Author Topic: Science Fiction / Fantasy  (Read 181786 times)

PatH

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2920 on: July 19, 2017, 07:26:57 AM »
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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PatH

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2921 on: July 19, 2017, 07:30:20 AM »
That's an interesting technique.  I mostly do better reading than listening, but I've never tried both at once.

I've forgotten now why I halted in Downbelow Station, but it might very well have been character overload.  I felt I would get back to it someday, though.

Frybabe

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2922 on: July 19, 2017, 08:36:47 AM »
Amazon calls it immersive reading. I seem to be able to concentrate better using both or this book. This is the first time I've tried it. I'll have to try it again, sometime, on other particularly dense/difficult books. I wonder if it would have helped with SevenEves which was hard to get through without frequent breaks.

Frybabe

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2923 on: July 21, 2017, 04:54:04 PM »
I took a break from reading today and went to see Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets on its opening day. While I think the story itself was okay but not great, the kaleidoscope of bright and dazzling colors and CGI were super. Oh, and I picked out a couple of things that appear to have been "related" to The Fifth Element: the temple exterior (slightly different via added coloration from what I remember from Element, the statement "showtime", and it looks like they reused part of the costumes from the alien guardians. There is a lesson in there about war and owning up to the deliberate destruction of a people and a world as collateral damage in a war that said people had no part in.

Luc Besson has already written a script for the second and is in the middle of doing one for the third. This is a long time dream and labor of love for him, so whether or not the two get made into movies doesn't matter as much as working on his dream project.

I should soon be seeing the three Valerian related offerings that the library manager ordered. They are being released today also.

In the meantime, I am almost done with Downbelow Station. It has gotten even more interesting as I got further into it. What a mess. First an influx of a great number of refugees that strains the station, then the sabotage, murder and deliberately incited riots, and a less than compassionate military that are themselves stressed by losses and short supplies. I am anxious to see how it all turns out and who survives in the end. I would very much like to see several people get their much due comeuppance, and hope the good guys prevail against stacked odds.

Frybabe

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2924 on: July 23, 2017, 04:20:20 PM »
Pat, just a heads-up. Don just announced that Aug. 20 will be his last Reid's Records program. He decided it was time to retire.

I've finished Downbelow Station. Good book, but you have to be prepared for grim and grimmer for quite a while. Such a breakdown of civilized behavior in the face of shortages and changes in governmental control. I got to liking several of the characters, particularly Josh. I felt a bit sorry for him and was surprised at which direction he chose at the end. The book is apparently the first of three, but on inspecting the next two, I didn't see any of the characters in the first mentioned. I would really have liked to see more of them. I guess the series is more like separate stories in the same universe (possibly over time). I am going to see if I can get the other two.

Not sure what I am going to read next. There is a new historical Roman series that I might try or go back to EM Foner's Union Station series which is fun, but I it has been so long I forget which book I stopped at.

There is a new movie being released Dec. 8 called The Shape of Water that looks interesting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFYWazblaUA  A Wrinkle in Time is set to release sometime in the spring. Oprah is in that one and it does look colorful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4U3TeY2wtMA Wrinkle in Time i




PatH

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2925 on: July 23, 2017, 11:40:51 PM »
Frybabe, thanks for alerting me about Don.  Your analysis in S & F of why I haven't been around was correct, but I'll be sure to go in and explain.

The Shape of Water looks worth trying to catch.  The only other movie of Guillermo del Toro I've seen is Pan's Labyrinth, which is very good, very strange, and rather disturbing.

The Washington Post's reviewer of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets found the story soporific, the acting ho-hum, and the visual effects stunning.  But I couldn't detect that he was any sort of sci-fi fan, and it still sounded like something I would enjoy.

Frybabe

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2926 on: July 24, 2017, 06:27:48 AM »
Yes, my sister and I noticed the bad reviews from some. Here is one that more or less coincides with my thinking on the movie. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tdsDcleWGQ  The only thing he didn't say is that there was no swearing or sex (other than a peck on the cheek or two).

It is a fun movie for the younger set. IMDB gave it seven stars and IGN gave it 6.8. Rogerebert.com gave it four stars, just a hair more than Dunkirk which is also playing now. There are just as many or more that didn't, and those are the ones that are getting the attention and being passed on. Yes, the acting was secondary from the visuals, but it didn't distract from the spectacular visuals. I don't know what the movie review panners were expecting but the movie met mine.

PatH

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2927 on: July 24, 2017, 02:24:04 PM »
That review coincides with my notions of what the movie will be like.  He sees the point of something that is good in some ways, even if flawed.

Frybabe

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2928 on: July 27, 2017, 07:25:25 AM »
UCP (Universal Cable Productions) is interested in bringing Hugh Howey's Sand to the TV screen. It is a good book, but I am not sure how it will translate into a TV movie/show. Well, maybe yes, if they use lots of CGI. I would have thought his Silo series would have been easier to do. They've tapped Howey for an Executive Producer. We shall see how far it gets.

IMDB has nothing on Sand, but it does show that 20th Century Fox, after some "fierce" bidding, acquired the rights to Wool in 2012. It doesn't look like they've done anything with it.

Frybabe

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2929 on: July 29, 2017, 02:42:35 PM »
I am reading Artemis Fowl. It is one of those Teen books that I got curious about. I like it. Easy read, kind of fun.

A week earlier than I expected, the library notified me that Daniel H. Wilson's The Clockwork Dynasty is here. Of course I had to go get it as soon as the library opened today.


Frybabe

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2930 on: August 02, 2017, 07:35:28 AM »
I am thinking about reading Iain M. Banks' book Excession, but I see that it is the fourth of in his Culture series. Am I correct that I do not have to read these in order?

Still reading both Clockwork Dynasty. It is interesting, but not on the same level, IMO, as his robotics series for edge of your seat action. The female human lead, who is supposedly a research specialist on automatons, is a little slow to pick up on what the other characters are. I thought that made her a little less convincing and an expert in the subject. Otherwise, I like the story.

I finished Artemis Fowl last night. It is an entertaining and fun story. Since I am not up on Fairy lore, I am wondering about some of the relationships and behaviors attributed to trolls, fairies, pixies, and leprechauns in the story.

Frybabe

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2931 on: August 02, 2017, 05:11:09 PM »
While I am thinking of it, and even before I finish Clockwork Dynasty here are my thoughts. Make human-like automata, breath some life, anima if you will, into it, add a generous helping of philosophy (think Plato), an ancient history, yin and yang, a little mythology, and superstition, oh,and maybe a little horror scene or two, and you come up with a very interesting tale. All of that and you might think it is a bit much, but Wilson pulls it off.

Frybabe

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2932 on: August 09, 2017, 07:42:21 AM »
Next SciFi read is Joe Haldeman's Forever War which won the Nebula (1974), Hugo (1975) and Locus (1976) awards. I had no idea that this book was written so long ago; I thought it was a relatively recent novel. Knowing that Haldeman was a Viet Nam vet may help explain the title and, perhaps, some of the action.

More amazement! John Scalzi wrote the forward to this edition of The Forever War. In it he says that it and Starship Troopers were "the two cornerstone works of military science fiction." He also mentioned that many people thought his Old Man's War was a rip-off of The Forever Wars. Scalzi said he did not read it prior to writing his and, in fact, put off reading it for quite a while. While I thought the first part of the forward was a little self-serving, the rest of it was a somewhat powerful commentary on the horrors of war and the alienation/disassociation vets feel (felt) on coming home to a society they feel they can't quite fit into anymore.

PatH

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2933 on: August 09, 2017, 12:22:03 PM »
I really ought to read Starship Troopers sometime to complete my education, though I'm mostly not a Heinlein fan.

Frybabe

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2934 on: August 11, 2017, 08:33:35 AM »
Well, so far I can't see what people see in Scalzi's Old Man's War that people thought he ripped off from Joe Haldeman. I guess I will have to read it again; it has been a long while. For now, I see more of Haldeman in the Marko Kloos' Frontlines series (boo,hoo! I have to wait until Jan. for #6 to release). All three start with raw recruits and follow them through as they advance in rank. The lead characters in Kloos' series and Haleman's Forever War spend time back on Earth, and both describe a very dismal outlook regarding the quality of life on earth in the future. Haldeman's characters spend most of their time locating and pursuing the enemy, while Kloos' characters spend more time defending Earth and the colonies. As I recall, Scalzi's books are more about extending colonies and defending them against aggressors (be they human or alien) with an end promise of becoming a colonist at the end of the tour. The other two give no such recruitment promises.

The really interesting and different things I see about Haldeman's book are breeding heterosexuality out of the population with a view to control population growth, the rampant use of recreational drugs and "free love" (back to the hippy days), and the use of space time vs relative time. This last shows is interesting not only because of the aging differences between Earth and those who go into space, but because it also shows the enormous time it takes for orders to come down from command to those in distant locations and how the time differences affect fighting in the local present. Too bad they didn't have Ursula la Guin's ansible.

PatH

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2935 on: August 11, 2017, 12:47:48 PM »
It's interesting to see how different writers handle the time lapse problem.  Scalzi has an ansible equivalent, but he ignores the time disconnect you get from traveling fast in regular space. Bujold uses wormholes you travel through in 5 dimensional space.

Frybabe

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2936 on: August 11, 2017, 01:26:40 PM »
Wormholes are nice, speedy devices to get around physically, but if you don't have an ansible like device, long distance communications is more than sluggish. Even using physical couriers would be slow because of the time it takes to get to a wormhole in the first place. Command would have to be close to the action and even then, communications would be slow. Haldeman has set up a scenario where you are out in remote space fighting a war that to those who are back on Earth, it has been over for centuries. Or, you are now fighting a war that to others seems to happen in their future. Pretty confusing, but like a lot of other SciFi, if you ignore trying to figure out the math and physics of such a possibility, the story is good.   

PatH

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2937 on: August 11, 2017, 05:53:25 PM »
Bujold has people squirt messages at light speed to couriers waiting at the wormholes, but there are still delays from the frequency of couriers, especially after a few jumps.

Frybabe

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2938 on: August 12, 2017, 05:43:35 AM »
Too bad we won't be around to see how they solve communication and other space/time related problems in the future. Well, at least not as we are now.

PatH

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2939 on: August 12, 2017, 01:10:30 PM »
We could wake up to find ourselves being thawed out in another star system.

Frybabe

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2940 on: August 15, 2017, 04:24:09 PM »
I am finally getting back to the Laiden Universe, starting at the beginning with Crystal Soldier.

Also, I am perusing the three Valerian graphic novels that the library ordered. Not that I am into graphic novels, but I did recommend them and feel I need to look them over. If I don't read all the comics, I at least want to read the front matter and history of the comic and whatever else the intro discusses. Valerian and Laureline is a much loved French comic and not widely known here.


Frybabe

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2941 on: August 17, 2017, 07:25:50 AM »
Pat, I ran across an article several days ago on BBC, but here is a YouTube about some new medical nanotech we've read in SciFi lately. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sn_G8TglL-w

Since the Valerian GN's are large sized and my current Laiden read the Crystal Variation edition which also includes Crystal Dragon and Balance of Trade, I have had to add an ebook, M. Forbes' War EternalBooks 1-3 edition. I previously read the first one, but am rereading it. Can't read the two print books when the cats decide my lap needs constant, rotating attention. On top of that, Lucy, in her eternal quest for plastic has decided my library book covers are fair game. I disagree.

Frybabe

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Re: Science Fiction / Fantasy
« Reply #2942 on: August 20, 2017, 04:42:43 PM »
Here is something interesting. I am reading the first three books of M. (Michael) R. Forbes' War Eternal series. As a plot device he uses a time loop. It is a similar concept to a causal loop. In a causal loop nothing changes  nor can it change. A time loop, on the other hand, loops back on itself and  while everything starts over again exactly as before the future can be changed - if there is a catalyst (be it a person or event) to cause that change. Then the loop resets to the new future.

In his universe, time cannot go backwards, only forwards.  So, in order for someone from the future to "go back" he/she must go forward following the time loop until they get to the next past iteration, "The future past". Each successive loop leaves a wee bit of memory from the last loop. Interesting concept, kind of like remembering past lives, deja vu or the like. Kind of reminds me of the movie title Back to the Future.

Right now, this is mostly a plot device, but there are some scientific papers speculating on the nature of spacetime that address the possibility.

Back to the book series, I do like the characters and the story. I had read the first book a few years ago and thought it was interesting but not interesting enough to go on with the series. I am glad I reread the first, Starship Eternal. I am guessing here, but there are things in this rereading that I swear weren't in the original I read. A bit more explanation I think, and things that certainly helped me to understand the broader nature of the series. I can't imagine that I missed that much reading it the first time. But hey, like I said, I read it several years ago. Forbes recently published the seventh and last of this series. I am now well into the next book, The Fall of Liberty.