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Topic: 2014 SF Challenge /DISCUSS /Mar-Apr

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Subject: 2014 SF Challenge /DISCUSS /Mar-Apr
Date Posted: 3/1/2014 8:30 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
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This thread is for continued discussion and questions regarding the 2014 SF Challenge.  If you are new to this, the challenge itself can be found on the 2014 SF Challenge /TRACK  thread, and it is NOT too late to join!

So, here we are 2 months into it.  Are you on track to your goals? 

Personally, I've finished 8 of 40, so am feeling pretty comfortable about 2014.  Comfortable enough to pick for #9 a book that will probably take me 3-4 weeks to finish, due to the need to look up a couple words per page in a dictionary.  Ich spüre, dass meine Kenntnisse der deutschen Sprache wächst!

One other thing I wanted to mention, is that you can find my goodreads comments about the books I've read, as links from my tracking post on this forum.

-Tom Hl.

Date Posted: 3/2/2014 2:21 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
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Looks like I'm 13/55 as of today. Finished Starhawk recently but don't really have much to say about it. If you liked Engines of God you'll probably like it.  Moving soon so I'll have probably not many books for a while then a glut of them all at once as I listen to audiobooks on the car trip!  

Subject: 2013 Nebula Award Nominees Announced
Date Posted: 3/2/2014 9:22 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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Here are the 2013 Nebula Award Nominees.

I haven't read any of the novels yet, although Ann Lackie's Ancillary Justice is on my bookhunt list, and two of the novellas are in the free 2013 Best of Tor.com ebook that I downloaded a few months ago.

-Tom Hl.

Date Posted: 3/4/2014 11:04 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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Uh, I've read a whole... 2.  That's it.  Oh well.  I haven't even picked categories in the Fantasy challenge yet, so I'm still better off here than there. (Pretty pathetic, isn't it?  I wrote the darned challenge but never got around to picking my own categories...)

Date Posted: 3/6/2014 11:57 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
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Let's see, I'm going to try out those Nebula novels this year and follow along. I have till sometime in May before those are announced, yes?

After that I'm going through all the Stephen Baxter and Ben Bova books in the backlog I haven't read, or at least that's the plan. And maybe some of those kindle books I got on sale recently.



Last Edited on: 3/6/14 11:59 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/6/2014 12:06 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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I really liked The Ocean at the End of the Lane and The Golem and the Jinni.  Both are as good as the hype makes them out to be.

Six-Gun Snow White - I liked it but it isn't Valente's best.

Sister Mine - I enjoyed that one as well though I'm not sure why it was put in the YA  category.  It's not a YA book, though it's YA friendly... 

Date Posted: 3/12/2014 4:30 PM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2008
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I have read a few books lately but I haven't updated my list yet.  I have to update my spreadsheet of books I've read this year first.  I've noticed that I can read or have read a book and if it isn't/wasn't a real "keeper"  I'm apt to forget I read the darn thing.  Hence the spreadsheet.  I should have started years ago.  My main problem right now  is that I decided to tackle my TBR.  I just finished The Galactic Gourmet by James White which was very very enjoyable.   It has many life forms and he does a good job of defining their environmental and gastronomical needs.  It's a light entertaining read without being fluffy.  There's no morals, warnings or messages. He doesn't appear to have an agenda.   I enjoyed the growth of his characters.  Anyway, that's not the problem.  To the best of my knowledge -(read memory), I haven't read any of his other books.  So I just ordered 3 and put 1 on my wishlist.  So much for whittling down my pile of unread books.  I'm also reading Ringworld & The Infinity Concerto.

Date Posted: 3/12/2014 6:08 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
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I'm really enjoying the Golem and the Jinni so far. Stranger in Olandria was way too prose heavy and plot thin

Subject: L11 Lost in the Stacks
Date Posted: 3/12/2014 7:13 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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I've finished Syzygie, and so hopefully my pace will pick up again now.  This was the sixth science fiction book I read in German. It took 3.5 weeks for 256 pages. So my reading rate is up to about 75 pages / week. Unfortunately, it's not a very good book for all the effort. The two stories - the missing spacecraft, and the storm - have almost nothing to do with each other. The main characters are pretty flat, and not believable. But still, it was a good exercise for my language skills.  I'm not such a good judge of English-to-German translators, but it seemed like too much word-for-word of American slang. I don't think German people actually talk like that.  In the future, I will probably restrict my German reads to books originally written in German.



Last Edited on: 3/19/14 10:43 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Brad -
Date Posted: 3/19/2014 1:25 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 200
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Well, my year started out well, but for March I'm not sure if I've finished anything.

I've finished 5 of the 40 total, with 3 in the authors category and 2 in the firsts category.

I've been reading mostly at night, which means before bed at most a few pages, and have been non-SciFi.  Tom asked before if my reading tastes have changes and I'd say yes to a certain extent.  While working during the day I've been listening to YouTube videos and hearing Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and others has really kicked off a wanting to learn more in Science for me, so right now I'm reading Dawkins The Magic of Reality.  That being said, goodness I really feel like I'm a second grader who's atttempting to read a college textbook, science was never my talent in school

Date Posted: 3/19/2014 6:27 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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A9: Originally written in a non-English language.

So I attempted to read Lord of All Things, by Andreas Eschbach. I had to give up after 160 pages, but I'm still counting it because I read more than my arbitrary minimum page count of 100 for things to count, and I thought about it long enough to write a whole review. Terribly disappointing experience, since I absolutely adored The Carpet Makers a few years ago; part of it was that Samuel Willcocks was just nowhere near as good a translator as Doryl Jensen, but part of it was that I think the style of this novel just didn't suit Eschbach's strengths (as I perceive them) as a writer.

(This brings me to 2 books out of my goal of 10. Which is. . . not quite behind, and better than I'm doing on my Fantasy challenge, but still not exactly *good* work. . .)

Subject: Andreas Eschbach
Date Posted: 3/19/2014 10:36 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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Thanks for the heads-up on Lord of All Things.  I had read the reviews on amazon.de and decided it was way too long and slow developing for my level of language ability.  I didn't really realize there was an English translation available, although apparently not a good one.  So now it's a must-miss.  I've read Eschbach other than The Hair Carpet Makers, and he has a wide variety of styles.  Next Eschbach up for me is  Quest, which is supposed to be a prequel to The Hair Carpet Makers.

By the way, there is an extensive entry on this book in wikipedia.de, even a link to an interview with the author.  Anyone can get the gist of this entry by just throwing paragraphs into google.com/translate.



Last Edited on: 3/21/14 7:51 AM ET - Total times edited: 5
Date Posted: 3/20/2014 5:10 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Thanks for the info!

Date Posted: 3/22/2014 10:14 AM ET
Member Since: 3/9/2009
Posts: 8,982
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I've been seriously slacking on science fiction reading this year.  I've just finished my second book for the science fiction challenge-The Darwin Elevator by Jason M Hough.

Most of humanity is dead.  An alien disease has swept through the world killing 90 percent of the people it infects and leaves the remaining 10 percent mindless savages.  Darwin, Australia is the last remaining human outpost.  An alien space elevator emits a plague supressing aura for about 8 k around.  Then the elevator starts to fail.

Lots of action, destructive politics and short sighted greed.  The characters are rather 2 dimensional and sketchy but there's so much action you don't really notice until the end of the book.

 

Date Posted: 3/22/2014 8:35 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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I just finished Ancillary Justice for our Locus Recommended First Novel category, and thought it was very worthwhile.  This book seems to get nominated every other week for another award (Nebula, etc.); it will be interesting to see if it wins any of them.  I suspect that one of the things behind that is its setting in a galactic empire in which humans are not without gender, but in which all awareness of gender differentiation seems to be considered uncivilized and is virtually invisible.  I don't think the use of the pronoun "she" by the author can really work as gender-neutral, which makes for some extra work by the reader. Beyond that, it is a personal and thrilling space opera with multi-bodied characters and AIs (The main character is a one-segment remnant of such), and has a lot of heart for a main character having supposedly low emotionality.

 All in all, I recommend this book.  It is the book of the month over at Goodread's SciFi and Fantasy Book Club, and there is extensive discussion going on.



Last Edited on: 3/22/14 8:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 3/23/2014 3:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
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Ancillary Justice was ok, not great. Obviously the interesting talking point will be the gender issues, but it seemed like a whimsical change by the author, and really it was a story about the ship-clone relationships more than the gender issues, which is what I'm afraid will overshadow all the real themes of the novel. I guess I'm just saying for a novel to win the Tiptree award for instance I think the gender roles have to really drive the plot.

 

Just finished Man-Kzin Wars 14, which wasn't a great entry in the series really, except for the Mathew Joseph Harrington stories, and I can't wait for him to write a solo novel. A million suns is a YA novel about a failing generation ship, and was pretty good.
 

Date Posted: 4/15/2014 2:26 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
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I haven't read much Sci-Fi lately... 

I did read Roadside Picnic and Connie Willis's Uncharted Territories - both of which I liked.

Then I tried A Clockwork Orange which I really really hated.  I only finished it cause it was a group read and I wanted to have a leg to stand on when I complained about it.

Then I tried and failed to read Cryptonomicon.  I just do not like Stephenson's sense of humor, I guess.  Way to juvenile for my tastes.  Got about 50 pages into it and put it back on my TBR stack.  I'll probably try again in a few years since the premise does sound interesting.

Date Posted: 4/16/2014 9:41 PM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2008
Posts: 455
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I have not been reading much science fiction either.  For some reason I'm into fantasies & mysteries lately.  I did finally read a Harry Turtledove book.   It's Agent of Byzantium (cohesive short stories).  It was not  ALL about battles and war although it was mainly about warriors with a dash of politics (involving warriors).  I will say he writes very well and I enjoyed most of the stories.  I do like Eric Flint's books more.  Although 1 Harry Turtledove is hardly a valid sample, I doubt I'll read too much more of his.  I may look and see if he has more short stories. 

Subject: Alastair Reynolds
Date Posted: 4/19/2014 1:40 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
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There's been a lot going on around here that has to do with that bigger part of my life that has nothing to do with science fiction books.  Currently I'm wading through Alastair Reynolds' somewhat lengthy Redemption Ark.  Unfortunately, it's been a few years since I read the first book (Revelation Space), and it took 150 pages before this one started to connect for me.  Now a little over half way and it's picking up, but it's really hard to read it in small snatches.  Characters all seem interchangeable somehow, and it is trouble to keep track of them.

Date Posted: 4/24/2014 2:11 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
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I noticed that TOR has agreed to provide the entire Wheel of Time series in the Hugo Voters packet... 

So if anyone wants electronic copies, that's a good bargain!  About $50 or so for all those books, plus copies of the other nominees.  It'd end up being around $3.50/book just for WoT.

Date Posted: 4/30/2014 9:02 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2012
Posts: 593
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