Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels discussion

Six Wakes
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Monthly Reading: Discussion > May 2018 "Six Wakes" Discussion <Caution! Spoilers May Be Present!>

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message 1: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
May 2018 "Six Wakes" Discussion


message 2: by Bryan, Village Idiot (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan | 480 comments Mod
I started this in the spoiler free thread, but I wasn't sure and I didn't want to be that guy.

So, what I was trying to say, and Oleksandr quoted for me, is that in their mind, they have only know each other for a day or two. But their interactions show a much higher level of comfort and trust. I mean, they wake up with brood and gore, 25 years later than they last remember, and everything is just all over the place...but they seem like trusted friends.

Maybe it's a clone thing. There were conversations about how some have lost time, but 25 years...


message 3: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (last edited May 09, 2018 06:50PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Bryan wrote: "I started this in the spoiler free thread, but I wasn't sure and I didn't want to be that guy.

So, what I was trying to say, and Oleksandr quoted for me, is that in their mind, they have only know..."


The whole idea is that the most recent mindmaps have been erased either by IAN (cannot tolerate its douchy manner of speech) or by a member of the crew. For some reason the backup of some 25 years survived either by mistake or on purpose.

I can't recall what is the total amount of time they've been traveling but it is over 100 years (something close to 120) if I remember it correctly. That would explain their familiar manner in dealings with each other.

Oh and since they are actual copies of themselves, it passing a day or 25 years does not matter in the least. For the clones it is the next moment right after mindmapping was done.


message 4: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Alright, here's a quote that kinda tears the speculations in my previous post apart:

The remaining crew sat uncomfortably for about a minute, eating the roast pork, sauce, bread, and synth-veg Maria had presented to them. Then Hiro broke the silence.

  “So we’re all the same; all of our memories end at our first ship mindmap, right?”

  Katrina nodded. “The first mindmap, after the cocktail party, before we launched.”


At this certain point I am somewhat tempted to call BS on the plot. I am at 40% at the moment, maybe there will be more info available later on.


message 5: by Bryan, Village Idiot (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan | 480 comments Mod
We are around the same spot, Art. I'm about 45% through. That's what I was getting at. In their mind/memories of each other, they have only known each other for a day or 2 at most.

Some of my theories at this point:
1) Their mindmaps were not completely lost, much like how IAN is regaining his memories, and that is why they are more comfortable with each other and seem to know each other deeper than their active thoughts are saying.
2) Their mindmaps were actually mixed together. That's why some have had memories that are not their own.
3) This is a big experiment (kind of like a vault from Fallout) and IAN is like the crazy robot from Portals. IAN keeps revamping their minds to some crazy goal. It worked or they found out about it, that's why everyone killed each other and IAN had to reset to factory default, if you will.


message 6: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 4001 comments Mod
Bryan wrote: "Some of my theories at this point:
"


Fine theories. I know how it'll end but won't spoil it to you


message 7: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Bryan wrote: "We are around the same spot, Art. I'm about 45% through. That's what I was getting at. In their mind/memories of each other, they have only known each other for a day or 2 at most.

Some of my the..."


Nice theories indeed... for an amateur!

What I believe in fact is going on is:
The author has access to both cloning and mindmapping, while writing the first two introductory chapters she'd suffered a terrible accident two days after the last mindmapping. Her clone, once woken was not appraised of the latest developments in the plot and just started winging it from there on.


message 8: by Bryan, Village Idiot (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan | 480 comments Mod
"Her clone, once woken was not appraised of the latest developments in the plot and just started winging it from there on."

Pfff...clearly you have been watching to much Matrix! And what is wrong with "winging it?" That's how I function through most of my life!


message 9: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 4001 comments Mod
Since this is spoiler thread I want to discuss something from the book, which doesn't actually affects the plot
1. why cylinder stopped? once put to rotate it should keep on rotating without loosing energy - we are in space, nothing slows us down...
2. th solar/magnetic sail - while cool as an idea - "we don't need fuel, we sail on solar wind" it seems wrong. The sail is said a square mile. This may look like a lot, but they are at least a light year from the Earth (they discuss calling home and say it'll take years). The pressure of solar wind drops as a square of distance from the Sun. We are 8 light mins from it. 1 light year is 525600 minutes, thus a mile square sail a l.y. away is equal to roughly square inch sail at out orbit


message 10: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (last edited May 11, 2018 04:18AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Oleksandr wrote: "Since this is spoiler thread I want to discuss something from the book, which doesn't actually affects the plot
1. why cylinder stopped? once put to rotate it should keep on rotating without loosin..."


Those are bery valid points, there is notning even remotely resembling hard sci-fi and the more I read the more I am dubious in the book's merits that landed it the award nomination.

Besides the little inconsistencies, the style of writing borders on fanfiction at times. And I still stand by my previous remark about how atrocious the dialogues are. Just glancing over the following excerpt (in which a cre meber is talking to AI) makes me cringe:

She glanced up at the gradually increasing light. “Is Katrina really on her way?”

AI>>> “No, I wanted to see what he would do,” IAN said.

  “So you just lied to get him off me? Don’t you think the captain should know?”

AI>>>  “Probably. And you’re welcome, by the way.”

  She flexed her wrist and winced. It was badly sprained, but probably not broken. Her face throbbed from where he had hit her. “Fine, I’ll get her.”

AI>>>  “I alerted her, just not at the moment I told you. She’s on her way now,” IAN said. “Gosh, you’d think you didn’t trust me.”


Gosh, I'm like totally speaking like AI right now, I mean whatevs!


message 11: by Bryan, Village Idiot (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan | 480 comments Mod
You guys should hear the author reading it in the audio books. It's actually kind of worse.

Ok, so here are my two cents on what Oleksandr and Art are saying...and don't even get me started with Kate! Kate, you know what you did! (lol)

Oreksandr had brought up the sail and the cylinder.
1) The sail has been a pretty valid idea for deep space travel since at least 2008...maybe earlier. I watched a documentary a long while ago talking about how it would slowly build up speed to almost the speed of light. Of course that is over 100's of years. I've not heard much about a magnetic sail...but I don't think it's a terrible idea. Maybe the two together help pick up speed faster. The problem with this type of space travel isn't the speed to get somewhere, but the stopping when you get there. So far the book hasn't addressed that, but they are like 375 years away from their destination.
2) When it talks about the cylinder being "turned off" I kind of see that more like stopping a boat in the ocean (bear with me on this). When you turn off the engine of a boat in the middle of the ocean, you don't truly stop. The current will keep moving the boat. So to "turn off" the motion of the boat, you actually have to apply a force to it, such as an anchor. So, when they said they are "turning off" the cylinder, I see that more as they are bringing it to a stop and not just killing the engine.

Art brought up the hard science of this sci-fi and the AI interactions:
1) I totally agree, this isn't a hard science book. Michael Crichton would throw a fit if you even tried to put this book in the same sci-fi category as his books. However, I don't think it's completely without merit. It's a sci-fi book on possible science, more in the hypothetical phase. Where are Crichton's books are less hypothetical and more of the "only a matter of time" part of science.
2) Again, we are neck and neck with this book. When I read that part, it just makes me question the AI more and more. I'm starting to suspect the AI as the true killer (theory # 3 for those keeping track). The AI reminds me more of the AI from Halo. I wonder if the AI isn't a human mind. Oh shit! I'll bet you it's Sallie Mignon! She's the only one with connections to everyone so far. I'll bet she has a vendetta against the crew...ohh...and she talked to Katrina about how to truly punish a clone...Yep, that's my newest theory!

What were we talking about again?


message 12: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 4001 comments Mod
Bryan wrote: "1) The sail has been a pretty valid idea for deep space travel since at least 2008...maybe earlier"

The sail is a valid idea, but "just" one square mile is too small, as I said it'll give the same push as 1 square inch sail on Earth orbit. It should be hundreds to thousands square miles, which I assume it technically possible.

2. to stop a cylinder you have to turn side rockets in opposite direction to its original rotation. It didn't say in the book that it was done. Think of the cylinder as of the rotating Earth - does it stop?


message 13: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 4001 comments Mod
Bryan wrote: "However, I don't think it's completely without merit. It's a sci-fi book on possible science, more in the hypothetical phase."

Actually, I liked it. It maybe gets the science wrong but it raises some interesting themes like rights of clones


message 14: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited May 11, 2018 11:29AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 4070 comments Mod
Bryan said: "Ok, so here are my two cents on what Oleksandr and Art are saying...and don't even get me started with Kate! Kate, you know what you did! (lol)"

What did I do? I'm confused.

Also, how do you make italics? I'm dumb about this stuff.

Finally, I have not read anything because I am reading 2 other books, (Twisted Prey by John Sandford and Timebound by Rysa Walker) right now, so we will see if I ever get to this one or the Dispossessed.

But hey, I will keep coming around to bug you guys, no worries.


message 15: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (last edited May 11, 2018 05:08PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Oleksandr wrote: "Actually, I liked it. It maybe gets the science wrong but it raises some interesting themes like rights of clones..."

That might just be one of its main redeeming qualities.If not its sole one.


message 16: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Here's an excerpt from a book I've promoted some time ago regarding solar sails:

Solar Sails.

The idea for a solar sail is an old one, dating back to the great astronomer Johannes Kepler in his 1611 treatise Somnium.

Although the physics behind a solar sail is simple enough, progress has been spotty in actually creating a solar sail that can be sent into space. In 2004 a Japanese rocket successfully deployed two small prototype solar sails into space. In 2005 the Planetary Society, Cosmos Studios, and the Russian Academy of Sciences launched the Cosmos 1 space sail from a submarine in the Barents Sea, but the Volna rocket it was being carried on failed, and the sail did not reach orbit. (A previous attempt at a suborbital sail also failed back in 2001.) But in February 2006 a 15-meter solar sail was sent successfully into orbit by the Japanese M-V rocket, although the sail opened incompletely.

Although progress in solar sail technology has been painfully slow, proponents of the solar sail have another idea that might take them to the stars: building a huge battery of lasers on the moon that can fire intense beams of laser light at a solar sail, enabling it to coast to the nearest star. The physics of such an interplanetary solar sail are truly daunting. The sail itself would have to be hundreds of miles across and constructed entirely in outer space. One would have to build thousands of powerful laser beams on the moon, each capable of firing continuously for years to decades. (In one estimate, it would be necessary to fire lasers that have one thousand times the current total power output of the planet Earth.)

On paper a mammoth light sail might be able to travel as fast as half the speed of light. It would take such a solar sail only eight years or so to reach the nearby stars. The advantage of such a propulsion system is that it could use off-the-shelf technology. No new laws of physics would have to be discovered to create such a solar sail. But the main problems are economic and technical. The engineering problems in creating a sail hundreds of miles across, energized by thousands of powerful laser beams placed on the moon, are formidable, requiring a technology that may be a century in the future. (One problem with the interstellar solar sail is coming back. One would have to create a second battery of laser beams on a distant moon to propel the vessel back to Earth. Or perhaps the ship could swing rapidly around a star, using it like a slingshot to get enough speed for the return voyage. Then lasers on the moon would be used to decelerate the sail so it could land on the Earth.)


Physics of the Impossible explores the existing technologies along with the possibility of creating new ones, a very inspiring read for all sci-fi lovers.


message 17: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (last edited May 12, 2018 04:15AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
All this being said, the problem I am having with this book has little to do with its science, which in fact is pretty engaging and though not entirely original (bodies in vats and mindmapping go way back) still has its virtues. Cloning laws being one of them.

I suppose it's me and my fetish for proper characters that keeps me from enjoying the book. I may be unnecessarily harsh but the scene in gym where Wolfgang bullies Paul made my eyes roll so hard it actually hurt.

It is not a bad book, I just think the author has her strong points as well as those that are on the feeble side. And the latter happen to be exactly those aspects of a book I just cannot abide seeing neglected: character development, dialogues and consistency.


message 18: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 4001 comments Mod
Art wrote: "The physics of such an interplanetary solar sail are truly daunting. The sail itself would have to be hundreds of miles across and constructed entirely in outer space."

Exactly what I said. I recall the lasers idea but there are no in the book, so w/o this boost the sail should be even larger


message 19: by Bryan, Village Idiot (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan | 480 comments Mod
Whelp, I finished it on Saturday and I'm pleased to say that one of my theories was mostly right!

I was talking to my wife about this book. She and I have different likes and dislikes with our books, but we have always enjoyed talking to each other about the books we are reading, even knowing that the other will probably never read it.

Anyway, I was talking to her about it and what I liked and didn't like about the book. I have a two part rating system I use for myself. 1) would I recommend the book to anyone (Green, Yellow, and Red) and 2) Did I like the book (scale of 1 to 5). This book made it as a green-4. I would recommend this book to others, because it was a fun ride. Yes, the dialog left a lot to be desired, but the way she unfolded the case, slowly and subtly, made you guessing the entire time. She didn't spoon feed you and was good about casting red herrings to get you off the scent.

I didn't like the "happy ending" though. This book was brutal and horror-esk all the way through it, but then at the end it was a happy ending. I don't mind happy endings as a general rule. I just don't like for all that tension, hostility, and paranoia to just melt away and everyone being best of buds.


message 20: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 4001 comments Mod
I actually disliked the idea of 'new AI', I think it was a not very thought-out move, especially bearing in mind all scruples people had with the 'imprisonment' of the previous one.
I fully agree that it is a nice easy read


message 21: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Finished reading the book last night and I must say that it indeed is an easy read and that is pretty much where the praise stops for me.

Not that the book is bad by itself, the plot is though not entirely original, still has plenty to offer. The majority of concepts were borrowed from other books and spun in a very intentional way to engage the reader early on and I am sure it did. But then the trouble (I will try and be as polite as possible about it) started. Progression of the plot depended on little besides the whim of the author. Natural and believable situations got substituted for very forced clumsy interactions and inconsistent behaviours displayed by two-thirds of the characters.

The most frustrating part about this book is that its flaws could have been toned down or even gotten altogether rid of, had the author and editors polished it at least a tiny bit. Though I gave it 3 stars for it being a more or less fun read, on par with a bad B movie that you end up watching till the end while chuckling at how bad it can get (and get continuously surprised by the ever increasing level of incompetence).

It would've been fun to make a "guide" to Six Wakes and explore all the inconsistencies, the jaw-dropping situations and atrocious dialogues, but I am afraid I already said too much as it is.

I did not mean to offend anyone or belittle anyone's point of view, it was the lack of polish that frustrated me so much about the book.

A review I (almost entirely) agree with can be found here: http://www.deathisbadblog.com/sf-f-re... . He got a few things wrong imo, but the gist of it stands.


message 22: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Hope my previous post did not sound all too negative. A few hours after posting it I have decided to rummage through the pages of the book and see if I was too harsh with my review. I stand by my words, my feeling of frustration over the lack of polish, the author's disinterest (I refuse to believe that the sloppiness is actually intentional) and the fact that it is pending a decision as a nominee for 4 major sci-fi awards all irritate me all the more.


message 23: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 4070 comments Mod
I'm kind of not that interested and I'm only at 21%. I keep thinking it has to be better than that to deserve all the nominations, but I am just not sure I am going to make it through.

And I'm one of the ones that voted for this book! Weren't you, too, Art?


message 24: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (last edited May 17, 2018 04:51AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Kateblue wrote: "I'm kind of not that interested and I'm only at 21%. I keep thinking it has to be better than that to deserve all the nominations, but I am just not sure I am going to make it through.

And I'm on..."


Well the plot is not that awful, the quick pace of it allows you to finish the book quicky without much noticing of its glaring faults. I suppose you could skim through it and enjoy it as a light read, will take you one evening to finish the whole thing. As long as you don't get too focused on what is being said or keep track of events chronologically, hehe..


message 25: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 4070 comments Mod
I'm just going to post my review here, and you guys can discuss, or ignore, which might be better . . .

I wanted to like this book. It started out with a great mystery. But I got severely bored. I just wanted it to be over way before it was.

Why? I think . . .

1) This book was just—yak yak yak yak yak yak yak yak. I know, I know, what else you gonna do when you have a limited number of characters in a closed environment. But still. I got tired of the constant yak yak yak.

2) Books are all about characters for me. I didn’t like ANY of these people. Plus, the way that the history of each was fed in dribs and drabs did not help. And their actions didn't make that much sense, either. If someone is a murderer, take precautions! Don't wander around alone contrary to orders. No one obeyed orders. Everyone was working for, or had worked in the past for, pretty evil purposes. Really?

3) Point of view may have been part of the problem. When there was a group (I suddenly realized toward the end) point of view seemed to skip from person to person. Confusing.

4) Plus, I hate flashbacks. This whole book was nothing but flashbacks.

Still, I liked the author's "voice." I am also reading another of Mur Lafferty’s books. I am really liking it. But this one? Meh.

And it was nominated for everything. It must just be me! (less)


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