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Archive for September, 2013

extra books-sept 13People always have an opportunity to mention the other books they’ve been reading (in addition to our selection of the month).  Here are the titles from our September meeting:

The Face in the Frost by John Bellairs

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Hour of the Red God by Richard Crompton

books by Mary Roach: Bonk, Stiff, Spook, Packing of Mars, Gulp

Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Joyland by Stephen King

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We will be meeting on Wednesday, October 30th @ 7:00 pm in the YS Activity Room (2nd floor) to discuss Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison…

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear… (summary courtesy of Goodreads)

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Our group met on Wednesday evening to discuss Robopocalypse.  We had (as usual) a great discussion, so I’ll try to highlight some of what people had to say:

  • Hola started out by saying that she liked the book, and found it to be a quick read.  She thought the story was something that’s been done before, but she still liked reading it.  She also liked that there were characters who found redemption, and turned into better people.  Other readers agreed, and we had some general discussion about some of these characters.
  • aNon said he found the story to be too predictable.  He felt the theme is old, and if the book were written as short stories, it would be better.   He also found there to be some big flaws in the story, like how you know everything that’s going on, and can anticipate what’s going to happen.
  • Theresa mentioned that she got tired of how the same few people kept coming back, and having the story centered on them, which made it seem like things were very simplified.   Other readers, however, liked that there were only a few characters to keep track of, and cited other books where there were so many characters that it was hard to remember who was who.   We had some general discussion about the merits of having only a few characters, and how this focused or limited the perspectives in the story.
  • Derek said the book was okay, although it seemed very much like World War Z with robots.   Comparing the two, as far as reasonable concepts, he felt it was more reasonable to have a robot apocalypse than a zombie one.  He said that with science fiction, you agree to suspend your belief — but at times in this book, he felt things were unrealistic.  However, he agreed that a story like this can be refreshing, compared to heavier reads.    He mentioned that he was surprised that given how intelligent Archos was, that there were any humans left by the end of the story.   Theresa theorizes that he was waiting for humanity to destroy itself.
  • And speaking of Archos, we had some general discussion about this character.  Menolly and Hola both wondered why he was bothering to alter humans.  Burt Macklin, FBI found it interesting that Archos seemed to see itself as a god, where it was creating these altered humans.   He also mentioned, though, that he thought it was odd that the author made it so Archos was only in a single location.  He expected that there would be more than one, or at least, some kind of backup in place.   Theresa mentioned how in Daniel Suarez’ book, Daemon, that this is the case — where intelligence gets released into networks, so it’s impossible to pin down to one location.    Hola and Menolly said they liked that Archos is like a rogue entity.   Menolly said that in some novels, it’s inevitable that robots are always going to be more efficient and more evil, but here, at least, not all of that was true.
  • Menolly said that she liked that the technology in the story isn’t too far ahead of what we have now, which makes parts of the story more believable (and scary).
  • Furry said that she enjoyed the book, and found it to be episodic and a quick read.   She said that maybe she was under-thinking it, but she liked it.  She was reminded of World War II-era movies, where there is a focus on the heroes.   She stated this would be a great “popcorn” movie.   Kathleen had similar feelings, and said the book made her think of guilty pleasure television — lots of action and adventure, and sometimes cheesy, but overall, you keep coming back to it.   Other people agreed, and we talked about how Wilson’s writing seems to be very much in line with how a movie would play out.
  • And speaking of the author’s writing style, this was something else that we had some general discussion about.  A few people mentioned how the pacing seemed very abrupt.  While the short sections made for quick reading, many readers felt the book was uneven.  Nathan mentioned that knowing the ending of the story made him think there’d be more to the book than there was.   Some readers also mentioned that they felt the author didn’t spend as much time on certain characters as they wanted.  For example, Menolly said she wanted to know more about the two people in New York, who were demolishing buildings.   Burt Macklin, FBI said that because of the writing, he sometimes found it tricky to figure out the time that was passing throughout the story.
  • We did talk about the 2012 challenge to the book in Tennessee, which surprised many readers.    People did think that the book would make an interesting read for teens, and that it would generate some good discussion, as well.   While the book isn’t very deep, many readers felt the author touched on some things that could be very thought-provoking.   Derek said he liked how the book used London and Japan as a good example of how you have to be careful with how much power you put into technology.

The codes selected for this book were: DOM, SOP, ROB, NFW, HRO and the averaged rating was 3.5

We always welcome more discussion, so if you’d like to leave comments, please do!

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I know I gave a sample in a previous post, but there are even more new books coming to the SF-F shelves …..

more SF on order-092513Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone (Craft, #2)

Allegiance by Beth Bernobich (River of Souls, #3)

Board Stiff by Piers Anthony (Xanth, #38)

A Clockwork Heart by Liesel Schwarz (Sequel to A Conspiracy of Alchemists)

A Dance of Cloaks by David Dalglish (Shadowdance, #1)

Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (Broken Empire, #3)

Esrever Doom by Piers Anthony (Xanth, #37)

Fiendish Schemes by K.W. Jeter (Sequel to Infernal Devices)

Iron Winter by Stephen Baxter (Northland Trilogy, #3)

Long Live the Queen by Kate Locke (Immortal Empire, #3)

The Lost Prince by Edward Lazellari (Sequel to Awakenings)

Perilous Shield by Jack Campbell (Lost Stars, #2)

Royal Airs by Sharon Shinn (Elemental Blessings, #2)

Starhawk by Jack McDevitt (Engines of God, #7)

Things Fall Apart by Harry Turtledove (Supervolcano, #3)

To Dance with the Devil by Cat Adams (Blood Song, #6)

Chosen by Benedict Jacka (Alex Verus, #4)

The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig (Miriam Black, #3)

Magic: an Anthology of the Esoteric and Arcane

Spirits From Beyond by Simon R Green (Ghostfinders, #4)

 

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You know I always like to give a little sample of some of the shiny new books coming to our shelves (and some of them will hit the new display on Thursday)…..

The One-Eyed Man: A Fugue with winds and accompaniment by L.E. Modesitt

The Best of Connie WillisSF on order-092313

Charming by Elliott James

The Cusanus Game by Wolfgang Jeschke

Dangerous Women edited by George RR Martin

Dead Set by Richard Kadrey

The Fairest of them All by Carolyn Turgeon

Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl by David Barnett

Helen & Troy’s Epic Road Quest by A. Lee Martinez

The Incrementalists by Steven Brust

The Necromancer’s House by Christopher Buehlman

Parasite by Mira Grant

The Scroll of Years by Chris Willrich

Shadows of the New Sun: Stories in Honor of Gene Wolfe

Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson

Super Stories of Heroes and Villains by Claude Lalumiere

Transcendental by James Gunn

The Urban Green Man edited by Adria Laycraft

Vicious by VE Schwab

 

 

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Just a sample of some of the great graphic novels on order for the GN section (lower level, corner) —-

Batman 1: Arkham Unhinged by DeGN on order-092313rek Fridolfs et al

Black Bird 17 by Kanoko Sakurakouji

Chew: volumes 5, 6, 7 by Rob Guillory and John Layman

Fairest: Fairest in all the Land by Bill Willingham

The Infernal Devices 1: Clockwork Angel and 2: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare and Hyekyung Baek (this is the new manga based on Clare’s novels)

Inuyasha 17 and 18 (VizBig editions) by Rumiko Takahashi

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – the graphic novel by Random Riggs

Mouse Guard 2: Legends of the Guard by Ben Caldwell et al

Soul Eater 15 by Atushi Ohkubo et al

Soulless: The Manga – volume 3 by Gail Carriger

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Farewell, Frederik Pohl

I’m determined to get better about posting obituaries for authors …..

I was forwarded this, so posting — “One of the leading lights of the science fiction world, editor and author Frederik Pohl, passed away this weekend after a career that defined the genre for decades.”

In an interview with Vice, Pohl said:

You can’t really predict the future. All you can do is invent it. You can do things that may have an effect on what the future will be, but you can’t say which is going to happen unless you know who’s inventing things and who’s making things happen. We would not have landed a man on the moon in 1969 if John Kennedy hadn’t decided to do it. It’s because he invented that event that it took place. It probably would’ve happened sooner or later under some other circumstances, but that’s why it happened. Same with atomic energy. So you can see how future events take place but what you can’t do is know who’s going to do something that will change it. You can’t really say what’s going to happen, but you can show a spectrum of possibilities.

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