Discussion Forums - Science Fiction

Topic: What are you reading? - January 2010

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: What are you reading? - January 2010
Date Posted: 1/1/2010 2:32 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
Back To Top

The Man In The High Castle, by Philip K. Dick, 1962.

This was a re-read for me, so will not be counted in the SF forum challenge.  So I have started a thread for January 2010 reading, separate from Challenge discussions.  But when I looked into my notes, I found that it was *35* years ago that I last read it, as a college student. Ouch.  Those of you on the challenge could count this as the 1963 Hugo winner, or an alternate history.

I completely enjoyed re-reading this, not just the plot and characters, but the texture of the American-Japanese and American-German cultures. I was fascinated by the extension of the somewhat psychotic German Nazi-ism, and mystical Japanese philosophy onto American soil. Although I have to say I think Dick was confused about eastern religions. The story references mostly Taoism and Tibetan Buddhism, while the religions of Japan are actually Shinto and Zen Buddhism. I appreciated his careful use of German language and Japanese syntax - which is why I was frustrated at the conversion of Dick's words to British spellings in the Penguin edition I read.

I am left pondering the overly idealistic alternate reality within the alternate reality (the world of The Grasshopper Lies Heavy). If only Germany and Japan had lost the war, everything would have turned out wonderfully - while Dick's readers all know it did not. Why did the I Ching dictate this story to Abendsen, rather than a realistic one?

-Tom Hl.

Date Posted: 1/1/2010 3:09 PM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2006
Posts: 50
Back To Top

I'm in the middle of the very entertaining Songs of the Dying Earth, a collection of stories by various authors set in the world of Jack Vance's Dying Earth.   Following that will most likely be some Leigh Brackett, either Martian Quest or one of her novels.

Date Posted: 1/1/2010 3:17 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
Back To Top

I'm going to try to stick to challenge books this month (I'm really starting to think I'm insane for joining four challenges) so in SF that means Mendoza in Hollywood by Kage Baker (though this is the last one of the novels of the Company I'm going to use for the challenge; three is already pushing the categories they can count for!) and The Risen Empire by Scott Westerfeld.

Date Posted: 1/1/2010 11:45 PM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2008
Posts: 447
Back To Top

Well, I'm still reading a page here & there of Harmony Homecoming.  It hasn't grabbed me yet.  It's not bad.   It just seems to be more of the same.  I really have to read Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman because it's due at the library tomorrow and I can't renew it because it has a hold on it.  It's short so hopefully I can finish it this weekend and get it returned.  Then I will return to Harmony. 

Date Posted: 1/9/2010 12:23 PM ET
Member Since: 1/6/2010
Posts: 60
Back To Top

I just read The Man in the High Castle not too long ago, and it seems like Dick ended it in a way that would be open to interpretation.  My take on why the world in The Grasshopper Lies Heavy is so idealized is that the purpose of the book was to make its readers want to live in a world where the axis had lost the war.  Offering a vision of a better society would nudge them in that direction.  

 

I'm currently reading Spook Country, by William Gibson and have such a huge TBR pile I'm not sure what'll be next.

Date Posted: 1/12/2010 4:39 PM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2009
Posts: 64
Back To Top

Just finished Young Miles and started Red Thunder.

Paul H. (PaulH) - ,
Date Posted: 1/14/2010 9:50 PM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2008
Posts: 146
Back To Top

I just started Dune Messiah.  I've read Dune at least 3 or 4 times, but have never gotten around to the rest of Herbert's books.  I guess because everyone I've ever talked to always said the other books are nowhere near as good as the original.  But they've all been sitting on my TBR shelves for years, so I figure might as well get started on them!

Date Posted: 1/15/2010 1:29 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2009
Posts: 360
Back To Top

Ohhh, you are in for a treat with the rest of the Dune Chronicles. All the prequels and sequels by his son and Anderson are cool too, but not on the esoteric level that is the Dune Chronicles :-)

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 1/15/2010 2:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
Back To Top

To each his own, but I did not like Dune Messiah...and Dune is my favorite single book of all time.

Subject: KA Bedford
Date Posted: 1/23/2010 11:07 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
Back To Top

Well Pfhooee.  Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait started out great, then fizzled, but did get better at the end.  Main character was just too self-indulgent and the story line was rather odd.  I don't think the author dealt with paradoxes (sp??) appropriately.  So I picked up Hydrogen Steel by the same author and liked this book a leeeeetle bit better but I wasn't as happy with this author as I thought I was gonna be.  I've had these two books on my wish list for what seemed like years, so I finally ordered from Amazon.  Maybe the anticipation/expectation was just too much. 

Still, I'd probably read any additional books from this author if they ever come up for trade.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 1/26/2010 7:57 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
Back To Top

 

I finally finished Marsbound by Joe Haldeman...I read it in parts in Analog magazine, and I read parts I and II quite a while ago.  I guess serial novels are a neat idea, but I think I prefer the flow of a single book.

As a side note, that's the 26th book I've read by Haldeman.

Subject: Star Trek Furies series alternating with Grantville Gazette V
Date Posted: 1/26/2010 9:48 PM ET
Member Since: 1/2/2010
Posts: 69
Back To Top

I've been reading the Star Trek Invasion series and I'm on the last book Final Fury by Dafydd Ab Hugh.  Like most Star Trek, they've all been easy reads but nothing really thought provoking or challenging to the mind.  The Grantville Gazette has been very interesting and thought provoking.  I enjoy books about going back in time and this series is really into it.  It gets me thinking of what I would be able to come up with if it happened to me.  I've read most of the other 1632 series books, written and edited by Eric Flint, and I have enjoyed each and every one of them.  Several I've read two or three times and still find new stuff.

Date Posted: 1/26/2010 9:55 PM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2008
Posts: 447
Back To Top

1632 was a great book!   Have you read Jack Finney's books?  They are a bit different because they knew he was going to go back in time but still good reads.  1632 was interesting in the way they modified and used what ended up there with them.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 1/28/2010 2:04 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
Back To Top

I just ordered Starbound by Joe Haldeman from Amazon...blame online booksellers all you want, but I was willing to pay a higher price at my local Borders.  They told me that not only do they not have it, they aren't getting it.

Date Posted: 1/28/2010 3:19 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
Back To Top

Yep.

Same thing happened to me with the newest Robin McKinley volume.

I've done the only thing a consumer can do, which was write the corporate offices to complain about the lack of selection (and I live in a major metropolitan area, AND I even do my research to find out which of the branches of each of the major chains has the best selection -- I shudder to think what life would be like if I lived in a small town) but their business model is in the process of becoming extinct and they've decided to lie down and wait for it. . .

Subject: off topic
Date Posted: 1/29/2010 11:58 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
Back To Top

There was something on the Little Rock news channel which kinda disturbed me about Loredo Texas.  The ONLY bookstore in town had just closed - If I remember right, it was a Borders.  Loredo is a pretty big town, right?  Anyways, people were protesting and demonstrating in front of the store.  The manager (I'm guessing here) was on camera and said even though the store was profitable it was a decision made from higher up.

Sheesh.

Date Posted: 1/29/2010 9:09 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
Back To Top

I know Borders has been having trouble. . . the store may have been profitable, but only just barely.

Much as it seems a tragedy to me that the only bookstore in a town closed down, where were those protestors BEFORE the store closed? I guarantee, if the store was raking in money hand over fist Borders would not have decided to close it. . .

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 1/30/2010 11:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
Back To Top

I certainly do not live in a major metropolitan area...there are only three chain bookstores in the entire county where I live, and nowhere else to buy new books unless you count WalMart.  I'd hate to see any stores close around here, but I have to admit their lack of selection isn't helping.

Date Posted: 2/2/2010 3:37 AM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2007
Posts: 1,157
Back To Top

Allison:

There was something on the Little Rock news channel which kinda disturbed me about Loredo Texas.  The ONLY bookstore in town had just closed - If I remember right, it was a Borders.  Loredo is a pretty big town, right?  Anyways, people were protesting and demonstrating in front of the store.  The manager (I'm guessing here) was on camera and said even though the store was profitable it was a decision made from higher up.

It was a waldenbooks or some other mall store brand like that which belongs to Borders but is being eliminated as a brand. The store isn't being closed because of its individual profitability, they're closing the whole chain of stores under that brand, and it would be prohibitively expensive to continue it for just one store.

Borders has been very up-front about it all and says that they are actually opening a much larger store in Laredo (I think they said it would be over six times the size), but were unable to get a lease on an appropriate space in time to have the new store open before the old one closed. The new store is expected to open later this year.

Date Posted: 2/2/2010 3:42 AM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2007
Posts: 1,157
Back To Top

Last week I read "An Accidental Goddess", by Linnea Sinclair. It was light, fun, and well written.

I am presently re-reading "Prelude To Foundation", by Asimov. I last read it when it was new. I've been re-reading the whole Foundation series (including the secondary authors' books) and this is one of the last few I have to get through. Honestly, it's not his best work.

I think next I'm going to re-read "The Kindly Ones", by Melissa Scott, and then I'm going to move on to something new.

Date Posted: 2/2/2010 2:54 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
Back To Top

I would definitely agree that Prelude to Foundation isn't Asimov's best work. . . but somehow it's one that always stuck with me. It might be because that was when I first saw the connections he was making between all his major series; it might be because I just really enjoyed all the sectors of Trantor; heck, maybe it was just because he was interested enough in the characters to give 'em a love story. But somehow, that's one of the Foundation novels I remember best. . .

Now, Forward the Foundation I didn't enjoy at all. . . can't remember why though, it's been a lot of years. . .