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Topic: 2012 SF Challenge: MARCH THREAD

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Brad -
Subject: 2012 SF Challenge: MARCH THREAD
Date Posted: 3/13/2012 2:51 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
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2012 SF Challenge -- LISTS ONLY THREAD

2012 SF Challenge -- DECEMBER/JANUARY THREAD

2012 SF Challenge -- FEBRUARY THREAD

 

Brad -
Date Posted: 3/13/2012 2:55 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
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I've been working on a triad of books: Snow Crash by N. Stephenson, A Scanner Darkly by PK Dick, and (to a lesser extent) The Minority Report (The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, Vol. 4).  Enjoying all so far.

Snow Crash is very enjoyable.  It's seems to read like Jeff Noon's Vurt.  I think I'm starting to really enjoy Metaverse/Cyberpunk.  Snow Crash is from the library; I may have to pick it up for my personal collection.

A Scanner Darkly is a little hard to follow, but I'm enjoying it as well.

The PKD anthology I read when I need a break from the other two.

I'll write a little more on the books when I've finished them.



Last Edited on: 3/13/12 3:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Subject: The Mirage
Date Posted: 3/18/2012 12:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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The Mirage (Matt Ruff) - if you sleep on sheets that are red, white and blue, this book is not for you.  Otherwise, I'd highly recommend this book, and I'm not a fan of alternate history SF.  The twin towers in Baghdad have been hit by terrorists from a right wing christian fundamentalist group from the third world country of America.  I'm not world politically savy, but it's easy to recognize the terrorist stories from the real world reflected on these pages.  Quite the eye opener.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if this book comes up for one of the major SF awards in 2012.  Again, recommended. 

Amy
Date Posted: 3/19/2012 12:28 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
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I just finished Snow Crash and, although I enjoyed it, the story itself was pretty unbelievable. Overall, I would not recommend.

Using for the cyberpunk category.

Subject: Snow Crash
Date Posted: 3/20/2012 8:53 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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I just finished Snow Crash and, although I enjoyed it, the story itself was pretty unbelievable.  

 

I have to wonder, you enjoyed it, but can't recommend it.  You can't recommend it because the story was unbelievable?  'Cause there's A LOT of SF and/or cyberpunk that's unbelievable.  I'm thinking perhaps the story is too dated for you???

I'm a big fan of cyberpunk - I thought Snow Crash rocked  !  !  The idea of virtual reality on the internet, cool.  And a bitchin' computer virus (another novel idea).  If it means anything, I also liked the original movie TRON.  Snow Crash was nominated for several awards and I know the book won the British SF Award.....  Hmm, .....  I better stop now.

Date Posted: 3/20/2012 11:11 PM ET
Member Since: 3/9/2009
Posts: 8,982
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I also really liked Snow Crash.  It's a great satire and the idea of language as code capable harbouring viruses of is really cool.  I remember it having some pacing problems though.  I really like Neal Stephenson and William Gibson in general, so I'm a little biased.  I'm afraid we're going to have to agree to disagree on the original (and remake) of TRON.

Subject: chat
Date Posted: 3/21/2012 10:01 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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What I liked about TRON and Snow Crash was the world building, exciting heady stuff.  Snow Crash (for me) was pre-internet - no Netscape, AOL only.  Yup, I'm old.   

Hmm, I guess Snow Crash DID NOT win a BSF Award - but it was nominated -  surprise



Last Edited on: 3/21/12 10:07 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Brad -
Date Posted: 3/21/2012 1:04 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
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Guess Amy and I was reading Snow Crash at the same time, I just finished it today. 

The first 200 or so pages were amazing.  It's starting to lag for me for the same reason I don't enjoy some Sci-Fi, fighting (I get annoyed reading about fighting/war).  Glad I finished the book though.

I love the character YT.  She's fantasic.  The 'pooning of vehicles to ride on her skatebaord is a great concept.  The other main character is great too, one of the best named characters I've read: Hiro Protagonist.

I love the "Rat Things".  The talking about metaverse and religion I really enjoyed.



Last Edited on: 3/21/12 1:08 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 3/21/2012 3:45 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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I don't generally enjoy cyberpunk, although I haven't read much in this genre and maybe if I did, I'd find more to like.  However, I -did- enjoy Snow Crash.  So much that I sought out other Neal Stephenson books to read...



Last Edited on: 3/21/12 3:45 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Amy
Date Posted: 3/21/2012 10:21 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
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POSSIBLE SPOILERS!!

 

 

About Snow Crash -- I mean, I enjoyed the story and it definitely reminded me of TRON, but I found the idea of the cult of Asherah being a sort of brain virus for early humans a bit silly and never fully explained. It irritated me for some reason... like, here is the plot and here is a bunch of jargon to back it up that doesn't mean anything.

I also liked YT's character, she was a spunky little thing. Although I was a bit disturbed by her sexual encounter with Raven. I mean, wasn't he at least in his mid-to-late twenties? And she's supposedly fifteen?

I wouldn't recommend because, even though I enjoyed it, I feel like I would have been fine never having read it.

eta: I did read The Diamond Age by Stephenson so this isn't my first foray into his work. I like that one so much that that's what prompted me to get Snow Crash. That and it's also considered a SF classic.



Last Edited on: 3/21/12 10:22 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Brad -
Date Posted: 3/22/2012 9:03 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
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Am I missing something here?

From the library I'm reading The John Varley Reader.  Thought I'd see about aquiring it, since I seem to enjoy Varley's works.  The price on the back of the library book is $17.  Amazon's "free supersaver" price is $31.  Knowing that usually you pay more for "free shipping", I checked Barnes & Noble as well.  They have it for $31 as well.  A used "good" condition on Barnes & Noble is $25.

Shouldn't a new one be $17 or so?

The library does say first edition, but it's not like this book was from a long time ago, it was 2004.



Last Edited on: 3/22/12 9:04 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 4/1/2012 2:38 AM ET
Member Since: 3/9/2009
Posts: 8,982
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Brad, have you considered the Amazon used market?  There's currently a "very good" used copy for $11.  Book pricing is a mystery.  I think there is a secret cabal that calculates prices according to the moon phases and displayed entrails of goats.

Since I'm also doing the quarterly challenges and used these same books, I've also posted this on the other thread.

I read Timeless by Gail Carriger as my steampunk choice. This is unabashed fluff. Fun fluff with froth.  Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, is summoned to Egypt by the Vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive. She discovers some new limits on her and her daughter's talents and almost loses her husband. This is the fifth book and is showing some wear as a series. It also felt somewhat rushed. I did like the idea of nomadic tribes of balloonists floating across the sands of Egypt, though.

 In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker was my time travel book. Mendoza, the botanist, is saved from the Inquistion by agents of the Company as a child and turned into an undying cyborg. The Company selects orphans thruout time to train as their agents. Their job is to go back in time to save valuable artwork, documents, flora and fauna. This story follows Mendoza's collection, transformation, first assignment and first love. I've already read some of Kage Baker's other books and short stories and so had some familiarity with the Company. It was interesting to see this romance as the starting place of the Company. The story was not quite as strong as some of her later work and it dragged a bit in the middle, but was on the whole very well done.

 The Store of Infinity by Robert Sheckley was my anthology choice. This is a group of his short stories written in 1958 and 59. The underlying thread seems to be the unintended consequences of good intentions. The stories are all good but two in particular seemed more memorable. "The Prize of Peril" predates reality TV by decades. For a prize of $200,000, Jim Raeder is hunted by gangland killers. His struggle to survive is televised. People can call in tips to help him survive or call in tips to the killers. He finds that the TV 'reality" show is more concerned with entertainment than reality. In "If the Red Slayer" soldiers are fighting an undefined war that goes on and on and on. When killed, the medics revive the soldiers and send them back out. Supposedly, if you die enough times, you're allowed to stay dead. Except the number of combat deaths required keep increasing, retroactively. Sort of like a certain war, where soldiers were sent back or kept in the field even after their enlistment was up.

 edited to get formatting to line up

 



Last Edited on: 4/1/12 2:40 AM ET - Total times edited: 2