hobbit Administrator Staff Member

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    Ropie: You've pretty much said what I thought. I wanted to enjoy it, and there were parts that were lovely, but in the end I wasn't as enthusiastic about it as I had hoped to be.

    Think I preferred Alastair Reynolds' Blue Remembered Earth, which was similar but had less introspective navel-gazing than KSR.

    Mind you, I expected 2312 to have more of that, anyway.

    Mark
     
  16. Ropie

    Ropie Member of the Monthâ„¢

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    Exactly, Mark. I remember having a pretty good time reading Red Mars and the small amount of hype around 2312 led me to hope that I'd feel the same this time.

    Yes, too much musing on subjects that detracted from the feel of the book. It may have worked better as a collection of short stories/novellas linked by the common theme of the year 2312, rather than one longer story with tiny chapters with those slightly irritating (I thought) lectures and 'excerpts' in between the chapters. I think KSR was trying to go for a bit of the feeling of Stand On Zanzibar by introducing imaginary text books and things between the chapters - and the plot involving computers and terrorism was actually quite similar - but the conviction towards either infomercial or strong plot didn't go either way strongly enough I felt.
     
  17. Chrysippus

    Chrysippus Registered User

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    Just finished The Stars My Destination. After the Prologue, I had a hard time getting into it. Until Part II, that is. Those last 120 pages are completely gripping. Totally deserving of its status as a classic.

    Also, has anybody else noticed just how indebted James S.A. Corey's The Expanse is to Bester's novel? There's a lot of inspiration being drawn, there, it seems to me.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012
  18. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    Not surprised as Daniel Abraham, one half of James S.A. Corey, has basically said he's taken a lot of old school and influential Space Opera thrown it into a pot, cooked it up with Ty Franck's worldbuilding and there you have The Expanse.

    I started (well, a couple of pages at least) Existence by David Brin today. It was basically a coin flip between it and Caliban's Hour for the next book. Regarding Brin, I wonder if I'll fall more in line with Werthead or suciul on this one.
     
  19. Chrysippus

    Chrysippus Registered User

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    Fair enough. Corey dedicated Caliban's War to "Bester and Clarke, who got us here", and it's pretty clear in Bester's case. I haven't read any Clarke, but the striking similarities between Corey and Bester make me think that all of the stuff in Corey that isn't from Bester might just be from Clarke. Maybe that's just not being fair, but the influence is really, really strong.
     
  20. Ropie

    Ropie Member of the Monthâ„¢

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    I just read Vurt by Jeff Noon. I must have been in the mood for it because it took me just 3 days to finish. Quite a lot of fun, very much of its time (a mixture of cyberpunk, acid house and recession-period UK) and easy to read and follow, as long as you can accept the madness of it all. Reminded me quite a bit of Michael Marshall Smith's Only Forward, although I preferred Vurt.

    *** stars