Author Topic: Science Fiction / Fantasy  (Read 193227 times)

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Science Fiction / Fantasy
« on: January 03, 2009, 05:03:11 PM »
 
Science Fiction / Fantasy

__________________ Welcome to the whole universe!  This is where we gather to share our experiences in science fiction and fantasy.  We like everything, from Gregory Benford to Stephanie Meyer—hard science to magic and fantasy.

Come in, sit down with us, and tell us what you are reading or have read, what you like or dislike.

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Discussion Leader:  PatH

PatH

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2009, 05:20:39 PM »
We have a new home, but we’ll still have the same good discussions.  Welcome back, all the old friends, and hello and greetings, all the new ones.

What has everyone been reading?  Any good Christmas books?  Any new tips for the rest of us?  Any old favorites that got lost in the move?  Stop by and tell us about it.

PatH

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2009, 05:42:49 PM »
Should anyone care, that's the Spiral Galaxy NGC3628 in Leo, taken by someone who signs himself Fryns.

Brian

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2009, 06:29:41 PM »
I recognized it immediately ! - - -  from APOD : -   

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap080515.html

I'm joking of course, but I DO go to APOD every day, and must have seen that in May.

Brian.

PatH

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2009, 06:43:39 PM »
That's funny, Brian.  I didn't think of going to APOD, but anyway, I needed something inb the public domain.  Are you a SciFi fan?

JoanK

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2009, 06:44:17 PM »
Hi, Brian. Good to see you here.

PatH suggested I give my daughter "Bellwether" by Connie Willis for Christmas. I did, and now can't wait for her to finish it so I can borrow it. It looks intriguing.

Brian

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2009, 07:05:01 PM »
PatH - - - not actually a SciFi fan, but certainly interested in Space and a great fan of NASA.  I have been particularly intrigued with the Halidron Atom Smasher project in Europe that has unfortunately been stalled by a major catastrophe.

I'm interested in most things - - - except for that which passes as MUSIC these days.

Brian.

Frybabe

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2009, 08:02:08 PM »
Just before Christmas, I finished up the first four Vatta series books by Elizabeth Moon. I still need to get my hands on the fifth and last book in the series.

My next SciFi will probably be Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. If I like that I will pick up the rest of the Ender series.

Steph

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2009, 10:01:39 AM »
I have been interchanging old and new the past few weeks.. The Gate to Womens Country is quite old,, by Sheri Tepper.. but very worthwhile. I had read it years ago and decided to reread.. Yum.
Then I am reading a series by Patricia Briggs. It is shape changers and vampires and the fae.. Interesting series. Darker than Charlaine Harris and lighter and not so much sex as  Laurell Hamilton.
The heroine is a car mechanic and a shape changer Coyote.. She was raised by a werewolf clan.. but considers herself as outside the world.. If you like this sort of fantasy, t he author is quite good.
Stephanie and assorted corgi

PatH

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2009, 08:34:11 PM »
Frybabe and Steph, it's good to see you here.  Frybabe, let us know how you like "Ender's Game".  With the sequels, I kept finding myself saying "yes, but..." but I couldn't put them down anyway.  I guess I should try the Vatta series, and Steph, the Briggs sounds good.

Brian, some of the really good Sci Fi writers are astronomers--Fred Hoyle, for example.  You might like his best, "The Black Cloud", which is pretty astronomical.

Gregory Benford is another.  "Timescape" deals with the possibility of sending warning messages to the past by means of tachyons.

Hal Clement had a BS in astronomy, but his books are a rather specialized taste.  They often consist of a series of good-natured arguments between humans and aliens over the physics of whatever disasters have overtaken their joint venture.

And of course there is Carl Sagan.

Babi

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2009, 10:10:39 AM »
Signing in, and glad to be here.  At Pat's suggestion, I am repeating the post I placed in the workshop, since it really belongs here.

I have been working my way through a number of J. A. Salvatore's books. My older daughter made off with the one I planned to read next, so I'll have to wait until she brings it back.
   Meanwhile, a repeat of an old irritation: my library bought Book III of a new Margaret Weis trilogy, but they don't have Books I and II.  I do wish they wouldn't do that! 

"I go to books and to nature as a bee goes to the flower, for a nectar that I can make into my own honey."  John Burroughs

Steph

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2009, 10:14:52 AM »
I read a bunch of Salvatore quite a long time ago. Some I loved, others,, maybe not.
Many of the earlier sci fi writers were scientist..Arthur Clarke of course always interested me. He loved so many topics.
I have a passion for Terry Pratchett. Disc world,, death and the witches.. One of the few writers who make me laugh out loud.
Stephanie and assorted corgi

PatH

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2009, 10:40:33 AM »
At his best, Pratchett is just about the funniest writer I've ever read.  His latest are uneven in quality.  "Monstrous Regiment" is a good one.

Steph

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2009, 08:46:47 AM »
There is a new Pratchett out.. But last year he and his wife announced that he has Alzeimers and has no idea how long he will write. Yes Monstrous Regiment was a good example of his sense of humor. Loved it.
Stephanie and assorted corgi

Babi

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2009, 10:54:48 AM »
Oh, STEPH, what sad news!  I hate to think that such an enormous talent will be lost to us.  As Pat said, he is so funny one has to laugh.  But he makes you think, as well.  He exemplifies the old truism, that the best way to deal with hypocrisy and pomposity is to laugh it off the stage!
"I go to books and to nature as a bee goes to the flower, for a nectar that I can make into my own honey."  John Burroughs

Steph

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2009, 10:37:55 AM »
Babi, I do know. I love his work and mourned his announcement. He has great strength to announce this himself.
I also picked up a New Anne McCaffrey.. I think it is written with her son.. Cant say I liked the first one they coauthored, but she has always been a favorite of mine.
Stephanie and assorted corgi

Steph

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2009, 08:06:49 AM »
Reading Charlaine Harris.. the one about the girl who can feel the dead where they are buried. Interesting. It is the third in the series. Not sure where this fits.. Sort of fantasy, I guess. Still she is interesting and so is her brother( not actually, her mother and his father married).
Stephanie and assorted corgi

Babi

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2009, 09:32:32 AM »
STEPH, I agree the first McCaffrey and son book was a bit stiff and repetitive, but they improve with each book.  In the more recent ones, the son seems to have done a good job of picking up and matching his mother's style.
"I go to books and to nature as a bee goes to the flower, for a nectar that I can make into my own honey."  John Burroughs

ginny

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2009, 09:43:23 AM »
I've just read a review in Entertainment Magazine (don't laugh, I use it for movies, I almost never get to the theater, but love Netflix and don't like to miss good ones, that's how I saw Curse of the Golden Flower, great movie I would have totally missed since it did not come here.)

ANYWAY, they are on about a new book called Daemon, which is a trhiller concerning a "homicidal computer program unleashed by a dead computer-game titan" which in real life   has caught the attention of  Washington for the author.

It's a techno thriller, written by a former software programmer. It was self published but is coming out  this month from Dutton, a "scary prospect of a techno-savvy future."

The author says that "If you don't have to be a human being to do mot of the things human beings do, that   changes society..it seems to me a scary prospect,  to have these not self- aware bots running everything."

He got the idea when he created a meteorological software product and sold it online, got busy and forgot to check it. He  found later  that there was a lot of money in the account, because people had been buying the software, and he had it set up so that the website was paid for by the same account,  and "it occurred to me that I didn't even need to be alive for it to continue."

That sounds fascinating to me, sort of like a  modern sort  of RUR to  this is the kind of thing I love, it's billed as a techno- thriller, but is it Sci Fi? Is this the right place to mention it?

Can't wait to get it! :)

Babi

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2009, 10:27:48 AM »
Computer technology thriller?  Of course that's SciFi.  What else? I just hope Washington's interest isn't going to cause grief for the author.  I sometimes suspect that somebody up there suffers terribly from paranoia.

Ginny, would you tell me a bit about "Curse of the Golden Flower"?  As you mentioned, it did not come here, so I've never heard of it.  And if I saw the title on Netflix, I'd probably dismiss it as hokum.  But I tend to take seriously your opinion on the 'good ones'.

"I go to books and to nature as a bee goes to the flower, for a nectar that I can make into my own honey."  John Burroughs

PatH

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2009, 10:39:20 AM »
That certainly is sci-fi, Ginny, and if that book is well-written, it sounds like a good one.  I hope you'll tell us about it when you've read it.  Is the author Daniel Suarez?

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Daemon/Daniel-Suarez/e/9780525951117

Warning: the description in this link takes the plot farther than Ginny did.

Frybabe

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2009, 07:17:11 PM »
WOW! Ginny, Daemon sounds exciting.


PatH, I am into Enders Game now. The author's introduction was quite interesting, especially regarding the feedback from youngsters and the book being used in classes. I was not real impressed by the first pages, but it does set up the story to come. I noted his ability to suppress physical reactions that give away what he is thinking or feeling which he attributes to dealing with his brother. The other thing is his   ability to not to just react but to quickly analyze situations and then act upon them, conventionally or unconventionally, to get the desired outcome. He very quickly learns from his mistakes and thus avoids repeating them more often than necessary to fine tune his actions. Makes me think of mathematics and logic.

ginny

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2009, 08:11:55 AM »
Babi, Curse of the Golden Flower is a film from China in Mandarin Chinese with sub titles about an Emperor in the Tang dynasty, his second wife,  and his problems holding on to tradition and managing his three sons, the eldest from his first wife. I really liked it.

It won an Oscar for Best Costume design in 2007 and  it won a lot of other things including, and this surprised me,  Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA,  costume and nominated for Best Film. I think it won 7 awards  altogether. It's also  known for the sumptuous costumes,   and they are  out of this world. It's hard to describe and I guess not for everybody's taste, but I got quite obsessed with it and got a copy for myself, the extra disks alone and interviews are mesmerizing. The BATTLE scene!

PatH

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2009, 10:05:36 AM »
Ginny, I've put it on my queue.  Thanks.

Babi

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2009, 10:43:54 AM »
Ginny, that is a surprising award.  The story you outline doesn't seem to have anything to do with Sci/Fi or Fantasy.  There is, of course, the "curse" of the Golden Flower. Maybe that's where the fantasy, or horror, comes in. Can you tell me what the curse was about, without giving away too much?
"I go to books and to nature as a bee goes to the flower, for a nectar that I can make into my own honey."  John Burroughs

ginny

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2009, 10:59:12 AM »
hahah Actually,. I can't? I am not sure I know, maybe after Pat sees it, she can tell us both.  hahaha In Chinese the title means curse of the golden armor, I guess it might mean the weight of power (lots about tradition in it) is too heavy, but they've tied in the chrysanthemum throne (but were the Tangs connected with the Chrysanthemum throne?) I don't know, I looked up this particular Emperor and didn't find much.  Then there's  some kind of ceremony...you have to see it really, it's got a LOT of plots.

Steph

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2009, 12:21:25 PM »
Twilight. which is the book and movie that all are raving about. I read the book,maybe a year ago.. Bought it and when my granddaughter of 13 was here for the past few days, I told her it might interest her. She didnt think so, since it was way.....large. But about an hour later, I went to find her, found her curled up in the bedroom with the book. She carried everwhere since Friday night and just before she left with her parents, asked if she could take it home. I told her of course.. She was thrilled..Amazing since she struggles with reading. She likes to read, but finds it hard.
Stephanie and assorted corgi

Babi

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2009, 09:24:46 AM »
Looks like I need to add "Curse of the Golden Flower(Armor)" and "Twilight" to my Netflix list.  Thanks for the input, Ginny and Steph.
"I go to books and to nature as a bee goes to the flower, for a nectar that I can make into my own honey."  John Burroughs

Steph

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2009, 10:19:54 AM »
I did finish the Charlaine Harris about the girl who finds dead people. I know it sounds macabre, but it is excellent. Charlaine has the ability to make us care about the darndest people.
Stephanie and assorted corgi

catbrown

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2009, 02:11:19 PM »
Anybody here watch the tv series, "Trueblood," (on Showtime) based on the Charlaine Harris books?  I haven't read the books (and don't intend to), but found the tv show interesting enough to watch all the episodes. I did have quibbles about it and certainly wouldn't give it a rave in a full review (from which I'll spare you), but am curious if anyone here watched it and liked it.

Oh, and I really should say, as a devoted sci/fi and fantasy reader,  how happy I am about this board. I plan to visit often.

And one more thing: just in case you missed the news, the final 10 episodes of "Battlestar Galatica" begin on the sci-fi channel this Friday! I can't wait.

PatH

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #30 on: January 14, 2009, 04:22:57 PM »
Welcome, catbrown!  It's good to meet another fan.  Tell us what else you like.  Did you watch the "Firefly" series when it came out?

catbrown

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #31 on: January 14, 2009, 10:36:31 PM »
No, I didn't watch "Firefly" when it first aired, but caught up on it later on dvd after watching all of "Buffy" and "Angel," also on dvd.

Friends I really respect kept telling me about Buffy, so after a long resistance I finally gave in and ordered the first few dvds from Netflix  ... and so began months of immersion in Joss Wheedon tv-land. I'm a huge fan, particularly of Buffy and Firefly. I shoud always, always listen to my friends.

Do you know that his new show, "Dollhouse" debuts next month?

Babi

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #32 on: January 15, 2009, 08:55:56 AM »
 Hurrah!  The latest in Jim Butcher's Codex series is finally available!  Since I've had it on my list at the library for ages, I now have it.  "Princeps Fury" is sitting in there waiting for me and I'm savoring the anticipation.
"I go to books and to nature as a bee goes to the flower, for a nectar that I can make into my own honey."  John Burroughs

PatH

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #33 on: January 15, 2009, 09:33:25 PM »
This only barely intersects this site, but we have just lost Ricardo Montalban.  He was mostly a romantic latin type a long time ago, plus playing some characters of different ethnicity than his, then part of "Fantasy Island", which I never watched, but he also acted in some Star Trek episodes, and played Khan in the second Star Trek movie, "The Wrath of Khan", doing a super job.  He was 88, IMHO too young to go.  I'm shooting for 95 myself.

Steph

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #34 on: January 16, 2009, 08:24:26 AM »
Ricardo Montalban.. Ah,, one of the very few latin types that I admired. He had such grace.. As I remember he also had a gift of marrying lovely women.. I think he married Esther Williams and possibly another star.
I love Star Trek and he was a great villain..
Stephanie and assorted corgi

ginny

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #35 on: January 16, 2009, 09:52:44 AM »
I'm thinking it was Fernando Lamas who married Esther Williams,  isn't he the one with the you look MAHVELOUS DAHLING? His son was on Falcon Crest, what WAS his name? He was married many times for such a young man.

I have heard that Ricardo Montalban was a wonderful person in real life.

PatH

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #36 on: January 16, 2009, 12:34:43 PM »
According to the newspaper obit, Montalban married Georgiana Young (Loretta's half sister) in 1944, ant the marriage lasted untol her death in2007.

Frybabe

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #37 on: January 16, 2009, 12:45:22 PM »
We just recently lost Patrick McGoohan too. Some of you may remember him in an old TV series, Secret Agent and, of course, The Prisoner. I can't recall him in any SciFi shows or movies. My personal favorite was his movie Ice Station Zebra.

Re Firefly: That show was recommended to me by a friend, but I never got to see it. It was either on when I was at work or on one of the premium cable channels to which I do not subscribe.

PatH

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #38 on: January 16, 2009, 01:24:25 PM »
I never saw Firefly on TV, but Netflix has it on DVD.  Four disks for all the shows.  Then there was a movie, "Serenity", which carried the story further as well as back some, but wasn't as good as the TV show.  I think the movie was supposed to have sequels, but they weren't made.

ginny

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #39 on: January 17, 2009, 09:20:21 AM »
Lorenzo  Lamas!! Thought about it all night. Daemon has come! It's huge and now I read the word Daemon is something connected with computers as well, can't wait to start it. Preston and Childs wrote one about an amusement park gone berserk by computers also, can't remember the name of it but it was good.



The Prisoner, I loved that thing, just loved it. Just occurred to me it's sort of an early The Truman Show in a way?  I also liked the Avengers, but with McGoohan and Diana Rigg, those were so  good.