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Topic: 2013 SF Challenge /DISCUSS /February 2013

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Subject: 2013 SF Challenge /DISCUSS /February 2013
Date Posted: 2/1/2013 12:46 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
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One month gone.  Have you finished your first few? 

Anything you've read that you would like to see others also read for the challenge?  My wish list and TBR are growing shorter.

In case you are just joining the discussion, click here for an explanation of the 2013 SF Challenge.  It's not too late to join!

 

-Tom Hl.



Last Edited on: 2/1/13 12:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: 2312
Date Posted: 2/1/2013 1:16 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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I should let you all know that I refunded the e-book, and then re-bought it, earlier today.  The new copy is just fine.  Thanks for the suggestions on last month's thread.

-Tom Hl.

Subject: Roadside Picnic
Date Posted: 2/10/2013 8:04 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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I'm considering reading the new translation of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's Roadside Picnic in the non-English language category.  Anybody have any knowledge of it?

-Tom Hl.

Subject: Roadside Picnic
Date Posted: 2/11/2013 9:39 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
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That's on my wish list.  I see that it's a lending enabled ebook.  Wanna make a deal?

Subject: ebook loan deals
Date Posted: 2/12/2013 5:21 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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Hmm.  Well, I could buy this one, and lend it to you after I read it.   Then you get the next one.  Seems like this is not the first time you and I have duplicated reads.

Or, I suppose we could make ebook loans in exchange for paperbackswap credits.  Would that be a 1-to-1 equivalency or something else?  Is there any established conversion rate somewhere?

-Tom Hl.

Date Posted: 2/12/2013 6:16 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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I don't think a credit here for a e-book lent elsewhere is officially allowed on the forums.  (I might be wrong though...)

Date Posted: 2/12/2013 11:09 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
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You can save your credits, I'd be fine with buying the next one.  Trouble is, finding a book that is lending enabled.

Here's a thought - I could list lending enabled  books on my bulletinboard.  Any trade would require a credit donation to Paperback Swap.

smiley

 

Subject: Roadside Picnic
Date Posted: 2/14/2013 6:15 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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Zylyn - I did buy a kindle version of Roadside Picnic, and my kindle loan is reserved for you, somehow or other.

All - I'm intrigued by lendle and have an account there as "TomHl".  The concept seems a lot like paperbackswap, only built on the kindle loan infrastructure.  If paperbackswap doesn't want to extend into ebooks, then it will lose in the long run.  I also think it is interesting that lendle's site has a domain name from Montenegro ("Crna Gora" to some of us).

-Tom Hl.

Subject: Feb readn
Date Posted: 2/18/2013 6:27 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
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Hey Tom!  I just requested Roadside Picnic off of Lendle.  Was that from you?  I can't tell 'cause I don't know how to find my "friends" - I have no facebook or twitter accounts. 

Phoenix Falls - just finished Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord and noted that you read her most recent book The Best of All Possible Worlds.  Downloaded the "sample" and have to say 'huh?' even though I've read the promo detail.  Are these aliens already on earth?  Still searching?  I guess I'm just not gettin' it.  I'll look for it on your review blog?

This SF challenge is sending me on paths I don't normally walk, searching for non-english books, non-english award books, and I found out that Philip K Dick is not a Grand Master (really?).  Currently reading The Map of Time by an Argentine author (???)  Also looking at buying Vampire in the Lemon Grove.   

Finished Great North Road - wooho - long book, thank Gosh for x-ray on the Kindle to help you follow all the characters.  I thoroughly enjoyed this read.

No snow where I am, enjoying my mandated government holiday. 

Date Posted: 2/18/2013 9:46 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
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Alison -- I should be writing the review of The Best of All Possible Worlds this week. It's an interesting read, with lots of chewy things to talk about! (It isn't set on Earth. It doesn't become clear for quite a while how exactly Lord's universe works, though it does eventually. But it's not a book to read for the strict SF world-building; it definitely comes down on the soft/social SF side of things.)

Subject: Roadside Picnic
Date Posted: 2/19/2013 9:38 AM ET
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Alison - I just finished Roadside Picnic yesterday, and have not yet listed it on lendle.  So it looks like you have sent the request to someone else.  Well, if that doesn't work out, let me know.  I won't list my copy until I know you don't need it.  My username on lendle is "TomHl", same as here - I found you there, and am now following you.

Let us know your recommendations regarding your forays into lesser known sf...

 



Last Edited on: 2/19/13 9:56 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Subject: ready to read
Date Posted: 2/19/2013 10:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
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no joy from lendle so I sent you a message w/my email address.

Subject: #25 Work originally written in a non-English language
Date Posted: 2/19/2013 10:50 PM ET
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Roadside Picnic, by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky (1972) **** finished 2/18/13

I read a new (2012) translation by Olena Bormashenko of this 1972 Soviet Science Fiction classic.  I've previously read a half dozen other books by the Strugatsky brothers, and this is one of their best.  I have not read any of the earlier translations, but it is clear from Boris's new afterword that the versions originally published within the Soviet Union were heavily censored.  He assures us that this is how it was originally written.

The story itself is of a stalker, one of those young rebels who compulsively venture into the highly dangerous Zone to collect mysterious artifacts left by alien visitors to Earth.  Strangely, the story is set in North America - a North America as perhaps a citizen of 1970s Soviet Union might have imagined it, as if the US was a member of the British Commonwealth.  But the course of events allows the Strugaskys to show human nature in all its Vonnegutian ironies, and a social commentary that is not of any particular society, but of what it is we humans always do.  At some point I realized this story resembles M. John Harrison's Nova Swing, to an almost plagiaristic level - but of course Roadside Picnic came first!

(and Zylyn, my loan is on its way)

Subject: got it
Date Posted: 2/19/2013 11:07 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
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thanks!

 

Subject: nebula awards
Date Posted: 2/21/2013 3:01 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
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nominees are out - mostly fantasy - meh.....indecision

 

http://www.locusmag.com/News/2013/02/2012-nebula-awards-nominees-announced/     

 



Last Edited on: 2/21/13 3:02 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: #29 Work written by a non-Caucasian author
Date Posted: 2/22/2013 12:44 PM ET
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regarding the Nebula nominees - From those, I've only read 2312, and I liked it well enough to agree it belongs on the list.  These are now eligible for category #11 "a Nebula Award winning novel from any year (or nominee, 2010 or later)" in the challenge.  Are any of the others recommended?

Mind of My Mind, by Octavia Butler (1977) *** finished 2/21/13

This is the second book in Octavia Butler's Patternist series. The titles of all four volumes are Wild Seed, Mind of My Mind, Clay's Ark, and Patternmaster. I have previously read Wild Seed a few years ago, so this was in the correct order for me.

The consequences of Butler's speculative concepts were quite logically worked out. I believe that involuntary telepathy and the need for power over others as described here, would lead to the brutal behaviors that come to be accepted by otherwise good and ethical people - but that makes it really hard to identify with them. Mary is not as bad as Doro, who made her what she is, but still she's pretty evil for a main character. I just don't get how the other characters come to accept and even love her dominance. I'm sure that Butler intended this to reflect on the history of slavery in the world, as that was very explicit in the first book. In the end, I found the book entertaining, but not as great as Butler's Parable of the Sower or Kindred

Date Posted: 2/22/2013 1:26 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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For you specifically, Tom, I wouldn't recommend Glamour in Glass.  I read the first in the series and it really isn't your type of book.  It's sort of Jane Austin-ish.

I've really liked other books by Jemisin, but haven't read The Killing Moon yet.

If anyone is interested, Tor released their nominated novellas for free on Amazon this week.  (They're probably on Tor.com too...)

  • “The Finite Canvas”, Brit Mandelo (Tor.com 12/5/12)
  • “Swift, Brutal Retaliation”, Meghan McCarron (Tor.com 1/4/12)
  • “Portrait of Lisane da Patagnia”, Rachel Swirsky (Tor.com 8/22/12)

I haven't been reading as much as normal this month.  I've only read one book for the fantasy challenge and three for this one.  

 

Quicker than the Eye  by Ray Bradbury -- I enjoyed it, but I remember most of the stories.  Either I've read them elsewhere (quite possible, since they get re-printed often) or I've read the book before.

 

Memoirs Found in a Bathtub by Stanislaw Lem -- It's a bit of a departure from the other two books of his that I've read in that it's hilarious while the others are more serious.  But it does have a similar theme -- the difficulty of communicating when you have no common ground to base your communication on.  I enjoyed it.  But it's written in such a way that you have very little idea what's going on the majority of the time,  though there's enough clues that you could mostly figure it out with a re-read or two...  Unfortunately, I don't do much re-reading these days.

 

Player Piano by Vonnegut -- Vonnegut's first novel.  It's a dystopian novel about the perils of too much automation.    It seems rather precient in places.  The sarcasm and irony aren't quite as biting as it is in his later works, and there's a bit more straightforward humor.



Last Edited on: 2/22/13 1:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Tor.com originals
Date Posted: 2/23/2013 10:00 AM ET
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  • “The Finite Canvas”, Brit Mandelo (Tor.com 12/5/12)
  • “Swift, Brutal Retaliation”, Meghan McCarron (Tor.com 1/4/12)
  • “Portrait of Lisane da Patagnia”, Rachel Swirsky (Tor.com 8/22/12)

Well, that was fun.  I downloaded and read all three of these novelettes.  They're all new writers to me, and so I think Tor.com has accomplished what they intended by releasing them in .azw format without drm.  None of them was right up my alley, but all interesting.  I think the Brit Mandelo was my favorite, sort of reminded me of The Illustrated Man.



Last Edited on: 2/23/13 3:35 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/23/2013 10:27 AM ET
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Tor releases all their books without DRM, in case you weren't aware.  I really like that policy.    (I purchased all three of these, but haven't had a chance to read them yet.)

Subject: free
Date Posted: 2/23/2013 3:05 PM ET
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Ah.  The thing I was appreciating was not the DRM-free, but simply that the purchase price was free.  Although being able to move the ebook to a non-Amazon device some day also sounds like something I'm happy about.

By the way, there is an anthology called "Some of the Best From Tor.com - 2012 Edition" that includes "Portrait of Lisane de Patagnia" and "The Finite Canvas".  The entire anthology is free through Amazon.com.  Not sure how long that will last, but the 2011 edition is also free.



Last Edited on: 2/23/13 3:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/23/2013 4:20 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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Last year, there was a "Stories from the Nebula Ballot"  compilation put out by Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine.  I'm not sure if they'll do the same this year, but there's also a free condensed version of the magazine, which generally has a couple of stories, upcomming books, and some of the reviews from the full price magazine.  (According to my records, I bought the Nebula ballot one on Feb. 28 last year, so if they do it again this year, I'd assume it'd be in the next week or two.

 

Brad -
Date Posted: 2/23/2013 11:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
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Finished The Unincorporated Man.  Fantastic.  The book is like The Moon is a Harsh Mistresss but written with Dan Brown's talent for gripping suspense.  Now I have to figure out if I want to keep it for my collection.  The trouble is that it is a hard cover and it's a huge book so it'll take up quite a bit of space.  I'll have to read the next book in the series.



Last Edited on: 2/23/13 11:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/24/2013 12:53 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
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Finished The Best of All Possible Worlds, by Karen Lord. Also finally finished writing my review of it! In short, it managed to be both incredibly subversive and yet at its core conventional; as such, I only kind of loved it. Still, it reads quickly and delightfully, and fills a really miniscule niche: domestic SF. Full review is here.



Last Edited on: 2/24/13 12:54 AM ET - Total times edited: 1