Discussion Forums - Science Fiction

Topic: 2014 SF Challenge /DISCUSS /Jan-Feb

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Brad -
Date Posted: 2/3/2014 11:34 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
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I'd certainly OK the new category.

Melanti: "I'm getting better about not buying books until I'm about to read them, but I do still shop sales to save money."

Me too!  For the last year (2 years?), with the exception of Christmas gifts (I got at least 6 of them!), I only buy books I've already read that I know that I'll re-read many times.  Well, exception of Philip K. Dick books and John Varley books since I've decided to collect their entire works.

Finished The Story of B by Daniel Quinn.  While not as quite enjoyable as Ishmael, it was worth the read.  Basically Quinn is talking about Christianity and talking about how tribalism would be better for the world (less things like war, scarcity, etc).  Definitely unusual thinking, which I'm always glad to read/think about.  I'll definitely read through My Ishmael at some point, maybe not for this years challenge though.



Last Edited on: 2/3/14 11:35 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 2/8/2014 6:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
Posts: 41
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I read The Human Division by John Scalzi, for my Deep Space setting. It's kind of a new Old Man's war book, but really more of an anthology with an overall plot. Like the Wild Card books. It was good but the "ending" if you can call it that left me a bit cold

Subject: new Scalzi
Date Posted: 2/9/2014 9:15 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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I've been watching The Human Division get marketed one chapter at a time on book gorilla.  But I don't want to buy a book that way.  Does it hang together as a novel?

Date Posted: 2/11/2014 7:47 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
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I think it reads fine as a novel. I was much like you and didn't want to bother with little mini purchases. Although I will warn you that the ending leaves a lot to be resolved, so there is obviously a sequel or second season depending on how you choose to read it coming.

I've never heard of book gorilla. Going to check it out.

Brad -
Date Posted: 2/11/2014 10:02 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
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Finished Galactic Pot-Healer by Philip K. Dick for the Favorite Author category.  I enjoyed it, like almost all PKD I've read.  Like many other PKD stuff it deals with gods and reality.  Basically the main character is a pot-healer, meaning for a living he takes broken ceramic pots and fixes them.  However there's not much work.  So he plays word games with people over the phone.  He and others get a job by an entity that has god like qualities and flies to another planet.  Pretty quick read, definitely not hard reading.

Date Posted: 2/11/2014 11:36 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
Posts: 41
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Oh, THAT kind of pot. With PKD I wasn't quite sure...

Brad -
Date Posted: 2/11/2014 1:10 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
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Ha!  I think that's what a lot of people think.  I too thought that.  It's ironic that his book that deals the most with drugs, A Scanner Darkly, was actually done when he wasn't on drugs, whereas his other stuff he was on drugs.



Last Edited on: 2/11/14 1:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/13/2014 12:41 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
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Finished Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. Started grim and dark, and never really let up. I don't really know if it's sci fi, but maybe if you squint at it a bit.

Subject: Parable of the Sower
Date Posted: 2/13/2014 1:43 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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Definitely not Hard-SF, but I think Soft/Social-SF is applicable.  It's been a little while since I read both it and Parable of the Talents, but I remember that more comes out about the wider post-apocalyptic world in the sequel.  I see you counted it as Nebula loser; it would also be a good fit for our apocalyptic or our non-caucasian author categories.

Date Posted: 2/13/2014 11:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
Posts: 41
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Well the first is taken and I was thinking of saving the non-caucasian author slot for Ken Liu's debut novel. We'll see.

Date Posted: 2/20/2014 12:04 AM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2008
Posts: 455
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So I finally finished A10 Author themed anthology.   The SFWA European Hall of Fame.  It's a blend of scifi and speculative.  I liked a lot of the stories but some of the speculative ones were downright disturbing.  I much preferred the scifi ones.  The northern Europeans in this book  seem to have a bleak creepy sense  of how the world will be.   They were all really well written and I assume translated.  Now I'm going to move onto ringworld and ringworld engineers

Date Posted: 2/21/2014 1:01 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
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Seems to be a popular book among the group this year.

 

Just finished Children of Kings, the newest Darkover novel. It may be blasphemy but I think Deborah Wheeler/Ross is a far better writer than Marion Zimmer Bradley ever was

Date Posted: 2/22/2014 1:17 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
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I LOVE Whispersync For Voice! I finished Jumper in a day! Amazon will henceforth get ALL MY MONEY (at least for books with this feature...)

Subject: whispersync
Date Posted: 2/22/2014 10:39 PM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2008
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Mark-  What does it do and how does it do it?  I've seen books that include it but I've never bothered to check it out.  Why do you like it so much?

Date Posted: 2/22/2014 11:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
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If you have an audible audiobook and a kindle ebook they can sync the position from one to another. I love it because I can do my usual reading and then when I'm working out or driving etc I can continue the same book. I think it makes for a more immersive experience. You can usually get the audiobook add-on for an additional $3-10.

Date Posted: 2/23/2014 10:52 PM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2008
Posts: 455
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It sounds like an interesting idea but I just don't like audio books enough to pay the extra.   I did check and whispersync is supported for books on loan so I might check it out with a library book.  I tend to get frustrated because they read soooo slowly.  I'm taking an ed-x course online and you can speed it up to 2.0x.  At 1.5x speed it's intelligible and it's normal talking speed. 

Date Posted: 2/24/2014 4:29 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
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You can speed up the audible app too...  I do it too when I accidentally get an especially slow narrator. 

I like Whispersync in theory, but in practice, I tend to prefer one over another and instead of syncing, I just end up sticking with one version and the other gets unused.

Date Posted: 2/24/2014 12:41 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
Posts: 41
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The Martian by Andy Weir: Amazing! Loved it, it's basically a Robinson Crusoe on Mars story. It feels like watching Apollo 13

Shadows in Flight wasn't very good.



Last Edited on: 2/25/14 12:12 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Where's Tom?
Date Posted: 2/25/2014 1:25 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
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The Martian just went on my bookhunt list; been hearing a lot of good things about it.

Did you actually like Jumper?  I thought it was so-so.  Here's what I said when I read it last year: Jumper.

If anyone is wondering what happened to me lately, I have not been posting much because I've disappeared into one of my German-language science fiction books, which takes me a bit longer than English.  I'm on page 76 of 256 in Syzygie, a 1982 translation of Frederik Pohl's 1981 Syzygy.  It's a very dated and somewhat cheesy disaster story, certainly not up to the standards of Gateway.  I haven't yet decided if it is deliberately that way, as in The Space Merchants, because it does have some of that same exagerated and flippant style.

-Tom Hlaban



Last Edited on: 2/25/14 2:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 2/25/2014 1:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
Posts: 41
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Jumper was OK, wasn't great. Interested enough to finish the series. Not interested enough to see the movie. 

Also I think that link is just to the Jumper page in general

If you wanna be goodreads friends:

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/9059194-cattfish



Last Edited on: 2/25/14 1:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 2/25/2014 2:07 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
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updated the link.  thanks.  accepted your friend request...

-Tom

Subject: china mieville
Date Posted: 2/27/2014 10:02 PM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2008
Posts: 455
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Well, I got sidetracked again.  Embassytown was due back at the library so I read it before ringworld and turtledove.  The world was fantastic.  I enjoyed this book although it was a slow start.  It was a bit different from his previous ones.  I don't always like his stories but his writing is usually excellent.  I liked both this time.  On a sad note my used book store closed down so now there is nowhere close to get the old scifi books.  I have to depend on PBS and bookthing (which is over an hour away) 



Last Edited on: 2/27/14 10:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Embassytown
Date Posted: 3/1/2014 8:46 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
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One probably unique comment I can add regarding Embassytown is that when the first person narrator (Avice) travels off-planet, she goes through the "immer", which seems to be the extradimensional cosmic interstice between universes or distant points in our own universe, as opposed to the "manchmal". These happen to be the German language words for "always" and "sometimes". Our more mundane universe is the "sometimes" one. Mieville doesn't do much with that, or even mention these meanings, but I found it interesting.

-Tom Hl.

Date Posted: 3/1/2014 10:09 PM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2008
Posts: 455
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If he did mention this sort of stuff I would find the book more interesting

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