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Topic: 4Q 2012 SF Challenge "Mount TBR" /DISCUSS

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Subject: 4Q 2012 SF Challenge "Mount TBR" /DISCUSS
Date Posted: 9/22/2012 10:17 AM ET
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Welcome to the 2012 SF Challenge for the fourth quarter of 2012, which runs from October 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012. 

The topical theme of this challenge ( Mount TBR ), as well as the ten categories within it, were chosen through a group-consensus process of voting on this forum.  If you are interested in that process, see the Let's Choose A Topic thread and the Let's Choose Categories thread.   The discussion regarding what form of challenges will be held in 2013 will probably start approximately December 2012 on a new thread.

The challenge is to read one book in each of the ten categories within the quarter.   To participate, create a tracking post according to instructions on the /TRACK thread.  If you have questions about the challenge, or want to discuss the challenge or books to fill the categories, then post here.

Subject: Mount TBR
Date Posted: 9/22/2012 10:41 AM ET
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So, what is your Mount TBR like?  Is there anybody out there who doesn't have one?

Date Posted: 9/22/2012 3:04 PM ET
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I went through my Goodreads list and tagged a few more SF books - so it's showing a total of 78 SF including science fantasy, which is a lot more than I thought I had.  450 books on Mt. TBR total.  Though I just realized that I never added those new freebie Audible books to Goodreads, so there'll be a couple more.

I'll have to take a few liberties with the list though.  

I have no SF books at all that were gifts from a real person - I tend to read those fairly quickly.  I'll pretend that an e-book freebie is the same as a gift.  It's the same concept - I didn't buy it or pick it out.  And my "aliens" probably won't be very alien.

And darn it... I just realized the "most recently published" book I have is Anathem.

Date Posted: 9/22/2012 5:06 PM ET
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     78 SF including science fantasy

Science Fantasy is definitely within the bounds of SF on this challenge.  There's line there somewhere between fantasy and science fiction, but darned if I know where to draw it.  Even so-called Hard-SF is still speculative to some extent.

     I'll have to take a few liberties with the list though.

I've been known to stretch a category here and there.

     I just realized the "most recently published" book I have is Anathem

Bwahaha!  You have a few days left to put something newer on your TBR shelf...

-Tom Hl.

Date Posted: 9/22/2012 6:08 PM ET
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There's line there somewhere between fantasy and science fiction, but darned if I know where to draw it.

Are you sure it's a line, or is it a great big blury grey area?

Bwahaha!  You have a few days left to put something newer on your TBR shelf...

It's soooo tempting to go buy that e-arc.

Subject: my Mount TBR
Date Posted: 9/23/2012 7:21 PM ET
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I counted them today, and my fiction TBR is 47 books, two of which I cannot construe as SF.  So my count is 45.  There are three categories which are deterministic; only one book is possible for them, and I've identified them now.

  • #1 TBR SF book that has languished the longest on your shelf (29 years) - Der Zorn Des Khan, by Vonda McIntyre
  • #3 TBR SF book in the most deplorable condition on your shelf - Finity's End, by C.J. Cherryh
  • #5 TBR SF book most recently published - Firebird, by Jack McDevitt

I bought that 29 year TBR book on a vacation trip to then-communist Jugoslavija with a side trip to Vienna.  My intention was to begin reading German language science fiction books when I got home, and I picked up three of them.  I figured the adventures of the Raumschiff Enterprise would be one easy place to start.  As it turned out, my language skills crashed on a New Wave novella, which is almost inpenetrable even in English, and I didn't resume the effort until about a year ago.  Now it looks like I should be fine with this.  I do have the movie to fall back on.  ;)

-Tom Hl.

Date Posted: 10/2/2012 4:31 AM ET
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My first book came off of Mount TBR today (Firebird), and I visited a bookstore the other day without buying anything. The reduction has started!

Last Edited on: 10/2/12 4:32 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/2/2012 11:13 AM ET
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I managed to resist that e-arc, so I'm committed to Anathem now.

Part of my TBR reduction strategy is probably going to involve donating/selling a lot of heavily posted books that I realistically will never read or that I can get in e-book form from the library whenever I want.  Of course, this is complicated by the fact that I'm trying to use up credits (and thus adding to Mt. TBR) so that I can post the couple dozen wishlisted books I have sitting on my shelf.

I did start one SciFi book yesterday - H. Beam Piper's Four Day Planet.  It's reminding me of some of Heinlin's juvenile books.  The great lengths Piper is going to avoid cussing makes it rather corny (but funny) at times.  Here's the "insults" that started a  riot (more or less verbatim).

"...., you so-and-so."
"Who are you calling a so-and-so, you thus-and-so-ing such-and such?"

Date Posted: 10/7/2012 12:15 AM ET
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I have finished my first book for the 4th quarter challenge.  Ready Player One by Ernest Cline for my TBR most recently published category.

Wade Watts is a teenage who exists to study and solve the clues left in virtual space by an eccentric multibillionarire leading to his fortune.  Those clues all have to do with the billionaire's obsession with the Eighties-video games, movies,books, anime, tv shows etc.    This book is fun and fast paced with LOTS of Eighties nerd trivia.  I lived through the Eighties and I don't remember them being this much fun.  If you haven't yet, read Ready Player One.

Subject: #5 TBR SF book most recently published
Date Posted: 10/7/2012 7:01 PM ET
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I've also just finished my first book for 4Q challenge.  Firebird, by Jack McDevitt (2011)

This latest installment of McDevitt's Alex Benedict series could probably be read stand-alone; there is very little in these books that is actually order-dependent. The primary interest in the series is a recurring pair of characters - Alex and Chase - who broker antiquity transactions and are led from there into adventures. In this case, they are investigating the mysterious disappearance of a physicist some 40 years earlier. The setting is 9,000 years in the future, although you can hardly tell as the culture seems unchanged from contemporary US. For that matter, the state of physics knowledge in this distant future is also unchanged from contemporary times. It seems strange to me to read of a future, in which so little change has taken place. Either humanity has totally stagnated for thousands of years, or McDevitt just doesn't care much about world-building. While the plot is engaging, I've rated this as "adequate entertainment," because I am looking for more than a story in my SF.

-Tom Hl.

@Lisa G.  I read Ready Player One just last month in the 3Q challenge.  I wasn't much impressed with it, gave it an "adequate entertainment" rating as well.  I felt Little Brother had some stylistic similarities, but the concepts were much better developed.



Last Edited on: 10/7/12 7:02 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/9/2012 3:45 PM ET
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I finished Scott Nicholson's The Harvest this morning.  It's a SF/Horror novel.  (I'm getting in the Halloween mood...) 

I's about an alien crash-landing on an Appalachian farm, and beginning to zombify and devour all types of life.  It's a fungus-ish thing and spreads mostly by spores or bodily fluids.

It's a decent book, but not nearly as good as most of his others.  There's a few too many characters, and we don't spend a whole lot of time with each one - usually just a couple of pages at a time.  So, they end up seeming a bit thin, and sometimes just a stereotype instead of a well fleshed out character.  And without them being well defined, I ended up not caring much when they got turned into walking mushrooms. 

This will be filling my "ebook freebie" category.   I put Four-Day Planet in the "author you've never read before" category. 

Next up is The Liaden Unibus I - which is the first of two anthologies/omnibuses of the Liaden universe chapbooks...  Which doesn't count for any of the main categories I can think of.

Edited to add:  The Unibus is only available in ebook form.   The closest paperback equivalent is: Liaden Universe Companion (Volume One)
 



Last Edited on: 10/10/12 2:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 10/9/2012 4:31 PM ET
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Melanti, wouldn't the book fit under the male or female author category?  Or have you already filled those? 

Tom, I thought Little Brother was very good but had a strong serious message.  Ready Player One was more of a geekfest with a number of injokes.  Even though it had some problems (the ending was more than a little cheesy), it was just fun to read.  I guess I'm in frivolous mode right now. :)

Date Posted: 10/9/2012 4:59 PM ET
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Well, it's a husband/wife team for the writers, so nope.  It doesn't fit the male/female sections.  Plus, it's an anthology rather than a novel.  If I overlooked the "novel" specification, it could fit the "series you've already started", but I have plans to read some actual Liaden Universe novels, so I'm not in any great hurry to fill that category.  Perhaps in December I might change my mind.

 

Date Posted: 10/10/2012 10:32 PM ET
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I'm now reading my TBR SF book in the most deplorable condition.  The spine is curled, and the cover is brittle (chunks of cover have broken off and fallen away like tiles from a space shuttle), and the pages are a sort of brown-yellow color.   It came in a trade and met the official conditions, but I mean... really...

I've reinforced the cover with 2 inch clear tape, including some parts that are now see-through.  The book seems to be surviving the read reasonably well.

-Tom Hl.

Lisa, I thought Ready Player One was ok, but not more than that.  The trivia was a miss for me, because I became an adult in the mid 70s, not the 80s.  (I used to reserve PDP-11 lab time to play Zork while in undergraduate)  A lot of the games and cultural trends from the 80s/90s just seem like kid stuff to me.



Last Edited on: 10/10/12 10:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 10/13/2012 12:19 PM ET
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Tom,

That sounds pretty awful.  I still haven't gone through my shelves yet to see which is the absolute worst one, but I don't think I have anything in nearly as horrible of a shape.  Next question:  What book is it and what on earth are you going to do with it once you're done?

In the last couple of weeks, I've taken hundreds of books for donation/UBS/posted here and it's reduced Mt. TBR only by 40 or so...The sad thing is, you can't really tell by looking at my bookshelves. I only have 4 bookshelves, so you'd think hundreds of missing books would show, but nope.    They're still overflowing.  Oh well.  I still have a couple boxes more to get rid of, and a few dozen wishlisted books to post here.  Maybe when I'm done with those, it'll look like I've made some progress.

 I just finished book #3 for the challenge: Crystal Soldier which is chronologically first in the Liaden series.  By publishing date -- uh, 13th or 14th?  It's the first in a duology that explains how Liad was founded.  As far as the characters and plot, it's not as good as the rest of the series but I'm really liking the Liaden pre-history.  The series has entire families known for producing pilots, or producing shopkeepers/tradesmen/merchants, etc.  And it's pretty clear that they have more of a genetic specialization than we do - faster reflexes for pilots, etc - and some of that was explainable through selective breeding since generally families of one trade will only have children with other families of the same trade.  But that never fully explained it for me.  This book is implying (and it might be outright stated in the next book...) that the origins of the specialization was genetic engineering  -- people quite literally created to be pilots, or cooks, or mechanics, or shopkeepers, etc.  And founding a world with genetically engineered colonists, then maintaining that by not cross-breeding -- it answers so many questions and arguments I've had with the series.  I'm looking forward to the next book where, presumably, they'll get around to actually starting the colony.  So far, the two founders of the clan have met, but no intent to found a world has been mentioned.

 

Subject: #3 TBR SF book in the most deplorable condition on your shelf
Date Posted: 10/17/2012 9:48 PM ET
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Finity's End, by C.J.Cherryh ****

This "Company War" novel is set approximately 20 years after Cherryh's original and award-winning Downbelow Station. I have read a few of her follow-up Company War novels and found them to be mediocre, but was impressed with this one. It's not just a minor character story set in the same universe, but also encompasses the next cultural/historic shift in Cherry's universe. Not as dramatic as in Downbelow Station, but this one is an effective sequel. Better than Cyteen, for sure.

I also found the psychology and sociology interesting. The main character's pregnant mother was left at Pell Station by her family Alliance ship during a wartime crisis. Her substance-abuse related death left him an orphan at the age of 5, and bouncing around in foster care. By the time we meet him, he has a very pronounced attachment disorder.  He is picked up again by the family ship after some 17 years or so against his will, and his internal struggles seem true to the psychological condition. At the same time, the shipboard society he finds himself in, is as realistically delicate and sensitive to rule-bound behavior and reputation as you might imagine. Then, the intrigue of politics and conflict kicks in. I found it a complex and engaging novel.

I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do with this book now that I've repaired it.  I think it would stand up to more readings.

-Tom Hl.



Last Edited on: 2/11/15 1:15 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/18/2012 10:23 PM ET
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I just finished Dawn by Octavia Butler.  It's the first in the Xenogenisis/Lilith's Brood trilogy.  I really wish I could like this book - and Butler's writing in general, for that matter.  She always brings up such interesting issues but she's so horribly unsettling that I find her books hard to read.  In Dawn she plays around with a lot of the same consent issues that she considered in Fledgling, though at least the characters here are all adults, so it's just overtones of ordinary rape instead of pedophilia so it's slightly less creepy.  But still so very, very disturbing.

The other big topic considered is what makes us human?  Is it our bodies?  Our minds?  Our genes?  How we react to events?  Is Lilith still human at the end of the book?  And if not, then when/how did she cross that line from human to inhuman?  And is it okay if she's no longer human?

If I had to rate this book on how much I liked it -- I'd probably give it negative stars.  If I rated it on how many stars it deserves - 9/10.

This one is going into the post-human slot for me.

Subject: Book #5: Languished the longest
Date Posted: 10/22/2012 8:53 PM ET
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Just finished R is for Rocket by Ray Bradbury.  His longer fiction is hit or miss for me, but I love his short stories.  Most of the ones in this anthology are full of the amazement and wonder of space flight and exploration.  Which is a bit sad, since it made me contemplate our current space program - or, more accurately, the lack of one.  How did we get from Bradbury's age to ours?

I've read the majority of these stories before in other anthologies, but I find Bradbury to be very re-readable, so didn't care too much that only a few were new to me.

This book has been on my personal bookshelf for about ten years or so, but it's a hand-me-down from my father and I remember it being on his bookshelf throughout all of my childhood.  My mother gave me all of Dad's old SF books at the same time, and I don't remember a time when my dad didn't have them.  So, to determine which to choose for the "languished the longest" category, I decided to look at each edition's publish date.  Dandelion Wine was actually the oldest (1963), but since I've been told it's not sci-fi, I'm going with the still respectably old 1965 edition of R is for Rocket.  It's still in amazingly good condition for a 40 yr old book.  The only thing that betrayed its age was the brown pages.



Last Edited on: 10/22/12 8:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Book #6: Female author
Date Posted: 10/24/2012 10:35 AM ET
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Just finished Angel Seeker, which is the 5th and last book in Sharon Shinn's Samaria series.  It's horrible to say, but I'm kind of glad that this is the last book.  It saves me the trouble of deciding if I want to continue or give up.

There's nothing really wrong with the books, really.  They just follow their own stereotypes too closely.  The Edori are always kind, open hearted, and welcoming.  The Jansai men are always strict, brutal and inflexible.  The stereotypes wouldn't bug me nearly so much except that the Edori are so obviously Jews and the Jansai are so obviously Muslims.  It gives the series a lot of religious and political overtones - some of which I think Shinn does mean to have in there, others of which I think are unintended.

This has always bothered me a bit - but since this book focused so closely on the Jansai while still having a fairly major Edori side-plot, the parallels and comparison were a bit obnoxious this time.

Subject: #6 TBR SF novel artificial intelligence main character
Date Posted: 10/27/2012 10:06 AM ET
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Robots and Empire, by Isaac Asimov, 1985 ***

Isaac Asimov wrote his original Robot, Empire, and Foundation novels as separate series in the 1950s, and then in the 1980s wrote a number of novels that bridge them together into a continuous future history. The Robots of Dawn and Robots and Empire are two that form the bridge between his Robot mysteries, and his Empire adventures. Here is the complete chronology:

1 The Caves of Steel (Robot) 1954
2 The Naked Sun (Robot) 1957
3 The Robots of Dawn (Robot) 1983
4 Robots and Empire (Robot) 1985
5 Pebble In The Sky (Empire) 1950
6 The Stars, Like Dust (Empire) 1951
7 The Currents of Space (Empire) 1952
8 Prelude to Foundation (Foundation Prequel) 1988
9 Forward the Foudation (Foundation Prequel) 1991
10 Foundation (Foundation) 1951
11 Foundation and Empire (Foundation) 1952
12 Second Foundation (Foundation) 1953
13 Foundation's Edge (Foundation Sequel) 1982
14 Foundation and Earth (Foundation Sequel) 1986

I would not recommend this book as a stand-alone read. If you're familiar with Asimov's robotic detective novels and his adventure novels set in his imperial space, then this bridge novel would be interesting. Even so, the bridge is made of two novels, and you should read The Robots of Dawn first. Unlike the earlier Robot novels however, this one is not a murder mystery, but a more mechanical story that explains the transition between what were previously unconnected timelines. It is nostalgic to see our robot friend R. Daneel Olivaw again, and the part he plays in the transition partially through his own perspective. I have to say though, that while his thought patterns and behaviors are presented as logical thinking, the conclusions he reaches are more like intuitive leaps than actual reason. In the end, I give it a mediocre rating, only recommended to dedicated fans of Isaac Asimov.



Last Edited on: 10/27/12 4:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: #1 TBR SF book that has languished the longest on your shelf
Date Posted: 11/4/2012 7:23 PM ET
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Star Trek II: Des Zorn Des Khan, by Vonda McIntyre, translated by Hans Maeter, 1981

This was my fifth book read in German.  I started this "hobby" just last year, and this one was by far the fastest for me - about a week and a half.  It's been sitting on my TBR shelf for 29 years, ever since I brought it back as a souvenir of a trip to Vienna with the intention to learn to read the language.  I wish I could say Mt. TBR was now caught up to date in this category, but there is yet one more with the same shelf-life.

I saw the movie The Wrath of Khan many years ago, but still remember it very well. This book went into a little more depth on some of the characters' thoughts, but the events were identical. Probably this is why I seldom read book novelizations of movies. But, to read it in German was fun in a different way. I loved to read the famous lines - "Die Bedürfnisse der vielen sind wichtiger als die Bedürfnisse der wenigen, oder des einen." - "Leben Sie lange und glücklich." - "Nehmen Sie Kurs auf den zweiten Stern von rechts, und dann immer geradeaus, bis zum Morgen."



Last Edited on: 11/16/12 7:38 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/8/2012 4:44 PM ET
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7/10 main, 4/9 bonus completed

My book that I planned to read for a different challenge was Ursula Le Guin's A Fisherman of the Inland Sea - which has been on Mt. TBR for about 6 years now.  I liked the first half but wasn't too enthusiastic about the last half.

It was quite different from what I was expecting, especially the last half of the anthology.  The last few stories are rather abstract - more of a "what if" type story than I'd normally associate with Le Guin.  They were nominally part of the Hannish Cycle (Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, etc) and I haven't read any of those novels yet.  I'll have to revisit the stories after I read a few of the books and see if that changes my opinion at all.

 

My other reads were both parts of the Liaden universe. 

I read Crystal Dragon which is the follow-up to Crystal Soldier.  My least favorite of the series by far.  It didn't add anything we didn't already know to the universe - though there might have been a few surprises if I were reading in strict publication order.

My next read was Balance of Trade - which is expanded from my favorite novella from the first anthology.  It's about a teenage Terran who manages to get himself apprenticed to a Liaden trader and has to learn the Liaden language and customs.  I loved this one.  It's quite different from the rest of the Liaden series so far (no action and no romance), but still very much set in the same universe.  This is going into the "YA main character" category in the bonus section.

My current read (and the last Liaden book I currently have on Mt. TBR) is The Liaden Unibus II - the second/last of the anthologies.  I'm only a couple stories into it, but it's really great to get the back story/glimpse into the childhood of the characters from the novels. (Closest paperback is: Liaden Universe® Companion Volume Two  )

And despite all of this reading I've done, I'm just treading water as far as Mt. TBR goes.  I'm buying about the same rate I've been reading, even though I'm trying to cut back!



Last Edited on: 11/8/12 4:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: #10 TBR SF book that you had planned to read for some other previously-clos
Date Posted: 11/13/2012 9:27 PM ET
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Heavy Weather, by Bruce Sterling, 1984

This was selected for Hard-SF Book of the Month about a half a year ago, but I've been falling behind on that reading, to the point where I would have to say I missed the window on this one.  So the book didn't bubble up again until the Mt. TBR challenge.

Given the extreme weather conditions we have experienced in 2012, this novel from one of the creators of cyberpunk feels almost ripped from the headlines. And yet, it was published 18 years ago. This is a book about extreme climate change and the the meteorology of North American plains. Weatherpunk? The basic set-up is a band of tornado chasers who operate in 2031 West Texas, a land of declining economics, declining civil order, and declining human survivability. At one point, I did some research on the side so as to have some factual knowledge of the formation and behavior of tornadoes.

The brother and sister characters of Alex and Jane were well developed, and I totally believed their relationship with each other. In addition, I found the sexual relationship between Jane and Jerry to be full of divergent expectations and understanding as to be believable. The emotions here are some heavy weather themselves.

Jerry's obsessive search for the mythical F-6 tornado event began to remind of me of Captain Ahab in Moby Dick. Once I thought of that, I began to see other parallels in characters and plot was well as symbolism. However, this is far from a retelling - and the ending is not a done deal.

Philosophically the novel poses the dilemma of the dedicated observer, who considers whether taking action would be a more appropriate response to the world. And it asks the question, where did the meddling with nature begin and who bears the responsibility. Maybe Sterling's answer is that humanity just does what humanity must do - are we then "damaged goods right out of the box"?

I'm giving this one a high recommendation, and considering that I need to look into more writings of Bruce Sterling.

The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, 2012

I've also recently read this brand new collaboration, but can't count it in the challenge, since it was part of a bookring sent to me from someone in Hawaii, that I have now mailed on to someone else in Australia. 

Suppose someone invented a dirt-cheap, build-it-in-your-basement, machine that allowed anyone to transfer themselves to a parallel Earth, or the next, or the next, ad infinitum.  This book explores the logical consequences, mostly in terms of human behaviors.  The attraction for me, was that the book is set in Madison, Wisconsin about 50 miles from here - and the places named are all real ones.  In general though, it seemed odd to have people who supposedly live in Madison behaving and talking like Brits.  By the end I think they have used up all the permutations of the big concept, and I give the book a mediocre recommendation.



Last Edited on: 11/14/12 10:52 AM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 11/14/2012 1:40 AM ET
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My TBR pile is still rather tall but I have managed to bring it down by a few inches.

Since I don't really have any idea of which book has been on the shelf the longest, I went with oldest book I had yet to read.  Transfinite Man by Colin Kapp was published in the mid 60's.  Dalroi was a member of the underclass that grew up with a hatred of the vast all consuming Failway corporation.  He uses the excuse of investigating the disappearance of an investigating committee to try to destroy them/it.  An antihero with mental gifts forced by manipulation and circumstance to become superhuman and finally transcend humanity altogether is a familar plot.  This was done MUCH better by Bester's The Stars My Destination.  Read Bester's novel and don't bother with this one.

I also read Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks.  This was a slam dunk for the TBR SF novel with alien or post-human or artificial intelligence main character as everbody in the book is an alien, post-human or artificial intelligence.  Several societies have virtual afterlives including virtual hells.  There are those species/cultures that believe they are necessary and those that feel that they are barbaric and should be shut down.  They cannot agree and so decide to have a simulated war to decide the matter.  One side sees itself as losing and so decides to bring the war into the real.  The Culture is supposedly neutral.  I love the Culture series and I enjoyed this book but it's not his best.  Too many of the pieces felt unconnected and/or pointless and the last minute introduction of an all powerful alien race to wrap things up felt very artificial. 

My TBR book by a male author slot is filled by Rule 34 by Charles Stross.  This is a great near future science fiction police procedural/thriller involving cybercrime and the effect of technology on people.  Liz Kavanaugh is a detective assigned to the Rule 34 squad who is investigating a series of murders relating to internet spam.  (Rule 34-If it exists, there is porn of it)  While written in an odd point of view (2nd person), Rule 34 is an intelligent, scary and sometimes funny take on where technology is taking us.

 

Subject: mid-point in the 4Q challenge
Date Posted: 11/15/2012 8:55 PM ET
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So, today is the midpoint of the 4Q challenge - and it looks like others are already checking in with regard to their progress.  I've read five categories, and since I haven't acquired any new books, Mt. TBR is down by five.  I don't anticipate any problem with completing another five before the end.

On the other hand, I am now the proud owner of a brand new kindle fire hd minitablet, and could not stop myself from downloading two free public domain titles.   So in the past few days I've re-read The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds for the umpteenth time, outside the challenge.  In both cases, I found that my memories of the books had become contaminated with memories of various movies.  The Time Machine remains one of the all-time best SF novels ever, for me.  The War of the Worlds is pretty good, but I grew tired of the litany of villages and neighborhoods around London that I am totally unfamiliar with, and also with the irrelevant plotline of the narrator's brother.  With a little tightening up, this could have been as much a gem as The Time Machine.

I don't know yet where this will lead in terms of my reading and bookhunting habits, but it's a pretty nice device, and I like reading on it.

-Tom Hl.

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