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posted by martyb on Sunday September 02 2018, @09:09AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the In-just-over-three-months-it-would-be...-Mars-Ho-Ho-Ho! dept.

Want to read some books? Many of our users have shown interest in having a book club. Now it's finally time to kick it off.

Your soytyrant has pre-selected the first three books so that you have more time to read them, should you choose to do so:

September: Mars, Ho! by Stephen McGrew
October: Foundation by Isaac Asimov
November: The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin.

The plan is to read a book, and discuss it on the 1st of the following month. Suggestions for new books (of any genres, not just "science fiction") will also be collected at the same time. You can start listing some of your suggestions right now in this comment section. We'll pick up to eight of them and run a poll on September 15th to decide the book for December. And so on.

The first book is Mars, Ho! by Stephen McGrew, one of our more literary users (not to be confused with Mars Ho! by Jennifer Willis). The book is available for free on McGrew's website, although there are some purchasing options available if you want to support him. From the description:

Captain John Knolls thinks he's just been given the best assignment of his career -- ferrying two hundred prostitutes to Mars. He doesn't know that they're all addicted to a drug that causes them to commit extreme, deadly violence when they are experiencing withdrawal or that he'll face more pirates than anyone had ever seen before. Or that he'd fall in love. A humorous science fiction space novel, a horror story, a love story, a pirate story, a tale of corporate bureaucracy and incompetence.

All book club posts will be in the Community Reviews nexus, which is linked to on the site's sidebar. You'll likely want to click on that link once the posts fall off the main page.


Original Submission

Related Stories

SoylentNews Book Club - Discuss: Fiasco, Start Reading: We Are Legion (We Are Bob) 17 comments

Discuss Fiasco by Stanisław Lem in the comments below. If you have any book suggestions for the upcoming poll, feel free to add those.

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) is the first book of the "Bobiverse" series by Dennis E. Taylor:

Dennis E. Taylor is a Canadian novelist and former computer programmer known for his large scale hard science fiction stories exploring the interaction between artificial intelligence and the human condition.

While working at his day job as a computer programmer, Taylor self published his first novel and began working with an agent to try and publish his second novel We Are Legion. However Taylor still had difficultly getting any publishing house to take on his work, eventually publishing it through his agent's in-house publishing arm. An audiobook rights deal with Audible was also reached and once recorded, We Are Legion became one of the most popular audiobooks on the service and was awarded Best Science Fiction Audiobook of the year.

[...] In October 2018 Taylor was added to the X-Prize Foundation Science Fiction Advisory Council as a "Visionary Storyteller". This group of accomplished science fiction authors help advise the X-Prize team on envisioning the future.

Previously: Announcement postMars, Ho!FoundationThe Three-Body ProblemSnow CrashThe Moon is a Harsh Mistress


Original Submission

The Soylentils Award for Best Science Fiction Book 102 comments

In Science Fiction, some awards have become almost meaningless as they came to be dominated by interests other than the pure enjoyment of a truly good story. The Hugo Awards, for example, have descended into a left/right catfight. They have become as meaningless as a Nobel Peace Prize.

Some, like yours truly, have entirely stopped reading about awards after getting burned once too many times and rely almost entirely on word of mouth or serendipity to find new authors and worthwhile books.

Our recent discussion of "The winners of the 2018 Hugo Awards" brought the idea (from bzipitidoo) that perhaps Soylent News could do a better job of pointing out new works of Science Fiction that could be of interest to soylentils and janrinok supported the idea, going so far as offering a kidney to the best author. (I think he's British, so he might have meant a kidney pie. [Not true, but funny])

Mind you, we would need to separate Science Fiction from Sci-Fi, Fantasy and other genres that have been mishmashed into one by most publishers and awards organizations.

So what do you think? What is the best new author/book in Science Fiction?


Original Submission

SoylentNews Book Club: Discuss The Three-Body Problem, Start Reading Snow Crash 23 comments

December: Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

The next poll will pick two books. I'd like to do it that way to keep a strong second place contender from being overlooked, and so I don't have to update the poll so often.

Discuss The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin in the comments below.

Snow Crash was written by Neal Stephenson in 1992. The novel features a bit of a Calexit scenario, and is known for popularizing the term "avatar" (paving the way for James Cameron's true magnum opus). These days, Neal moonlights as Magic Leap's "Chief Futurist". Seems appropriate.

Previously: Announcement postMars, Ho!Foundation


Original Submission

SoylentNews Book Club - Discuss: Snow Crash, Start Reading: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress 20 comments

February: Fiasco by Stanisław Lem
March: We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Bobiverse #1) by Dennis Taylor

Discuss Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson in the comments below.

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein was published in 1966:

The book popularized the acronym TANSTAAFL ("There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"), and helped popularize the constructed language Loglan, which is used in the story for precise human-computer interaction. The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations credits this novel with the first printed appearance of the phrase "There's no free lunch", although the phrase and its abbreviation considerably predate the novel.

The virtual assistant Mycroft is named after a computer system from the novel.

Previously: Announcement postMars, Ho!FoundationThe Three-Body Problem


Original Submission

SoylentNews Book Club - Discuss: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Start Reading: Fiasco 75 comments

March: We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Bobiverse #1) by Dennis Taylor

Discuss The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein in the comments below.

Fiasco was translated into English in 1988 by Michael Kandel:

Fiasco (Polish: Fiasko) is a science fiction novel by Polish author Stanisław Lem, first published in a German translation in 1986. The book, published in Poland the following year, is a further elaboration of Lem's skepticism: in Lem's opinion, the difficulty in communication with alien civilizations is cultural disparity rather than spatial distance. The failure to communicate with an alien civilization is the main theme of the book.

Previously: Announcement postMars, Ho!FoundationThe Three-Body ProblemSnow Crash


Original Submission

SoylentNews Book Club: October 2018 28 comments

October: Foundation by Isaac Asimov
November: The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin.
December: Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

October's book is Foundation by Isaac Asimov, meaning the collection of 5 short stories first published in 1951. It is the first published entry in the Foundation series.

Please discuss last month's book, Mars, Ho! below if you haven't done so already. You can also suggest books for January 2019. I can include titles that were already suggested, such as in the comments on the poll. We may be able to increase the maximum number of poll options to accommodate more books.

Previously: SoylentNews Book Club is Alive


Original Submission

SoylentNews Book Club: Discuss Foundation, Start Reading The Three-Body Problem 40 comments

November: The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin.
December: Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

A poll for the January 2019 book will be around the 15th, unless you want it sooner (not sooner than the U.S. midterms).

Discuss Foundation by Isaac Asimov in the comments below.

As for Liu Cixin's best known novel:

"Wildly imaginative, really interesting." ―President Barack Obama on The Three-Body Problem trilogy

The English translation for The Three-Body Problem was published in 2014 by Ken Liu under Tor Books.

Consider using <spoiler>text</spoiler> wherever you feel the need to do so.

Previously: Announcement postMars, Ho!


Original Submission

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The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
(1)
  • (Score: 4, Funny) by The Mighty Buzzard on Sunday September 02 2018, @10:32AM (3 children)

    Spaceships and hookers? Sold!

    --
    My rights don't end where your fear begins.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 02 2018, @12:19PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 02 2018, @12:19PM (#729479)

    i pass, thanks!

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday September 02 2018, @12:40PM (1 child)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Sunday September 02 2018, @12:40PM (#729481) Journal

      Care to expand on that, wordsmith?

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 02 2018, @02:24PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 02 2018, @02:24PM (#729520)

        at least she cared enough to leave a comment

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Runaway1956 on Sunday September 02 2018, @04:06PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 02 2018, @04:06PM (#729558) Homepage Journal

      I see what you did there - you misspelled iPass hoping that Apple doesn't take a bite out of your ass.

      --
      Let's go Brandon!
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by deimtee on Sunday September 02 2018, @01:31PM (3 children)

    by deimtee (3272) on Sunday September 02 2018, @01:31PM (#729498) Journal

    Mars, Ho! by Stephen McGrew

    Tried searching for the above on DuckDuckGo. That string gives DDG indigestion. LOL

    Did they learn nothing from little Bobby Tables?

    --
    No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 02 2018, @02:01PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 02 2018, @02:01PM (#729511)

    If you're going to read the outstanding Foundation series, shouldn't you start with "Prelude to Foundation"? It was written many years after the three original Foundation titles, but it is starting point of the series.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 02 2018, @02:06PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 02 2018, @02:06PM (#729514)

      No. Always read by date published, not in-story timeline.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by takyon on Sunday September 02 2018, @02:16PM

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Sunday September 02 2018, @02:16PM (#729516) Journal

      I agree with the other AC. Might as well read it in the same order that readers encountered it. Doing otherwise will likely spoil plot elements from the initial books, even if the newer books are prequels.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday September 03 2018, @01:23AM (1 child)

      by PartTimeZombie (4827) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 03 2018, @01:23AM (#729716)

      Coincidentally, I re-read Foundation last year, after having read it the first time in 1974 (I think). It has not aged well. Everyone smokes all the time. Ashtrays must be mentioned about a dozen times, as if they're really important.

      The idea behind the story is, of course, fantastic. The characters not so much.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by darnkitten on Tuesday September 18 2018, @08:00PM

      by darnkitten (1912) on Tuesday September 18 2018, @08:00PM (#736697)

      Naw, you should start with The End of Eternity, followed by I, Robot, The Positronic Man, the Lucky Starr series, The Robot series, (including the Bailey/Olivaw novels and The Rest of the Robots), The Stars Like Dust, The Currents of Space, and Pebble in the Sky, before moving on to Prelude and the others...

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by jelizondo on Sunday September 02 2018, @02:33PM (7 children)

    by jelizondo (653) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 02 2018, @02:33PM (#729524) Journal

    First, thank you for carrying on the idea of the book club. We will benefit from this forum.

    Second, dang! I'm halfway thru "The three body problem" which was supposed to be the first selection!

    Third, I would like to nominate "Snow Crash" [goodreads.com] by Neal Stephenson

    Finally, thanks again and happy reading!

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday September 02 2018, @02:37PM (6 children)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Sunday September 02 2018, @02:37PM (#729526) Journal

      I threw a couple of easier ones at the beginning to give folks more time.

      Snow Crash... perfect for December.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by VLM on Sunday September 02 2018, @03:07PM (4 children)

        by VLM (445) on Sunday September 02 2018, @03:07PM (#729538)

        Snow Crash is an awesome book.

        Beware though, because of the Overton window shifts, a book that was vaguely centrist to tiling slightly leftist in 1992 when it was published is now occasionally seen as Nazi right wing red pill double plus ungood badthink. I've seen some real shit talking about that book in recent years because the girl is not a martial artist as all little girls must be today, and some side character comments about homosexuality would not be San Francisco approved, and from memory an Asian has words because black guys steal stuff all the time (bikes, cars, etc) so he accuses a black guy of obtaining his sword by theft, which would be common sense up until the last couple years. The first chapter starts with some fat-shaming about how Hiro's delivery car has tires as wide as Amy Schumers thighs (just kidding, he said "fat ladies thighs". Also his parody of Dominos Pizza is not going to resonate with anyone younger than 40. Similar to many cultural icons such as the TV show Friends or older Trek, what was center-left in the 90s is declared Nazi in the late 10s. Not that I mind, personally. Just saying that's gonna be a fun "political" one to review, its a very red pilling kind of book.

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by VLM on Sunday September 02 2018, @03:08PM (1 child)

          by VLM (445) on Sunday September 02 2018, @03:08PM (#729539)

          Fuck that LISP code is never gonna compile, here's my lost rparen

          )

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 15 2018, @08:41AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 15 2018, @08:41AM (#735237)

            }

            # Here to help

        • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 02 2018, @03:45PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 02 2018, @03:45PM (#729550)

          Ugh, do you have to ruin Snow Crash too?

          Go away you alt-right jackasd.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 02 2018, @09:49PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 02 2018, @09:49PM (#729660)

          That sounds kinda weird. It's not like cyberpunk is all about sunshine and rainbows.

      • (Score: 2) by Fnord666 on Monday September 03 2018, @03:21AM

        by Fnord666 (652) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 03 2018, @03:21AM (#729735) Homepage
        +1 for Snow Crash
  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Sunday September 02 2018, @02:52PM (9 children)

    by VLM (445) on Sunday September 02 2018, @02:52PM (#729533)

    not to be confused with

    The correct book has a pix of mars on the cover. I think.

    I'm not really into book covers, although I do like the Willis book cover, and am amused at the idea of some normie picking up McGrew's book and saying, "oh cool an atlas of Mars" or "I wonder if this is about those rovers on Mars"

    Funny anecdote about the Foundation Series, I had a paperback book set from the 80s, and in that era Second Foundation cover and spine pix was an extremely long legged tight short shorts young beauty strutting her stuff, and I had this girl over to my place in the 90s and she saw I was reading that book in bed, and she teased me about reading steamy erotic romance novels. This is the same college girl who picked up my Walnut Creek SLS linux cdrom from my desk around and asked what these 'linux guys' cd sounded like. I'm just sayin, if people see you with that cover they're gonna judge, for better or worse. The modern re-releases of the series aren't quite so steamy.

    Cover art seems wasted in the Kindle (hardware or app) era.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday September 02 2018, @03:10PM (6 children)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Sunday September 02 2018, @03:10PM (#729540) Journal

      Cover art is still used for thumbnails on Kindle/Android/Apple "virtual bookshelves". And could be used in other contexts:

      https://proto-knowledge.blogspot.com/2013/02/imagining-3d-digital-bookshelf-of-future.html [blogspot.com]

      Cover art is still a thing, for now:

      http://www.printmag.com/regional-design/13-award-winning-book-cover-designs/ [printmag.com]
      https://www.npr.org/2014/10/16/345548582/the-jacket-designers-challenge-to-capture-a-book-by-its-cover [npr.org]
      https://www.npr.org/2012/08/05/157886049/in-the-e-book-world-are-book-covers-a-dying-art [npr.org]

      It could be more important for certain books, such as the glossy, expensive hardcover books that people like to give as gifts, display on a coffee table or shelf, etc.

      You can make the same arguments about album cover art in the age of streaming music services, especially given that streaming music services often nudge listeners into hearing just the hot singles instead of a whole album, front to back. But an album cover can still make a statement or visual impact (increasing interest), serve as the poster [w3schools.com] on YouTube/etc., and can still lead to disputes:

      https://www.npr.org/2018/07/27/632812919/the-artist-responsible-for-chance-the-rappers-meme-inspired-abstract-art [npr.org]
      https://www.sfgate.com/music/article/lil-uzi-vert-new-album-heavens-gate-cult-keyhole-13127862.php [sfgate.com]
      https://genius.com/a/the-artist-behind-6ix9ines-day69-cover-has-been-accused-of-stealing-the-artwork [genius.com]

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Sunday September 02 2018, @03:29PM (1 child)

        by VLM (445) on Sunday September 02 2018, @03:29PM (#729545)

        For now.

        Just saying, in "the old days" you'd shop at a brick and mortar and the cover was 100% of your field of vision of the experience of browsing for a book, so it kinda mattered. Of course I spent a lot of time reading favorite authors, Frankowski, Asimov, Ringo, whatevs so in ye olde brick and mortar days of yore I would burn a couple gallons of gas then stand around browse alphabetically to Sterling, Bruce and then look at the titles to see what I don't have yet or whats new, and there could have been a dog turd on the cover of "the difference engine" and I'd still have bought it; Maybe that would be filed under G for Gibson, whatevs.

        Now that I buy all books (and ebooks) online, the cover art is like 5% of the amazon web page area so it doesn't really matter. McGrew's name and title have more surface area on the Amazon web page than his pix of Mars. I got that book when mcgrew released it; had to look up the pix, pix are just done. I remember his last name for online searches not his cover photo.

        For decades Oreilly has been putting interesting animals on each book cover, which is cool marketing, but I dont think any filthy casual normie has ever walked down the aisle, said "holy cow I luv grasshoppers" and next thing you know we have a freshly hatched DNS admin, although the idea is kinda funny.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16 2018, @12:34PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16 2018, @12:34PM (#735631)

          I skipped the Wheel of Time series due to the covers.

      • (Score: 1) by Acabatag on Sunday September 02 2018, @03:39PM (3 children)

        by Acabatag (2885) on Sunday September 02 2018, @03:39PM (#729547)

        My paperwhite Kindle Keyboard does sort of a number on 'cover art' both in the Kindle store and in my library.

        But I can remember in my youth wrapping SF books I was reading in plain white bookcovers, because the cover art and the back page summary often did a really bad job distorting the book inside. Not just so other people wouldn't 'judge' the book, also because it ran the risk sometimes of 'flavoring' my reading of the book.

        Many authors would agree that the book cover artists at the pulp publishers were scum.

        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Sunday September 02 2018, @04:17PM (2 children)

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 02 2018, @04:17PM (#729561) Homepage Journal

          Many authors would agree that the book cover artists at the pulp publishers were scum.

          Like most of you, I've looked at books, decided to read them, then afterwards, looked at that "cover art", wondering what on earth it SHOULD have covered. Often enough, the "art" has no relationship at all to what's inside. I blame the publisher though. "I have a story about spaceships using ion drive, I need a pic!" Poor artist doesn't know the difference between ions, tachyons or a pteradactyl, so he draws a regular old rocket propelled space ship.

          --
          Let's go Brandon!
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 05 2018, @04:10AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 05 2018, @04:10AM (#730617)

            If your theory were true, there'd be a lot more paperbacks with pterodactyl-drive spaceships on the covers.

            • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday September 05 2018, @06:51AM

              by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 05 2018, @06:51AM (#730638) Homepage Journal

              That may be fair. But, how many Sci-Fi and/or fantasy books have you seen with nearly naked women, with honking huge hooters? Remember, sex sells, and it sells a lot of science fiction books too.

              I should probably also point out that the bullshit cover art applies more to pulp fiction and second/third/etc editions, than it does to first editions of works done by better known authors.

              --
              Let's go Brandon!
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by KritonK on Sunday September 02 2018, @03:49PM

      by KritonK (465) on Sunday September 02 2018, @03:49PM (#729554)

      I, on the other hand, read the Foundation trilogy in a box set with covers by Chris Foss [wikipedia.org], where the three covers would join to form a larger picture [djabbic.co.uk]. These covers added a lot to my enjoyment of the three books.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday September 03 2018, @01:27PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 03 2018, @01:27PM (#729837) Journal

      Funny anecdote about the Foundation Series, I had a paperback book set from the 80s, and in that era Second Foundation cover and spine pix was an extremely long legged tight short shorts young beauty strutting her stuff, and I had this girl over to my place in the 90s and she saw I was reading that book in bed, and she teased me about reading steamy erotic romance novels.

      I glanced at that cover. Seems pretty staid to me. How do people dress at her college anyway? I recall in places with a winter early spring traditionally brings out similarly dressed people.

  • (Score: 1) by Andy_Random on Sunday September 02 2018, @07:30PM

    by Andy_Random (6476) on Sunday September 02 2018, @07:30PM (#729618)

    I recommend in general the Audio-Editions.
    Try one.

    We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Bobiverse #1) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35283002-we-are-legion-we-are-bob [goodreads.com]
    ----------------------------------------------------------

    Bob Johansson has just sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of leisure. There are places to go, books to read, and movies to watch. So it's a little unfair when he gets himself killed crossing the street.

    Bob wakes up a century later to find that corpsicles have been declared to be without rights, and he is now the property of the state. He has been uploaded into computer hardware and is slated to be the controlling AI in an interstellar probe looking for habitable planets. The stakes are high: no less than the first claim to entire worlds. If he declines the honor, he'll be switched off, and they'll try again with someone else. If he accepts, he becomes a prime target. There are at least three other countries trying to get their own probes launched first, and they play dirty.

    The safest place for Bob is in space, heading away from Earth at top speed. Or so he thinks. Because the universe is full of nasties, and trespassers make them mad – very mad.

    Dawn (Xenogenesis #1) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21432252-dawn [goodreads.com]
    --------------------------------

    In a world devastated by nuclear war with humanity on the edge of extinction, aliens finally make contact. They rescue those humans they can, keeping most survivors in suspended animation while the aliens begin the slow process of rehabilitating the planet. When Lilith Iyapo is "awakened", she finds that she has been chosen to revive her fellow humans in small groups by first preparing them to meet the utterly terrifying aliens, then training them to survive on the wilderness that the planet has become. But the aliens cannot help humanity without altering it forever.

    Bonded to the aliens in ways no human has ever known, Lilith tries to fight them even as her own species comes to fear and loathe her. A stunning story of invasion and alien contact by one of science fiction's finest writers.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by RandomFactor on Sunday September 02 2018, @09:00PM (5 children)

    by RandomFactor (3682) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 02 2018, @09:00PM (#729638) Journal

    Was trying to decide how to laze the day away anyhow :-)

    Easy read. Somewhere between youth sci-fi and more serious stuff; story elements tend to be caricatures, but once i started it I read it straight through. If you go in expecting Foundation or Dune you'll be disappointed, if you go in with HOs in SPAAAAAaaace! You'll be pleasantly surprised.

    Downloaded from the author's website, but went and bought the kindle edition after to toss a few nickels the author's way.

    --
    В «Правде» нет известий, в «Известиях» нет правды
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday September 04 2018, @03:05AM (1 child)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 04 2018, @03:05AM (#730097) Journal
      For me, a lot of the book was extraneous. Lamp shading the number of times the narrator used the john, watched ancient movies from our time, or putting out real fires still didn't make those passages go by faster, though I did appreciate McGrew's warning. OTOH, I read it cover to cover. So I managed to survive.

      A lot of the book just seemed to be commentary on the present, such as robot coffee, bureaucracy crossed with engineering, and the profoundly ineffectual way Earth authorities dealt with space pirates. And it was kind of silly how one of the characters kept telling another to "read the book" without hinting why (just show the gory film contained therein and all would be explained). That other character was far from a book worm and predictably kept not reading the book.

      Hate to say it, but it just didn't feel very sci fi, though I liked that it didn't fall into the trap of explaining everything. It did have something of a retro feel to it, and reminded me some of the Asimov or Heinlein young adult stuff dealing with Martian colonization and the like.
      • (Score: 2) by RandomFactor on Saturday September 15 2018, @08:19PM

        by RandomFactor (3682) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 15 2018, @08:19PM (#735397) Journal

        Agreed, the "read the book" bit was over the top obvious where it was going. I assumed it was intended to add a bit of suspense.

        The overpowered nature of The Incredible Hos was also beyond my disbelief suspension threshold, 1) I presume that murderous space pirates would have been armed and armored to some extent, even if expecting a minimally crewed vessel. Even if they didn't just vent the ship, there should have been casualties. 2) Why did the hos suddenly have no interest in killing each other?

        Yes it definitely felt young adult in nature.

        It could easily have been set on a ship on the ocean, or secluded research station, but those aspects did work with a Mars trip better I think.

        --
        В «Правде» нет известий, в «Известиях» нет правды
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 05 2018, @11:26AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 05 2018, @11:26AM (#730688)

      Easy? You're kidding, right? How did you get through the first 20 pages? It's a real slog.
      I almost gave up after being told the plot twice, once in the first chapter and again immediately after. Seriously? Do we have to tell the reader twice what will happen in the book?
      I am almost tempted to rewrite this without the crap just to see if it makes for a decent story.
      Up to page 32. Forcing myself to read this.

      • (Score: 2) by RandomFactor on Saturday September 15 2018, @07:58PM (1 child)

        by RandomFactor (3682) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 15 2018, @07:58PM (#735394) Journal

        "I almost gave up after being told the plot twice, once in the first chapter and again immediately after. Seriously? Do we have to tell the reader twice what will happen in the book?"

          - I avoided spoilers until it was time to talk btw.

        Yes - I was really expecting the "foreshadowing" to cover up some sort of major twist that never really materialized. Part of what was interesting was waiting for the twist :-\

        --
        В «Правде» нет известий, в «Известиях» нет правды
        • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16 2018, @09:34AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16 2018, @09:34AM (#735596)

          How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03 2018, @12:26PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03 2018, @12:26PM (#729831)

    The year is 1934, and Superman has arrived in Metropolis. Features Lex Luthor as the villain protagonist as he comes to grips with the arrival of an alien god.

    Text: https://m.fanfiction.net/s/10360716/1/The-Metropolitan-Man [fanfiction.net]
    Free audio book: http://www.hpmorpodcast.com/?page_id=1705 [hpmorpodcast.com]

    Excerpt:

    "He's a hero," said Lex. "For now." He looked down at a pad of paper, where he'd been making revisions to his estimates. "I've run the numbers. Even using the lower bounds for his strength and speed, if he ever decided that he wasn't a hero anymore, he could demolish this city in the space of three hours, down to the last man, woman and child. If we're just talking about the central business district, he could do it in three minutes. He-" Lex stopped. "He can hear everything that we say. He can watch us.

    • (Score: 2) by RandomFactor on Sunday September 16 2018, @12:53AM

      by RandomFactor (3682) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 16 2018, @12:53AM (#735503) Journal

      Excellent read, thanks for that.

      --
      В «Правде» нет известий, в «Известиях» нет правды
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16 2018, @11:42AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16 2018, @11:42AM (#735615)

      Free book in mp4 format? Sold!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03 2018, @01:38PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03 2018, @01:38PM (#729842)

    "The central thesis is a dichotomy between two modes of thought: "System 1" is fast, instinctive and emotional; "System 2" is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The book delineates cognitive biases associated with each type of thinking, starting with Kahneman's own research on loss aversion. From framing choices to people's tendency to replace a difficult question with one which is easy to answer, the book highlights several decades of academic research to suggest that people place too much confidence in human judgment."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking,_Fast_and_Slow [wikipedia.org]

    "If you're wondering if there's any way to predict an election, an economic crisis or even a war, Tetlock has an answer. He uses psychology and political science and a lot of common sense, and he taps into what's often called the wisdom of crowds. This is a fascinating book and it will make you think"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superforecasting [wikipedia.org]

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03 2018, @01:56PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03 2018, @01:56PM (#729848)

    "Perry and Lester invent things—seashell robots that make toast, Boogie Woogie Elmo dolls that drive cars. They also invent entirely new economic systems, like the “New Work,” a New Deal for the technological era. Barefoot bankers cross the nation, microinvesting in high-tech communal mini-startups like Perry and Lester’s. Together, they transform the country, and Andrea Fleeks, a journo-turned-blogger, is there to document it.

    Then it slides into collapse. The New Work bust puts the dot.combomb to shame. Perry and Lester build a network of interactive rides in abandoned Wal-Marts across the land. As their rides, which commemorate the New Work’s glory days, gain in popularity, a rogue Disney executive grows jealous, and convinces the police that Perry and Lester’s 3D printers are being used to run off AK-47s.

    Hordes of goths descend on the shantytown built by the New Workers, joining the cult. Lawsuits multiply as venture capitalists take on a new investment strategy: backing litigation against companies like Disney. Lester and Perry’s friendship falls to pieces when Lester gets the ‘fatkins’ treatment, turning him into a sybaritic gigolo.

    Then things get really interesting."

    https://craphound.com/makers/download/ [craphound.com]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 15 2018, @03:54PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 15 2018, @03:54PM (#735314)

      I really enjoyed Makers when I first found it. Some of the ideas are very useful.

  • (Score: 2) by RandomFactor on Sunday September 16 2018, @05:51PM

    by RandomFactor (3682) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 16 2018, @05:51PM (#735705) Journal

    Since the first book was youth-ish, let me propose another in the youth sci-fi line that brings in a cold-war vibe.
     
    In the early-mid 70s I read a hardcover called "Assignment in Space with Rip Foster", I quite enjoyed it and read it multiple times.
     
    Things I recall are a jingoistic western and eastern block in conflict. My first introduction to Thorium. Space cruisers, attack boats, space grunts vs spacemen etc.
     
    Turns out the story is now public domain and published on project Gutenberg under an earlier title "Rip Foster in Ride the Grey Planet"
     
    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/18139/18139-h/18139-h.htm [gutenberg.org]
     
    Expectations : This was a youth Sci-Fi published in 1952. A notch above the "Tom Corbett Space Cadet" stuff of the same era. It is, if my memory serves across the decades, 'harder' than Mars Ho! and falls loosely under military sci-fi.

    --
    В «Правде» нет известий, в «Известиях» нет правды
  • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Friday September 21 2018, @01:55PM

    by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 21 2018, @01:55PM (#738099) Journal

    Out of curiosity, are we going to discuss the books we read, and if so, here or in a separate "story"?

    As I understand it (could be wrong, I have only been paying about half attention) Mars, Ho! is the September book, and September is almost gone.

    I have read Mars, Ho! and found it to be

    better than I initially expected despite the jarring lack of competent editing--suspension of disbelief usually applies to elements of the story such as "routine Mars travel", not that a book would come out with multiple comma splices in the first several paragraphs with no one noticing. If you know basic English syntax, then the lack thereof breaks text parsing and makes your brain segfault and you have to start the text processing over again, by the way. This (amazingly) seemed in no way to affect the story once the reader is able to ignore it sufficiently, and I note that the author (I really enjoyed your book, dude!) himself observes that editing was in need.

    And I especially appreciated the

    deft handling and pacing of plot twists which kept up interest all the way through.

    I was very happy that there turned out to be

    a happy and satisfying ending, that didn't seem artificial by "tying up all the loose ends" simultaneously--it left just about the right amount to the reader's imagination.
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