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posted by martyb on Sunday September 02 2018, @09:09AM   Printer-friendly
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.


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  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Sunday September 02 2018, @02:52PM (9 children)

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge 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.

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

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> 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) Subscriber Badge 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.

        --
        The only reason for not believing in it (Marxism) is that it doesn't work. - Thomas Sowell
        • (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.

            --
            The only reason for not believing in it (Marxism) is that it doesn't work. - Thomas Sowell
  • (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.