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August 31st, 2006, 06:25 PM
New month again..... this is where you tell us what you're reading in the worlds of SF this month. Good or bad, please let us know what you thought.

Over to the Book Clubs....

The SF Book Club is reading C.J. Cherryh's Downbelow Station (http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14717), Hugo Winner of 1982.

The Fantasy Book Club is reading last year's Hugo winner, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susannah Clarke (http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14720).

For planning ahead, Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys (an oldie but a goodie!) will be for October's SF Book Club discussion, and The Fantasy Book Club will be reading Something Wicked this Way Comes by Ray Bradbury for October's discussion. (One of my favourites: just right before Halloween next month!).

Join in if you can!


August 31st, 2006, 11:36 PM
Ok lets see, I am now reading Tripoint in the Alliance-Union series by CJ Cherryh. I decided to do a (re)read of the whole series.

September 1st, 2006, 11:30 AM
I'm struggling with Fall of Hyperion. The first 120 pages or so are tediously political and military, but I think it's about to get around to the story soon. Hopefully I won't be stuck much longer - so many other books to read!

September 1st, 2006, 03:01 PM
About halfway into To Your Scattered Bodies Go. So far, I'd say cool concept, mediocre execution. . . one of those books where the more you think about it the less it holds together.

And there is an underlying sexism to this book that I find appalling. Every woman is weak and needs a male protector. And every woman (all 30 billion of them, I suspect), deep down in side, very much wants to have sex with the protagonist.

But I gather this is a quest book, and the quest hasn't started yet. So maybe it will pick up.

September 2nd, 2006, 04:20 AM
At last, received my copy of Downbelow Station for the book club! Will start tonight

Monty Mike
September 2nd, 2006, 09:58 AM
Started on A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick a couple days ago in hope of reading it before the cinemas take it off.

About halfway through, it's very good.

September 2nd, 2006, 12:24 PM
Just finished Woken Fures, the third and presumably last of Richard Morgan's " Takeshi Kovacs" series. I enjoyed it immensely and would even go as far as saying it is the best one. Yes, you read that right, even better than Altered Carbon, 'cause while AC was basically a whodunnit, WF is much more of a real SF novel, more deeply struggling with politics and metaphysics (although these are never far away in a Kovacs novels), which in the end interests me more than - to put it crudely - who did it.

September 2nd, 2006, 02:20 PM
Started on A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick a couple days ago
I bought this a few weeks ago but won't have time to read it for a month or so. Will be interesting to know what you think of it when you have finished.

September 3rd, 2006, 03:27 AM
After being so deeply impressed with The Martian Chronicles (the book) when I saw the Farenheit 451 movie come up on the pay-per-view I snapped it up. It started well, very much of its time with excellent visuals, interesting actors, Hitchcockian music, etc. But just degenerated into utter farce.

I know there are places in the world where the reading of certain books is outlawed, where freedom of information is not observed, but this was just ridiculous. A Western society with a total ban on books? Teams of Firemen who run (by alarm call!) to destroy hidden stashes of paperbacks?! - "it's the Firemen, mummy - there's going to be a fire!". I was laughing when I wasn't crying. And why is the oh-so-accurate number '451' so important (as the temperature at which paper ignites) when all they do is whack on a flame thrower and point it in the general direction of the books??? The rest of the film with it's views on a tv-obsessed and drug-taking, sterile society, Montag sneakily reading about Rhinos at 4am in his kitchen, was just dull.

OK, it was the movie, not the book but the premise must be pretty similar. I always thought that Farenheit 451 sounded like a suspiciously ridiculous book and the film has gone a long way to confirming that.

September 3rd, 2006, 04:27 AM
What you have to do with Fahrenheit is remember two things; Bradbury's prose is very difficult to put on film; b) the context in which the book was written (1953).

Bradbury's prose style does not always come across visually.

The book starts with the line: 'It was a pleasure to burn.' For a bookaholic that is a horrific statement. Bradbury's use of words is very hard to approach visually. Few if any have managed it, which is why we see few Bradbury movies.

Bradbury's book is slightly different to the film; the book uses a Mechanical Hound to track Montag which could not be achieved in the film. The book also ends with nuclear holocaust, from which the book readers provide the knowledge to rebuild society.

There were big problems with the film, being Truffaut's first film in English - difficult when he couldn't speak it! Bradbury himself has said how he thought Julie Christie's performance was wrong. But for all its faults, the music and the visuals are in places iconic.

I know there are places in the world where the reading of certain books is outlawed, where freedom of information is not observed, yes, this was post WW2, but Bradbury wanted to highlight the risks of censorship. To quote from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit_451) it had happened and was happening:

"the thought-destroying force" of McCarthyism in the 1950s; the burnings of books in Nazi Germany starting in 1933; Stalin's suppression of authors and books in the Soviet Union; and the horrible consequences of an explosion of a nuclear weapon. These were all prevalent themes in the 1950's, and are happening even today.

Bradbury's love of books and libraries is here too. What if there were no books? What if people did not or could not read for pleasure? Books make people think, make them unhappy, make them want to change things... so they are banned.

The book also shows Bradbury's thoughts about future society - a world where people want to be entertained rather than entertain themselves, a world where it is important to look good and be seen as happy when you are not, a world where people enclose themselves away from the outside world (hello, ipod! :) ).

There's a lot to get from Fahrenheit, though it has dated a little there are themes prevalent today.

"You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them."
-Ray Bradbury