Discussion Forums - Science Fiction

Topic: 2013 SF Challenge /DISCUSS /June-July

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Brad -
Subject: 2013 SF Challenge /DISCUSS /June-July
Date Posted: 6/24/2013 11:54 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
Back To Top

Last week until the halfway point.  How's everyone doing?

I'm closing on on finishing the medium challenge, without any double-counts.  I've read a few books that aren't on my challenge, so if I can move things around I may have the medium finished already.

Divergent by Veronica Roth:  Enjoyed this a lot and will eventually read more in the series.  Young adult dystopia.  Quick read. 

Time out of Joint by Phlip K. Dick:  I enjoyed this one.  Not one of my favorite PKD books, but well worth the read.



Last Edited on: 6/24/13 11:57 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/25/2013 12:40 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
Back To Top

I'm doing okay in all of the categories except for award winners.  I just haven't been in an award winning mood -- I've only gotten the anthology category filled!

I only read one SF book this month -- Fiasco by Stanislaw Lem.  Pretty much the same themes as his Solaris - so much so that it seemed incredibly repetitive -- and it lacked most of the interesting psychological bits.  Overall, just very depressing.  So, if you're interested in him, read Solaris first.

 I've been trying to read my way through his catalog, since there was a really good sale on them earlier this year. But I think I need a break!  

I just started Carnival by Elizabeth Bear this morning, so hopefully I'll fill another slot soon.

 

Subject: what Tom's been reading lately.
Date Posted: 6/29/2013 10:26 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
Back To Top

I've finished 28 of the 40 categories ay the year's mid-point.  A lot of my TBR shelf doesn't seem to fit any of the remaining categories, so this is about to get challenging for me.

I just finished Charles Yu's How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe for first novel by a male writer.  It's a very interesting book on a meta-literary level. But from a simple adventure point-of-view, there is a single character struggling to come to terms with his relationship with his father, and not much else. If you like Kurt Vonnegut, you will definitely go for this. I found it a little overly drawn out; perhaps it should have been a novella.

I've also been re-reading Andre Norton's 1950s series The Time Traders, that I first read when I was 13 or 14 or something like that.  They are simplistic, of course, but I am enjoying re-experiencing the adventures.  All four novels can be downloaded from Amazon in kindle format for free, and I've read the first two so far.

Of my recent reads, I was most impressed with an anthology, The Secret History of Science Fiction, by James Patrick Kelly & John Kessell.  The authors' contention is that there is a neglected but important middle-ground between the SF genre and mainstream literature. SF writers should be able to break out of the SF ghetto, receive some literary recognition, and not risk losing their fanbase. At the same time, in order to remain relevant to 20th and 21st century life, literature needs to stop avoiding speculative concepts. This cross-over was in strong development in the 1970s, but fell away perhaps due to lack of commercial success. This anthology falls into that range, with stories by SF writers using literary devices, and with literary writers using speculative devices. A few representative stories from the 1970s, such as Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas", are included. But Kelly and Kessel are trying to show that the middleground, while neglected commercially, has not gone away - so more recent works are included.

-Tom Hl.



Last Edited on: 6/29/13 10:28 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 6/29/2013 1:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
Back To Top
I finished Carnival, then moved on to This Perfect Day by Ira Levin. 
 
Coincidentally, they both have the same premise -- an AI controlled eugenics program.
 
But where Bear's version has an interesting and believable start to it (radical environmentalists/terrorists) and believable reason for continuing it (focus on being absolutely "moral" at all times) Levin's version had no explanation whatsoever other than people being on a power trip.  We're just supposed to accept that it exists with no background.
 
Reading the two back to back like that made me notice how often we have a dystopia that isn't fully justified or even plausible.  (Hunger Games, for example...)
 
I really liked Carnival but hated This Perfect Day.  


Last Edited on: 6/29/13 1:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: shuffling is allowed
Date Posted: 7/9/2013 10:09 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
Back To Top

As I get close to finishing, I find that I shuffle already-read books that qualify in more than one category, from one to another, to  make room where I need it.

1) I shuffled 2312 from Hard SF to Nebula winner, to make room for another Hard SF: The Last Theorem2312 won the Nebula award after I read it.

2) I shuffled After The Apocalypse from Collection to Philip K Dick winner/nominee, to make room for another collection: Wireless.  I didn't realize that collections could be nominated for the Philip K Dick award, but they can, and After The Apocalypse was.

-Tom Hl.

 



Last Edited on: 7/9/13 10:10 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/10/2013 5:14 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
Back To Top

Glad you liked Carnival, Melanti! One of the (many) reasons I tend to avoid dystopian novels is because so often I just can't suspend my disbelief enough to get into them, so I hear what you're saying about needing justification. :)

I am so far behind on all my challenges this year. I've only read 2 out of the (very modest) 10 books I signed up to read. I did get halfway through Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey, but then I had to return it to the library and haven't checked it out again to finish it.



Last Edited on: 7/10/13 5:14 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Cryptonomicon
Date Posted: 7/18/2013 10:02 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
Back To Top

I just started reading Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. It was very strange to learn within the first few pages that one of the main characters grew up in Oconomowoc - about 20 miles from here, and where I grew up. So far there have been several references.   It makes me wonder whether when Stephenson mentions the high school for example, he actually pictures it like I do.  Just what is his connection to Oconomowoc? - or did he pick it off a map because the name has an interesting spelling pattern?  So far, the Oconomowoc references have been somewhat generic, so I can't tell.

Date Posted: 7/19/2013 7:04 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
Back To Top

Some more Tor.com freebies -- or, rather, one gigantic one.  Both Sci-Fi and fantasy, just like their other downloads.

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/07/download-five-years-of-tordotcom-stories-reg

It appears to be every story they've published on their web site in the past 5 years in one giant file.  Cover art is included.  150 stories are listed in the table of contents.

My kindle says 53,000 locations.  To compare, I just finished Gone With the Wind which had 20k locations, and my edition of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare only has 39k. locations.  

(The PDF is half a gig!)

You have to be logged in to see the pages, it seems.

 

Tom, I have a copy of Cryptonomicon... I'm looking forward to see how you like it.  (And what kind of humor it has compared to the two I didn't like of his.)

 

Date Posted: 8/15/2013 3:42 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
Back To Top

Ok, I'm finally getting around to looking at the Locus Recommended Reading List for First Novel, and it looks like there's not a lot of selection...

There's The Games by Ted Kosmatka and  vN (Machine Dynasty, Bk 1) by Madeline Ashby  -- both of which, frankly, sound dreadful.  

Everything else is fantasy...  Unless I'm overlooking one? 

What is everyone else reading for this category?  

Date Posted: 8/18/2013 3:42 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
Back To Top

For anybody who is new to this topic, the 2012 Locus Recommended Reading list was announced in February 2013, and can be found at http://www.locusmag.com/Magazine/2013/02/2012-recommended-reading-list/.  The First Novels list is this:

I agree the list is very very light on science fiction this year.  I've decided to read either The Games (hoping it is a better science fiction book than the Amazon blurb seems to indicate) or The Snow Child (magic realism, I suspect).  If I had known how limited the list would be, back when the challenge was set up, I would have pushed for something like "2010, 2011,or 2012 Locus Recommended First Novel".  But I figure one purpose of a challenge is to get you to read outside your normal range.  So I will.

Date Posted: 8/18/2013 5:21 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
Back To Top

Well, in that case, I'll just claim The Snow Child and call it done since I read it in February and really liked it.

Yes, it's magical realism and a retelling of a russian folktale.  Ivey never really confirms or denies if the girl really existed, or if she was, in fact, a girl.  So, you can take your pick between a couple of different mundane explainations or a magical one.

It was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, though it didn't win.

Subject: marching through the categories
Date Posted: 8/25/2013 5:42 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
Back To Top

As I close in on my goal of the 40-category full challenge, I think I might resume posting some of my thoughts on the books I'm reading.

#16 a Prometheus Award winning novel or nominee - Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson (1999) ***** finished 8/5/13
This was recently awarded a retrospective Prometheus award.  I liked it A LOT, especially the 1940s World War 2 plotline.  I had previously read the Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, which includes numerous characters who are apparently ancestors of the characters in this book, and I found that fascinating.  But Cyptonomicon came out first, so probably I read things in the wrong order.  As for the humor, I think maybe irony is a better word.  Consider the possibility that the very first digital computer was designed on the principles of a church pipe organ - and is deafeningly loud.  Consider the techno-geeky analysis of the role of interpersonal and sexual relations among engineers and scientists - and the impossibility of communication between such, and liberal arts academics.

By the way, one of the characters supposedly grew up in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin - where I went to high school.  At one point, the character recalls the Town Pool.  But there is no such thing; in Oconomowoc one swims in Lac LaBelle at City Beach.  I think it shows that Stephenson doesn't have any particular knowledge of Oconomowoc; probably he just liked the spelling pattern of the city's name.

#3 Space Opera - One Against the Legion, by Jack Williamson (1939) *** finished 8/7/13
This is classic space opera, complete with Bug-Eyed Monsters (BEMs) that kidnap the girl, and a simpering elderly alcoholic grifter intended as comic relief. I was actually well entertained by the cliche of it all, but I don't think I could read a lot of this sort of thing. In the end, I found the ending too abrupt, even for writing of that era - but satisfying.  It is a sequel to The Legion of Space, and The Cometeers, all originally published in serialized form in Astounding in the 1930s.

#18 a winning novel of an English-Language, but non-US award - Distress, by Greg Egan (1996) ***** finished 8/17/13
This won the Aurealis Award for Australian Science Fiction in 1996.  I've only read a few of Greg Egan's books before, but I think this is the one I've enjoyed most so far. My biggest motivation for reading science fiction, is to find new ideas about the physical universe and humanity's place in it. Distress is filled with enough ideas to populate multiple more conventional science fiction novels. To begin with, Andrew Worth is a journalist who is creating a sensationalistic feature about abuses of biotechnology, and his piece consists of four original concepts each explored at some length by Egan. And then we get to the real story as Andrew travels to Stateless, an artificial land in the south Pacific in order to cover a Nobel Prize winning physicist planning to make a breakthrough announcement at a conference there. While revealing the concepts that make the island nation possible, Egan brings in extremist groups into the plot, who will stop at nothing to prevent the announcement. Who is really behind those groups? Are their fears legitimate? Will the announcement lead to a waveform collapse on the nature of reality?

#33 First award winning novel of any writer - Ringworld, by Larry Niven (1970) **** finished 8/22/2013
Ringworld won a lot of awards for best science fiction novel in 1971: Hugo, Nebula, Locus - and then some international awards in translation, as well.  I can't believe how little of this book I remembered from my last read 30 years ago. Typically, before I start a re-read, I can recall very little of a book - but as the re-read unfolds I do remember a lot. This time, a good portion of the book seemed fresh. Maybe there were some concepts that I did not actually digest on my original reads. I was much younger then.  It's a fast-paced future space adventure involving four unusual human and alien characters (or five if your count Prill), and their exploration of a Big Dumb Object - specifically a solar-system-sized habitat. The interspecies civilizations of Niven's Known Space are revealed through the dialog and actions of those few characters. The set-up is not totally realistic, but then this is not hard-sf. I found especially interesting the reversals of logic as the characters try to determine what is the relationship of events to the luck of Teela Brown.

36/40 completed.  4 books to go!!!



Last Edited on: 8/26/13 1:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 6
Date Posted: 8/25/2013 8:25 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
Back To Top

Tom, does Cryptonomicon have the same style of humor as Snow Crash?  I bought it, so I might as well read it some day, but I've been dreading more silliness.

I think I'm doing okay in most of the categories except the award winners.  I hate reading from really limited lists like that - especially since I'm trying to use Mt. TBR as much as possible these days.

Subject: Cryptonomicon / Snow Crash
Date Posted: 8/26/2013 1:44 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
Back To Top

@Melanti, I remember you didn't care for Snow Crash.  I found some humor in the concept of a skate-boarding pizza delivery guy who's also in the cyberpunk business - but I don't think humor is the main aspect of Stephenson's writing style.  There is actually an awful lot going on in his books; I think the ironic concept twists are there just for entertainment purposes.  So yes, there are such twists in Cryptonomicon as well, but not quite as flip as the skate-boarding pizza delivery guy.  I mentioned a few of them in my above post.  Whether you will enjoy them or hate them, I couldn't say.

I think his best books have been Anathem and Cryptonomicon.  But Snow Crash may be the most popular.

-Tom Hl.

Date Posted: 8/30/2013 9:44 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
Back To Top

#17 a winning novel of a non-English-Language award - Harmony, by Project Itoh (2008) **** finished 8/30/13

This was published in Japan under the title Hāmonī. The English translation (translation by Alexander O. Smith) was published in the US in 2010. Project Itoh is a pseudonym for Satoshi Itō.  It won the Seiun Award for best Japanese Science Fiction novel in 2009. The English translation received a special citation from the Philip K. Dick award committee for paperback original science fiction in 2011. 

The story is told in first person, from the point of view of a young woman disenchanted with her hyperbolically restrictive Japanese society, half in flashback to her childhood, and half in the present day of her work in a sort of medical police force. In this mid-21st century future, America has disappeared in an early 21st century global spasm of social disorder known as the Maelstrom, and the new world order is one of extreme regulation. Itoh creates his world with a gratifying complexity of technological speculation, but the theme of the dystopic storyline is one of resistance to conformity.

This must have been a very difficult book to translate, but it does read in English quite easily, compared to some other translations from Japanese I've seen. Itoh uses a stylistic invention known as Emotional Markup Language to convey the feelings of the main character who is otherwise somewhat cold - and dialog such as "The fate of the world is resting on your shoulders, Inspector Kirie. Good luck." can get a little cheesy.

After chalking up a couple of oddities to a cultural gap between Japan and the west, I found that I did enjoy this read. Too bad Itoh has now died at the age of 35, with only a few books published.

37/40 completed.  3 books to go!!!

Date Posted: 8/31/2013 3:09 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
Back To Top

Tom, I think "didn't care for" is putting it a bit mildy... The pizza delivery mafia just isn't my style of humor at all.  It's just a little too absurd and makes me roll my eyes.

 

I finished The Carpet Makers  by Eschbach yesterday and it was fantastic.  Phoenixfalls gets the credit for getting me to buy it a few years back, but I know several of you read it last year too...  The summary doesn't sound all that interesting but the book itself is excellent.  I'm glad I finally got around to reading it!

 

Date Posted: 9/2/2013 4:10 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
Back To Top

Eschbach has written quite a few top-notch and best-selling novels, some of which have been adapted for television in Germany as well.  I can't understand why only the one is translated to English.

#27 Work written by a male writer - Red Planet Blues, by Robert J. Sawyer (2013) **** finished 9/1/13

The first quarter of this novel consists of Sawyer's 2006 noir-style novella "Identity Theft", complete with the conclusion of the story.  And then the next chapter starts with "Two Months Later".  The setting is in a crime-ridden and down-on-its-heels city dome on Mars, some 50 years after The Great Fossil Rush that ended something like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.  The main character is a Humphrey Bogart-type with a backstory of unspoken pain, who takes odd jobs as a private investigator.  Staying deeply in the style of that era, Sawyer none-the-less uses consciousness transfer and androids to enrich the intrigue.  I think he did a pretty good job of striking the necessary components of both the science fiction and mystery genres.  By the end, my head was spinning with all the double-crosses and misdirection between the characters, and it was a good thing I got it read over a period of just two days.  As much fun as it was, what I found to be missing was the engagement of the philosophical problems that I have come to expect from Sawyer.  This was much more along the lines of End of An Era, than Illegal Alien.  So, a fun read, but not really brain food.

38/40 completed.  2 books to go!!!



Last Edited on: 9/2/13 4:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: chat - books and reading
Date Posted: 9/9/2013 11:16 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
Back To Top

Hard to buckle down with this challenge, too many other books I wanna read.  King County on-line library just added some great SF books.  I'm also working a lot more, time is racing, seems like it's almost Christmas again. 

Saw a cougar IN OUR DRIVEWAY Friday evening.  I was walking to the shop when it calmly walked around the curve.  I screamed - totally involuntary - and not a girly scream either.  More of an uh - ahhhhhhh scream and it turned and I guess bounded down the driveway.   I didn't check 'cause I didn't chase after it  Instead, I ran back to the cabin to tell my hubby.  EEEEEYousa!

I want to reread Under the Dome - I don't remember the book being like the TV series......

I'm going with Alif the Unseen for the Locus Recommended Reading.  Read the beginning and I'm half-way into the first chapter.  What can I say - meh....I'm not a fantasy fan.

Date Posted: 9/11/2013 6:06 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
Back To Top

Alison, do you live out in the country or in a town?  How cool!  (Granted, it wasn't me that was that close to it unknowing!)

I've finished a couple more. 

I think I have around ten left or so?  I notice I'm going in spurts - 4 or 5 done in a week or two, and then nothing at all for a month.

I read We by Yevgeny Zamyatin which is sort of the great-grandfather of all dystopian novels.  It was a good book but seemed a bit formulaic at times, but that's mostly because this book was one of the founders of the sub-genre and a lot of other authors took inspiration from it.

I'm going to move This Perfect Day down to "First Award winning novel of any writer" and use We for the Prometheus Award category instead.

And then I read In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker for the "first novel/new writer award" category.  I had really high hopes after how much I liked her later books.  I'd assumed I'd love this one too.  But I really wanted a lot more world building.  Fortunately, from looking at reviews, it sounds like later books in the series do have that world building, so I'll try another book or two.

Does any one know if this series has to be read in order?  I have books 1&2, then the next book I have is 6.  

Date Posted: 9/11/2013 11:10 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
Back To Top

Re: Company Series

Yes, they DEFINITELY have to be read in order. Books one and two actually stand alone reasonably well, but starting with book #3 it's pretty much one big story. I, um, wouldn't get your hopes *too* much up? I adored Sky Coyote (book #2) but was only reasonably pleased with the rest of the series -- The Empress of Mars is definitely a head above all of them but Sky Coyote. I don't think Baker was very good at large-scale plots, to tell the truth -- all my favorites of her books are smaller stories focused on character and milieu -- not even strictly world-building, exactly, but more getting the feel of the place rather than making it play strictly by the rules.

Date Posted: 9/12/2013 12:09 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
Back To Top

My library does have most of the books I'm missing, so reading in order won't be a huge problem -- just a bit of planning ahead! 

But this book at a lot of unexplored avenues.  What happens when you very determinedly try to change history?  Something fishy seems to be going on in the present.  Is Nef really Nefertiti? If time travelers can then stand in for major historical figures, how could that NOT be changing history? I hope that one or two get covered eventually.

Empress of Mars was excellent.  A lot of fun!  I haven't read too much Kage Baker other than that.  Just The Anvil of the World.

 

Date Posted: 9/12/2013 12:45 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
Back To Top

You'll get answers to some of those questions, but not all, if I recall correctly.

Brad -
Date Posted: 9/12/2013 12:58 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
Back To Top

Alison - I've enjoyed the Under the Dome TV series, but couldn't stand the novel.  It's completely about pacing; the TV series is fast paced, whereas the novel I got 200 pages in and felt like nothing had happened.  I don't need constant action, but the pacing of the book was rediculously slow.

Challenge wise I've finished 25 or the 40.  I've finished 7 in the subgenre, authors and firsts categories but only 4 in the awards category, which makes sense the other categories I've come up with books I'm more interested in.  So technically, in terms of books read, I'm over the halfway point, but since I've only finished 4 in the awards category I haven't done the finish 4 in each category.  For things I've finished recently:

Speaking of Stephen King..... I finshed The Gunslinger.  I put it into the Space Western category, but I'm not certainly if "Space" fits.  Oh well.  I tried reading it probably a decade ago and didn't care for it, but this time I really enjoyed it.  It could be my reading getting better in 10 years.  I'm certainly going on to the 2nd book in the series at some point.

Clans of the Alphane Moon by Philip K. Dick for the Military category.  This one was decent.  Not the "I'm totally crushing on this book" that I've gotten from other PKD books, but still good; I'm sure that's due to the fact that I had a hard time figuring out what was going on, which could be largely due to not being able to keep straight the chararacters looks and clans.



Last Edited on: 9/12/13 7:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: #12 a Hugo Award winning novel from any year (or nominee, 2010 or later)
Date Posted: 9/14/2013 2:05 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
Back To Top

@Alison.  I'm jealous.  The most I've seen in our yard here is deer and the occasional coyote.  There are some wooded railroad tracks that run past our subdivision, and the wildlife sometimes ranges along them, and wanders off.  And I did encounter a black bear while solo backpacking on the ridge above Cumberland Gap (KY/VA) this past June.  We looked at each other, and then he ran away when I started shouting and waving my arms.  Still, not on my own DRIVEWAY!

@Melanti.  I remember reading In The Garden of Iden with high expectations, having enjoyed Kage Baker's short stories in Asimov's, but being disappointed with it.  I don't mind some romance mixed in my SF, but if there isn't much else or it gets sappy, I get bored.  I haven't gotten around to reading any of the others though.  Not sure if The Empress of Mars qualifies as part of the series, but I enjoyed that one a lot.

Hyperion, by Dan Simmons (1989) **** finished 9/14/13

This is a well known and widely read book in science fiction circles, and I'm not sure how I've managed to go almost 25 years without reading it until now. But as one of the few remaining Hugo winners I hadn't read, it filled the category for me in the challenge.  The frame story is that of seven previously unacquainted individuals who join on a pilgrimage to the mysterious and legendary Shrike on the planet Hyperion. On the journey, each tells their story of how they came to be there, and reveals their motivation. The stories are told in first person, and each is a novella unto itself. But they also build on each other in revealing Simmons' universe, and begin to intersect with one another. The novel as a whole, has a well-developed complexity that I came to appreciate. My favorite of the contained stories was "The Consul's Story: Remembering Siri". It seemed familiar, and sure enough, it turns out I have read it before in stand-alone form.  My complaint is that the frame story, which also intersects, is too light weight and insufficiently resolved. I expect I will need to obtain and read The Fall of Hyperion in the very near future. 

39/40 completed.  1 book to go!!!

For my last category (#34 A Locus-Recommended First Novel from 2012), I have both The Games and The Snow Child checked out from my local library.  I'll start The Games, and probably switch if I don't like it.

Subject: #34 A Locus-Recommended First Novel from 2012
Date Posted: 9/15/2013 10:30 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
Back To Top

The Games, by Ted Kosmatka (2012) ** finished 9/15/13

This is a Frankenstein-theme thriller, very much along the lines of Micheal Crichton's Jurassic Park.  It's almost as if the author thought to himself "Jurassic Park was a big success - But it's already been done - Here's an idea - Instead of Theme Park dinosaurs, I can have genetically engineered gladiator beasts that fight to the death in the Olympics - Ok, get to work."  My problems with the book are as these:

1) genetically engineered gladiator beasts that fight to the death as part of the Olympics is a stupid idea, from the get-go.

2) I am a biomedical engineer, and the author's understanding of biomedical technology is like that of a child.  Magical, with a few words thrown in to sound scientific.

3) The characters are the same sort of types that Michael Crichton uses.  The evil corporate boss.  The obese idiot savant.  The grizzled veteran who just knows something isn't right.  The brilliant and beautiful young female researcher that sleeps with the grizzled veteran.  The young nephew loved by the grizzled veteran who is told to stay away, but doesn't.  The loyal technicians who will die horribly.  (I should mention that I am not a fan of Michael Crichton)

However, I do admit to getting hooked on the thrill of it after about 100 pages.  Sort of like a made-for-tv movie.  I felt the book is readable, but has problems that interfere with its enjoyment.  It's a quick read, at least.

40/40 completed.  What next?  I haven't decided what next.

Page: