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  1. #46
    I agree with LukeB regarding 2312: It's a very enjoyable book, but probably not something to read if you're in the mood for space action, because barring just one or two specific chapters said space action is just not there.

    I found that my initial feelings about how the characters were built didn't change much, specifically that the most central characters are very engaging and dynamic but that the secondary cast is somewhat blah, moreso than their secondary status justifies. They too often get reduced to talking heads, I found. The antagonists in particular are near-complete non-entities, and while I think this may be kind of the point [the banality of evil, etc] the way it is executed makes it feel as though the book just can't be bothered with them, largely because they are connected to the plot, which it can also not be moved to care much about.

    The exploration of and immersion in Robinson's future solar system, though, ... well, dang. It's wonderfully detailed, and also nicely balanced, in that Robinson's vision both acknowledges potential future problems [some of them quite horrific] and also allows the future to be fun and awe-inspiring. [If awesome prose poetry about space is your thing I imagine you'll be very happy, because Robinson's got cosmosporn of the most brain-baking kind in heaping spadefuls doled out generously.] It's a big book, both physically and in its concerns, and in the rush to pursue these concerns and visions I just think it forgets about the little everyday mechanics of storytelling occasionally. Highly recommended, by me at least, but not as a brain break or action read. As LukeB said, I didn't find the book especially hard to read -- though I understood well under half of the science Robinson was talking about --, but it did demand my full attention, and didn't exhilarate in the same care-free way as, say, Leviathan Wakes.

  2. #47
    Rogue Warrior
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    So there's a character named Chitman?

    Who's GNR?

  3. #48
    I'm guessing it stands for Great North Road.

    I've also just finished Paolo Bacigalupi's The Drowned Cities, which I found very compulsive reading and got through pretty quickly [about as fast as I went through Mark Lawrence's Prince of Thorns.] It's categorized as ya, and I think it serves as proof that a variety of story types can be told within that field [not that proof was needed; I just know that some folks around here are a bit suspicious of ya, having been burned in the past.] There is nary a love triangle to be seen, and the book's concerns, war and the weaponization of children, political extremism and factionalization, are treated in, for lack of a better word, very "adult" ways. The book's a companion to Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker, and takes place after that novel, but only one character carries over and no knowledge of the prior book is necessary.

    The story's very violent, and traumatic in many places. However, I think this violence is dealt with as successfully as the slightly more isolated instances of nastyness in Ship Breaker, and better than the very gorey and explicit treatment in Bacigalupi's adult novel The Windup Girl, which I felt descended into displaying horrific ik for shock value and kicks more than a few times. Indeed, though this opinion may well not be popular, I think The Drowned Cities is a better novel than The Windup Girl, with a stronger and more coherent plot and fewer scenes of extremity for extremity's sake [particularly in the realm of sexual violence, which is a threatening shadow here in The Drowned Cities where it was plastered all over every page in The Windup Girl.] The book shows Bacigalupi growing as a writer whilst dealing with material that's still very much in the wheelhouse established by his earlier work, accomplishing considerably more with somewhat less and dialing back on what didn't work so great. It's also set in America, which makes what might have felt demeaning and over-generalized depictions of in-fighting and perpetual war if set elsewhere feel more like trenchant political criticism and grim satire of the current political situation in the US [Bacigalupi does a fair job of not coming down on one side or another -- except for pretty clearly demonstrating that climate change is a big huge problem --, focusing his ire on extremism and retreats into dogmatic positions in general.]

    Good book. Really good book. Full of heart-poundy goodness without glamorizing violence, and enjoyable either as a thrilling fun read or as more thoughtful criticism [it's accessible to young adults, so the points are sometimes broad, but at no time will Bacigalupi treat you in any way as if you are stupid.] I hope he writes more in this setting, and certainly more ya. He's getting pretty great at it.

  4. #49
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    So there's a character named Chitman?
    Not quite: but there is a character with Mark/Chitman's real name, as too another with the name of one of the publicists at MacMillan/Tor who work with Peter.

    Peter does this sort of thing quite a lot: I remember the first time I came across a 'James Barclay' in his books: yes, THAT James Barclay (which also reminds me that there's a Barclay in Great North Road, too.)

    Who's GNR?
    Not Guns n' Roses, nor Great Northern Railway, But yes, Great North Road.

    Mark
    Mark

  5. #50
    Registered User Loerwyn's Avatar
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    Weber does it too, but I think he kills people off...

  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbit View Post
    Not quite: but there is a character with Mark/Chitman's real name, as too another with the name of one of the publicists at MacMillan/Tor who work with Peter.
    It is called Tuckerization for some reason and there are many authors who do it, some for fans, some auction namings for various causes, some by losing bets (ser Patrek of The Mountain aka Patrick of Montreal in ADWD anyone?)

    Anyway, back on topic, finished The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman and it becomes more sfnal towards the end (one part of the epilogue is set in 19310 when a Troodonian is scavenging for lost technology in a famous drowned city of the "apes" as they see the extinct humans, though you can take that as tongue in cheek parody too)

    Excellent book though and I can see why it got longlisted for the Booker; I still prefer Tan Twan Eng to win as unlikely as that is, but I wouldn't mind this one winning either

    Next either Eternal Flame (Egan, Orthogonal 2) or Midst toil and Tribulation (Weber, safehold 6) (two of the huge asaps of the year) though I may squeeze some non-sff before

  7. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbit View Post
    Not quite: but there is a character with Mark/Chitman's real name, as too another with the name of one of the publicists at MacMillan/Tor who work with Peter.

    Peter does this sort of thing quite a lot: I remember the first time I came across a 'James Barclay' in his books: yes, THAT James Barclay (which also reminds me that there's a Barclay in Great North Road, too.)

    Not Guns n' Roses, nor Great Northern Railway, But yes, Great North Road.

    Mark
    Ok gotcha, thats cool though. lol

    Liviu's got him a helluva lineup for himself.

  8. #53
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    It is called Tuckerization for some reason
    Oh, I know that one: it's called Tuckerization because of the science fiction author who was first recognised for doing it a lot: Wilson H. Tucker. More HERE.

    Mark
    Mark

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbit View Post
    Oh, I know that one: it's called Tuckerization because of the science fiction author who was first recognised for doing it a lot: Wilson H. Tucker. More HERE.

    Mark
    Cool! sayd he coined the term, space opera too.

  10. #55
    I like to rock the party Corporal Blues's Avatar
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    Started reading Mieville's Embassytown today. Having a hard time getting into it. I'm not sure why, as I'm usually a big fan of Mieville's work. I guess I don't usually read too much sf, so that might have something to do with it.

  11. #56
    It never entered my mind algernoninc's Avatar
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    I was intrigued by a comment in another thread about Omnilingualby H Beam Piper, and decided to check it out. While I would not call it the best SF short story ever, it was good: the Big Idea stuff that came to define the Golden Age in science-fiction. It was also a bit optimistic, placing a human archeological expedition on Mars in 1996

  12. #57
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    I started seriously Communion Town by Sam Thompson as i would love to review it Thursday (third of the sffnal Booker longlist, read, loved, reviewed Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman, opened, hated, put down Umbrella by Will Self - all capital words and exclamation points everywhere bring a strong dislike -);

    I am still not sure if it is closer to sf or to Mieville weird fantastika - has monsters and a modern city that resembles London or NYC but is different also - but so far i would say that sf prevails.

    Excellent read, dense and needs patience and time to process, but worth it until now at least.

    After that the heavies (Egan- Eternal Flame, Weber- MTAT, Asher-Zero Point and begging for an Hydrogen Sonata arc as I saw someone got one)

    I also finished HHhH by Laurent Binet which is a sort of non-fiction novel that got the Goncourt debut prize in 2010 and has been translated earlier this year (story of Heydrich's ascension and assassination); while not sfnal, there is some association in a few ways, as HHhH is among other things a very political novel and sff is the political genre by excellence; also it is about what history means, how we look at it and who writes it and how, and it reminded me on occasion of scenes from IM Banks Culture books that deal with that; very good stuff, but way too clever for cleverness' sake on occasion; still a book that is hard to put down once opened and it kind of hijacked my reading for a while

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by suciul View Post
    I started seriously Communion Town by Sam Thompson as i would love to review it Thursday (third of the sffnal Booker longlist, read, loved, reviewed Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman, opened, hated, put down Umbrella by Will Self - all capital words and exclamation points everywhere bring a strong dislike -);

    I am still not sure if it is closer to sf or to Mieville weird fantastika - has monsters and a modern city that resembles London or NYC but is different also - but so far i would say that sf prevails.

    Excellent read, dense and needs patience and time to process, but worth it until now at least.

    After that the heavies (Egan- Eternal Flame, Weber- MTAT, Asher-Zero Point and begging for an Hydrogen Sonata arc as I saw someone got one)

    I also finished HHhH by Laurent Binet which is a sort of non-fiction novel that got the Goncourt debut prize in 2010 and has been translated earlier this year (story of Heydrich's ascension and assassination); while not sfnal, there is some association in a few ways, as HHhH is among other things a very political novel and sff is the political genre by excellence; also it is about what history means, how we look at it and who writes it and how, and it reminded me on occasion of scenes from IM Banks Culture books that deal with that; very good stuff, but way too clever for cleverness' sake on occasion; still a book that is hard to put down once opened and it kind of hijacked my reading for a while
    My homeboy Liviu, begging for an arc? Say it isnt so! Sorry man had to tease ya. lol

  14. #59
    Registered User Colonel Worf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by suciul View Post
    I
    ...finished The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman...
    I had to pick this one up after reading the synopsis. Looks great.

  15. #60
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    Still flogging the old guard here - reading Barrington Bayley's The Rod Of Light. And that's not a euphemism; it's a sequel to Soul of a Robot (one of my favourite SF books) and continues the story of Jasperodus

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