SF/F Reading in July, 2018

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Boreas, Jul 1, 2018.

  1. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    What science fiction or fantasy works are you currently reading?

    I'm still on King's The Long Walk.
     
  2. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    It is so quiet here. I guess most are on holiday, like me:p Sorry @Safari Bob;)

    I am still reading The Star (The Collected Stories) by Arthur C. Clarke. I pick one of these stories now and then. I'm enjoying getting to know Clarke better; there is a quality in his narrative that grabs my attention very rapidly, probably his witticism and dry sense of humour.
    I'm interested in reading more of Clarke's work, and I think I will choose Childhood's End. Then, I have also checked 2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey, #1) and damn, I love that film! I have watched it several times, and it keeps impacting me after all these years. However, if the movie is loyal to the book, then I will not enjoy it as I should.

    I have also completed The Tiger and the Wolf (Echoes of the Fall #1) by Tchaikovsky, a very uncomplicated, engrossing story, with a very original world and a very promising sequel: perfect for a summer read.
     
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  3. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    Still slowly reading The Soldier: Rise of the Jain, Neal Asher's new blockbuster first novel in his newest Polity trilogy. After the slow first half in which the story is developed, it busts out in an action avalanche that even exceeds that of Orbus. By the way, fans should read his new short story collection Owning the Future, which is as important to the new novels of The Polity as is Galactic North to Reynolds' Revelation Space universe. Hugely enjoyable and informative. Only $4.99 US for 275 pages, great bargain for what you get. Tell them that the puppy sent you.
     
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  4. Safari Bob

    Safari Bob Well-Known Member

    @Diziet Sma This is my busy time at work so no vacay for me. :(
     
  5. Safari Bob

    Safari Bob Well-Known Member

    The Boy started the Dresden books by Butcher. He started with Storm Front. This is big news because (1) he doesn't seem to like reading and (2) he asked me if he could borrow the book!
     
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  6. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Well, it always starts with the right book. Let's hope he enjoys it and that he keeps borrowing books from you (politely)
     
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  7. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Well-Known Member

    finished Hyperion ~ Dan Simmons


    its really good. set up in the cliche structure of the canterbury tales (group of pilgrims meet up on a trip, and tell their stories of why they go, what happened in their past.) but this is one of the books that proves that cliches need not be bad, but can be really good.


    the first three tales are all really good, each getting better, more unique and colorful, each falling to a deep set depression. the detective s tale, is jarring, misplaced, unwanted. suddenly out of no where we get a laugh track and a bright clear eyed tale. the ending (of this tale) makes up for it by putting us back on the morbid trail.


    I removed one star for the ending of this book, it was awful. like really bad. it had no place in this book at all. NO i am not talking about the cliff hanger, I don't care about that. the actual state of the book could make for an intriguing stand alone. I only refer to the last two pages. just those, that offer nothing to the book but a stain of bad writing. they don't even change the ending. you can tear them out and have one fantastic beautiful book. (with or without a sequel). ARRRGGHHH !!
    they all walk hand in hand off to the tombs, singing the wonderful wizard of Oz...
    SERIOUSLY.... after that, I was looking for a Pie launcher between the last page and the cover. I expected Rick Roll to start playing, I expected Ashton Kuentchner to leap out behind me and yell "BUUUURRRNNN!" Or better yet, to wake up from my dream, or find tape keeping those last two pages in.


    There is not one line, not one word, throughout the entire book that can be taken as similar or setting up anything remotely close to those last two pages.


    8/10

    I am reading Fall of Hyperion already, because despite the end, it was a really good book.
     
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  8. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Well-Known Member

    Foundation's Edge ~ Isaac Asimov




    Foundation's Edge apparently was a long expected sequel to the foundation series. But the long period of wait seems to have dulled the inspiration, or maybe it's that Asimov overextended himself with trying tie as many separate stories and series together as possible. don't get me wrong, it is good, but not nearly as good as the trilogy.


    we get to see the continuation of the situations set up at the end of Second Foundation, and we get several tie ins to the robot anthology series, and the robot detective series. but these tie ins seem very forced and contrived.
    worse still the weird contrived Gaia was just grating to all senses but adding the two robots as progenitors of the world at least adds, as their explanation of future plans needed answering, I just wish they didn't go into the bad fortune cookie horoscope nonsense of the living entwined world.


    End of Eternity, was referenced in Foundations Edge

    Foundation and Earth~ Isaac Asimov

    and, Nemesis~ Isaac Asimov


    Foundation and Earth is a direct sequel to Foundation's edge, rather Precisely as the exact moment after the ending. I suspect the books were originally merged as one whole and broken up to two for convenience at a good climatic ending.

    The obvious (so much so it is NOT a spoiler) is that they are continuing the search for Earth.

    But the rest is all very spoiler heavy soo...


    So we leave Gaia in the same way as the last two books set forth the plothook. "there is someone out there Manipulating us (or me) and I want it stopped" first it was trying to shake free of the Second Foundations influence, then this mysterious Gaia which they thought was earth, but now they realize that the entire Galaxy INCLUDING Gaia is wearing blinders in regards to the Origin planet and it's location, Earth. clearly they must be manipulating the Galaxy much like the two previous antagonists (SF and Gaia). annnd we're off.


    this book is much more interesting than the last and the ridiculous groan worthy Gaia is left at a minimum. Gaia essentially is trying to turn the entire Galaxy into one giant entity, or Yeevo. they even mention an imaginary tentacled network. (I wonder if that's where Futurama got it?) And the "decider" (another modern scifi cartoon reference) has selected the Yeevo existence as the ultimate answer, but has no idea why. (nt much choice, as all three choices relieve Mankind from a freedom of individuality, so Galaxia being without conflict becomes an obvious option)


    The book serves mostly as a merging of the four major Foundation universe series. (robot Anthology, Robot Detective, Empire, and Foundation) and it was really satisfyingly well done unlike most attempts like that.


    First we end up on the bureaucratic center for the general sector we are looking towards, This gives us a red herring but mostly serves as a backdrop for some major infodump (but very well done and not at all intrusively so) as well as a way for Asimov to showcase his sexual fantasies (not a complaint, I am not a prude, but it's obvious, as it has been for all his other Sexual fantasies slid into his books, it's like he sits down and says "OMG that dream was soo hot, which book should I put it in" he is never pornographic, and the scenes are brief and never overstay their welcome)


    Second we predictably end up finding out what happen to Aurora. but find zero info. a very well written red herring


    Third we end up on Solaria, as soon as you realize this (if you read Foundation and Robots) you find yourself yelling "don't go in there" like so much slasher film. "GET OUT GET OUT" we find out the truth that was only a mystery in FnR and it is rather a satisfying end, the Solarians find themselves more and more isolationist until the entire society has broken down to a bunch of individuals who never interbreed but use society to perpetuate their own decendant lines, and their comfortable privacy. heavy in Eugenics and Pro-, first half of the 20th century American Conservatism (which is very isolationist, why it took us so long to join both world wars) both drawn in a slightly negative slant (rightly so, but less relavant today).


    We pick up a Hermaphrodite child from Solaria and move on to the next planet, but instead of being Earth like we suspect, it is a brand new world, one we could mistake for mars, but ends up being just another spacer world we had never heard of. here we find coordinate for all of them. we form a star map of all fifty and assume the center is Earth, postulating a pre-luminal locomotion.


    Fourth, we land on Alpha Centari, called Alpha, explained to might meaning the first in some sort of lingo, and therefore being Earth, maybe, Astronomers in the Audience should be torn between believing Earth to be a Melted polar icecap "Waterworld" starring Kevin Costner and several dozen Rube Goldberg machines, kind of world, and acknowledging that Alpah Centari would be REALLY close to center and therefore likely. This mostly ocean with a few islands world is populated with very few inhabitants. all with Japanese naming system and a Pacific Islander culture complete with Barebreasts very meticulously described. we locate a nearby star and interrupt the relaxed sex abundant existence with a threat of subtle death and leave.


    Fifth We find Earth, impossibly still radioactive (but if you read FnR it makes sense) and figure out the manipulating influence to be on the moon.


    sixth we meet R Deniel (the robot partner to Elijah Bailey in the robot detective series) and tie up all the loose ends. very neat and tidy. We also get a hint at a sixth book Asimov doesn't live long enough to write, "foundation and galaxy" (perhaps) as a unified single entity "galaxia" could defend against an invasion from another Galaxy.


    politically I think I may oppose with the conclusion, but on scientific principle I EMBRACE it. It also allows for the arguments against the conclusion to be very soundly correct, as the Galaxia system devised can easily be taken as a arguments against Communism on the basis of cultural, scientific, and political stagnation.


    It will take me many years of thought to untangle my opinions of FOR, from my opinions AGAINST. Even if I manage, I doubt I will ever be able to say decidedly If I am Pro, or Anti, the poltical thought in this book.


    with all that said I would put this as one of the best in the series.

    9/10


    Nemesis


    Based on a theory that we could have a neighbor star closer than Alpha Centari hidden behind thr Oort cloud (this theory proposed in a paper in 1986, had been subjected to enough ridicule to be considered impossible by this books publication in 1990) The star in this book is heading towards Sol system (and therefore the destruction of every overpopulated colony in the system) This whole concept is used in that RECENT Awful Awful Awful Awful Awful Awful Awful Awful Awful Awful Awful Awful, completely not mistakable as scifi movie often touted as a brilliant scifi (Hollywood is run by idiots), Melancholia. I went in wanting to hate it, but its not that bad. This is good writing (unlike Melancholia)


    Foundatin and Earth 9/10

    Nemesis 6/10



    Gods Themselves. either 8.5 or 7.5 out of ten. hmmmm...
     
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  9. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Well-Known Member

    as requested
    Prelude to Foundation~ Isaac Asimov

    and Norby the Mixed up Robot~Janet Asimov (Isaac edited mostly, and This is part one of the twofor collection, Norby Chronicles)


    Prelude WOW, I cannot think of a better prequel ever. prequels as a general rule are pretty much garbage, with a few okay or goods. THIS was even better than the rest of the series of series'.


    So we are watching Hari Seldon (not a spoiler) in his efforts to create Psychohistory with which the Foundation series is based. This starts with Hari having just finishing his presentation at a conference of the most learned Mathmaticians in the Galaxy, on psychohistory, a subject that Hari insist was just a toy of a theory but not actually practical, and not actually workable into a comprehensive framework, AKA useless save as a mathematic joke. We then see all sorts of people wanting to use the mathematics in ways that he insists are not possible (fortune telling) and so he hides/goes to find out if It can be useful. We then explore Trantor much in a similar fashion as the worlds in Foundation and Earth. This we are exploring a world we kniw almost nothing about but vague references, and post collapse cultures.


    I will give you a hint on one of them, AMISH CHRISTIAN ROMANCE


    There are several Retcons (Retoractively changed Continuities, OR continuity errors perhaps) but can't expect everything to mesh up perfectly, especially since there are twenty two books written over 50 year, NOT in (in world) chronological order, several written before they were decided to be added to the universe.


    example
    Hari Seldon now creates Psychohistory as a base theory, no assistance. In "Robots of Dawn" ANd "Foundation and Earth", Giscarde created it by pushing it into a character to get it started and Tells R. Daneel about it. in the new continuity R. Daneel is clueless until the Presentation by Seldon 12k (or 20k, unsure about timelines) years ago


    There is a rule I am now enacting for Asimiov. Never miss an opportunity to describe breasts. At least this time it is heading towards a plot point.


    HEY we finally got ole Asimov to be a little romantic, instead of just presenting his gratuitous sexual fantasies, this time the descriptive nudes lead to a nicely done (though subtle) romance ending.


    All to satisfying are the references to various Asimov books

    HEY we find out not all the spacers die off, the small Amish community on trantor is essentially a Auroran Ghetto. They keep the population to the standard limits they were used too, they obsess over being better than everyone else (nothing new there) they refuse to upgrade their technology beyond what was available when they were on Aurora. They remain the producers of the absolute best food in the galaxy. But they now keep an old Auroran Encyclopedia and thump it like a bible, even worshipping both a deactivated robot and their lost world. demonizing R. Daneel in the process.


    I loved the ending, stellar. And (warning the next spoiler is also a spoiler for the second prequel book)

    They gave us enough oddly used words and hints that the big reveal in book two should start to itch in your mind, at least as a question.


    as for Norby. that is a hard pass.


    Prelude to Foundation, 10/10

    Norby, 3/10
     
  10. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Well-Known Member

    as requested
    finished Forward to Foundation~ Isaac Asimov
    also two other Norby books, NO REVIEW, just don't try to read it, its bad.

    Not as good as Prelude, BUT it is still top five of the many many foundation universe books.

    Much like Prelude the book is structured likened to other books in the series, Whereas Prelude structures like the Foundation and Earth exploration (travelogue baby) This book is structured more like the original Foundation trilogy, a series of Seldon Crisis'.

    We also rope in Nemesis as now part of the Foundation Universe (though it was advertised as a NEW universe when it came out) but much like End of Eternity, it is mentioned as a distant Myth that may or may not be true, likely not. (even as a myth it is still part of it)
    as the last book (in sequence) in the greater Foundation series it adequetly rounds out the universe, it bridges perfectly the gaps between the various smaller seires (often with retcons unfortunately) It answers so many questions we had, and it ties up everything nice and neat.

    The prequel series is more important to read than the two Trilogy sequels.

    9/10
     
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  11. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    You are a very prolific reader.

    Ha! I liked it. I enjoyed this final image. I'm looking forward to reading your comments after you complete The Fall of Hyperion.:p


     
  12. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    I'm halfway The Devourers by Indra Das. A compelling story dealing in complex themes that keep unraveling as you go along. Das' prose is equally beautiful as visceral.
     
  13. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    I have completed The Devourers by Indra Das, and I have found it to be a great book.
    I. Das reminds me of Glen Duncan's style in his story The Last Werewolf.
    TD is not your popcorn horror story, in fact, it is not horror at all, but a complex tale with in-depth concepts and ponderous and atmospheric prose.
    The Devourers is not a mere story of werewolves but the philosophical study regarding the inherent nature in savagery, and this is conveyed by the introduction of different mythological figures: rakashas, devi, djinn, gods and úlfhéðinn, banbibi, bandurga and bandevi, as well as imakhr and Valkyrie. The many faces of one monster.
    One of Goya's etching works is titled "The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters", and I believe it to be a very fitting description for this book.

    I have also started Haldeman's The Forever War.
     
  14. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    Just finished Angel Station by Walter Jon Williams. Great book without any battles or weapons, but still plenty of action and deep thinking. A completely different kind of first contact story.

    Oh, forgot to mention that Robert Reed has written several novellas in his Great Ship world and they all dropped on May 8. Perfect for fans of the best generation ship series. More deep thoughts. Much more.
     

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