SF/F Reading in June, 2018

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Safari Bob, May 30, 2018.

  1. Safari Bob

    Safari Bob Well-Known Member

    What science fiction/fantasy books are you reading in June?

    I have never read Dune so I thought I might read that this month.
     
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  2. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Well-Known Member

    as requested. the Robot Detective series literally copy and pasted from my BFB posts

    Caves of Steel ~ Isaac Asimov


    much different from I robot, this is more a mystery, buddy cop with one detective a displaying a distaste and sometimes hatred for robots and the other... a robot. much of the mystery is based on the socioogical aspects of robots in society.


    This seems to be where the bulk of the movie gets it's content. the characters are mostly all there like the same same commissioner, protagonist, and robot experts. even the original nature of the crime.

    there is a subtle vague allusion towards a future system of EMPIRE

    the major point
    is that the spacers are trying to destabilize the earth government to force them to except their own way of life that they view as, also broken.


    8/10
    The Naked Sun~ Isaac Asimov


    I warn you now, as a sequel that relies heavily on the former, I cannot talk about even a litttle

    it without mentioning spoilers from caves of steel.



    much like the first book this one follows a detective with a robot partner in a crime noir set in motion by a murder.


    This one takes place on an unusual and unique colony but the first one an earthman has set foot on in centuries. (the detective) in this one you can see a contrived feeling of the protagonist being a Sherlock Holmes clone as three times he says quotes of Holmes in a manner that suggest he might be saying them, not quoting someone. (he also repeatedly acts like holmes).


    Bailey is changed. whereas before he shared the irrational hatred and fear of robots and spacers. now he understands both enough to have a rational distrust knowing full well they are capable of being as weak as earthers. this gives him the advantage over spacers who are too trusting in their ways their methods, and that robots are as mundane as a table.


    the relationship is also changed, to one of strained admiration and constantly working around eachother.


    this book goes through various sequences tied together on the neurotic nature of earthers, and solarians. they just happen to be neurotic in desperate ways. Bailey is hindered outside closed in places without windows as well as with absence of humans. the solarians cant stand human presence to the point of mental breakdowns. they pride themselves in the ability to not interact so they train children to behave similarly. every personal action that requires privacy including nudity is considered just fine for anyone to view during conversation, but the mere act of being in the same house will cause a strange taboo of perversity that none of them can stand. personal space is their only sense of privacy, even whether someone had children is now a private matter.


    these two neurosis must be rectified if Bailey is to solve the case.


    the solution is a redo. but maybe not. from Sherlock Holmes the murder weapon wasn' t found because they were all trained not to notice it from social situations. here the object not noticed is a robot. unable to harm a human, and so mundane everyone did not notice it. this is repeated in Feet of clay by terry pratchett. i cannot help but wonder if this is original to asimov or if he took it from someone else?'


    much like caves of steel the base theme is coupled by hints of info that will destabilize the future into different direction in a way similar to how foundation is set. whereas caves of steel reveals that the colonies are using their considerable power to keep earth not only in check but also in an inferior state of poverty in order to force earth to adopt colony philosophy and do what the colonies want. in this however
    the theme is to reveal that the colonies no longer have any power over earth since their grip has grown complacent, old, and arthritic. this opens up the opportunity for earthers to break free from their planetary prison and form their own colonies in places where the spacers have no influence especially since the spacers have no desire or plans to continue colonies


    there are hints that cause these events to head towards a future like that of Foundation series. considering one of the books on my shelf is "robots and empire" looks like I will be reading foundation as well



    8/10
     
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  3. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Well-Known Member

    The Robots of Dawn ~ Isaac Asimov



    Holy Explicative batman that was good. Ill tell you right now 10/10


    I warn you just as the Naked Sun before I can not even begin to talk about this book without mentioning spoilers from Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun. The Stories are so intricately continuations All spoilers for this book are blocked, but not for the other two.




    so before the Caves of steel makes very brief whispers of the beginning of something the likes of the Galactic Empire, In Naked Sun this is actually referenced as a possible future with specific progress towards, but this is brief. In this book it is referenced heavily to the Foundation Series being the future, between the doctor inventing Psychohistory, to plans of forming very plainly a galactic Empire.


    One thing I do note is that throughout the series so far the main character (Elijah) changes constantly, but his changes are all directly a result of what happened in the previous book. Asimov keeps it very cohesive and coherent. This story begins with Elijah bearing the nature outside the caves of steel with a group of followers who are all set on acclimating themselves to doing work themselves in the dirt, and prepping either themselves or the next generation to be so acclimated that they can undertake the journey of colonization. I will simply state that Asimov is not in the habit of inserting useless facts or events, unless they are intentionally useless.


    Another thing that I have neglected so far in these reviews is the subtext of race relations. The robots are treated as black people have been treated in the USA, each world does it as if from a different point in history. In Caves of Steel The Earthers are treating the robots like the segragation period post WW2 pre civil rights in any part of the country. The Robots are derisively called "Boy" as an insult, they are assumed inferior and distrusted, undue resentment flounders when there are so many out of work and the robots are being hired because they are cheaper. there are riots against them. they have their own facilities and are not allowed to mix the jobs they hold are menial and they are mistreated and verbally abused.

    In Naked sun we see a pre civil war Southern Plantation society (from a genial aristocrat perspective strictly). The robots are part of their daily life to a point that no one notices them, but they do not tolerate the robots to be seen more that absolutely necessary. The humans enjoy every luxury imaginable and the robots are considered lesser than a toaster. further the humans dote on various prudish Victorian ideas. sex is so taboo that even being in the same house is virtually considered a gross perversion.

    In robots of dawn however we suddenly find ourselves in an aristocratic society Post civil rights era, I dare say maybe 80s. much like so many books from the era (ill reference the Bonfire of the vanities specifically) the rich bottomtoothed aristocrats have evolved to a point beyond robot prejudice. OR more really they find it fashionable to appear to no longer be prejudice. The reality is that they still can't stand them, think themselves superior and treat robots much like the characters in Bonfire do. having robot servants is right and proper, but allowing them into you bathroom is absurd. the law also treats them as pieces of furniture rather than their supposed righteous dignity would have them say "no different than humans"



    So again Elijah Bailey is pulled off earth to investigate a murder on a planet not used to them.This time it is a Robot and this time it is Aurora. the same placed the formerly sexually repressed (and now sexually liberated) Glidiah moved to. The two of them are also now galaxy famous with a movie of sorts portraying them in the plot of Naked Sun. The world is unlike earth or Solara. For one sex is the norm, to be associated with the casualness of ordering a drink for someone at a bar. there seem to be no taboos regarding sex as long as it is consensual and doesn't hurt anyone.
    to the extent that a character who was uniquely raised by her father repeatedly asked him to have sex with her despite his constant decline. This is presented as normalish. as most parents will never know their offspring it is highly probably that many may enjoy their close relatives without ever knowing. this is the daughters perspective, the father however.... takes on a more present earth view of repulsion(except a certain Nonetheist group worshipping Dawkins? not to be confused with the majority of aetheists)


    The novel does get a little blue, so the constant barrage of bathroom etiquette and sex customs is not gratuitous but actually presents valid data for the mystery and the plot. Where it might be considered a little out of line,
    Is when it explains that Glidiah had sex with a fully functiona, fully human looking and acting , robot which was in itself viewed on Aurora as normal as masturbation, BUT that she then formed a romantic entanglement with the robot to the extent of considering him her Husband.
    It gets pretty descriptive. That said it is extremely important to the plot.


    The ending is really satisfactory, it ends a lot like naked sun where the judicial conclusion of who done it, is different from who actually did it. But it differs in motive and action. In this one the basic model robot is found to have the same Psychic ability as the psychic robot in I Robot. It has been subtely influencing the humans around him to push his ideal for honoring the first law. The ultimate game of manipulating all of humanity to a goal for humanities own good, AND altering the future as such. He is the Roboticide committer, Because his ultimate end is to have Earth lead the charge in the new wave of colonization as the best, most logical end, the roboticide both prevents the villain from getting Humaniform plans and gets his new test subject (earther Elijah) to aurora so he can see how viable his plan is. HE really invented Psychohistory foreseeing that it will allow humanity to think out its step in a lot more logical way limiting the need for micromanaging of robots that has so far NOT worked as hoped (given how stagnated the current situation of spacers and earthers is.)


    In the End I would say this massive reveal is the real ending and follows the path of the ending in I Robot. It is also one of the most satisfying ending reveals I have ever read. and It serves as a perfect ending for the series, so I am glad to find that it kind is, even though there is one more book.


    I think I could write a book, on this book.


    10/10
     
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  4. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Well-Known Member

    This was forgotten on BFB, so here it is separate again


    the over arcing theme in caves, is the manipulation of earth society by spacers so that they encourage earth to start a period of settlement again since the spacers are too conservative of their long lives in absolute luxury to ever be motivated to risk their lives.


    in naked sun the protagonist takes the bait and begins a colonization training organization to move in steps towards settling. but the plot is from Solaris to create personless ships sent to annihilate whole civilizations by tricking the three laws, this would allow Solaris to continue in the same way they always have, a luxurious lazy existence where little to nothing is accomplished but might also encourage other worlds to adopt this doomed existence and spread their own self righteous neurosis' and frankly , perversions.


    in robots of dawn the theme is a political battle between one who wants the earthers to be the primary settlers and one who sees that as boxing in of aurora and limiting it's future influence on the worldS in general this would also ensure that aurora may eventually repopulate as it became unimportant . this second person has an alternative plan where aurora has exclusive rights to colonize. they do so with robots so they have ready made auroras so they never have to leave the sanctity of their own perversions and never have to risk there long lives. this plan would spread their dysfunctional society throughout the universe and eventually cause them to destroy non auroran planets.


    the result is that both views are supported through parallel colonization. the reveal that it' robots manipulating humans forces us to see that this could be an experiment. the robots will let both plots move forward and pick the best after they results. it is further indicated that the robots might END whatever is giving spacers long lives since this was a liability for all humanity.
     
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  5. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Well-Known Member

    Robots and Empire ~ Isaac Asimov



    Robots and Empire takes a bit of a turn from the rest of the Series. But I will still say that I cannot talk about this one with out using spoilers from the other three books


    That is my warning


    So this is set 200 years later, Elijah Bailey is long dead, and the Protagonist is now his love of soo very long ago, Glidiah. Or so She thinks. Solaria is now abandoned and we spend the time in the beginning learning this, and two separate potential descendants of her and or Elijah Bailey. we never truly know the paternities, but we are left with possibilities.


    This book seems to be a bridge to the gap between this series and the Foundation series. I would say that makes this almost a standalone to rectify the missing links.




    The real protagonist are Olivar Deniel and Giscarde. the robots have been moving mankind into a position that best suits humanities benefit but the man debate is over a Foundation series style 'crisis' that resonates in the psychic robot the need to move beyond robots since the three laws are not allowing them to benefit mankind enough. This crisis could result in a few separate results all dooming mankind. One the galaxy becomes a series of Solarias second a series of Aurora's neither will result in Humanity progress, but decay. Third the nuking of Earth will cause an interstellar war that mankind will never recover.


    The answer is in the Psychohistory previously mentioned as being invented by Dr. Falstoff (through manipulation by Giscarde) but after two hundred years Giscarde has still not been able to perfect the science, It is however a suitable replacement for robots. and Settlers are the suitable inheritors. (this could just be a Retcon, that Falstaff didn't invent it but someone else)


    There is a romance, with Elijah's great great great great etc grandson. and his former lover. but Giscarde didn't do it. he gave a her a gentle nudge and she did way more than he ever thought possible. She also seems to be able to think like Elijah now and between her and Deniel they form a competent detective.

    Bicentenial man is heavily referenced throughout the series


    Robots and Empire 7.5/10
     
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  6. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Correct, but it is science fiction after all, and some technological concessions had to be admitted for the development of the story. What I meant by magic was he doesn't introduce a last minute clue, element or character in the story to justify the puzzle.
    Anyway, wasn't it Clarke who quoted it?

    Edit: response to this post from the previous monthly thread.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2018
  7. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I'm still on McCaffrey's Restoree. I started it last month, but I've been prioritising another non-SF work I'm currently on. Will continue with this.
     
  8. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Finished The Man on the Balcony (Martin Beck #3) By the way, an extraordinary noir story for those interested in this genre.
    I have just begun reading Way Station by Clifford D. Simak
     
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  9. Safari Bob

    Safari Bob Well-Known Member

    Love that series.
     
  10. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    I loved it when I read it for the first time (a long time ago) I find it is superb this second time around. Have you read the 10 books? I'm planning to re-read them all.
     
  11. Safari Bob

    Safari Bob Well-Known Member

    It has been years but I am not sure I read all 10. I will have to look. Maybe I need to re-read! :)
     
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  12. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    I have almost completed Way Station, a very gentle, charming story with idyllic and sentimental undertones.
    I also have by Simak The Werewolf Principle, and I think I will sneak this one in before long.
    Now, for my next read, I have been looking at Chasm City by Reynolds and Legend by Gemmel. I'm leaning towards CC. However, Legend has been recommended to me by a couple of people (including Boreas) whose literary taste I trust, and as I hardly read any fantasy, I might give it a go.
     
  13. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Legend is a short, fast and uncomplicated heroic fantasy read. First Gemmell book I read and was instantly hooked (when I was 18). Not my favourite of his works, although I pretty much love all his books, and I've read them all aside from his final Greek historical fantasy trilogy that he was still writing when he passed away. I generally find Gemmell's books to be very satisfying.

    Chasm City is a complex narrative. And being a Reynolds novel, it's also high-concept. It has a single character perspective, and it's definitely noir in tone.
     
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  14. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    I am 30% into Richard Morgan's Thirteen which I somehow missed after I finished his Altered Carbon trilogy, and it is one of the most edgy and intense books I've read. It's almost too much quite often, and I put it down only to pick it up again to find out what happened.

    Also I just noted that Walter Jon Williams' new trilogy in the Dread Empire's Fall series, The Accidental War (Praxis), drops on September 4. Best military science fiction/space opera in my opinion, think of a much better David Webber's Honor Harrington series.
     
  15. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Well-Known Member

    as requested, the better Asimov stand alones. my copied reviews from BFB

    The gods themselves I almost count as three separate short stories because of how different the sections are.


    first one is one of his best work it recounts the tale of belligerence and science as an incompetent man stumbles of the worlds greatest discovery, accelerates to godhood of infallibility than protects it to the point of intentionally ruining the careers of those who oppose him. or potentially prove him wrong. This part shows the utter revulsion of the blindness of people when given power they don't deserve, earn, or the short sightedness of humanity to those they revere to a godhood. we can certainly apply this many characters in the world today, some things never change.


    The second, is as brilliant as it is lousy, but all in a nature that belongs in a spoiler
    I have read that this book was written as a response to critic who complained often that Asimov never wrote of aliens or sex, so this story is on alien sex. this might be true, but I have found that Asimov just won't stop writing about sex there are several stories written with gratuitous sex before this, and it becomes an often occurrence that we see his fetishes even more obviously later.


    We didn't need this story to make the book work, and in fact it spoils an otherwise great story with useless bits that serve as a red herring, and a distraction.


    That said, it is brilliant in its own right. Asimov ponders a universe with a different set of rules of physics. we postulate life in this universe and then create a three gender species, with a good twist (they are the larval stage and merge to one being after reproducing) the story ends with the inability to anything different pertaining to rescuing the other universe.


    the third continues with the first and in a new and interesting manner. we do see more into the gratuitous sexual fantasies of Asimov unnecessarily. but we get a satisfactory conclusion in a new direction that has NOTHING at all to do with the distraction of story 2.



    Gods Themselves. either 8/10

    The End of Eternity ~ Isaac Asimov


    Not entirey familiar with the timetravel subgenre, mostly because its rarely not cheese. This was brilliant though.


    This book makes me question origins on a lot of timetravel cliché's it lays out the kill your own gradpa as if it is already part of the IRL culture (books written in 1955) but it also hits on a lot of other nonparadox clichés. I know most robot themes coiches and reoccurrences can all be attributed to Asimov, this makes me wonder if its time travel too.


    The book makes references to the foundation series, and is referenced (badly) in foundation edge.


    solid time travel novel though, and the if/when/going to was very concise and well thought out (sometimes it gets sooo bad)


    I mentioned earlier that psycho pirate (DC comics) resembled exactly "the Mule" . in the same story (is it time crisis?) the aspect of eternity and the time travel craziness is also copyied pretty heavily. someone in DC loves Asimov.


    The absolutely best part, that had me howl with delight, made the whole book genius...
    It didn't just serve as a dense allegory for Plato's Allegory of the Cave, but right at the end the character of the future who just tolod the protag was wrong, eternity is evil, eternity, hurts and destroys humanity, and sets up the Hiroshima many millennia early (now 1944 instead of 30,000) to destroy eternity, this character who revealed then the possibility (unachievable before) of interstellar travel, and galactic empire , she out right says, this is all the aollegory of the cave with extra words in one solid line.


    "come out to the mouth of the cave" right after giving him all that knowledge that makes him unable to return to eternity because he now knows too much.


    10/10
     
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  16. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Well-Known Member

    i wish i had an editr button, to bold the second title.
     
  17. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    I have started reading Legend (Drenai Saga, #1) by David Gemmel. I have only read about 50 pages or so, but I can tell I will enjoy it. Legend tastes like comfort food; I could tell because I was sinking into the cushions of my seat and I could feel the beginning of a smile forming as I was turning the pages.

    I have also started Bloodchild by Octavia Butler (thanks Boreas!) A fascinating short story, just what I wanted.
     
  18. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    It's Christmas in June. The first book in Neal Asher's new trilogy in the Polity/Spatterjay universe, The Soldier: Rise of the Jain Book 1, has dropped. It's great.
     
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  19. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    I left Legend for last as I worried he might die in it and that would spoil the others about various stages of his life. Funny thing is, I still haven't read it although I read the rest of Gemmell's bibliography. Don't miss The Rigante books.
     
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  20. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I have now picked up Stephen King's The Long Walk. Haven't read any King since the mid-90's, and I had only read two books by him at the time.

    I don't get why you can't edit. Those functions are available. Are you having this problem from a mobile device?
     

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