SF/F reading in October 2017

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by kenubrion, Oct 1, 2017.

  1. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Well-Known Member

    Others seem to be raving about it! Might be one that divides opinions :)
     
  2. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    This might be another one of those occasions where I successfully prove EVERYONE ELSE wrong! :)
     
  3. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    I finished Will Save the Galaxy for Food by Yahtzee Croshaw just now, and promptly awarded it the full 5* on Goodreads. This is one of the most enjoyable books I've had the pleasure to pick up (or listen to, in this case). It's brilliantly funny, it has fantastic, individual, believable characters, the dialogue is perfectly done, and it's as fun as fun gets. If you're after a 'light' read then look no further.

    To contrast, I've decided to re-read The Road by Cormac McCarthy next. Juxtaposition and all that ...
     
  4. R-Hat

    R-Hat Well-Known Member

    I can understand that. To be honest, the Culture just starts from the middle and little is said of its humbler beginnings. I think the BobNet is a believable way of how something like the Culture could have started.

    OK, second book of Bobiverse finished, starting the third, no complaints so far. Maybe it's the lack of typographic errors, so unusual after the LitRPG authors?
    For now, the book could be summed up by this Eat Static song. No spoilers, but I'll allow myself this one.

    I think this album is a really good soundtrack for the book, especially the track 3 is the most shameless thing you'll hear in a long while, in a good sense.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  5. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I'm still in the early stages of Children of Time, but I like it! I've got this premonition that things are going to end badly. Those nanovirus-enhanced arachnids are going to be much too smart and deadly.

    I also got the first book in the Bobiverse, We Are Legion (We Are Bob).

    Yeah, that's pretty much what launched him to success. I've only read Old Man's War and it's just meh. Tries to be a modern day The Forever War but doesn't really succeed. First two-thirds are just standard fare. The main point of interest in the novel from an SF perspective is the manner of 'travelling' they do. Much of the detail is explained through clunky dialogue-as-exposition — straight exposition would have been so much better, and there are unforgivably many "Jim said," and "he said," and "she said," throughout the book — that sounds like 1950's era banter, but the book's saving grace is its quick pace, and the self-effacing, sarcastic voice of the first-person narrator. There's humour, too, but that's hit-or-miss. Scalzi tries his hardest to 'refresh' certain tropes, and worse is that I remember him specifically informing the reader about it! But he tries so hard that what turns out is a caricature of the tropes he was trying to 'cleverly' subvert (the whole boot camp section is a little cringe inducing). Last third of the book was the most compelling, enough to have made me think about picking up the next volume at some point, but I'm in no hurry. I'd say if you're a hardcore fan of military SF, then read it. If not, then skip and pick up something like Armor or All You Need Is Kill.
     
  6. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    I've only read Old Man's War#1 and thas was enough for me. Nothing to add to Boreas' comments. I just found it to be a rather silly story.
     
  7. R-Hat

    R-Hat Well-Known Member

    The military aspect doesn't come across as an extra value to me. Partly because there's so much of military sci-fi. If I wanted more, all I need to do is to continue the Dorsai cycle, which got a bit too depressive on me at the time. Or I could pick the dozens of Warhammer novels I have.
    Everyone's uncle and his dog writes military sci-fi, so there are just some highlights. Positive points go to David Gerrold - War with Chtorr and also Alan Dean Foster - The Damned trilogy. ADF is a prolific writer and not everything he writes is good, but I really liked these books for their alien "Humanology 101" aspect.

    I think All You Need is Kill sounds familiar. I see, it was adapted as the film, Edge of Tomorrow. I've seen it, good one. Armor looks interesting too.
     
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  8. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    I can't remember when exactly I read The Road previously, but right now, it's really striking a chord with me with respect to me being a Dad. Some of the father/son exchanges, and some of the situations the father is experiencing, are heart breaking, and I'm almost brought to tears at times when considering what they're experiencing together. This is a stunning, yet shocking, book.
     
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  9. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    I have just finished Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Wow, what a surprising and enjoyable read this has been?
    I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, I guess something very much related to Blade Runner but considering how long ago I watched the film and how little I recall about it, I haven’t been connecting the two at all during the reading.

    The plot is nothing extraordinary: bounty hunters on the go. However, what this plot allowed P. K. Dick to do is to reveal very incisive reflections about consciousness and about nature as the source of true ideas, one encompassing all concepts. His ruminations are brief and concise but equally meaningful. He doesn’t give you a second chance nor spoils his exposition with surplus explanations. (I really don’t like it when authors do that). A brief but wonderfully loaded read.
     
  10. R-Hat

    R-Hat Well-Known Member

    Finished the Bob trilogy. Every bit as satisfying as I wished for and I didn't put the book away for days, this was a speed read. It's got barely enough humor to smile a couple of times, but neither it is sad. The science behind it isn't cheap hand waving and the interstellar complexity is well managed and yet on top of that the author weaves lots of human, AI and alien stories together. What more could I want? I'd recommend this trilogy to all fans of The Culture. In fact, I will do so, on social networks.

    Congratulations to fatherhood! Your description makes It makes me want to check out the movie.
    You might like The Ghost of Emily by James Fox Higgins. Again, a post-apocalyptic book, a major storyline is a father surviving with his two young children in Australian wilderness. The author is a known enthusiast of peaceful parenting and philosophy.
     
  11. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for the recommendation! I'll definitely check that one out!

    Just past the halfway point now of The Road and it's continuing to pack punches ... there are some disturbing elements in this one, such as
    father teaching son how to kill himself quickly to avoid being caught by people who are likely to eat him
     
  12. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Schools break up for a week: Yesss, a week... I will begin Children of Time this weekend.
     
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  13. R-Hat

    R-Hat Well-Known Member

    I took a quick read of Skyler Grant's The Laboratory: Futuristic Dungeon Core.
    It's a Litrpg with post-apocalyptic style, with superhero theme. Not a single elf in sight, it's a sci-fi book. The main hero is E.M.M.A, an evil twisted artificial intelligence in charge on an underground facility. If you liked the Portal games, she will remind you of the GlaDOS AI. So it's not a stereotypical nice do-gooders book, which means lots of the dialogue is... refreshingly original. There is a second book in the making and I'm looking forward to it.
    The only fault of the book is its shortness.

    Next I'll read John Scalzi's Redshirts. No, I'm still not feeling serious about my reading. Nothing like a good parody.
     
  14. Kanly

    Kanly Well-Known Member

    I'm also reading Children of Time. Still toward the beginning right now, and I got to the part where the size of Portia after 2000+ years of nanovirus enhanced evolution is given. <shudder>
     
  15. R-Hat

    R-Hat Well-Known Member

    Portia? This is interesting. There is another.... thing called Portia in the book Echopraxia by Peter Watts. It is a sequel of Blindsight, which is a tour de force. Both books have stretched my hardcore sci-fi reader's muscles to maximum. Needless to say, Portia there is not the common hunting spider, it is just a metaphor of how a mere simple organism is displaying unexpected ability to learn, seen otherwise only in mammals. I totally recommend it to you, if you don't mind a somewhat small settings, within our solar system only. Blindsight is the most original first contact book I've seen and Echopraxia is also very interesting. As a lesser theme in the books, it's also the most original take on vampires and zombies I've seen, with some scientific citations in the back that served as an inspiration. The whole thing is just bizarre beyond most imaginations.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017 at 1:27 PM
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  16. Kanly

    Kanly Well-Known Member

    Yeah I know about Blindsight and Echopraxia but haven't had the chance to check them out. Will do 'cause I like the hardcore sci-fi stuff. Speaking of zombies, I read these books by Neal Asher called Spatterjay and I thought there was a very cool twist on post-human zombies. Those were fun books. Great SF with some cool concepts and a set-up similar to the Culture, but maybe at earlier stages. The planet Spatterjay is a really scary and fascinating place - the whole ecosystem is unbelievably hostile, and you have to take extreme precautions to avoid infection by the Spatterjay virus that grants a kind of immortality that most probably wouldn't opt for.

    In Children of Time, Portia is the actual genus of jumping spider. I don't know if you checked the book out but the premise is that a certain advanced human terraforming program was going to seed planets with Earth-life and introduce a very specially designed nanovirus to accelerate the process of evolution geared towards a type of monkey, so that the carefully directed evolution would uplift them and then humans would have intelligent cousins. But stuff goes wrong, there is a terrorist attack, the monkeys are destroyed but the virus still gets showered over the planet. It infects many different kinds of life forms and finds the Portia spider a very agreeable host for its purpose compared to other animals. The problem is that the virus had certain failsafes designed for the specific monkeys where it was supposed to go inactive once certain parameters for intelligence had been met so that the monkeys could then evolve more naturally. Nobody wants super-monkeys. But I think these failsafes don't register with life-forms that are not those monkeys, so these could really turn out to be super-intelligent jumping spiders. That sounds like bad news.
     
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  17. Safari Bob

    Safari Bob Well-Known Member

    Yeah. My initial reaction to Portia as I read that book:
    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Portia labiata. Up to 1 cm long and easily able to stand on the tip of your thumb. Up to half a metre in length after a couple of thousand years of evolution in the book! Kinda cute, if it weren't deadly. Apparently, this particular genus of Portia is known to be an especially intelligent and skilled hunter.

    6306406141_3b237e21ee.jpg

    Wikipeida: The genus Portia has been called "Eight-legged Cats", as their hunting tactics are as versatile and adaptable as a lion's. All members of Portia have instinctive hunting tactics for their most common prey, but often can improvise by trial and error against unfamiliar prey or in unfamiliar situations, and then remember the new approach.
     
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  19. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Can't see the pic...
     
  20. Safari Bob

    Safari Bob Well-Known Member

    Sorry. It is an octopus running across the sand saying, NOPE. NOPE. NOPE. NOPE."
     
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