It’s June 2018: What SF book are you reading?

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#1
Not reading any sci-fi at the moment, and come to think of it: haven't read one in months. Any recommendations?

In any case: how about you guys? Are you reading sci-fi?
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
Just recently started The Long War, second book in the Long Earth series by Pratchett and Baxter. Enjoying it a lot, they made a good writing duo, but not having read anything from either of them before I can't comment on what style is coming from who.

Recently completed the Themis Files trilogy, and that was superb. Definitely the best audio format books I've listened to, the full cast really enhanced the books!
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#3
I just finally began Richard Morgan's Thirteen, which I didn't get to after reading the great Takeshi Kovacs trilogy because Steel Remains killed my fandom of Morgan. It's great already. Even more edgy than Kovacs.
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
#4
Starting Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie tomorrow. To be totally candid I haven’t really read much sci fi lately and ONLY picked it up to check off two Challenge categories (plus a new author toward my 30). Which is silly because, including these, I only anticipate knocking off 5 more maximum, raising my likely grand total from 32 to 37. Hopefully I like it or it won’t be worth my time regardless of the Challenge.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#5
Christmas in June. It must be the first book in Neal Asher's new trilogy in the Polity/Spatterjay universe has dropped. Best science fiction being written in my opinion. So entertaining and his hard science is used deftly and becomes a large part of the story instead of humans being the stars. Start with Gridlinked.
 

Khartun

Journeyed there and back again
#6
Christmas in June. It must be the first book in Neal Asher's new trilogy in the Polity/Spatterjay universe has dropped. Best science fiction being written in my opinion. So entertaining and his hard science is used deftly and becomes a large part of the story instead of humans being the stars. Start with Gridlinked.
You don't start with Prador Moon? I have these on my TBR. Just wondering.
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
#7
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. Very good space opera despite my frustration getting very confused with the politics, characters, and gender stuff. Not that the characters themselves weren’t confused about that stuff. Really good characters, imaginative plot, etc.
I probably wont read the rest of the trilogy, although admittedly, I’m curious to see what happens so who knows. Just not that excited by science fiction anymore. It is on Ben’s top 25 list so I think that is the best recommendation. Good stuff!
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#10
I managed to read Starship Troopers this weekend. MY WARNING, this is a very political book having massive chapters depicting political discussions where Heinlein sets two believable arguments on eitherside. (most of the time they are both believable) not all demonstrate Heinlein's beliefs, some are just a fiction.

as such, my review has to include some politics, as it is in the book, not how I believe. I do stand against, racism, sexism, antireligionism, fascism, and selective service, but I hope the rest of my views remain a mystery after this review, because I am doing a review, not starting a poltical debate.

pretty good, It is still considered one of the best depictions of military life, and pride. and with Full Metal Jacket one of the most praised depictions of Boot camp. The author served, and is very well versed in the Marine Corps and it's history. This book drips with that knowledge. It also drips with very intensive poltical discussions. sometimes Heinlein argues for what he actually believes in, sometimes he argues against what he believes in, both are seemless and I bet most people cannot tell the difference (completely) by only reading this book.

I will say my favorite scene was the description of the drop. (also the final scene was awesome)

it i also intentionally depicts the best and worst aspects of a Utopian civilization. On the plus side, there is no such this as a cultural racism, sexism, or anti-religionism (is there a word for this, also no anti-aethism), In fact with in the Space Marines (a Heinlein created word) the fastest way to get kicked out, is to make fun of someone's unique culture. Heinlein spends a few pages demonstrating how nationalism and petty cultural differences have disappeared by introducing several characters we never see again to prove we put our differences aside for the benefit of all humanity. (oh look a German, Japanese, Russian, Middle Eastern Muslim, Christian, Morman, Atheist, South American, et cetera. and we are all in one big happy family.) Woman also get a big bonus on this one, published in 1959, Heinlein kind of ahead of it's time having many of the most badass hard edged, and career forward woman in ALL his books, but this one too. This Utopia also has an extremely low crime rate, low poverty rate, high standard of living, universal education (go as high as your grades will let you) universal Healthcare, and a very open set of freedoms (like a broader freedom of speech than we can experience in our universe)

I will add for utopia. Heinlein believes in abolishment of selective services (conscription, draft, whatever you want to call it) He includes that in this book.
(fyi the argument against is predicated on having a standing army of highly trained professionals to do their jobs well, This prevents the need for a draft which takes potential doctors, lawyers, artists, workers, and puts that rare skilled talent and risks the entire life of his/her accomplishments versus that persons slightly incompetent soldiering ability. aka an unskilled soldier dies fast, and society then loses the benefit of 40 years of a more important skill)

on the other hand, this Dystopia depicts what we would have to give up to achieve such lofty goals as universal peace across the planet, and such braod and inclusive freedoms that dwarf our primitive notions of how free we can be. corporal punishment is much so excepted and used, there is still an extensive legal system to prevent errors, and the deterrent of corporal punishment means that you rarely see it, even though its public. This is something that Heinlein clearly believes in. high deterrent with corporal punishment equals low crime rate. One thing Heinlein doesn't believe in, selective citizenship, He pulled a lot of the Roman culture into the story including the fact that there isn't universal citizenship. you have to earn that. (in this case, by serving) also depicted, as supremely free as we are in this alternate reality, we have lost freedoms. He doesn't explicitly say what we have lost, but he hints on that loss and mourns it a little. death also seems, less important, sure for the average civilian its a rare thing that no one has to see, but for a space marine, they deal with death constantly, heck 20 people die during boot camp, the first one is jarring (so was the corporal punishment scene) for the recruits, but as it happens more and more, they stop noticing it. also no universal sufferage

all together, I don't think it's worth it. the negatives are too high.

THE MOVIE
The movie, mostly a piece of crap. Hey I enjoyed it, but it was also a poor adaptation. The director is a bit of a piece of excrement, if you watch his movies you'll notice a few choice movies that you might really like (he also did robocop) but I feel he is a lot like Richard Kelly, He has no idea why his movie is considered so good, and actually misses the point of what people are seeing, because he sees something totally different.

about director
so the director does have a sad background, he was 6 in netherlands and right next to his house was the V2 rocket testing site, so obviously the allies would bomb him regularly including stories he tells of bombs landing on his front lawn. He has my sympathy and I like many of his movies, but a also hate a lot. and the older he got the more I hated them. He blames the British for being n*zis.....not kidding, he outright says that in more than one interview. so He has this idea that anyone who engages in war, even a defensive war after being invaded, is a n*zi. That seeps into every single movie he made for America. He has controversial opinions about so many victims of war being closeted evil doers. quotes "war makes n*zis of us all", "anyone who engages in war, for any reason, is a fascist" But thats not what I hate about him. I think he is entitled for a bit of that considering his background. what I hate about him is He has become what he hates most in his middle/old age. He has really become the embodiment of a racist, sexist, fascist these days.

for this movie. He admits he did not even read the book...why would they be okay letting him direct a movie adaptation, when the director wants nothing to do with the original content? What he did get from the book he colored with various facist paints. he dressed everyone in SS uniforms and made sure to depict as much from the Reich as he can in the movie making sure that any poltical argument that he did grab from the book is said in the context that it is automatically evil because it is said right before and after a scene that was a reshoot of a scene from "triumph of the will" or a scene where soldiers are handing out live ammo to children, or cold war style propaganda. The movie just drips with him trying to beat you over the head with how evil this world is, especially the military. (he also includes summary justice with immediate execution (not in book) which ignores the error free due process in the book)

He does everything he can to try and drum up sympathy for the arachnids. (which came out weird) by saying that we were the evil invaders, because despite dangerous (ICBMs) asteroids hitting a few outposts and coming dangerously close to inhabited areas, It was a peaceful group of colonists living on a planet too close to them that started it (by being massacred).

He does include some of Heinleins hate free Utopia (that Heinlein includes in almost every book) by making the society coed and racism free. BUUUUT... the director included two depictions of his hatred for religion. (he was surprised the Morman hate he put in there was well recieved by mormans) and managed to include quite a few sexist scenes depicting the females in the movie as weak, sex starved, parodies of how a woman was to act in the 1950s (if they also had jobs without glass ceilings) and in the commentary, he has no remorse for his anti religionism, and no idea (why it is bad) or remorse for how bad he treated the female characters.

The knife scene is better in the movie.

book 9/10
movie 6/10 (if you can ignore the overtones of misogony, predjudice, and fascism)
 
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Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#11
apparently I can't shut up about the movie. it just boggles my mind why people thought this was okay to put someone in the director seat with completely opposite opinions from the content!!!

imagine how bad waterworld would be if a global warming denier was the director!

or how bad invictus would be directed by someone who believed in apartheid.

I just can't get over this movie.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#12
I think the book and the movie should be treated as two separate franchises altogether. They don't have much to do with eachother.

I think both can be enjoyed better if you watch the movie first, and read the book after. The book is - in my view- one of the literary masterpieces of the mid 20th century. As you said, Heinlein is able to present both sides of a moral issue eloquently and seemingly unbiased. That's a rare skill among authors. The book really makes you think, and there's something to say for most viewpoints expressed in his book.

The movie is one of my favorite movies. Although he's my fellow countryman, I don't have a specific attachment to Verhoeven. His movies are enjoyable though. Starship Troopers contains some of the best scenes in movie history. I still have a laugh from time to time when I remember the scene where the colonel says quasi-seriously "they sucked his brains out". Or how about the "would you like to know more" interludes? Movie gold! Also, I don't consider the movie to be sexist really, especially not when you consider the time when it was made (the day and age of the Conan the Barbarian movie, Robin Hood, Braveheart etc). I actually think Verhoeven did a great job with Denise Richard's character, where she is clearly shown as a superior pilot that makes Johnny Rico squirm in his seat when she pulls of a dangerous maneuver.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#13
Currently reading Hyperion. I got as far as poet's tale. The book is so weird but so great.
That's my favorite sci-fi series! Cool that you started it. Please let us know your updates from time to time.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#14
That's my favorite sci-fi series! Cool that you started it. Please let us know your updates from time to time.
I'm almost done with it, and I'm gonna start The Fall of Hyperion immediately.
I absolutely loved this first book (I have only the consul's story to read). The book is so well written. Simmons managed to give a distinct voice to every character and because of that it didn't feel to me like it was just one writer writing 6 stories, but like these distinct characters were telling their stories.
The premise is really interesting and I can see where he's going with this, but I'm sure the book will still surprise me.
Imo, this is a must read as far as classic SF goes.
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#15
I think the book and the movie should be treated as two separate franchises altogether. They don't have much to do with eachother.

I think both can be enjoyed better if you watch the movie first, and read the book after. The book is - in my view- one of the literary masterpieces of the mid 20th century. As you said, Heinlein is able to present both sides of a moral issue eloquently and seemingly unbiased. That's a rare skill among authors. The book really makes you think, and there's something to say for most viewpoints expressed in his book.

The movie is one of my favorite movies. Although he's my fellow countryman, I don't have a specific attachment to Verhoeven. His movies are enjoyable though. Starship Troopers contains some of the best scenes in movie history. I still have a laugh from time to time when I remember the scene where the colonel says quasi-seriously "they sucked his brains out". Or how about the "would you like to know more" interludes? Movie gold! Also, I don't consider the movie to be sexist really, especially not when you consider the time when it was made (the day and age of the Conan the Barbarian movie, Robin Hood, Braveheart etc). I actually think Verhoeven did a great job with Denise Richard's character, where she is clearly shown as a superior pilot that makes Johnny Rico squirm in his seat when she pulls of a dangerous maneuver.
thank you for keeping me in check. I guess I rage dumped a bit there. I can't hate the movie too much, since I own it. I guess spending most of my Sunday before I posted watching verhoeven in interviews was a bad idea.

so one great thing that's in both book and movie has, is the lack of glass ceilings for women. they fill a lot of higher up positions. and heinlein isn't perfect, he goes into describing the genetic superiority of females in a piloting role, it comes off as similar to someone making a asians and math argument....

what got me (and lots of complaints from the audience) was that dina meyer defined herself by her existence in Ricos world. coupled with denise Richard's playing a triangle game with Rico and flyboy, although verhoeven meant it as empowering it came off as 1950s golddigging/manipulative. then she dear Ricos him (ha, pun) which puts the audience off her for good as she left the first chance she could once flyboy got the promotion aka, more desirable. she then only returns when flyboy dies, and Rico also becomes desirable with commandship.

the career aspect of the females read more of an equal way than it is now , but relationships, stuck in the past. I could easily see this relationship in any of hundreds of books written 50 years prior. (Right after that commercial about finding a good man and rid of the guy who didn't get the promotion)

so. I guess it's not as bad as I made it out to be, thanks for calling me out.

(I also loved the news network Segway clipscenes as concept.... except the live ammo one and the cold war propaganda ones.)
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#16
thank you for keeping me in check. I guess I rage dumped a bit there. I can't hate the movie too much, since I own it. I guess spending most of my Sunday before I posted watching verhoeven in interviews was a bad idea.

so one great thing that's in both book and movie has, is the lack of glass ceilings for women. they fill a lot of higher up positions. and heinlein isn't perfect, he goes into describing the genetic superiority of females in a piloting role, it comes off as similar to someone making a asians and math argument....

what got me (and lots of complaints from the audience) was that dina meyer defined herself by her existence in Ricos world. coupled with denise Richard's playing a triangle game with Rico and flyboy, although verhoeven meant it as empowering it came off as 1950s golddigging/manipulative. then she dear Ricos him (ha, pun) which puts the audience off her for good as she left the first chance she could once flyboy got the promotion aka, more desirable. she then only returns when flyboy dies, and Rico also becomes desirable with commandship.

the career aspect of the females read more of an equal way than it is now , but relationships, stuck in the past. I could easily see this relationship in any of hundreds of books written 50 years prior. (Right after that commercial about finding a good man and rid of the guy who didn't get the promotion)

so. I guess it's not as bad as I made it out to be, thanks for calling me out.

(I also loved the news network Segway clipscenes as concept.... except the live ammo one and the cold war propaganda ones.)
Aah, yes, I totally see what you mean in relation to ... relationships :)D).

And look at the book/film this way: the franchises have enough of an impact to have us here discussing the merits/faults 60 years after the book was released and 25 years after the film was released. That's no small feat! Both thought evoking works I'd say.
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#17
Read The Sands of Mars~ Arthur C Clarke

that was the most interesting thing that ever put me to sleep.

so the story itself is made up of all these really cool, interesting future concepts dealing with the colonization of mars, the fightback from Earth, and the Martians trying to prevent the mars colony project being shut down, resulting in them having to abandon Mars. This is also coupled with some really interesting terraforming ideas (new for 1950s, old hat now).

All that amazing interesting stuff, is delivered in a beautiful elegant, and utterly boring prose. I cannot give Clarke enough praise for having such interesting storyline that the fact that it read like a sales manual for 500 different shades of matte white paint did not stop me from fnishing it.

6/10
 

Nuomer1

Journeyed there and back again
#18
Read The Sands of Mars~ Arthur C Clarke

utterly boring prose. [ . . .] it read like a sales manual
Oh, come on Bierschneeman, play fair!
By current standards, I admit it is a bit slow and gentle (yeah OK, you have half a point) but please make due allowances. First, it was written in the very early 1950 - published 51, may well have been written in 50 or even 49. Dammit, its as old a me! The world was very different then, particularly in an England that was still under strict rationing left over from the war! And that brings me to the second point . . . English! Styles of writing have converged a bit since then, but England and English were rather different from America then (and very different from America now!) And finally, Arthur Clarke was very much 'educated English' of his day. Not quite what a class-ist might call aristocracy, or upper crust, but from 'good yeoman stock', grammar-school educated. In short, he was a proper English gentleman - and that could easily be translated as gentle man. Very English, somewhat reserved.
Criticise if you will (and as I said, you are not entirely wrong!) but please make due allowance for contexts - nearly 70 years old, and very English.
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#19
Oh, come on Bierschneeman, play fair!
By current standards, I admit it is a bit slow and gentle (yeah OK, you have half a point) but please make due allowances. First, it was written in the very early 1950 - published 51, may well have been written in 50 or even 49. Dammit, its as old a me! The world was very different then, particularly in an England that was still under strict rationing left over from the war! And that brings me to the second point . . . English! Styles of writing have converged a bit since then, but England and English were rather different from America then (and very different from America now!) And finally, Arthur Clarke was very much 'educated English' of his day. Not quite what a class-ist might call aristocracy, or upper crust, but from 'good yeoman stock', grammar-school educated. In short, he was a proper English gentleman - and that could easily be translated as gentle man. Very English, somewhat reserved.
Criticise if you will (and as I said, you are not entirely wrong!) but please make due allowance for contexts - nearly 70 years old, and very English.
I'm playing very fair. imho

look at what I have been focused on reading lately. I just read a ton of Asimov, and Heinlein from that era. and before that I was steeped in older English writers; Wells, Mary Shelley, Doyle, Orwell, Dickens. as well as many from various older periods; Milton, Tolstoy, Pushkin, Verne, Gogol, Dostoyevsky, Bradstreet, Longfellow, Joyce, Melville, s. and more

I am no stranger to the world of literature 1950s and older, and lately I have been rolling in it. it can be said that there is a slower style, but not always. it can be said that English authors control their tempo, and temperament resulting in a so called dry style. I would disagree. Shelley, Wells, Orwell, and Doyle certainly have a passionate script.

this book does seem a lot like Dickens, in its dry tones, but this is something more. everytime something happens in Dickens the tone picks up. Everytime something happens in Sands of Mars, there is no change at all. it reminds me of the zuluwar sketch in Monty python's meaning of life. the officers are so detached that getting your leg bitten off was as humdrum as making another pot of tea.

my hat is off to this book. any other author handing me a book written as dryly as this would never hold my attention to the end, but he kept it interesting and the writing style was elegant.

I did consider giving it a 7/10. and reconsideredcit again writing this... I stand by a tentative 6/10 (3/5)[(edit) especially since I am half way through childhood end, no where near as dispassionate]
 
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