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Topic: 2013 SF Challenge/Discuss/May

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Subject: 2013 SF Challenge/Discuss/May
Date Posted: 5/5/2013 12:20 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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Tried to read Liminal States by Zack Parsons.  Bleh.  Pointless violence, graphic and gruesome murder(s).  Got 200 plus pages in but was starting to suffer.  I have to find another Western book, not my favorite thing.

I didn't realize I had already read The Cassandra Project.  Must have read it in a SF mag.  It can be listed under a different category but - spoilers.

Last Edited on: 5/5/13 12:35 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Brad -
Date Posted: 5/9/2013 10:10 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
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Finished We Can Remember It for You Wholesale - The Collected Short Stories of Philip K. Dick, Vol. 2.  When I'm not enjoying reading, getting back to reading PKD gets me in the reading mood again (exception: The Valis triology).

I also finished Automated Alice by Jeff Noon.  This is put in the Vurt series, but doens't seem to fit in with Vurt.  It was a good read about Alice from Alice in Wonderland going forward through time.  Good read.  It wasn't thrilling like Vurt was (certainly isn't disturbing like Vurt is), but worth the read.  I lost some time on the challenge, since I reread Vurt before starting Automated Alice.

Last Edited on: 5/9/13 2:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Subject: not worth what I paid for it
Date Posted: 5/12/2013 10:49 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
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Just finished a free kindle book from amazon.com - 1632, by Eric Flint.  Good thing it was free, because I sure would regret paying for this.  The concept is that a small town  in modern day West Virginia is transported inexplicably into Germany during the 30years war - which is an intriguing hook.  But the characters are pure stereotype, and in spite of the pervasive death and destruction going on around them, each is totally immune to harm.  The guys all get local women who fall in love with them, and the gals all get local men fall in love with them.  They are all smart, cunning, and excellent shots with the guns and other weapons they had carry permits for (or not).  They suffer remorse for about 5 seconds whenever they have to execute someone.  Sheesh.  This is nothing but fanfic in published form.  Then as if the dismal writing wasn't bad enough the book ends by portraying Croatians as reavers out to massacre all the children in the community's school.  For me this drops the rating one step lower than "poor" to "offensive".  Don't waste your time on this.

Date Posted: 5/12/2013 11:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
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I found it a bit more tolerable than you seem to, but, yes, it seemed incredibly far-fetched to me.

Everything was just too convenient.  I kept wanting them to run out of toilet paper or lipstick or something -- obviously that wouldn't have been a TRUE crisis, but things just went too smoothly for all the members of the town.


Baen can be too pro-American at times... Another one of their free library offerings is Caliphate.  (To be fair, it's blurb makes the book SOUND offensive, but I'm not going to waste my time to find out first hand.)

Last Edited on: 5/12/13 11:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: deleted
Date Posted: 5/27/2013 12:24 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
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Last Edited on: 2/11/15 1:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Subject: The Secret History of Science Fiction, by Kelly & Kessel
Date Posted: 5/27/2013 12:26 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
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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, are included. But Kelly and Kessel are trying to show the middleground, while neglected commercially, has not gone away - so more recent works are included. The content of this anthology, with a very few exceptions, is just outstanding.

Angouleme, by Thomas M. Disch
The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, by Ursula K. LeGuin
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Crisis, by Kate Wilhelm
Descent of Man, by T. C. Boyle
Human Moments in World War III, by Don DeLillo
Homelanding, by Margaret Atwood
The Nine Billion Names of God, by Carter Scholz
Interlocking Pieces, by Molly Gloss
Salvador, by Lucius Shepard
Schwarzschild Radius, by Connie Willis
Buddha Nostril Bird, by John Kessel
The Ziggurat, by Gene Wolfe
The Hardened Criminals, by Jonathan Lethem
Standing Room Only, by Karen Jay Fowler
10^16 to 1, by James Patrick Kelly
93990, by George Saunders
The Martian Agent, A Planetary Romance, by Michael Chabon
Frankenstein's Daughter, by Maureen F. McHugh
The Wizard of West Orange, by Steven Millhauser

Last Edited on: 5/27/13 12:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Brad -
Date Posted: 5/28/2013 12:43 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
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Finished a couple.

Make Room!  Make Room! by Harry Harrison.  Very good book.  This one is about the troubles of overpopulation (water shortages, etc) and how people/governments decide to handle it.


Man Plus by Pohl.  Also very good.  My first "superhuman" book, at least as far as I know.  The US is racing to get someone to Mars, to stop a global apocalypse.  So to have a person on Mars they remove various parts (most parts) of a person and replace them with machinery. 

Subject: Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison.
Date Posted: 5/28/2013 11:16 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
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If you get a chance to see the movie Soylent Green, I think you will find it is changed in many details, even some important ways.  The book is MUCH better.

Speaking of movies that change things, I recently saw the movie Argo.  I could hardly sit down, it was so tense.  But then it was disappointing to read a list of all the ways they deviated from actual events in making the movie.  Fun fact - The script that was really used to fool the Iranians, was a film adaptation of Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light.

-Tom Hl.

Last Edited on: 5/28/13 11:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 2