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Thread: Reading in October 2011
October 4th, 2011, 09:54 AM #16
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
- Ada, MI, USA
While not sf and not a novel - though it is full of sfnal references including penning a kind of sf short story inside to make some points and explain some stuff , i have just finished David's Deutsch The Beginning of Infinity, a masterpiece tour de force of natural philosophy as it stands today - while I still do not fully buy the multiverse arguments for which the author (a celebrated physicist specializing in quantum compunction) is quite famous - most of the book holds perfect with what i strongly believe.
Cannot recommend this one enough highly enough for any sf lover - or anyone interested in the "big things" - and I loved especially the demolishing of the Copernican mediocrity arguments, of the 'space ship Earth" speciousness (as rightly pointed out by the author, the biosphere of Earth still actively tries to kill us as spending several days without clothes in the cold will surely prove it so having some primitive technology like animal clothes and having the advanced tech of today is again philosophically identical, the difference being in the scope of action and enrichment of lives allowed by the later) and of the madness of 'sustainable development" (another myth that is thoroughly demolished), though of course empiricism and its many guises get a powerful beating too (what is the difference between seeing the stars with the naked eye or as wiggles on a screen from a radio-telescope - as the author points out there is none from a philosophical point of view since both are mediated by quite a few intermediary steps end results of a lot of applied knowledge, just that the naked eye comes from millions of years of slow evolution, the radio telescope and the screen from more concentrated knowledge created in the recent 2-3 centuries)
Also the book is very accessible and the author ended each chapter with a glossary of terms and a recap of arguments - I guess to try it to make even more accessible
October 4th, 2011, 08:29 PM #17
Really enjoying The Dark Beyond the Stars by Frank M. Robinson. No great awe inspiring technology but the story has me hooked. He created a big mystery around the main character Sparrow and keeps you guessing the whole way through, giving you just enough clues so you dont get frustrated.
Im hoping it ends well, I really would like to have fond memories of this one.
October 5th, 2011, 04:58 AM #18
I'm ploughing through A Beautiful Friendship by David Weber at the moment and really enjoying it. The first part about the discovery of the treecats was great and ended wonderfully, but now I'm getting into the meat of the story. I can't help but find similarities between this and Fuzzy Nation though, but that was going to happen considering the subject matter of both novels. I'm loving the characters though, both Stephanie Harrington and Lionheart
October 5th, 2011, 05:50 PM #19
- Join Date
- Jul 2001
- Hobbit Towers, England
- Blog Entries
That's two I've heard enjoying it then, Mark.
Currently about halfway through the rerelease of Jack Campbell/John G. Hemry's Stark's War. Solid stuff. Good page-turner, not going to win any awards, but a pleasingly predictable read so far.
October 5th, 2011, 07:51 PM #20
The Telling is one part brilliant, one part not. Le Guin has this thing about avoiding conflict in her writing that I don't quite follow. It feels like, in order to avoid a traditional story arc (exposition, escalation, resolution, denouement) she tacks a chapter on the front and back and makes sure the conflict doesn't really resolve. It feels like in The Telling, she was sort of moving the goal posts around — the government is such a straw man of an opposition that, when things start to get tense and scary, things come out OK due to their incompetence.
On the other hand, her discussion, through Sutty (who is so like the Ekumen character in The Dispossessed that I wonder if they're the same person), of the unintended consequences of intercultural contact is wonderful.
Like a lot of later Le Guin works, once I realized that the story ended a chapter before the book did (and started a chapter later), I enjoyed it much more in retrospect.
Now, I'm a slow reader. Sometimes that means I get backed up. Like now. On my blog, I have a rule that, if you tell me I simply must read a particular book, I'll put it on my Amazon wish list and then you'll have to buy it for me.
It's resulted in a rather daunting pile of reading, but at least most of it is good. The ones that aren't, I'm not sure what to do about. I mean, they're presents, right?
Currently I'm reading:
- Heaven Chronicles by Joan Vinge (research for a project)
- Distances by Vandana Singh
- The Woman who Thought She Was A Planet by same
- The Stars my Destination
- and I'm forgetting at least one, maybe two
I'll probably finish the second of the Heaven Chronicles in the next week. It's a real page turner. Distances is pretty floaty; I'm not even sure how far I am through it.
October 6th, 2011, 12:56 AM #21
- Join Date
- Aug 2011
I've been meaning to check her out. I hadn't heard of her a few months ago till I started looking around to see what great works I've missed and her name popped up quite a few times. Where would be a good place to start for her?
October 6th, 2011, 01:19 AM #22
Who? Singh? Le Guin?
For Singh, I don't yet have an opinion. I met her at ReaderCon a few months back and she's into a bunch of stuff I'm into from a different position. The ideas in Distances are really neat. Very beautiful and sensual view of an alien culture. The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet is at the bottom of my pile right now and I don't remember much about it.
For Le Guin, The Dispossesed and Left Hand of Darkness are widely regarded as her best and I really love them, particularly the former. I also really liked Birthday of the World for a very thoughtful view of what culture in (and then out of) a generation ship might be like. I recently got Always Coming Home, which is an ethnography more than a novel. I haven't read it yet but was curious because people keep telling me how difficult it is.
October 6th, 2011, 01:55 AM #23
- Join Date
- Aug 2011
Le Guin. Ok I'll check out The Dispossesed after I get done with the Revelation Space series Well unless I find something close to Ready Player One which is now one of my favorite books ever.
October 6th, 2011, 03:49 AM #24
I'll be interested to read you full review of Stark's War, I picked up the series last month as I loved the Lost Fleet books. They're still sitting on the shelf though :/
October 6th, 2011, 03:54 AM #25
October 8th, 2011, 06:04 PM #26
Just finished One Second After by William Forstchen - More of a speculative fiction, I guess (if i have my genres correct). Rather scary story considering all of the electronics that surround me and my family, and affect my life. Parts of the story almost brought me to tears (heart-string pulling stuff...); I'm a bit of a wuss at times
I've started reading Who Fears Death? by Nnedi Ocorafor (will have to check the spelling of the author's name, as the book is not in front of me ATM). So far, I am enjoying this book a lot - well written prose, beautiful visualizations, gripping story in a post-apocalyptic Africa.
Next up World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks. I've scanned the first few pages on my iPad, seems interesting, but I feel I need to wait a bit after finishing One Second After. I don't know if this one would be classified as science fiction or fantasy?
October 9th, 2011, 07:39 AM #27
Well, that's me finished with A Beautiful Friendship by David Weber, and my thoughts should be coming soon.
I think that's it for sci-fi this month. My next books are another lesbian-related story, a fantasy book and two horror/thrillers. Woot
October 9th, 2011, 08:14 AM #28
- Join Date
- Aug 2011
October 9th, 2011, 05:36 PM #29
I've started Dan Simmon's latest, Flashback, and so far it's a good page-turner...will see how it goes for the next 500 pages!
October 10th, 2011, 03:45 PM #30
Read about half of The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, and it is really well-written. However I found myself getting more depressed as the story progressed, because the book is definitely not humorous. Maybe when I am ready to read a book in a depressing post-apocalypse dystopian society I will give it another go. But for those that like that kind of stuff this should definitely be on the top of their to-read pile.