Author Topic: Now reading  (Read 91104 times)

mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #120 on: October 30, 2008, 09:25:19 AM »
I just finished Flashforward by Robert J Sawyer -- thanks again to Brian Bieniowski for the recommendation.  I've been going through Sawyer's work quickly and have moved on to Mindscan now.  Sawyer has already become one of my favorite sci-fi authors, and I will probably move on to Rollback and Calculating God and Terminal Experiment next.  The basic idea of Flashforward is that a particle collision experiment at CERN results in everyone worldwide experiencing a "flash forward" to 21 years in the future, so that for two minutes they see where they'll be and what they'll be experiencing in 21 years.  This brief glimpse forward results in all kinds of complications, especially after people share what they saw with others.

As for Mindscan, the one I'm reading now, it involves a future in which people who are dying can have their consciousness scanned and inserted into an advanced robotic body, so that their consciousness can continue to live without fear of the physical body dying.  Their dying body is carted off to a sort of paradise resort on the moon to live out its days, while the artificial body returns to the live the person was living before.  It's pretty intriguing, seeing how the robotic replacement body is treated by the friends and family (and pets) that the person left behind.

Right now I'm listening to the audiobook version of Dead Lines by Greg Bear, which is a weird sort of cross-genre story, part science fiction and part ghost story.  Actually, I don't in principle object to cross-genre fiction, but so far my opinion is that this isn't really science fiction enough to be good science fiction, nor really ghost story enough to be a good ghost story.  It's about a washed-up softcore pornographer who has moved on to be a personal assistant to a cranky old millionnaire, and he simultaneously starts seeing ghosts (after his best friend dies) and gets involved in some weird, futuristic technology that's kind of like cell phones but somehow better.  We'll see how this works out but I find the "ghost vision" stuff boring (in this case, I mean -- I usually like ghost stories) and the future tech angle lacks the "gosh, wow" factor at least so far.
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Seren

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #121 on: November 01, 2008, 12:21:59 PM »
Seren
The Algebraist is indeed a good one.
Banks is great at just jumping you into expansive worlds, and doesn't
usually waste time with offering quasi-scientific explanations for everything.


Just finished the book and really enjoyed it. He was very, very good at the twists and turns - even using the expectation of them I think to keep the twists coming unexpectedly - just when I was looking in one direction, something would shear out of the sidefields and surprise me. The ending was not too bad either, always difficult to tie lots of ideas into a coherent ending, but the flow back to the last character was a greart idea.

mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #122 on: November 07, 2008, 02:29:35 PM »
I just finished  Dead Lines by Greg Bear and was pretty disappointed in it.  I've really enjoyed some of this writer's more conventional science fiction stories, but this was an attempt at some kind of supernatural ghost story, and it fell completely flat.  Also, the quality of the writing was extremely uneven, as if he wrote parts of it in a hurry.  There were chunks of writing that could be excerpted as an example of laughably bad prose, and yet other sections were very good.  Kind of a puzzle, but enough of a disappointment to strike Greg Bear off my "willing to read anything by" list.  I'll still seek out some of his better-regarded books that I haven't read yet, but I'll be more careful to check reviews first.

I'm now listening to the audiobook of The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice, which is the second Vampire Chronicles book.  So far, so good, though it's sort of an odd premise, in which a centuries-old vampire awakes from a long slumber and decides to become a rock star in the 1980s.  Rice is a very good writer, though, and the story is very interesting.  The first Vampire Chronicles book, Interview With The Vampire, was narrated by Louie but told a lot about Lestat, while this second book is narrated by Lestat, and the Lestat character seems different in the two books... though I think this is intentional.

I'm still reading Mindscan and think it's very good, though it's turned into a sort of sci-fi courtroom drama, an unexpected change of direction.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #123 on: November 07, 2008, 02:41:45 PM »
I guess I should explain what I meant by taking Greg Bear off my "willing to read anything by" list.  I don't mean I now won't read anything by him, I meant that he's no longer someone for whom I'll read ANYTHING he's written.
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mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #124 on: November 07, 2008, 02:53:48 PM »
I'm about half way through Greg Bear's latest "City at the End of Time".  A difficult book so far.  Too many central characters & a confusing plot are making this a tough read.  But some of the ideas will keep me going to the end.  I hope the pay off is worth the struggle.

Next up...Anathem by Neal Stephenson.

Dave, I must have missed this at the time or overlookd the mention of Greg Bear's new book...

Anyway, now that you're done (assuming you're done, or at least have mostly finished) what would you say about it?  I'm a bit concerned with Greg Bear's more recent direction, after having finished Dead Lines, but what I've heard of the new one sounds interesting.
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Dave Michuda

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #125 on: November 07, 2008, 06:09:20 PM »
Mike,

I guess I'd say "City at the End of Time" was just okay.  A bit too disjointed & some of the writing was irritating.  I enjoyed it a bit more by the end.  The first half was definitely a struggle.  The pay off wasn't worth the effort.  Some interesting ideas but I can't really recommend it.

I just started "Flashforward" based on your recommendation.  I am only a few chapters in but so far so good.  I am reading it on an Amazon Kindle, the electronic book reader thingy.  Even though it's a bit pricey, I love it!  There are some things I'd like to change, like the positioning of the page buttons, but in general I am very pleased.

I know some will say they would miss the feel of a real book in their hands, and I definitely know that feeling.  But this thing is just so convenient & cool.  It's tied directly to your Amazon account & it takes about 10 seconds to buy & download a book.  I also have a subscription to Atlantic monthly that the Kindle downloads automatically.  I carry it with me all the time & I pull it out & read while waiting for the kids at practice, in between computers render at work, in bed at night, etc.  Obviously you can do all that with a book too, although this holds like 200 books.  Sorry, I just had to rave about my Kindle.

mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #126 on: December 01, 2008, 03:37:16 PM »
Most recently I'm on to Quarantine by Greg Egan, which is the first thing I've read by this author.  It's a really cool hard sci-fi detective story, and Egan really gets into wallowing around in the quantum mechanics stuff.  If you're not into pages of dialogue in which scientific and philosophical matters are debated at length between various characters, this one will make your head hurt. 

I'm enjoying it though, and most definitely look forward to reading more Greg Egan (though his books aren't too easy to find in the US).  It's been a great year for me for sci-fi author discoveries!
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

APK

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #127 on: December 01, 2008, 05:13:54 PM »
I was reading Anathem by Neal Stephenson, but after 150 or so pages I gave it a thumbs down and stopped.
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mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #128 on: December 01, 2008, 05:24:58 PM »
Well, this topic has definitely saved me reading a couple of books that I almost picked up, but had some doubts about!
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mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #129 on: December 18, 2008, 03:56:47 PM »
Sometimes I think there aren't very many readers visiting this place!

I'm almost done with the audiobook of The Vampire Lestat which is the second of Anne Rice's series, the Vampire Chronicles.  The first half of the book bored me to the point that I almost gave up several times but it has become much more interesting in the second half.  What started out as a lot of emo whining about inter-vampire relations has turned into an interesting study of the difficulties of immortality, as well as some interesting stuff about where the vampires came from in Anne Rice's vampire mythos.

I'm still reading Greg Egan's Quarantine, almost finished, after getting sidetracked away from it for a week or two.  I still really like this book, and am impressed with Egan's inventiveness and intellectual energy.  At times it's a bit exhausting, but I really look forward to reading more by this guy.

Next up I will probably read one of Ursula Leguin's story collections, or else Martin Amis's Heavy Water, or maybe both at once.
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SunDummy

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #130 on: December 18, 2008, 04:15:51 PM »
I just finished "1491" by Charles Mann, an utterly fascinating history of North and South America prior to Europe's 'discovery'.  If you like history, and especially if you like Daniel Boorstein or Jared Diamond's books, you will LOVE this.  The author catches us up on the latest in archaeological discoveries and theories, most of which are very, very different from what we were taught in school. 

And if you have not read any of Jared Diamond's books, you should stop reading this and go get "Guns, Germs and Steel" and "Collapse", both of which will utterly change how you view human history.  Essential reading.

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mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #131 on: December 18, 2008, 04:24:26 PM »
Collapse is a fascinating book, and especially worthwhile reading for anyone who thinks great societies always remain great, and that once you're "smart" and on top of things, there's no way you can drop off, or lose domination.
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Antdude

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #132 on: December 18, 2008, 04:52:41 PM »
I gave up on Neal Stephenson's Baroque Trilogy. Just too dense and impenetrable. I'm now reading a collection of Jack London stories, which is more appropriate for the season. I'm currently reading White Fang, and loving every word. Next up: Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.
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hdibrell

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #133 on: December 18, 2008, 10:10:19 PM »
Quote
I'm almost done with the audiobook of The Vampire Lestat which is the second of Anne Rice's series, the Vampire Chronicles.  The first half of the book bored me to the point that I almost gave up several times but it has become much more interesting in the second half.  What started out as a lot of emo whining about inter-vampire relations has turned into an interesting study of the difficulties of immortality, as well as some interesting stuff about where the vampires came from in Anne Rice's vampire mythos.
  I for got about that book. I read it almost 20 years ago and felt the same way. Boring at first and then mesmerizing. Some of those early Anne Rice books were great reads.   Harry
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mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #134 on: December 30, 2008, 02:49:26 PM »
I've finished reading Greg Egan's Quarantine and overall enjoyed it very much, and want to read more of his work.  I have a copy of Schild's Ladder on the shelf, but have generally had trouble finding Egan's books in stores.  I'll probably read that next, as soon as I finish a handful of short story collections I'm reading... Vonnegut, Leguin, M.Amis.

Also finished the audiobook of The Vampire Lestat and enjoyed it enough that that I'll move on to the next book in the series, at some point, but I wanted to try something different for a while. 

So I'm listening to Glory Season by David Brin during my commute.  I just started it so I don't have much opinion yet, other that it seems strange (not in a bad way) to have a male writer writing about a feminist/matriarchal society.
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Brian Bieniowski

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #135 on: December 30, 2008, 04:56:23 PM »
Hey Mike, like many UK/Aussie SF authors, Egan doesn't get much publishing love here in the US.  Your best bet is Amazon UK where a ton of his books have recently been reissued by Gollancz—and they aren't all that expensive, even with the exchange rate.

APK

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #136 on: December 30, 2008, 05:29:59 PM »
- I'm re-reading Sartre's little autobiography "The Words".  Charming thing.

- And finally reading "Foucault's Pendulum" by Umberto Eco. Been sitting around here for many years. Good so far.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2008, 01:02:03 PM by APK »
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hdibrell

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #137 on: December 30, 2008, 10:03:08 PM »



- And finally reading "Foucault's Pendulum" by Umberto Eco. Been sitting around here for many years. Good so far.
That's funny you mention that, I, also have that and have been meaning to read it now for several years, but haven't. Now, might be a good time.     Harry
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einstein36

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #138 on: December 30, 2008, 10:34:24 PM »
Okay...I will bite but I will probably be laughed out of here(I can hear the laughter starting now), but I just got finished reading Nora Roberts 3rd book in the trilogy, The Sign of Seven, Pagan Stone...it's about love, sex(yes I said it hehehe) and evil brewing in a small town every 7 years....3 men with imbued powers given to them as children along with the 3 women in their lives have to defeat this evil before well, you know, all goes to hell:)

I don't know if Lena likes these kinds of books, but I love her writing, strong characters and funny moments within her books between her characters that just make me laugh out loud....

I esp loved her The Three Sisters trilogy books....

P.S. for those that like Sci-Fi and Sex...check out her psudeo name, J. D. Robb, her Lt. Eve Dallas sci-fi detective novels..
« Last Edit: December 30, 2008, 10:38:01 PM by einstein36 »
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mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #139 on: December 31, 2008, 12:11:31 PM »
I don't think you'll be laughed out of here, einstein36... in fact I'd guess that most of us will wish you well following your recent male-to-female gender reassignment.

 ;)
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