Discussion Forums - Science Fiction

Topic: 2011 SF Challenge: JULY/AUGUST DISCUSSION THREAD

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: 2011 SF Challenge: JULY/AUGUST DISCUSSION THREAD
Date Posted: 7/2/2011 12:44 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
Back To Top

Previous, related posts:

2011 SF Challenge -- LISTS ONLY THREAD

2011 SF Challenge -- DECEMBER DISCUSSION THREAD

2011 SF Challenge -- JANUARY DISCUSSION THREAD

2011 SF Challenge: FEBRUARY DISCUSSION THREAD

2011 SF Challenge: MARCH/APRIL DISCUSSION THREAD

2011 SF Challenge: MAY/JUNE DISCUSSION THREAD

 

What's on the docket for this month? Have you used any books published in 2011 to fulfill your challenge yet? What's the oldest book you've used in your challenge?



Last Edited on: 8/2/11 2:37 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: What is this?
Date Posted: 7/11/2011 11:55 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2011
Posts: 3
Back To Top
What is the sci-fi challenge?
Date Posted: 7/12/2011 2:56 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
Back To Top

 Check out the "Lists Only Thread" linked to in the OP. We're halfway through already, but you're welcome to try anyway! ;)

Subject: deleted
Date Posted: 7/15/2011 8:25 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
Back To Top

deleted



Last Edited on: 2/3/15 9:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 5
Brad -
Date Posted: 7/15/2011 8:34 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
Back To Top

The Third Policeman - Flann O'Brien:   I enjoyed this book a lot.  Kind of a crazy book.  Crazy in good way, pretty funny how things don't make a lot of sense.  To be fair though, I generally skipped the parts where the main character was talking about the philosopher he liked (who is also fictional).



Last Edited on: 7/18/11 7:40 AM ET - Total times edited: 5
Subject: Rule 34
Date Posted: 7/15/2011 12:14 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
Back To Top

Well, I think Rule 34 rocks (Charles Stross) - it's now one of my favorite books.  I predict it'll go up for one of the major awards, if the field doesn't get too crowded (I'm thinking Embassytown might get in the way).  Engrossing characters (even the "bad" guy), great tech, good mystery.  I guessed responsibility for the action about halfway through, but wasn't sure until the very end.  Ahh, filled in a challenge category very nicely...........  

Been reading stuff outside of the challenge.  Motivated to read Outliers from Matt - I saw Malcolm Gladwell give an interview on a Charlie Rose episode, went and bought/read The Tipping Point.  Guy is brilliant.  I'm halfway through What the Dog Saw and I'm on the library waiting list for Blink.  (Bill Gates was just in the right place at the right time, yah - I believe that).

Read Vurt by Jeff Noon.  Did I like it?  Not so much.  I read Automated Alice a few years ago, eh...   It all reminds me of what the drug scene must be like, not in touch with reality.  I still want to give Pollen a try though.

My husband bought me a patio swing set - new place to cozy up and read.  Supposed to get into the 70's this weekend.  Now if only the sun would come out. 

cool

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 7/15/2011 3:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
Back To Top

Funny thing, I tried to read What the Dog Saw, and I thought the first chapter was so incredibly boring I took it right back to the library.  Does it pick up later?

Subject: What the Dog Saw
Date Posted: 7/15/2011 4:31 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
Back To Top

I think you gotta be interested in what Gladwell is writing about.  I was at a state fair and got caught up in a pitchman's spiel, ending up buying the product.  Got home and examined what I bought - it was just some fabric on a clever plastic brush, made to pick up messes on furniture.  It worked alrighty, but probably only cost 20 cents to make and I paid $4.00 for it.  So the first story interested me.  The second story, why so many mustards and only one type of ketchup was also interesting, the third story was financial in nature (eh),   Next two stories were about hair dye and birth control pills (yup, interesting to the female) and then a story about the Dog Whisperer, who I also happen to enjoy.  All from Gladwell's writing in The New Yorker.

The New Yorker???????????????   maybe I'm just sophisticated. ppfffffftttttttttttttttt.  cheeky   

Remarkably the book has over 550 people on the waiting list for the hardback and over 250 people for the paperback.  



Last Edited on: 7/15/11 4:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Wil Wheaton
Date Posted: 7/19/2011 11:30 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
Back To Top

Just finished Memories of the Future, Wil Wheaton's take on the first year of Star Trek, Next Generation.  Wheaton writes in an MST 3000 kind of way which I really enjoyed.  First time author read for me, I might give some of his other books a go.......  

Subject: ST:TNG
Date Posted: 7/19/2011 10:27 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
Back To Top
Wil Wheaton? Wesley Crusher? Feh! Next you're going to tell me he's 40 years old and writing books.
Subject: Weasley
Date Posted: 7/20/2011 11:40 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
Back To Top

LOL.  Yah - the thing is, through Wheaton's critique and outlining of the episodes you can understand why his character was, shall we say, unloved.  I got a Lendle loan on Wheaton's short story Hunted.  Will see if it's any good. 

(I think Wheaton would be in a pretty good position to become a screen-writer)   OMG - 40 years old!!!

Subject: Finished Hunted
Date Posted: 7/20/2011 6:37 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
Back To Top

It was just a short story, but pretty good.  Gave it a 4 outa 5 stars.

Date Posted: 7/28/2011 2:39 PM ET
Member Since: 12/14/2005
Posts: 95
Back To Top

Woohoo! I'm finally finished with Blue Mars! I imagine my reading will pick up quite a bit now that I'm done slogging through these doorstops. I did take one day off to enjoy Carol Emshwiller's The Mount. That's only going to count for the challenge if I manage to make it to the Expanded level (I've already read a second contact story), but Carol Emshwiller's stuff isn't something that gets thrown on top of Mt. TBR.  

Brad -
Date Posted: 8/1/2011 12:56 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
Back To Top

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldrich by Philip K. Dick:  Very much enjoyed this one.  PKD is starting to become my favorite author.



Last Edited on: 8/1/11 1:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 8/2/2011 2:38 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
Back To Top

As is becoming a pattern, this thread will remain open through August because it hasn't reached a second page yet. :)

Brad -
Date Posted: 8/5/2011 8:41 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
Back To Top

It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis:  I gave up on this book.  Good idea, but I just couldn't get into it.  I felt like I was reading Stephen King, where you get 100 pages in and I feel like all they've done is introduce the characters - way too much wording for my taste.  The Wikipedia article does mention:

One of his first acts as President is to make changes to the Constitution which give him sole power over the country, rendering Congress obsolete (in real life the President is not part of the Constitutional Amendment process at all).

So while it's a good idea, the part of him taking full power over the USA  and thus the whole book's idea, doesn't work.



Last Edited on: 8/5/11 8:43 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 8/5/2011 6:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
Back To Top

I recently read Toys by James Patterson and Neil McMahon.  I am hesitant to mention it because I consider it one of the worst books I have ever read, but I did use it to fill the "dealing with race" category.  The main character believes himself to be part of  a genetically superior "race" of Elites oppressing normal humans...until he discovers he himself is actually a human and joins the "resistance."  Unbelievably dull and predictable storyline, and a writing style not worthy of a high schooler's creative writing project.

Brad -
Date Posted: 8/8/2011 8:24 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
Back To Top

Houston, Houston, Do You Read? by  James Tiptree, Jr. (pseudonym of Alice Sheldon).   Really enjoyed this.  I don't recall reading a "novella" for a very long time, but this one was (roughly 100 pages).  An all-male space ship accidentally time travels.  The time they end up in, the entire male population of earth has been dead since their chromosomes can't handle a virus.

 



Last Edited on: 8/8/11 8:25 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/12/2011 6:50 PM ET
Member Since: 12/14/2005
Posts: 95
Back To Top

I'm really *really* enjoying A Fire Upon the Deep. I let this one hang out on my to-read list for too long!

Date Posted: 8/15/2011 8:53 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
Back To Top

Just finished Ringworld, by Larry Niven, for the Big Dumb Object category. I was muttering to myself the whole time about Teela (GAH, three men -- okay, two are aliens, but one is definitely a male alien and the other gets labeled with the masculine pronoun at least -- all chosen for their ACTIVE survival skills, while the ONE woman is chosen for her very, VERY PASSIVE "luck"); and then I was muttering about Teela for entirely different spoilery reasons rooted in my dislike of Piers Anthony's A Spell for Chameleon; but at the end of the day the book was just FUN. Don't know that I plan to read any more Niven, but I certainly can see why this one is a Hugo AND Nebula award winner. . .

Has anybody read the sequels? I've heard they're bad. . .

 

And in other news, I think it's time for me to officially downgrade (at least to the extent of changing my signature stats) to the Lite version of the challenge. 9/18 is doable; 9/35 is most definitely NOT. :D



Last Edited on: 8/15/11 8:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 8/19/2011 7:43 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
Back To Top

I finished Ready Player One by Ernest Cline yesterday, and it's definitely the best science fiction book I've read this year.  It's set in the future, but involves a quest that's an unabashed tribute to '80s geekdom.  Even so, it works, and even though I'm a bit young to appreciate all the references, the book was a lot of fun to read.  I counted it in the "dealing with another medium" category, since it mentions numerous '80s movies and TV shows.

Subject: Ready Player One and Ringworld
Date Posted: 8/19/2011 8:10 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
Back To Top

Hey, I finished it also (Ready Player One)- it was fairly good. (I guess I was part of that geeky time period - met my hubby while playing a modified RPG of Champions.  We have some D & D modules moldering in a cardboard box somewhere, don't know if any are the ones mentioned in the quest invitation though.  Like how cool would that be........) Anyways I counted the book in my personal challenges, never read before author.

I've read the Ringworld sequels, but can't remember 'em much.  I don't think they were bad.  I do think Ringworld was the best - I've pulled out my copy of Protector and might have another go at it.  At one time the Known Space series was my favorite set of SF books.



Last Edited on: 8/19/11 8:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/19/2011 8:59 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
Back To Top

Alison -- What else did you really like in the Known Space series, if you remember?

Also, did you guys see the Big Idea piece on Whatever for Ready Player One?



Last Edited on: 8/19/11 9:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Larry Niven
Date Posted: 8/19/2011 10:51 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
Back To Top

Phoenix,  I'll second the motion.  The Ringworld sequels don't live up to the first book.  However, the other Known Space books are pretty likeable.  I'd recommend World of Ptaavs, Protector, and A World Out of Time, for novels.  But the short stories that Niven set in that universe are actually a very important part of it. 

PS - Teela Brown was very popular among female sf fans when the books were new. 

-Tom Hl.



Last Edited on: 8/19/11 10:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Lasswitz-Preis
Date Posted: 8/19/2011 11:12 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
Back To Top

I have finished reading my first science fiction novel in German.  I've counted Der Letzte Tag Der Schöpfung, an original novel by well-known German translator and editor Wolfgang Jeschke, in the Lasswitz-Preis category.  It took me 10 weeks, during which time I would normally have read about 12 books.  I actually did read 3 English language books during that period as well, so I figure it ought to be worth about 9 points of science fiction karma.  My reading rate picked up from about 2 pages per sitting at the beginning to about 20 near the end.  So I feel really good about that.  Sometimes I didn't need the dictionary for whole pages at a time.

I'll write up a short review when I get a chance.  According to Amazon.com, an out-of-print English translation does exist, although I've never seen one - and don't really need to!

-Tom Hl.

Page: