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Gargamel
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Probably been a few of these threads, if so, point me in the right direction.  Was going to comment in the Bad Sci-fi thread, but this is for all books, especially good ones.

Just finished The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, both by Mary Robinette Kowal, with a pre-order placed for the third book of the series, The Relentless Moon.   The scenario is that in the early 1950's a large meteor has hit the east coast of the US, wiping out most of the cities.  The story is about how the world reacts to the possible pending environmental disaster that will result, and the push to get human colonies off world.  It focuses around a female pilot from WWII, and her struggles to be part of the space program.  With the altered timeline, and the resulting push to space before a lot of tech was invented for it, it takes a good look at how the early space program worked.  The stories may not be 100% accurate, but I really didn't notice anything glaring at me that I can recall.   I think I was even more impressed that the bibliography she uses was a list of mainly authors or people I already recognize.  The stories do take a fairly pointed view on gender, race, and religious social issues of the time. 

Before reading those, I finally got around to reading the classic Sci-fi work by Carl Sagan, Contact.  The movie is one of my favorites, and so I had to view the book through that prism.  The book hasn't aged well tech wise, the time frame (late 90's?) for the movie is probably the best it could be, but it really doesn't change the story much, just made the narrative a lot smoother.  But overall, the story is well written and an enjoyable read.    It does raise the question though of 1 vs 5, for the end plot of the story. 

And then, as mentioned by @Clamp-o-Tron in the bad sci fi thread, I too am currently re-reading SevenEves.  First time I read it, i found it a bit sketchy, unbelievable.   I don't know what has changed though, but it seems to be a lot smoother to me this time.   The first 3 acts are coming together nicely, which gives me hope for the 4th act, which I couldn't even finish last time, but here's hoping. 

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Oh, hey, this is cool! As said above, I have been reading seveneves. I won't go into detail because SPOILERS!

Another recommendation I have is a book (can't recall the title) by Buzz Aldrin published shortly after Constellation was cancelled as a way forward in space. Before I read this I was not a huge fan of comercial space (dunno why), but having such an obviously incredibly intellegent person present an argument. The only qualm I have is that it's too short, but Buzz isn't at fault for it. It's comprehensive enough that expanding it would become very speculative. 4.5/5 would read again.

Contact (both of them) is amazing! I remember when I was new to KSP I called gimballs benzels lol

Edited by Clamp-o-Tron
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I finished The Brothers Karamazov a while back, and now I'm reading Crime and Punishment. Also just finished Edward Teller's Conversations on the Dark Secrets of Physics. Also finishing Nien Zhang's Life and Death in Shanghai. All of them certainly worth a read!

As for SF, I read Frank Herbert's The Godmakers. I liked his writing style, so I'm gonna go read Dune sometime. And no, I haven't read it yet.:blink: 

I think I saw Aldrin's book at my library; I'll have to pick it up.

 

Edited by SOXBLOX
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  • 1 month later...
On 6/20/2020 at 12:23 AM, Gargamel said:

Just finished The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, both by Mary Robinette Kowal, with a pre-order placed for the third book of the series, The Relentless Moon.  

Finished the Relentless Moon.   Pretty good stuff.   Kind of a spy thriller mixed with space exploration.    Looking forward to the rest of the series. 

Picked up Stephen King's The Institute.  Only about 1/3 the way into it, and it's his normal great story telling.  You might think he puts out a lot of dross that normal people couldn't get published, and you'd be right, but regardless of the topic or plot, he always seems to write an engaging narrative.   I'm really starting to think this might be a close tie in to the 4th (5th?) book of the Dark Tower series, but I'm not far enough in to find out.

On 6/20/2020 at 4:28 AM, Clamp-o-Tron said:

Oh, hey, this is cool! As said above, I have been reading seveneves. I won't go into detail because SPOILERS!

Still didn't like the last act.   It really needed to be a separate book, so the characters and story line could be smoothed out more and not rushed. 

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5 hours ago, Gargamel said:

You might think he puts out a lot of dross

Yeah, I picked up Insomnia when it was released way back when. Read it once, then it sat on the shelf. That's the sign that I didn't care for it, or I would have ended up reading it several times over the years.

I noticed his novel Cell was made into a movie. I just don't see how that would translate to a movie. Don't think I'll watch that one. And I'm probably one of the few that didn't mind the movie adaption of The Dark Tower, once I accepted that it was the story as told on a different level of the Tower. But I'd love to a see a more faithful adaption of it. Also curious how the new release of The Stand will turn out.

But yeah, I think King went through a spell where his editors didn't want to edit the golden goose. And he got rather wordy as a result.

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2 hours ago, StrandedonEarth said:

But yeah, I think King went through a spell where his editors didn't want to edit the golden goose. And he got rather wordy as a result.

If you read his autobiography "On Writing", he explains his writing style.  Basically, he gets an idea in his head (which is a dark and twisted place mind you), and then somebody else in his head writes the story, and he has the joy of being the first person to read it.  

For every really bad story he's written, he's written 10 good ones, and at least one epic one.  Couple of his huge works are my all time favorite reads The Dark Tower and The Stand.   Since both are set in the same universe, along with a lot of his other books, I fully contend this is a world creator to rival Tolkien. 

 

2 hours ago, StrandedonEarth said:

Just checked out Isaac Asimov's Foundation from the library. Long past time I delved into that one...

Been a while since I read that one, but I really enjoyed the series. 

 

---

Another two series I recommend are the Johannes Cabal Necromancer series by Jonathan Howard ( @Snark will agree with this one) and Mercury Falls by Robert Kroese.   Both are light hearted sci-fi / fantasy dark comedies, with a strong hint of Douglas Adams in their style. 

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2 minutes ago, adsii1970 said:

It's not science fiction, but I have been reading Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot for the last month. Yeah, I've only read it about twenty or so times over my lifetime, but it is still a good book.

 

Speaking of Carl Sagan, I've been re-reading Cosmos.

Anyone else want to join my Sagan-worshipping cult? :P

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5 minutes ago, RealKerbal3x said:

Speaking of Carl Sagan, I've been re-reading Cosmos.

I finished that one for the umpteenth time last month. Good book. Next on my list is Mining the Sky: Untold Riches from the Asteroids, Comets, and Planets by John S. Lewis.

Once private corporations realize the potential for wealth in space, the U.S., China, India, and Russians better step back. Wal-Mart's heading to the moon! Seriously, New World colonization, especially the Spanish efforts, were focused on gaining land, gold, and other trade goods. As Human history shows, these are the main reasons mankind ventured out of Asia, Africa, and India, from a human societal evolutionary model. No reason to suspect it will not apply to space.

13 hours ago, StrandedonEarth said:

Just checked out Isaac Asimov's Foundation from the library. Long past time I delved into that one...

I have the entire series. You know it does tie into the I, Robot series, right? It's written in the same sci-fi universe.

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11 hours ago, Gargamel said:

Another two series I recommend are the Johannes Cabal Necromancer series by Jonathan Howard ( @Snark will agree with this one) and Mercury Falls by Robert Kroese.   Both are light hearted sci-fi / fantasy dark comedies, with a strong hint of Douglas Adams in their style. 

Yah, I thought the Johannes Cabal stories were fun. I didn't think it seemed much like Douglas Adams, though. If anything, it felt more like a darker shade of Terry Pratchett. If you like Sir Terry, you'll probably like these.

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  • 3 months later...

Had Pre-ordered "Ready Player Two" from Cline.   Obvious sequel to "Ready Player One" of book and movie fame (I do love the fact it was easier to get Spielberg to direct the film rather than try to license all the properties he owns).  

Well.   It was ok.   Don't waste money on it.   Get it from the library, digital or otherwise.   Just a rehash of the original plot, nothing really original in it.   After finishing it in about a week, mainly due to drifting asleep while reading it, I re-opened "RPO", and was done in about 36 hours.   That is a fun read, and a great tale. 

I had also enjoyed Cline's other big work, "Armada".  It's been a bit, might have to pick it up again. 

On 8/8/2020 at 11:23 AM, Snark said:

Yah, I thought the Johannes Cabal stories were fun. I didn't think it seemed much like Douglas Adams, though. If anything, it felt more like a darker shade of Terry Pratchett. If you like Sir Terry, you'll probably like these.

I think if you are a fan of either of them, you'll like the series.

 

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  • 10 months later...

Been listening to the "Dark Tower" by Stephen King series on audiobook.   I've read it a couple few times already, but these narrators (Is that the right word?  They're reading the story, not telling it) really bring this story to life.   The first book has always been a drag to read, but they really bring the story out.   I'm ~16 hours into the 133 hour audiobook, and looking forward to the really exciting parts. 

Just finished the main story of "Redhsirts" by John Scalzi, apparently there's 2 more parts worth about 80 pages?    I dunno, I'll finish those off tonight, but the first section was a really fun story to read.

Martha Wells' "The MurderBot Diaries" has been an enjoyable read so far, I think she has more stories coming in the future. 

 

Oh, and I listened to Adam Savage's "Every Tool is a Hammer" a bit ago.   If any of you are into making or building, or even just enjoyed watching mythbusters, It's worth a read or listen.

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the next thing i read is probibly going to be leviathan falls, as soon as it comes out next  month.  maybe after that i will do all the foundation prequels/sequels as ive only read the main trilogy (mostly because the show has me confused). i also have a massive pile of battletech books to get into. 

Edited by Nuke
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On 8/7/2020 at 12:28 PM, Gargamel said:

Picked up Stephen King's The Institute

Picked that up and read it recently. It was an engaging read; I finished it fairly quickly, and I don't find myself reading books so much these days in this age of smartphones, I thought it was pretty good, and not as predictable as I thought it was going to be.

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52668915-entangled-life

This is really good.  I hate mushrooms - but this opened up a whole lot about biology that I was only peripherally aware of (you could say I only had a surface understanding of the topic).  He takes a deep dive into the subject and really gets into the weeds to demonstrate how fungal life touches pretty much everything.  Even a section about Lichens in Spaaaaaace! 

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On 10/25/2021 at 8:28 AM, JoeSchmuckatelli said:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52668915-entangled-life

This is really good.  I hate mushrooms - but this opened up a whole lot about biology that I was only peripherally aware of (you could say I only had a surface understanding of the topic).  He takes a deep dive into the subject and really gets into the weeds to demonstrate how fungal life touches pretty much everything.  Even a section about Lichens in Spaaaaaace! 

Back in Boy Scout days, one of the Scoutmasters was an officer in the Ohio Mushroom Society.  We never planned for salads during our meal plans, we'd just send him out into the woods to find one.   It was really fun to learn (and since somewhat forgotten) about the different edible plants right beside us. 

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CAUTION: BOOK ABOUT TO BE DISCUSSED NOT FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES, THIS DISCUSSION HOWEVER IS SAFE.

I recently finished reading Cibola Burn by James SA Corey, loads of fun, thoroughly enjoyable, bit stressful at times, but otherwise good. And as with the rest of the expanse series: not for anyone who doesn't already know every major obscenity in the english language.

(Moderators, If I shouldn't have posted this, tell me and I'll edit this post to just say, "I read a book.")

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15 hours ago, Hyperspace Industries said:

CAUTION: BOOK ABOUT TO BE DISCUSSED NOT FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES, THIS DISCUSSION HOWEVER IS SAFE.

I recently finished reading Cibola Burn by James SA Corey, loads of fun, thoroughly enjoyable, bit stressful at times, but otherwise good. And as with the rest of the expanse series: not for anyone who doesn't already know every major obscenity in the english language.

(Moderators, If I shouldn't have posted this, tell me and I'll edit this post to just say, "I read a book.")

That one’s pretty good.   If you haven’t already, pick up all the short novellas they wrote.    A lot of them are back story or side stories that explain a lot about the characters.  

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5 hours ago, Gargamel said:

That one’s pretty good.   If you haven’t already, pick up all the short novellas they wrote.    A lot of them are back story or side stories that explain a lot about the characters.  

At the very least, read "The Churn" (I think they renamed them though, Amos' backstory) before you watch the latest season of the show.  Cibola is already past that point though, but there's a lot of context to the story that the show glosses over that the novella really makes for a deeper and richer viewing. 

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14 minutes ago, Gargamel said:

At the very least, read "The Churn" (I think they renamed them though, Amos' backstory) before you watch the latest season of the show.  Cibola is already past that point though, but there's a lot of context to the story that the show glosses over that the novella really makes for a deeper and richer viewing. 

If only I could watch the show, we don't have Amazon prime, and even if we did, they don't allow people in South Africa to watch it, you can only watch it in America, Britain, and some other countries, all I know is, it's not in SA (short for South Africa).

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On 10/25/2021 at 8:28 AM, JoeSchmuckatelli said:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52668915-entangled-life

This is really good.  I hate mushrooms - but this opened up a whole lot about biology that I was only peripherally aware of (you could say I only had a surface understanding of the topic).  He takes a deep dive into the subject and really gets into the weeds to demonstrate how fungal life touches pretty much everything.  Even a section about Lichens in Spaaaaaace! 

Not a book, but none-the-less interesting with some really fantastic photography (if you've never seen these vids before)...
https://www.youtube.com/c/microcosmos/videos

 

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8 hours ago, LordFerret said:

Not a book, but none-the-less interesting with some really fantastic photography (if you've never seen these vids before)...
https://www.youtube.com/c/microcosmos/videos

 

I'm enjoying these tremendously!  Never heard of purple sulfur bacteria or anoxygenic photosynthesis. 

Cool! 

(they also quote from Merlin Sheldrake's book in the vid on fungi) 

Edited by JoeSchmuckatelli
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  • 2 weeks later...

Currently 2/3 of the way through Garrison Keillor's collection of short stories, "The Book of Guys". The protagonists are all a bunch of miserable jerks, but I think any man who's lived a little will recognize parts of himself (or his past selves) in them. The stories are written in the style of what Ursula Le Guin calls "psychomyth", so they're quite surreal. If you like Vonnegut, you'll like this. I don't know if anyone under 40 can fully appreciate it, but I'm enjoying it. "Enjoying" is the wrong word--More like facepalming, wondering how I lived through it all, and appreciating the fact that I know better now.

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