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Archive for February, 2013

I know I can always count on having some great discussion when our book group meets, and last night was no exception (thanks, everyone!!!).   Here’s some of what people had to say about Reamde (complete with aliases):

  • Hola started out by saying that she really enjoyed the book.   While at first, she found the size of the book a bit daunting, she thought it was a quick read.   She liked the way the author portrayed the female characters, in particular, although she was glad that on page 568, we learn a little more about Zula (which gave some insight into some of her behavior and views).
  • Many readers found Zula, in particular, to be an interesting character, although other characters were also liked.   For example, Hola said, “I would have so slept with Seamus,” (even though she was perfectly fine with him winding up with Yuxia at the end).   Menolly said that she liked that many people got their just desserts, even if it had to take a while for it to happen.  Klaupaucius said that the only thing that bothered him was that Jones seemed to have almost too good of a sense of humor, and was a bit to glib sometimes, which other people agreed with.
  • Terry said that while all of the gaming aspects of the book weren’t things that she was familiar with, she really enjoyed the story, and the fast pace, and how the author threw so many different types of bad guys into one story.  She was a bit surprised that there were some romantic overtones at the conclusion, which was something that other readers mentioned, as well.
  • Several people commented that they had been expecting more of a science-fiction book from this author, but this one was a thriller; and that was perfectly fine with most readers.  aNON did say, though, that he felt that the author threw a lot of formulas into the book, and he just didn’t enjoy as much as he expected he would.
  • Ed stated that this was his second time reading the book, and he really enjoyed the storytelling.   Reading it this time, he really took the book apart, and found that he enjoyed how the author tied all the different elements together.   He felt like it was a Rube Goldberg type of book, where everything comes together, and really enjoyed it.
  • However, not everyone loved this book.  Sabine mentioned that she was okay until she got to the part with the Islamic terrorists, and also felt that the 250-page trek through the Canadian mountains was a bit much.  She felt the book had a lot of promise, but got clunky at times.  Klaupaucius said at times,it felt like the author was saying “look how well I researched this,” and thought it could have been shorter (or 2 books).  Naberius also said that she liked it, but at times felt it was a little overwhelming.
  • Menolly said that she has read other books by the author (and liked some of them more than others).  Like Hola, she had been a bit worried about the length of the book, but then found the pace was so fast that she finished the book more quickly than she anticipated.  She mentioned that the author combined disparate elements to make the story pretty believable, although some of the characters were ultra-capable, beyond being completely realistic.  Furry said that she felt that the author set up the reunion at the beginning of the book to give some understanding of how capable some of the characters were.   She also mentioned that the author’s stories usually have one plucky female heroine, and here, we have two (Zula and Yuxia).
  • One person mentioned that he had recently read some of the author’s nonfiction essays (the Library has Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writings) and felt that as a result, he got a good feel for the author, and his background.  He said that in this book, you can see those influences, especially with the economics and math.  He said he was glad he had stuck with the book past the first hundred pages, and found it was more accessible than some of the author’s other works.   He liked the book (and was glad, since he had worried it would be too much like Ready Player One, which he didn’t like very much).
  • Kathleen said that she hadn’t enjoyed reading something so much in a long time, and said this book was a rollicking good time.  She found it to be technically very well written, and an exemplar of how to say what you’re trying to say — and also, how to have so many characters and keep track of them all.     Kathy agreed with Kathleen, and said she enjoyed it as a thriller.  To her, it was interesting to take a step back and see how gifted the author is with language; you never read the same phrase twice.
  • Mike stated that he had also found the size of the book intimidating (actually, I think most readers approached the book this way), but found the plot and pacing got him caught up in reading.   He said that he liked how the plot and people were driven by circumstances —- that so many things happened by accident in the story, and the characters did their best just to keep on top of things.    He had expected the book to be about Richard, but then, no, gaming, then, no, terrorists, and then no ….. Canadians!  In spite of all that was happening in the book, Mike said that he thought the author never overdid it with the information; it’s all useful.   He did mention, though, that he felt that the whole thing with the cougar was a bit of a stretch; divine intervention by cougar once, okay.  Divine intervention by cougar twice, not very believable.    But overall, he thought the book was a roller-coaster rude of a story, and a lot of fun.   Menolly agreed, and said that you take the book for what it is: an action adventure.  It’s reasonably believable, and the way the author explains things make you go along with all of it.  Hola also said that she expects this kind of thing from a thriller, with all of the coincidences.
  • On the subject of cougars, Furry said that behavior-wise, cougars don’t really act like this.  The behavior of the bears on the book, on the other hand, was more on target.  Burt Macklin, FBI said that he expected the smoking gun at the end of the book would actually be a bear.
  • Burt Macklin, FBI listened to the audiobook (which, at 32 discs, was quite the undertaking), and said that he found it to be really engaging.  He also said that this was one instance where the computer elements didn’t make him cringe.  He cited the example of Dan Brown, whose thrillers tend to have great pacing, but whose books often get a lot of details very wrong.   And speaking of details, Pokéthulu said that she was completely sold on the book when the author described WalMat and was spot-on.
  • Lastly, we talked about how many of us felt this would make a good movie.   Some of the casting suggested was Viggo Mortensen as Richard; Zoe Saldana as Zula; Jean Reno as Sokolov; and Sean Mean as someone who gets killed.       Always an interesting discussion in this group, as you can tell.

We always welcome more comments, so if you’d like to share your thoughts on Reamde, please do!

Codes for this book were: MOB, FEM, HIT (High-Tech not hard science), HRO and GAME — and the average rating came out to a 4.

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Since we’ll be discussing Reamde this evening, I thought I’d post a few things that I found while doing a bit of research ….

The first is a link to BoingBoing — where there’s a video of Neal Stephenson discussing Reamde with security experts and lawyers.

And the second is a link to a video on MIT Technology Review where Neal Stephenson discusses some of the issues in Reamde — specifically, Jason Pontin asks the science fiction author whether he typecasts female characters in his books.

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This post that he wrote about libraries.      I love this man.    No, not in a weird way …. and yes, I know he’s married.   I mean, in a “I’m a librarian and I just love that this author is so awesome and that he supports libraries ….. and he’s pretty cool” kind of way.

Yeah, he’s awesome.

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The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) have announced the finalists for the 2012 Nebula Awards, the Ray Bradbury Award, and the Andre Norton Award.    Tor.com has a nice post up, which shows all of the honorees, and I’m going through the list to see what we have here at the library — but we DO have all of the nominated novels.     Just to give you a taste of what’s been nominated:

Novel:

  • Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (DAW; Gollancz ’13)
  • Ironskin, Tina Connolly (Tor)
  • The Killing Moon, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • The Drowning Girl, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Roc)
  • Glamour in Glass, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
  • 2312, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

The winners will be announced at SFWA’s 48th Annual Nebula Awards Weekend, to be held Thursday through Sunday, May 16 to May 19, 2013 at the San Jose Hilton in San Jose, California.

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Courtesy of Fast Forward

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Some of the conventions coming up in Illinois and neighboring states (with updated info and corrected links):

ConcinnityCon — April 13, 2013  – Milwaukee, WI    Also, more info on their Facebook page

C2E2              April 26-28, 2013 • Chicago, IL

OdysseyCon             April 12-14, 2013       — Madison, WI   (no GOH announced yet)

Windy City Pulp & Paper        April 12-14, 2013          Lombard, IL

Anime Central                  May 17-19, 2013       Rosemont, IL

WisCon             May 24-27, 2013           Madison, WI   (GOH are Joan Slonczewski and Jo Walton)

And if you have information on other conventions you’d like to share, please post a comment — or send me an email and I’ll update this post.   Thanks!

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It seems a little strange to already be thinking about 2014 book selections for the group, but I think I’ve got a good date / book list for our next reading cycle:

7/31/2013           The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

8/28/2013           Existence by David Brin

9/25/2013           Robopocalypse by Daniel H Wilson

10/30/2013         Poison Study by Maria D. Snyder

11/20/2013         The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt

12/18/2013         The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

1/29/2014           planning mtg & book discussion – Redshirts by John Scalzi

2/26/2014           Kraken by China Mieville

3/26/2014           Ares Express by Ian McDonald

4/30/2014           vN by Madeline Ashby

5/28/2014           The Woman Who Died a Lot by Jasper Fforde

6/25/2014           Nexus by Ramez Naam

I’ve already had some comments from library staff about how many good-sounding books we chose, and I completely agree!

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