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marlonharewood
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13 minutes ago, joemul said:

Evening all. I’m reading There Is No Anti-Memetics Division. I have a quick Q for those who have read it:-

 

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There’s a chapter where Adam Wheeler is attacked while playing in an orchestra. The next chapter begins with him being held down by the attackers and then 99% of the rest of it is blacked out. Is that true to the book or is my kindle knackered?

 


No, that’s a very heavily redacted chapter…or my Kindle is also screwed! 

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On 17/01/2022 at 17:55, Danster said:

 

 

Need to hand in my Iain Banks fan club badge ... it's a short called "Cleaning Up" in The State of the Art.... :facepalm:

 

Huh, I'd have gone for 'Roadside Picnic' by Boris and Arcady Strugatski as the definitive ‘alien junk left behind on Earth' story. Just not very short - more novella/short novel.

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49 minutes ago, smac said:

 

Huh, I'd have gone for 'Roadside Picnic' by Boris and Arcady Strugatski as the definitive ‘alien junk left behind on Earth' story. Just not very short - more novella/short novel.

This is a fine recommendation; Roadside Picnic is essential reading.

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More thanks from me to whoever recommended ‘There is no Antimemetics Division’. I love a book where you’re dumped into it and have to piece things together but it’s also a total

page turner. Been ages since I looked forward to going to bed to read. Hit a bit of bad patch recently where nothing was grabbing me and this really did the trick. 
 

The only slight let down is how it ends. I mean clearly it’s a work of fiction but despite the craziness of the concept it holds together brilliantly and the way much of it reads like a record of events lends it that air of realism. The ending however didn’t quite hold up for me. 
 

Will try Fine Structure next. 
 

 

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11 hours ago, El Geet said:


 

Will try Fine Structure next. 
 

 

 

I just finished Fine Structure , it's pretty damn good. Although it gets a bit incoherent (to me at least) occasionally. It might require a re-read. It kept me interested in the same way that TINAMD did.

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20 hours ago, Miner Willy said:

What about the other qntm book, Ra - has anyone here read that?


I’m reading that at the moment, I’m only a little way in and it’s decent, but the central conceit hasn’t grabbed me yet.

 

There’s another novel too, Ed. I bought it but it’s on the pile.

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On 05/02/2022 at 08:34, ZOK said:

 

 

There’s another novel too, Ed. I bought it but it’s on the pile.

 Im reading this atm,Not grabbing me so far, I thought in terms of maturity I'd order them Ed, Fine Structure, TINAMD   but Ed was written after Fine Structure. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I’ve just read Ra and Fine Structure back to back after the recommendations in this thread, and I thought they were both pretty magnificent. They both deal with really massive ideas - they feel wider in scope to me even than something like Three Body Problem - and I found them both total page turners.

 

Fine Structure is probably the better of the two, but they share a lot of common ground: ensemble casts, huge discoveries - and quite a few scenes of superheroes-flying-at-high-speed-and-punching-each-other style action.

 

Just as in There Is No Anti-Memetics Division, I think he’s very good at staying just on the cusp of intelligibility, and I had to put in a bit of effort to keep up. I read the free ebook of Fine Structure that you can download from his website, and at the end there’s a Q and A that did clear up a few questions that I had, but which also reassured me that I had more or less understood some of the plot points that seemed a little obscure at the time. So, yes, both greatly enjoyed, thanks for the recommendation.

 

Anyone able to suggest anything along similar lines?

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On 25/02/2022 at 17:19, jimmyrazor said:

I read the free ebook of Fine Structure that you can download from his website, and at the end there’s a Q and A that did clear up a few questions that I had, but which also reassured me that I had more or less understood some of the plot points that seemed a little obscure at the time.

Thanks for pointing this out, the extras are not in the kindle version and it was quite interesting to read. 

 

Going to read Ra next. 

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I started Gareth Powells new one Stars and Bones yesterday. His stuff is kind of entry level space-opera but always well written and easy to read. 

 

The new one is set in the near future, humanity has been consigned to giant spaceships called Arks and are off roaming the cosmos looking for new planets to occupy. An away mission is attacked and killed so some ark-dwellers go to investigate.

 

This is pretty decent so far. I like the concept and the pages turn quickly. It's the first in a new series and I'm sure I'll read them all. 

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I still haven’t finished Ra because something came up that made me think of something at the start of Schismatrix Plus, and of course it’s so good that I am having to read the whole thing yet again.

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21 hours ago, Flub said:

The latest storybundle is by the odd but excellent Rudy Rucker. Well worth a look if you're into very, very weird sci-fi

 

https://storybundle.com/bestof

 

I think I've only ever read his science writing - his book on the 4th dimension is, quite literally, mind-bending.

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Has anyone read The Red Rising Saga by Pierce Brown? I'm currently on book 3 and finding it extremely enjoyable. It's aesthetically similar to Dune, although it's more 'classical antiquity in space' as opposed to 'medieval in space'. To be honest, I wasn't sure whether to put it in the fantasy recommendations thread as it's definitely a science fantasy, although at times leans into space opera and dystopian SF. It's got hoverboots and spaceships so let's put it in here. 

 

Set approximately 1000 years in the future, humanity has colonised the solar system and stratified itself into a strict class-based society revolving around colours. At the top of the food chain are the Golds, a genetically engineered ruling class who exercise complete and brutal control over what they see as the 'lesser colours', with various other colour designations slotting into the pyramid beneath them (Greys are police & military, Greens are tasked with technological progress, Violets are creatives, Reds are menial labourers etc) and follows a lowly Red miner originally from Mars who is tasked by a subversive organisation to undergo extensive surgical modification to resemble a Gold in order to infiltrate the corridors of power and lead a revolution from within.

 

The best aspect of it for me is the world building, Brown's solar system is a really compelling place to explore. 

 

Recommended (although with the caveat I haven't read books 4 and 5 so accept no responsibility for any potential decline in quality). 

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On 14/03/2022 at 18:47, SM47 said:

Has anyone read The Red Rising Saga by Pierce Brown? I'm currently on book 3 and finding it extremely enjoyable. It's aesthetically similar to Dune, although it's more 'classical antiquity in space' as opposed to 'medieval in space'. To be honest, I wasn't sure whether to put it in the fantasy recommendations thread as it's definitely a science fantasy, although at times leans into space opera and dystopian SF. It's got hoverboots and spaceships so let's put it in here. 

 

Set approximately 1000 years in the future, humanity has colonised the solar system and stratified itself into a strict class-based society revolving around colours. At the top of the food chain are the Golds, a genetically engineered ruling class who exercise complete and brutal control over what they see as the 'lesser colours', with various other colour designations slotting into the pyramid beneath them (Greys are police & military, Greens are tasked with technological progress, Violets are creatives, Reds are menial labourers etc) and follows a lowly Red miner originally from Mars who is tasked by a subversive organisation to undergo extensive surgical modification to resemble a Gold in order to infiltrate the corridors of power and lead a revolution from within.

 

The best aspect of it for me is the world building, Brown's solar system is a really compelling place to explore. 

 

Recommended (although with the caveat I haven't read books 4 and 5 so accept no responsibility for any potential decline in quality). 

 

Yeah, I read the series some years ago now, but remember really enjoying them at the time. Slightly pulpy, but with some fun characters and a good sci-fi setting.

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Finished Stars and Bones last night and it was fine. This is Powells 4th Space Opera book but it doesn't really feel like he's breaking any new ground - sentient spaceships with cute names, unknowable alien beings, feisty human protagonist etc. There's nothing bad here it's all just a bit predictable. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 25/02/2022 at 16:19, jimmyrazor said:

I’ve just read Ra and Fine Structure back to back after the recommendations in this thread, and I thought they were both pretty magnificent. They both deal with really massive ideas - they feel wider in scope to me even than something like Three Body Problem - and I found them both total page turners.

 

Fine Structure is probably the better of the two, but they share a lot of common ground: ensemble casts, huge discoveries - and quite a few scenes of superheroes-flying-at-high-speed-and-punching-each-other style action.

 

Just as in There Is No Anti-Memetics Division, I think he’s very good at staying just on the cusp of intelligibility, and I had to put in a bit of effort to keep up. I read the free ebook of Fine Structure that you can download from his website, and at the end there’s a Q and A that did clear up a few questions that I had, but which also reassured me that I had more or less understood some of the plot points that seemed a little obscure at the time. So, yes, both greatly enjoyed, thanks for the recommendation.

 

Anyone able to suggest anything along similar lines?

Read ‘Fine Structure’ and just finishing ‘Ra’ now. Totally agree - the author manages some pretty epic ideas and goes to town with them. ‘Ra’ I thought might be a let down but what starts as a pretty high concept ends up being a pretty mad and detailed ride too. 
 

TINAMD still prob the best of the the three, followed by FS then Ra but all really interesting and page turners. 
 

Also keen for similar recommendations if anyone had any.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Nice reccomendation on the There Is No Antimemetics Division.  Briliant read. I love the SCP stuff anyway.

Now onto Fine Matter.

 

 

I did finish two other books by Tamsyn Muir.  More fantasy than Science Fiction.

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42036538-gideon-the-ninth 

 

"Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won't set her free without a service."

 

and

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39325105-harrow-the-ninth

 

"She answered the Emperor's call.

She arrived with her arts, her wits, and her only friend.

In victory, her world has turned to ash.

After rocking the cosmos with her deathly debut, Tamsyn Muir continues the story of the penumbral Ninth House in Harrow the Ninth, a mind-twisting puzzle box of mystery, murder, magic, and mayhem. Nothing is as it seems in the halls of the Emperor, and the fate of the galaxy rests on one woman's shoulders."

 

 

I personally rate the first book higher than the second but they're both amazing.  Just so many twists and turns. Can't wait for the third in the trilogy.

 

 

 

 

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I’ve read a couple of interesting books recommended by a friend after I told him I loved time travel stories. 

 

One was Recursion by Blake Crouch. Someone invents a way to travel back through time to an intense memory, but with the side effect that the whole world simultaneously resets to the same time, and everyone can recall their own memories from the abandoned time line as a vague deja vu. Cue mass panic as everyone is suddenly hit with a strange, dream like awareness of actually being married to someone else in another part of the country. There’s lots zipping back in time again and again to try to undo mistakes and save the world and it explores the idea pretty thoroughly. The whole book reads like an expanded pitch for a five season SyFy show that never got commissioned. The characters are paper thin and the writing is trashy and the science is awful … but it’s a good page turner and I kind of couldn’t put it down. I’m not sure I’d call it a recommendation but I don’t regret my time with it. 

 

The other book was Kindred by Octavia Butler. A woman from 1976 finds herself uncontrollably slipping back and forth in time to nineteenth century America. But because she is black, as soon as she arrives in the past she becomes a slave. It’s ‘12 Years a Slave’ but with a POV character who has a twentieth century sensibility. It’s bloody harrowing, and no fun to read at all, but it’s very informative and again it explores its idea quite deeply. There is no science in it whatsoever, so it doesn’t really count as science fiction - the question of how she travels through time is ignored. But it’s a good, fascinating, (and dismal) read. 

 

I’ve just started The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. Brilliant so far. 

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So, after reading about The Invincible in this month's Edge, I thought I'd find a copy of the book and see what it's like. After failing to even come close to enjoying Lem's Solaris, this has proved a much better gateway into his works I guess. It's not a big tome, nor does it have quite the same amount of philosophical musings as Solaris does. 

 

However, whilst I imagine the book is translated accurately, it's got a very dry soul-less take on the novel, and I kind of wish a newer version would do a take on it, because it's not the most elegant of reads.

 

The mystery of the world is fantastic though!

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On 28/04/2022 at 11:11, jimmyrazor said:

The other book was Kindred by Octavia Butler. A woman from 1976 finds herself uncontrollably slipping back and forth in time to nineteenth century America. But because she is black, as soon as she arrives in the past she becomes a slave. It’s ‘12 Years a Slave’ but with a POV character who has a twentieth century sensibility. It’s bloody harrowing, and no fun to read at all, but it’s very informative and again it explores its idea quite deeply. There is no science in it whatsoever, so it doesn’t really count as science fiction - the question of how she travels through time is ignored. But it’s a good, fascinating, (and dismal) read. 

Thanks for the recommendation, I read this over the weekend and found it completely absorbing. I think I'd definitely class this as science fiction / speculative fiction; articles about the author mention that this work is a core text in the Afrofuturism movement - something I was ignorant about but am exploring further as I love the central idea.

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On 28/04/2022 at 11:11, jimmyrazor said:

I’ve just started The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. Brilliant so far. 

 

One of my all-time favourites. The six individual sections vary a little in quality but they come together magnificently and you'll never, ever guess where it's going to go. I'm a big fan of Mitchell anyway but this is his best one I think.

 

If you like this, there's a follow-up novella called Slade House which is well worth reading too.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 02/05/2022 at 15:46, zuum said:

a core text in the Afrofuturism movement

 

Ah, cool. I don't think I even realised this was a thing.  Interesting.  I'm guessing this will be a big influence on Black Panther?  I'm going to look into this some more...

 

In the meantime, I finished The Bone Clocks - really enjoyed it.

 

For people who don’t know it, it’s a David Mitchell multiple POV story looking at different episodes from the life of a Gravesend teenager called Holly Sykes who…

Spoiler

ends up being a pivotal character in a secret war between two different clans of quasi-immortal humans with all sorts of superpowers, like telepathy, persuasion, prescience and more.

 

I think I liked the first half more, when it felt more character based and the wider, fantastical story was only hinted at.  The second half was a lot of fun but I did get a little confused about what the rules were.

 

Spoiler

So the ‘bad’ immortals had to drink other people’s souls to live using occult magic, while the ‘good’ ones were reborn after each death into a new body, more or less completely out of their own control?  That much I understood.  But both groups seemed to have the same superpowers, and the powers seemed a bit random and convenient - telepathy, mind control, they could tell the future very precisely sometimes (coin tosses) but not other times (the outcome of the ‘Second Mission’).  One of them was able to turn themselves into a huge maze, another could hide inside someone else’s brain for years, and then when it came to the final battle they all had Doctor Strange style shields and death beams.  It was good fun but it just felt to me like the supernatural stuff was all over the place, and the Horologists were rather cartoony characters.  Whereas I thought the more down to earth characters were terrific, very well written.  The first and last sections, especially, with teenage Holly running away from home and then elderly Holly watching the slow, sad disintegration of society, were both outstanding.

 

He’s a great writer, though, and I ripped through it at a pace of knots.

 

On 03/05/2022 at 09:06, Garwoofoo said:

If you like this, there's a follow-up novella called Slade House which is well worth reading too.

 

Like an idiot, I read Slade House a few years ago, not realising it was a sort of sequel.  I don’t think it ruined anything for me, though.

 

I think I’m going to try some of the Nebula and Hugo nominees next.  I like the Incomparable podcast episodes about the award shortlists:

 

https://www.theincomparable.com/theincomparable/bookclub/

 

If they enjoy something I usually find it worth trying out.  They weren’t super impressed with Plague Birds or Machinehood on the most recent episode, though.  But I might try them anyway….

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Has nobody else read Sea of tranquility by Emily St Mandel (of station eleven fame) yet ?

It's such a beautifully written book that has themes of time travel  and pandemic living and has a central mystery that since people will probably guess at midway but I have to admit I didn't see it until just before the reveal.  Very recommended

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24 minutes ago, little che said:

Has nobody else read Sea of tranquility by Emily St Mandel (of station eleven fame) yet ?

It's such a beautifully written book that has themes of time travel  and pandemic living and has a central mystery that since people will probably guess at midway but I have to admit I didn't see it until just before the reveal.  Very recommended


I’ve bought it to take on holiday next week. Looking forward to it. 

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