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Topic: 2013 SF Challenge /DISCUSS /April

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Brad -
Subject: 2013 SF Challenge /DISCUSS /April
Date Posted: 4/3/2013 9:08 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
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Finished two recently.

Spell Bound (Hex Hall book 3) for the female author category.  Very enjoyable book.  Just as good as the first two.  I really like the humor.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? for a non-challenge read.  This was a re-read.  I hadn't planned on doing any re-reads, but I found this book at a book store and I've wanted to buy it so I wanted to re-read.  Definitely a wonderful book, one of my favorites and it's the one that got me hooked on Philip K. Dick

Subject: April catch - up
Date Posted: 4/8/2013 9:13 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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I finished The Best of All Possible Worlds - liked it.  But wouldn't give it a blanket recommendation - I think it's more chick literature.  It was VERY different SF from what I normally read, all things telepathy.  A lot more sophisticated than Redemption in Indigo.  This would be a perfect book for the Tiptree Award but since the book just came out it won't be considered until next year.  I liked this world building and wouldn't mind reading more - cool almost super-hero stuff (very high tech) towards the end.

Also read Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig.  I liked the book at first but then got rather tired of the main character.  I don't think Wendig has the "female" part quite right, although I can see where a guy might like this kind of character.  Eh - cancelled my request for the next book in the series, I doubt I'll pick it up again.

Also finished Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.  The author found a bunch of weird vintage photos and made up a story around 'em.  Interesting, but not all that inventive.  And supposedly there will be a sequel. Ransom Riggs  - authors name (for real??)  I read this on my Kindle and had no trouble viewing the pictures - you just have to "zoom" the picture and it fills the screen so you can see details. 



Last Edited on: 4/9/13 10:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/9/2013 12:19 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
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Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children -- The story about this book is that Riggs used to blog for Mental Floss Magazine.  One of his hobbies is collecting vintage Victorian photography, especially the creepy kind like what's found in this book or the posed photos of dead children (memento mori?)...  Loved his blog - but I loved it for the photos and not for his writing style.  Apparently, he wanted to publish an album of just the photographs but the publisher wanted him to create a story to string them together.  I was rather underwhelmed by the book.

I think the creepy photos and his Mental Floss following was the reason it has a following -- the Mental Floss blogging job got it some attention and an initial audience then the unusual photos took it from there. The plot and prose just aren't good enough to stand alone, IMO.  



Last Edited on: 4/9/13 12:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Peregrine
Date Posted: 4/9/2013 10:21 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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As of right now, 1,139 people have wish listed this book.  I got my copy from my local library - online for Kindle.  sweeeet!!!

Brad -
Date Posted: 4/16/2013 8:34 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
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Lately I've not had books that have been keeping my interest, so I've either been reading them too long or given up on them quickly.

Dreadnought by Cherie Priest.  I didn't like this anywhere near as much as Boneshaker, the first book in the series.  There was too much war or something on this one.  I got over 100 pages so I'm going to count this as "completed" for my challenge.

Hyperion by Dan Simmon.  The way Simmons describes everyone is too much wording for me, I gave up on it quickly.  I'm not marking it as completed.

Even reading the Phlip K. Dick anthology I'm not enjoying.



Last Edited on: 4/16/13 8:35 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/19/2013 3:39 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Finished The God Engines, by John Scalzi. Did not like it. Looking at it as any sort of speculation on faith I found it shallow and filled with utterly banal ugliness; looking at it strictly as a horror novel it's moderately effective, so the comparison to H.P. Lovecraft is apt, but like Lovecraft it's got some seriously problematic (read: sexist in this case) world-building at its core. I know Scalzi is a progressive, but either he sacrificed his progressive politics for the cheap thrills in this novel or he intended some more subtle message that just really did not come across.

Date Posted: 4/25/2013 12:39 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
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I finished off Octavia Butler's Patternist series that I started back in January.  Overall, the series wasn't nearly as interesting as her Xenogenisis/Lillith's Brood series, though it is easier to read.

The series reads a bit oddly, considering that Patternmaster (#4) was Butler's first novel and it's a bit of a mess.  She sets up a post-apocalyptic world where there's the ruling-class telepaths who mind control all of the "mutes" (non-telepaths), and the strongest telepaths enslave all of the mutes and weaker telepaths.  And then a separate society of alien infected and altered humans who prey on the non-infected.  But she never really explains how the world got that way, nor does she really explain her characters' motivations for their actions.  I think we're actually supposed to LIKE the main character, but he's an ass and without more of his history and motivations, I just don't have much sympathy for him at all.

The other 3 books are prequels -- Mind of My Mind (#2) where she explains the origins of the telepaths, then Wild Seed (#1) where she explains Doro, and finally Clay's Ark (#3) where she explains the origins of the alien virus.

Mind of My Mind (#2) was the most disturbing and interesting of the series.  It delves a lot into the mindset of slavery/owning slaves and power/dominance issues.  I actually detested all of the characters, but I don't believe we're actually supposed to like them in this particular book.

Clay's Ark (#3) is my least liked book of hers so far, and I've only got 3 books left (I think).  To me, it felt like she was just filling in a gap in the series, but the concept didn't mesh well with the rest of the series (or even the rest of her books).  IMO, there were more plausible explanations for the Claysark sub-species at that point, but she was locked into the alien infection explanation due to her explanations in Patternmaster.

For the 4 book series, I'm going to use it to cover first in a series, non-Caucasian author, female author, and first novel of a female author.



Last Edited on: 4/25/13 12:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 4
Subject: red planet blues
Date Posted: 5/2/2013 5:55 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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Well this is weird.  I preordered Red Planet Blues and it was delivered to my Kindle (couple weeks ago). I went to look up to see if it was lending enabled and Amazon said the book won't be available untill the 9th. Yes, I can open my RPB book just fine.  It does  have the same cover as the hardbook. Puzzling.  I wonder if my copy needed to be edited or something.