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Topic: Challenge Category - Sci Fi

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Subject: Challenge Category - Sci Fi
Date Posted: 3/7/2010 6:25 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
Posts: 364
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I had a hard time choosing a classic science fiction book because I'm not a big fan.  I finally decided to read Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.  I know it's probably considered a more modern classic but it was still a challenge for me.  :)

I found it very well written and smart.  I liked the fact that Vonnegut gave the main character the last name Pilgrim since he was portrayed as a time traveler.  Do I think he was really a time traveler or that there was a planet named Tralfamadore?  No, I think Pilgrim suffered terrible mental effects from things he witnessed in WWII.  That's all I'm going to say because I don't want to give too much away in case others plan on reading this one. 

It is definitely an anti-war book but not the kind of anti-war book that just slaps you in the face.  In fact, it didn't really strike me as anti-war until I had finished it. 

Would I recommend it?  I guess I would...it is a very thought provoking story and it's relatively short.  So it goes.

Date Posted: 3/8/2010 5:14 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Do you think you'll read any more Vonnegut?

My dad turned me on to Vonnegut when I was pretty young, and he's always been one of my favorite authors (though it's been a while since I reread anything of his, and my memory is getting kind of sketchy in places). . . Slaughterhouse Five was not my favorite of his novels though. . . war novels (of any stripe) make me too sad, and I prefer to laugh while reading (unless the crying is a release). . . so my favorites have always been Vonnegut's more absurd, like Cat's Cradle or Sirens of Titan (which do, of course, travel some of the same philosophical ground as Slaughterhouse Five -- their forms are just more pleasing to me, lol).

Date Posted: 3/17/2010 1:55 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
Posts: 364
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I'm not sure if I'll ever read Vonnegut again.  I'm glad I read Slaughterhouse Five though.  :)

Date Posted: 3/19/2010 10:44 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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I've been wanting to try Slaughterhouse Five, but I am a bit hesitant. Everytime I read the synopsis, I think it sounds really weird, and  I'll probably not understand this at all.

and so it goes...

I like war novels. I am currently reading one now and I've got some Tim O' Brian--The Things They Carried and Going to Caccatio (sp?)--lined up too.



Last Edited on: 7/22/10 1:32 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/19/2010 10:24 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,461
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My wife, who does not read Sci Fi, read that one and one more Vonnegut. Then when I once said, Vonnegut writes only one story, his own, she wondered why I was so slow to figure it out. He was a holocaust survivor, you know. Was in Dresden.

Date Posted: 3/20/2010 7:38 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
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Speaking of the Sci-Fi category, I need an opinion.  I don't typically (okay, almost never) like sci-fi.  I'm somewhat dreading reading The War of the Worlds.  Yes, I know--don't read something that I don't want to read, but see, I don't want to read sci-fi.  My husband just had something from one of those TV channels he watches (while I read) like the History Channel, etc. about H.G. Wells.  I'm wondering if I would like The Island of Dr. Moreau better than The War of the Worlds.  Has anyone read both?

Date Posted: 3/20/2010 12:12 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,461
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The Time Machine beats both of those. And if you don't particularly care for sci fi for whatever reason, all of the Edgar Rice Burroughs books about Mars are really well-told stories regardless of genre. His story-telling technique is both basic and sophisticated.

Date Posted: 3/20/2010 12:52 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,930
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I love Island of Dr. Moreau, War of the Worlds is just ok IMO, but I'm a big fan of H.G. Wells, and Moreau & Invisible Man are my favorites.  Still IoDM is his best, its well written, eerily prophetic and thought-provoking.  You could debate the scientific ethics in Dr. Moreau for days, draw real, modern day parallels and still not have a consensus.



Last Edited on: 3/22/10 7:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/22/2010 8:17 AM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2008
Posts: 402
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The Time Machine is a great read. I go back and forth with Sci Fi and such but anything by H.G. Wells IMO is worth a gander.
Date Posted: 3/22/2010 10:36 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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I read the Time Machine for this challenge, and I liked it.  4/5.  It's terribly short, but it works very well, and I found his projection for what would become of humanity quite interesting. 

I'm reading War of the Worlds now in bits and pieces.  It's my current "TV book"--that is, the one I read while half watching TV (usually, sports or political commentary).  TV books always take longer than my commute books (3 hours a day eats through books much faster) but the fact that I'm not finished two weeks later says something -- I never take that long on a book.   I like the writing and the story is interesting, but the characters are ... mediocre is being too generous.  That is probably why it's far from compelling, even with good writing and storyline.   The writing and story make it good enough to continue, no question, but because of such poorly drawn characters, I don't connect to any of it, and it doesn't inspire me to grab it and continue at any opportunity. 

Added:  Poorly drawn characters doesn't really convey what I mean, so I'm going to try again.  There's nothing "poor" about what's drawn, in the sense of "lack of skill" or execution.  Based on the author's other work, I don't think he lacked skill in "drawing" characters.  It's more like the scarcity of content in the drawing.  He draws in a rough outline, but doesn't develop it at all.  Time Machine was very light on the "drawing" but it was more like a caricature.  Not at all in the way that caricatures typically exaggerate a feature or features, but instead in the way that a few quick, skilled strokes successfully convey the "essence" of the person.  It was enough in Time Machine.  Perhaps in part because the story was so much shorter.  Perhaps he would have needed to fill in more if those characters had needed to carry a longer story.



Last Edited on: 3/26/10 1:15 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 7/21/2010 11:08 AM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,914
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I read Savage Pellucidar by Edgar Rice Burroughs for this read from a copy of the original book printed by Ace Books in 1963.  It's a delightful read!  The tale reminds me of those old-time chase movies because the action goes and goes and goes.  The characters (many) explore, get lost, are captured, escape, and the sequence repeats.  Meet David Innes and Abner Perry who drill into earth's interior only to discover a world within a world, Pellucidar.  Inhabited by cave men and beasts of the time, they find themselves stranded.  David falls in love with Dian the Beautiful and Perry invents and invents.  The adventures of Innes and Perry combine with those of several other characters.  It's great fun to read! 



Last Edited on: 7/21/10 11:08 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/2/2010 11:44 PM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
Posts: 483
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Just finished The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells and I would recommend it if anyone is still looking for a book for this challenge.  Is is short, attention grabbing and thought provoking.  At first I was amused by the invisible man (he was so crabby!) and ultimately was saddened.  Good book!

Date Posted: 9/3/2010 10:00 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
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Michele, maybe I should change to The Invisible Man.  My choice was War of the Worlds.  I have it in a leather-bound edition, as an audio book, and on my Kindle.  However, I am dreading it as my last challenge of the year.  Science fiction is just not my choice, EVER!

Date Posted: 9/3/2010 6:35 PM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
Posts: 483
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Vivian, I'm not a science fiction fan, either.  I think that's why The Invisible Man appealed to me - the setting was an English country village and the surrounding countryside.  Also, the manner in which the MC becomes invisible is explained in a manner that at least sounds realistic.  The really interesting part was the reactions of the villagers to the invisible man and the mental changes that he goes through as the book progresses.