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Topic: 2011 SF Challenge: MAY/JUNE DISCUSSION THREAD

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Subject: 2011 SF Challenge: MAY/JUNE DISCUSSION THREAD
Date Posted: 5/1/2011 8:04 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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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

 

Welcome to month #5 of the Challenge! With over a third of the challenge in the books, how is your progress? Are you rethinking the commitment level you originally selected, or are you right on schedule?



Last Edited on: 6/2/11 4:28 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/1/2011 8:29 PM ET
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Well, I think I'm where I expected to be, moving towards finishing the Expanded Challenge by the end of the year.  I've started noticing that my remaining categories are looking pretty obscure.  But I still have books in mind for many of them, so no problem.

In April, I read the following books for the challenge:
4. Mundane SF - Mariposa, by Greg Bear (2009) - finished 4/23/11 ***
5. New Wave - The Man in the Maze, by Robert Silverberg (1969) - finished 5/1/11 ***
9. SF dealing with the singularity - Diaspora, by Greg Egan (1998) - finished 4/15/11 ****
2. Fix-up novel - Icehenge, by Kim Stanley Robinson (1984) - finished 4/1/11 ***
5. Read a non-fiction work related to the genre - The Hidden Reality, by Brian Greene (2011) - finished 4/8/11 ****

I also read one book outside the challenge - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot (2010) - a recent history and science book about the HeLa cell cultures, and the woman from whose body they originated.  It was good, but not really what I was expecting - a lot more about social justice than science.

-Tom Hl.



Last Edited on: 5/2/11 12:43 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Subject: Challenge reading
Date Posted: 5/2/2011 12:06 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
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I only finished two books for the challenge.  Of note was Zoo City.  I was going to place this in the mystery category but on the same day I finished the book I read that it had won the Arthur Clark Award.  I don't know diddly about Africa, so all the place names and music names meant nothing to me, same with some of the voodo/magical references.  But hey - not so different then world building on a new planet, right?   So, a somewhat different world for me, yet still with characters and situations - I could relate. There were a lot of unanswered questions, like explain the deal with the animals please.  And why did you kill your brother?  What happens when you cross the border?  Did the Benoit guy survive?  Another book in the works?  I enjoyed this book and read it almost straight through - four stars from me. 

Bad point was that I read it on the Kindle and had to look up the book cover on-line to see the color version.  I think I read somewhere that the artwork was up for a major award. 

Brad -
Date Posted: 5/4/2011 7:14 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick

Very impressed by this book, it gets 5 full stars stars which for me doesn't happen too much. This was a great read all the way through.  Very though provoking.  I really need to read more PKD books.  It's been at least 12 years since I saw Blade Runner, so I'm not able to compare the two.

Date Posted: 5/4/2011 1:49 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is somewhat different from the movie Blade Runner.  I think I prefer the book version - but I enjoy the movie too.

I would recommend The Man in the High Castle for PKD book, if you haven't read it.

-Tom Hl.

Brad -
Date Posted: 5/4/2011 3:45 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
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Yep, I've already got that on my reminder list.  Thanks for the idea anyhow.  :)



Last Edited on: 5/4/11 3:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/6/2011 11:33 AM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2010
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I've pretty much slacked off on this challenge. I'm hoping to get through some books this week/weekend. We'll see how it goes. 

Date Posted: 5/7/2011 11:35 PM ET
Member Since: 12/14/2005
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I decided not to wait to start Blue Mars. Good thing, too, as it pretty much begins exactly where Green left off. I'm starting to wonder if all the slow, passive, doing-nothing-but-visiting-each-other parts are filler for the sake of achieving the Holy Trilogy. :-/

I'm simultaneously reading Fairyland by Paul McAuley for the artifical intelligence category. It's a little different, since the artificial intelligences are biological. I'm really enjoying this one so far - the fairies are starting to act just as nasty as their fantasy counterparts can. This one would also pass for a biopunk.  

Date Posted: 5/9/2011 12:10 AM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2009
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I just finished Vurt by Jeff Noon - his first novel, and an Arthur C. Clarke winner. I used it for Biopunk, and I highly recommend it. A real page-turner!

Date Posted: 5/9/2011 12:20 AM ET
Member Since: 12/14/2005
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Pollen is also very good. It's a not-quite-sequel to Vurt. I think some characters from Vurt may make cameo appearances, but you pretty much get a fresh story in the same world. 

Date Posted: 5/11/2011 6:37 AM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2010
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Just finished A Stainless Steel Rat is Born by Harry Harrison. It wasn't too bad.



Last Edited on: 5/11/11 6:37 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/12/2011 1:32 AM ET
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I just finished Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh. Believe it or not, it was the first of hers that I've read, and I was really impressed. I'm looking forward to the entire arc.



Last Edited on: 5/12/11 1:35 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/18/2011 7:15 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
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Just finished: Work that has won the Aurora Award
Filled with: Passion Play, by Sean Stewart
Other categories this work could fill: SF Mystery, SF dealing with religion

My capsule review: A strong debut novel; it took me a full month to read its 194 pages, but that was my fault rather than the book's. This isn't going to displace Nobody's Son as my favorite Sean Stewart novel, but it is quite good.

My full review, no spoilers, is up on my blog.

Subject: May reading
Date Posted: 5/19/2011 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
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Heavy science books - finished Blindsight (P Watts), Starplex (R Sawyer) and 3/4 finished with Distress (G Egan).  (I think I'd need a science degree to read Diaspora).  Pulled out a Robert Sheckley - something about swapping bodies.  Got about 40 pages into it and decided I'd rather go count stairs.  Will try Citizen in Space and The Status Civilization before I give up on this author - may as well, old books were on my shelf.  Also pulled down Vurt and Pollen by J Noon.  Ack!!  Not enough time... 

Interesting review of Passion Play, I read it a few years ago - managed to finish but found it somewhat dull and dated.  I think I only gave it a superficial reading, not what it deserved.  It wasn't the cyberpunk I was looking for and I just wasn't in the mood.  Which reminds me, I'm having trouble finding a Aurora winner, either nothing appeals to me or I've already read it.
 

Bowden P. (Trey) - ,
Subject: Scratch Monkey by Charles Stross
Date Posted: 5/19/2011 2:54 PM ET
Member Since: 9/26/2006
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His first novel, unpublished until now. Not bad at all and you can see roots of various things from Glasshouse, the Laundry and others. Neat.

Edited to add: As to how it fits - Mundane (no FTL), deals with AI and is a mystery.



Last Edited on: 5/27/11 12:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/22/2011 3:20 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
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Nebula winners have been announced here.

Connie Willis won for Best Novel with Blackout/All Clear. Terry Pratchett won the Andre Norton Award for I Shall Wear Midnight.

These strike me as. . . unadventurous?. . . winners. Even though I love Willis and quite enjoyed I Shall Wear Midnight, I think I would have been more excited if the awards had gone to some authors under 60. Which, you know, ALL of the other nominees were.

Still, I suppose that's what the short-form catgories are for. . . ;)

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 5/24/2011 7:21 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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I finished reading Sabella by Tanith Lee last night.  It was a strange one.  As it says on the cover it's "A Science Fiction Vampre Novel" with a unique twist to the old myth.  I liked Tanith Lee's strangely lyrical style of writing.  

I don't think I have a category to put it in.  The only one I thought made any sense was "Dealing With Religion."  Despite being set on another planet, this is really more purely fantasy than anything else.

Date Posted: 5/25/2011 2:29 PM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2011
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I got a question about the lists and the books in each catagory.  How do you find these books?  Is there a website that lists the catagories?  Thanks.

Date Posted: 5/25/2011 3:15 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
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Chad: The categories are in the "LISTS ONLY THREAD" linked at the top of this page. As for finding books to fit in the categories. . . some of the categories Wikipedia is helpful for (particularly the award categories, though also a few of the genres) but mostly we all just go based on jacket descriptions and other peoples' recommendations. If you have any title in mind feel free to ask and see if anyone knows where it might fit!

Date Posted: 5/26/2011 9:40 AM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2011
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Thanks PhoenixFalls.  I am just now broadening my scope of SF since I have mostly read Star Wars EU stuff (which are still some fun reads cheeky).  A couple books I need catagorized since I plan on reading them would be;

1. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick (reading cause I saw it recommended in this thread)

2. 1632 by Eric Flint

3. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Thanks in advance!

Date Posted: 5/26/2011 4:50 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Lessee. . . haven't read any PKD, so can't help you there. . . Ender's Game is arguably Second Contact, and judging from Wikipedia, 1632 might fit SF dealing with religion.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 5/26/2011 7:13 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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I general, I'd say Philip K. Dick could count as a "New Wave" author.  I'm not sure if it was up for any awards, but  Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was the basis for Blade Runner, so it could count for the tie-in with another medium category, and it would certainly fit the "dealing with robots/AI" category.  I think it could probably also be shoehorned into the "dealing with religion" category.

Subject: award categories
Date Posted: 5/26/2011 9:21 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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There is a comprehensive list of award winners (W) and nominees, indexed by author/title, at http://locusmag.com/SFAwards/Db/NomLit0.html
 
1968
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
- novel : 1969 Nebula
 
1985
Ender's Game
- novel : 1986 Hugo W
- novel : 1986 Nebula W
- sf novel : 1986 Locus/2
- novel : 1986 SF Chronicle W

 

 



Last Edited on: 5/26/11 9:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Brad -
Date Posted: 5/27/2011 1:29 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
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Chad -  I put Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep into the Nebula Award winner category.  It would also work in the religion and robots categories. 

Hmm.... didn't think to put it into the New Wave category, I get pretty confused by that category.



Last Edited on: 5/27/11 1:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: May wrap-up
Date Posted: 6/2/2011 10:43 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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Last month, I finished six books that I counted in the challenge.  Unfortunately, none of them really impressed me.  The one **** book was actually more of a "guilty pleasure" than a "good book", but sometimes it's like that.

A5. New Wave - The Man in the Maze, by Robert Silverberg (1969) - finished 5/1/11 ***
A6. Pulp SF - The Cometeers, by Jack Williamson (1939) - finished 5/11/11 **
A8. SF Comedy - Callahan's Legacy, by Spider Robinson (1996) - finished 5/26/11 ***
B3. SF dealing with gender roles - Dust, by Elizabeth Bear - finished 5/20/11 ***
B4. SF dealing with (and set on/under) an ocean - The Ship That Sailed the Time Stream , by  G.C. Edmondson (1965) - finished 5/22/11 ****
C2. Work that has won the Aurora Award - WWW:Wake, by Robert J. Sawyer (2009) - finished 5/9/11 ***

I currently have 26 of the 35 regular challenge categories done, and feel pretty likely to finish it sometime this summer.  How are you guys doing?

-Tom Hl.

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