What SF/F Book Are you Reading? .. Redux

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Klaus, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Reading I Am Legend. I guess speaking Sci-fi-ishly Neville's attempts to scientifically understand the vampire plague make interesting reading, although generally the book's been an evocative read so far. The way Neville's state of mind swigs from giddy extremes seems so terribly real, which is great.

    They're very personal books, which I think is their strength Valis and Timothy Archer especially (I forget if the novel ever makes it explicit but Archer is based on a real person that Dick knew - Bishop James Pike.) Philip K. Dick isn't just writing about reality unbending and a weaving a surreal hypnotic mishmash of religious and cultural ideas - though, of course, he does that - he's talking about himself. That first line in Valis, the first PKD book I ever read, comes back to me sometimes - he can't get off the dope, and he can't get off trying to help people. PKD's easily one of the best sci-fi authors I've ever read for warping realities, but he never feels cold or clinical about it.
     
  2. Ruaidhri

    Ruaidhri Commodore Commodore

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    Just read Old Man's War by John Scalzi. I enjoyed it, some interesting concepts, but it clearly owes credit to Heinlein (mentioned in the acknowledgements) and Haldeman for some inspiration. My biggest peeve with the book was the way-too-witty dialogue. Reminded me of the nausea-inducing dialogue that Orson Scott Card has been writing for the last ten years. Good book otherwise, and looking forward to the sequels.

    Now reading Frankenstein, and discovering how much license the film industry has taken with the story.
     
  3. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The edition of the trilogy I read has an interesting afterword by Kim Stanley Robinson, which said among other things that the friends of PKD/Horselover Fat's in VALIS named Kevin and David are supposed to represent KW Jeter and Tim Powers, which I find amusing and interesting as a big Powers fan. He also argued that Angel Archer was the voice of a reintegrated real PKD, no longer the sundered parts of "Phil Dick" and"Horselover Fat" from VALIS. Maybe that's why I liked Transmigration the best, it was the most interesting authorial voice of the three for me. The Dick/Fat split made for a lot of cognitive dissonance for the reader, which was of course part of the point I think, but it wasn't always that pleasant. Angel stoned and reading Howard the Duck while her husband ranted about Wallenstein and Hitler was classic. :lol:


    Past Master looks promising, it's about a troubled future society bringing Sir Thomas More ahead in time to help run their world.

    I've never read Frankenstein either, it's on the short list going forward.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  4. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Finished Past Master, which was quite the wild trip. R.A. Lafferty has a unique voice, both darkly funny and quite moving at times, and lyrically sly in tone... I can see why it is considered a classic in some circles, I think it deserves more notice. I loved the idea that More wrote Utopia as a joke, as an example of how NOT to design a perfect world, and now he has to try to run one based in part on his book and taking it all seriously! :lol: I don't think I've read anything by him before, but I also have a short-story collection of his which is going to be high on the list now.

    Next up: Venus Plus X by Theodore Sturgeon.
     
  5. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Lafferty is just that-a sly and witty genius, at times. His short stories are excellent, btw-truly the genre he shined in.

    I'm reading The Compleate McAndrews by Sheffield. Good stories heavily plagued by over-technical explanations. He's one of these guys that figures out all of the science behind a plot device-then includes his research in the story.
     
  6. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I finished I Am Legend, the edition I have has some Matheson short stories as a bonus feature so going through those. It was a damn fine read and inherently more interesting to me than most zombie stories (and indeed, the films based on the novel) because of the nature of the ending. It's just sci-fi enough to be twistedly neat, which is good.

    Frankenstein's alright, but my problem with it is really the only character worth a damn is the Monster. Which is fine - because he's easily one of the great characters of Gothic literature - but when Shelley wanders off to write another pre-sci-fi landmark, the apocalyptic novel The Last Man... I really couldn't escape how terribly boring and sterile her all-too-damn-nice society folk are.
     
  7. Flibble

    Flibble Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
     
  8. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    Children of the Sky came in the mail today :):)
     
  9. Silent_Bob

    Silent_Bob Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    At the moment i'm just finishing off Joe Abercrombie's 'Best Served Cold' before moving on to my annual re-read of H.G Wells 'The War of the Worlds'.
     
  10. MLJames

    MLJames Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I'm about halfway through Neil Gaiman's short fiction collection "Fragile Things." Finished "Smoke And Mirrors" (his earlier collection in the same vein) over the weekend.
     
  11. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    OK so after the Anvil series...I finished my Typhon Pact book, then immediately went to the Benford's In the Ocean of Night....I couldnt hold back any longer since it's one of two books I missed in the series and happens to be where it all started. I have to say, of all the hard SF writers..if you compare him to those who gained popularity in the 50s-70s and as a long time writer, Benford's work holds up better than just about any of them...and that includes Asimov, Niven, etc. OK so after Across the Sea of Suns...I will get to my new arrival: Children of the Sky.
     
  12. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Jack London's The Jacket, also known as Star Rover. This is from before WWI, predating the clear formation of SF as a commercial genre.
     
  13. 23skidoo

    23skidoo Admiral Admiral

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    The book I'm reading now has some weird coincidental timing behind it. The book is "The Prisoner Trilogy" by Roger Langley. It is an omnibus collecting three unofficial novels based on The Prisoner TV series that were published in the late 80s by the official Prisoner fan club of the day. Recently the three books (Think Tank, When in Rome, Charmed Life) were put out in a new edition.

    I once visited Portmeirion, Wales, where the show was shot, and at the time (and probably still today) one of the cottages was a Prisoner-related souvenir shop. They had 2 of the 3 books and I was actually told that I was buying the last copy of I think Charmed Life.

    Fast forward to 2011 and I find out this Prisoner Trilogy has come out so I order it from the UK. It arrived on Tuesday. This week happens to mark the 20th anniversary of the end of the month-long trip I took to Britain in 1991, which was when I visited Portmeirion. So it's a nostalgia rush for me.

    Technically the books are fanfic, but very well done fanfic. (And since the newer Prisoner novels from Powys Media by Andrew Cartmel and a couple others have proven impossible to obtain from where I am, it's a good substitute for those books.)*

    Alex

    * That's a subtle plea if anyone knows of an online retailer carrying them to please let me know! ;)
     
  14. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Finished Venus Plus X by Theodore Sturgeon, which was a very interesting little book ultimately about what role sex and gender play and should play in the dynamics of human society... it has the overt structure of a present-day man [written in 1960] plucked into a strange future setting and what he finds about this utopian world, but ends up being a lot more than that. There are some nicely-drawn interspersed parts in the present that reflect the themes being addressed in the future sections, in some ways I liked those better than the "sf" parts. Amusingly it also had some of the same conclusions about where human society went wrong that PKD broached in the Valis books.

    Now on to another classic, this a re-read for the first time in decades: City by Clifford Simak.
     
  15. Admiral_Young

    Admiral_Young Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The Brilliant Book of Doctor Who 2012.
     
  16. Lowdarzz

    Lowdarzz Captain Captain

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    In the very minimal amount of time that I have when I'm not reading books for my classes I've been slowly making my way through A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.

    Honestly, the section of the story that is keeping most interested is John Snow's experiences on The Wall.
     
  17. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I just recently finished The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, at Kegg's general recommendation. A very definite thumbs up there. :techman:

    I also just plowed through Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole, out of curiosity, because I needed some light bathroom literature. Thumbs sideway, nothing deep as expected.
     
  18. Bisz

    Bisz Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I put down A Dance With Dragons for the time being and am 2/3s of the way through How Firm A Foundation.
     
  19. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Finished re-reading Simak's City for the first time in over 20 years, and was again stunned at its power and depth. There are few future histories as simultaneously entrancing and disquieting as these tales of evolution and loss. Man leaving Earth to become aliens [or succumbing to ennui] and dogs striving to build a new world without killing and war -- and whether there is any hope for humanity to overcome its essential violence and inhumanity. Mutation, philosophical breakthroughs that can transform a society overnight, alternate universes, putting human [and canine] consciousness in alien bodies, robots of uncommon humanity and vision... this one has it all and more. Mournful, even elegiac at times, it reflects the postwar idea that perhaps humans had come about as far as their innate limitations and bloodlust would be able to take them.

    I'd put it in my all-time top ten, you younger fry should check it out. :techman:

    Note for those who have read the book: given that Juwain's philosophical breakthrough mainly resulted in most of the human race fleeing to become Jovian instead, should we judge Jerome Webster less harshly for not allowing it to flower centuries earlier? Or would the fact that the Jovian option wasn't there when it would have first been introduced given it time to develop into something else?

    Next up: The Big Time by Fritz Leiber. I've not read much FL beyond Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, looking forward to it. :D
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
  20. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And I forgot to mention that the story "Desertion" is one of the other places that Cameron stole Avatar from lol... humans entering alien bodies and not wanting to come back because of the sensation. :D