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Archive for May, 2013

AdultsGrowWithUs

Science Fiction/Fantasy book group members always have good representation during Summer Read ….. so I expect that again this summer, too.

Adult Summer Read officially begins June 1st with our Kick-off Party – Everyone is welcome!  Sign up online via the library website (and you can sign up at 7:00 am on June 1st), or come in to register for the Adult program. Logging three books/audiobooks entitles you to a beautiful, monogrammed flowerpot mug, AND each book/audiobook you log also counts as a virtual ticket to win one of our grand prizes at the end of the program.  We’ll also have a special drawing halfway through Summer Read for two lucky winners to win a “One Day Family Admission” to the Naper Settlement.
Prize baskets include: local gift certificates, books, audiobooks, DVDs, and more!

Everyone is welcome to attend the Adult/Teen Summer Read Wrap-up Party on Monday, July 29th. Complete details will be in the July/August newsletter, but be assured, we’ll have plenty of food and fun, a special door prize, and will announce all Summer Read winners!!!

please note —- there is also a separate Teen program, which has different prizes ….  so if you know a teen who might be interested, please pass along the info — and visit our home page for the full info.

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Last night, we met to discuss Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds.   As always, we had a really good discussion.   Here’s some of what people had to say (aliases included for those who want them):

  • ANon mentioned he was the person who had suggested the book, and although he didn’t have a chance to re-read it before we met, he remembered that he liked the 3 different plot lines running through the book, and also found the science aspects of the book to be really interesting.
  • Theresa (who joined us for the first time tonight — yay!) found the book “delightful,” and said that even though she started to figure out some of what was happening, kept finding surprises in the book, which she liked.   She enjoyed the author’s descriptive writing style, and how thoroughly he created all of the different places
  • Menolly, on the other hand, felt like she slogged through the book. She found the mixed identities plot lines to be confusing, and found the author’s overly descriptive writing style to be frustrating at times.  For example, the description of the ship, inside and out, “felt like narrating a Star Trek pan of the outside of the ship.”
  • Mike was another reader who couldn’t really get into the book.  He found the science interesting, but the characters boring.   He got partway into the book, but couldn’t figure out where the author was going …. and just went on to read another book.  He did mention, though, that he found the fleet to be an interesting concept (and more engaging than the relationship of Sky to his father).
  • Like Menolly, Kathleen found the book to be hard-going at times.  She almost didn’t make it past her “40-page rule,” but as soon as the space elevator got blown up, she was more interested.  However, she said that her interest waxed and waned She found the description of the slug ship to be really cool, and found the character of Sky to be scary (appropriately so, since he’s a sociopath).   However, she said that the end of the book seems to ask, “Can people redeem themselves for their behavior?” — and she felt that no, this wasn’t possible here.
  • We did have some general discussion of the author’s writing style; some readers felt it was overly descriptive, some felt it was just right, and some people felt the author spent a lot of time describing things they didn’t care about, and not enough time on elements they were curious about.    One person said she would be curious to read a book that was set in the time of the Plague, for example.   We talked about the author seemed to have a lot of ideas he was bouncing around in the book.   For some readers, this was a little frustrating, or distracting, although many people felt that the fact that Reynolds left so many open threads was okay (especially as these threads may be picked up in his other books).   Burt Macklin, FBI, said he found the book to be a good mix of hard science fiction and space opera, which he enjoyed.
  • Glenn (another person who was brave enough to join us for the first time this evening — yay!) said he liked the religious components of the story, and how they evolved and de-evolved over time.  However, he wasn’t sold on the ending of the book, and didn’t like the odd “Team Tanner” thing, which didn’t feel realistic.  He felt the ending was a bit stuffed together, which was something a few other readers agreed with.   Burt Macklin, FBI, said he was reminded of Dr. Who episodes, where there is “the voice of command.”
  • Hola had some memorable comments about the book.   Generally, she liked the book, and liked the different times/places and found the religious subplots to be interesting.   However, she said, on the subject of Tanner and Zebra, “If you’re attracted to a woman who looks like a zebra and who used to be a man, you have more issues than I want to know about.”
  • We had some general discussion about elements that readers particularly liked in the book.   For example, Burt Macklin, FBI said he thought the cable car idea was pretty cool (and sounded like something from Studio Ghibli).   Glenn echoed this comment, and said it reminded him of something from Samurai Jack.   Menolly found the hamadryads to be an interesting concept, as well as the slugs, and a few people mentioned the use of snakes and snake motifs throughout the book as things they liked.    Theresa and Naberius both liked the pigs (and frankly, felt the author could have spent more time with them).   Theresa also said she would have liked to know more about some of the different religious groups that the author mentioned, but never really developed.
  • The plot line of Tanner Mirabel chasing a man through the universe, because of a grudge, seemed far-fetched to some readers.   We had some discussion, generally, about his character(s) and his motivations.   Burt Macklin, FBI stated that there are several hints early on in the book to indicate that Tanner realized that he has become somewhat reformed.   Burt also made a point that he thought it was really interesting that because Tanner has the three perspectives in the book, that these come together and change him for the better — and this was something he really liked about the story.   Tanner’s development, rather than lapsing into his old behaviors/way of doing things, was something several readers commented on.
  • We had some general discussion about the concept of immortality in the book.  As Reynolds lays it out, some readers felt that there seemed to be a link between being immortal and being evil.   Menolly mentioned, in particular, how Reynolds has these characters finding thrills in particularly gruesome ways.   Glenn made the point, though, in contrast, that perhaps the view of immortals as being bad might come from a “sour grapes” feeling from those who have regular lives.
  • Naberius said that for her, the book was interesting because she felt that Reynolds doesn’t make things easy in the book for a reader.  You never feel like you can trust what you think you know, and things are constantly changing.  She felt there was a consistent unpleasant undertone to the book, although she didn’t mind that.    A few other people agreed with her point on not being able to trust anything, whether it’s Tanner, or everyone in general.
  • A few people mentioned that the setting of Chasm City reminded them of other places, such as the setting in Blade Runner, or Smoketown (which the group read recently).
  • And on the subject of the space elevator:  ANon said, “why is it that every space elevator fails?” and cited examples of this in other books by other authors.   We came to the conclusion that “The space elevator is the red shirt of a book.”

We gave this book the codes: HDS, SPJ (Space Jungle), IMM, POL, REL, SOP, UTP, ETH and NARC — and the averaged-out rating was a 3.

We welcome comments and more discussion, so if you’ve read the book and would like to add your thoughts, please do!

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One of our book group members forwarded me this article about Monsanto, which has been in the news lately regarding biotech crops, genetically modified seeds, etc.   She thought it was especially interesting, considering our discussion of The Windup Girl, where seed modification and large corporations was a major theme in the story.

The Reuters article begins with “A review of 926 diplomatic cables of correspondence to and from the U.S. State Department and embassies in more than 100 countries found that State Department officials actively promoted the commercialization of specific biotech seeds, according to the report issued by Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit consumer protection group.” — so if this sounds interesting to you, click on the link to read the whole thing.

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The 2012 Nebula Awards were presented May 18, 2013 in a ceremony at  SFWA’s 48th Annual Nebula Awards Weekend, held in San Jose CA. Gene Wolfe was honored with the 2012 Damon Knight Grand Master Award for his lifetime contributions and achievements in the field.    The winners are:Nebula winners 2012

Novel:  2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

Novella: After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress

Novelette: Close Encounters by Andy Duncan (in The Pottawatomie Giant & Other Stories)

Short Story: Immersion by Aliette de Bodard (in Clarkesworld 6/12)

Andre Norton Award for YA SF-F book:  Fair Coin by E.C. Myers

You can see the whole list here on Locus online.

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I just put through an order of graphic novels and manga for our GN (graphic novel) section.   Here’s a sampling of some of the shiny titles that will be hitting the shelves:

Amazing Agent Jennifer 2 by Nunzio DePhillips et al

Batman: The Night of Owls (The new 52)GN and manga on order-051013

Draupadi: The Fire-Born Princess by Saraswati Nagpal

John Henry: The Steam Age by Dwayne Harris et al

Julio’s Day by Gilbert Hernandez

Marble Season by Gilbert Hernandez

Scott Pilgrim 3: Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness — COLOR edition  by Bryan Lee O’Malley

The Sleeper Omnibus by Ed Brubaker et al

Watchmen: The Deluxe Edition by Alan Moore

Bakuman 20 by Tsugumi Ohba

Black Bird Volumes 14, 15, and 16 by Kanoko Sakurakouji

Bleach 56 and 57 by Tite Kubo et al

Dengeki Daisy 11 and 12 by Kyousuke Motomi

The Drops of God 2, 3 and 4 by Tadashi Agi

Gate 7 volumes 3 and 4 by Clamp

Inuyasha 16 by Rumiko Takahashi

Naruto 62 by Masahi Kishimoto

Pandora Hearts 12 by Jun Mochizuki

Wandering Son 4 and 5 by Shimura Takako

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The Locus Science Fiction Foundation has announced the top five finalists in each category of the 2013 Locus Awards.  Winners will be announced during the Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle WA, June 28-30, 2013.

I have looked at the list, and we have all of the nominees for the first four categories (click HERE to see the entire list).   Apparently, our group has excellent taste — we’ll be reading two of the nominated books, Redshirts and vN.   🙂

SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

  • The Hydrogen Sonata, Iain M. Banks (Orbit US; Orbit UK)    SF-F BAN
  • Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)   SF-F BUJ
  • Caliban’s War, James S.A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)   SF-F COR
  • 2312, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)    SF-F ROB
  • Redshirts, John Scalzi (Tor; Gollancz)   SF-F SCA

FANTASY NOVEL

  • The Killing Moon, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)    SF-F JEM
  • The Drowning Girl, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Roc)   SF-F KIE
  • Glamour in Glass, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)   F KOW
  • Hide Me Among the Graves, Tim Powers (Morrow; Corvus)    SF-F POW
  • The Apocalypse Codex, Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit UK)   SF-F STR

YOUNG ADULT BOOK

  • The Drowned Cities, Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown; Atom)    TN BAC
  • Pirate Cinema, Cory Doctorow (Tor Teen)    TN DOC
  • Railsea, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan)    SF-F MIE
  • Dodger, Terry Pratchett (Harper; Doubleday UK)     Jh PRA
  • The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, Catherynne M. Valente (Feiwel and Friends; Much-in-Little ’13)   Jh VAL

FIRST NOVEL

  • Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (DAW; Gollancz ’13)    SF-F AHM
  • vN, Madeline Ashby (Angry Robot US; Angry Robot UK)   SF-F ASH
  • Seraphina, Rachel Hartman (Random House; Doubleday UK)    Jh HAR
  • The Games, Ted Kosmatka (Del Rey; Titan)      SF-F KOS
  • Alif the Unseen, G. Willow Wilson (Grove; Corvus)    SF-F WIL

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I found this on Harper Voyager, so passing it along to everyone —- considering that we just discussed one of her books, the timing on this is nice.   🙂    Doesn’t she look comfy in this photo?  The Author’s Road stopped by her house for this interview.   I know at least one person in this group who would love to stop by her house and hang out ……

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