Reading in July 2012

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

  1. DDCOrange

    DDCOrange Registered User

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    Whew!!! Finished The Neutronium Alchemist by Peter Hamilton. Another manic, crazy, ending and a great cliffhanger (or three!). This was a great book for the middle volume of a trilogy! I know not everyone likes Hamilton but for me, The Night's Dawn trilogy are easily the best stories I've read this year. On to The Naked God! I can't wait to see how this ends... and who survives (my experience with Hamilton so far shows that he is not afraid to kill off a main character or two).
     
  2. Mr. Aware Eagle

    Mr. Aware Eagle Registered User

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    I'm about 60 pages into Caliban's War. Loving it so far.
     
  3. livens

    livens Registered User

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    Finished up Surface Detail by Iain M Banks. It was a bit long in a couple of places but otherwise an awesome read! It had of the more memorable characters Ive read, Veppers. A truly evil man, but totally hysterical at the same time. For me he was sadistic comic relief and really kept me interested in the book. In the end I almost (almost) felt sorry for him: spoiler, for those who have read it:

    I kept waiting to see how Banks was going to put Veppers out of his misery but I was a little disappointed when he was just julienned, while painful I though it was too quick.

    My way would have been better: That NR (NA? whatever) hell that survived being destroyed... they should have transferred his mind into it and let him experience 10,000 years of subjective time in it, with separate copies of himself to replace everyone that was in there to begin with. In real time maybe a few minutes could have passed. Then cram all of the copies back into his head and then publicly execute him.

    I just got started on Brin's Existence. It took a few chapters to get into it, but now that I am I'm hooked.

    After that its onto my first book by Philip Jose Farmer, The Unreasoning Mask.
     
  4. Shadowcharge

    Shadowcharge Shadowcharge

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    I'm reading Julian May's "Saga of Pliocene Exile." Just started book 4, "The Adversary." Loving it :)
     
  5. Ropie

    Ropie Member of the Monthâ„¢

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    I have to say this kind of gratuitous violence was the reason I put Surface Detail down halfway through. I know Banks has a reputation for putting streaks of gore in his books but this book was just full of it and used it as a constant source of entertainment - not something I expected. I think he was trying to capture some of the claustrophobic suffering of Hyperion. Not for me.

    Now that's a book - good, old fashioned, blowing-your-mind type of SF ;)
     
  6. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm reassessing my previously generally bad opinion of Philip Jose Farmer at the moment - liked what I read of Riverworld, still really, really dislike Riders of the Purple Wage - but his Wold Newton books I'm finding quite fun. Not deep, just fun.

    Mark
     
  7. Ropie

    Ropie Member of the Monthâ„¢

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    I've only read one or two by Farmer but I gather his output was patchy at best. The Unreasoning Mask is something else, though - as far as ideas go it's up there with the best (Barrington Bayley, AC Clarke, Aldiss, for example) and is probably the reason it's on David Pringle's top 100 list. Must get myself a copy of Riverworld.
     
  8. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

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    I'd forgotten that one was on Pringle's list. Once upon a time I set myself the task of reading them all.... didn't get there, obviously. :)

    I suspect it's dated horribly, but be interested to hear what you think, should it ever happen.

    If I remember right, I did quite like The World of Tiers books though: I'd forgotten that!

    Mark
     
  9. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    RE: Riverworld...

    I read through the series ooohhh...a little over a decade ago when Del Rey reissued the series in trade paperbacks. I enjoyed them and felt the held up considering their age, even a decade ago.

    Still trudging through Existence by Brin and still enjoying it.
     
  10. Shadowcharge

    Shadowcharge Shadowcharge

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    I've only read "Startide Rising" by Brin. Was thinking about reading another of his after I finish "The Adversary" (J. May). Any suggestions?

    Thanks guys! :)
     
  11. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

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    If you've read Startide (and liked it!) then the obvious choice for/from me would be The Uplift War, which takes the events of Startide and then ramps it up to a bigger scale.

    Depending on how long ago you read Startide, that is: but to be honest, if I remember right, you wouldn't have to remember too much: Kithrup is mentioned there but its not essential to have read it.

    If it's not easy to get, Rob's really enjoying Existence at the moment....

    Mark
     
  12. Shadowcharge

    Shadowcharge Shadowcharge

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    I might look for "The Uplift War." I'm tossing up between that and a good sci-fi romance if I can find one. Ta! :)
     
  13. cleasaal

    cleasaal Registered User

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    Okay, for this week's update I have to say that I am finally done with the Professor Challenger stories and I'm back to the late XX (and I'm hoping to reach the early XXI century later today). To say that the Professor Challenger series was a disappointment would be putting it mildly. I also read Jurassic Park this week and I am almost done with The Lost World... in Jurassic Park I must confess that I kept hoping someone to feed Lex to the T-rex.

    Finally I also rediscovered a little gem called Narapoia. It is a very short story dating back to 1948, and if anyone is interested I found it posted here:

    http://katie.rivard.org/woodv/narapoia.shtml
    (if you have trouble with the encoding try setting it to Western MacRoman)
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  14. livens

    livens Registered User

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    Sorry to hear you didn't like Surface Detail. Honestly I didn't notice any excess of violence that wasn't supported by a main character. By that I mean the violence came naturally with a character like Veppers and was expected of him; and that ship that did that thing with the human who volunteered for it :). If it were just random violence just to have it in the book I would agree with you.

    Good to hear about The Unreasoning Mask, I cant wait to get started on it.
     
  15. Ropie

    Ropie Member of the Monthâ„¢

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    I can't see why it wouldn't be included if it wasn't just to have it in the book. Banks wanted to shock with the scenes of apparently never ending torture in hell, and it seeped out into the rest of the book as you mention, with other characters being inherently violent or sadistic. He took it even further by strapping a sort of forlorn love story between the two characters in hell onto the back of all the torture scenes. I couldn't get any pleasure from all that sort of thing; however, I'm not disowning Banks - he can be entertaining without all that ;)
     
  16. livens

    livens Registered User

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    The hells were the best part! I think he took that level of tech and really showed what religious fanaticism might do with it. Other authors have had that level of virtual technology in their stories but never took it to that level. Humans, and aliens apparently, can be really cruel to one another and I think that the hells really illustrated the worst case scenario. But I was more fascinated with those parts of the book rather than just enjoying the shock value. If you noticed he seems to have cut the hells out of his universe at the end, and I doubt they will be a major feature in any future culture novels.

    I do agree with you about the lovers who went in together, that may have been a bit much. And what happened to her when she got trapped took some really weird turns.
     
  17. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    I finished up David Brins' Existence today and really enjoyed it. Bursting with ideas and SFnal wonder, it wasn't perfect but it is probably my favorite SF novel of the year so far.
     
  18. TaylorS

    TaylorS Registered User

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    I'm reading Tau Zero over the weekend.

    Sweden being the world's policeman = LOL!
     
  19. Shadowcharge

    Shadowcharge Shadowcharge

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    I've recently discovered Cat Rambo; she writes science fiction short stories. My favourite so far is "Bots d'Amor" -- it's cute, lol.

    Has anyone else here read any of her stories? (Sorry if this thread was meant for novels only. I am not sure she has written any novels; I could be wrong but)
     
  20. Gkarlives

    Gkarlives Mystic and Misfit

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    I think Podcastle or Escapepod have run some of here stories.