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Club Business > February, March and April BOTM search

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message 1: by Eric (new)

Eric Li | 206 comments Mod
I'm planning to do a Hugo nominee month as early as May next year, that gives us Feb, Mar, and April to play with genres.
Time travel is a big subgenre that we haven't touched.

All the "punk" sub-sub-genres can be packed into one month and it will be interesting.

How about espionage or spy-fi? We will need some strong candidates from both sci-fi and fantasy sides to make it a game though.


message 2: by Robert (new)

Robert (rahenley) | 84 comments Time Travel:
Connie Willis's To Say Nothing of the Dog is a hilarious piece of Victoriana; although, any of her "Oxford Time Travel" books would do well.

In the Garden of Iden is a bittersweet story that begins Kage Baker's "Company" series.

As a side-read, the best time travel paradox story is still Robert A. Heinlein's short story All You Zombies.


message 3: by Robert (new)

Robert (rahenley) | 84 comments Espionage fantasy/science fiction:
Tim Powers's Declare is my nominee for all-time best spy fantasy: it fills in the gaps of a famous real-world Cold War espionage story -- with djinn.

The late Iain M. Banks' "Culture" novels all have some elements of espionage. Of them, The Player of Games treats on the spooks most directly.


message 4: by Robert (new)

Robert (rahenley) | 84 comments *punk:
K.W. Jeter's Infernal Devices is one of the ur-works of steampunk and remains head-and-shoulders above most others. It is a surreal "secret history" set in Victorian England in which the son of a watchmaker is drawn into a series of bizarre intrigues.

Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl is the best piece of bio-punk I know or have ever of. It tells of a post-oil dystopia largely ruled by "calorie companies" -- and a tiny nation resisting them. It won the Hugo and Nebula awards, among others.

Cyberpunk's poster-child is William Gibson's Neuromancer, but I prefer Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. It's one of the richest novels of ideas I've read.

Lastly, I'd suggest the not-exactly-cyberpunk This Alien Shore by C.S. Friedman. It has been called "the bastard love-child of Dune and Neuromancer" (here), and I agree it's that, for a start. While not exactly dystopian, it was a wild ride through the underbelly of a future!


message 5: by Daniel (new)

Daniel | 3 comments I really enjoyed Stephen Kong’s 11-22-63 but it isn’t short. Jack Finney’s Time and Again is an under appreciated gem in my opinion.


message 6: by Eric (last edited Dec 01, 2018 11:46AM) (new)

Eric Li | 206 comments Mod
For time travel, I got Arcadia
Shakespeare flavored alternative world, 600 pages is a bit too long though.
Version Control and Dark Matter are relatively new, both have some bright spots but overall not too good.


message 7: by Eric (new)

Eric Li | 206 comments Mod
oh, I got an interesting theme idea, graphic novels


message 8: by Robert (last edited Dec 03, 2018 06:22AM) (new)

Robert (rahenley) | 84 comments Eric wrote: "oh, I got an interesting theme idea, graphic novels"

Oh, man, graphic novels is a huge theme. I've even a book of 500 Essential Graphic Novels -- which is way out of date by now and missed some good ones even then.

But here are a few that I rate highly in F/SF:
Watchmen -- One of the three graphic novels that revolutionized comics in 1986, changing its perception from kiddy stories into a serious literary form. (The other two were Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.) Regularly required reading in college-level comics courses.

Planetary, Volume 1: All Over the World and Other Stories through Planetary, Volume 4: Spacetime Archaeology -- twists all the superhero tropes you know into deepest irony. (An alternative is Warren Ellis's shorter Ministry of Space.)

American Born Chinese is a wonderful piece of magical realism -- featuring The Monkey King as a side-character --- but might not be f/sf enough to this group. Still, a strong story.

And for pure wacky fun, there is Girl Genius, starting with Agatha Heterodyne and the Beetleburg Clank. It's a series of weird science stories, with dashes of mystery, romance, confusion, and horror. It's also free online here: http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic...

As a side-read, Scott McCloud's magnificent Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art is tour-de-force analysis of the genre. One UX professor described it as "an excellent introduction to semiotics," but it's a lot more fun than that sounds!

I'm sure I'll think of others.


message 9: by Robert (last edited Dec 08, 2018 04:01AM) (new)

Robert (rahenley) | 84 comments More graphic novels:

If you want to reprise the real U.S. history that The Lady Astronaut books played with, Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? is a wonderful and poignant story. It starts in 1939 with the New York World's Fair (themed "Dawn of a New Day") and progresses through WWII, the Red Scare and nuclear fears of the 1950s, the space program of the 1960s and 1970s, and into the future, all told through the interactions of one father and son. It expresses the regret people feel about the future we thought would come, but didn't, and some awe at what we do have and could yet have.

If you want short and absurd, both funny and dark, there is Bookhunter, a noir detective story of the Library Police. If you're not familiar with them, we joke with kids about the Library Police coming to arrest you if you don't return the books you borrow. Well, the brilliant Jason Shiga imagines what the Library Police would really be like, and it's not pretty.

Neither of these books rocked the world like Watchmen, but they're very good reads.


message 10: by Eric (new)

Eric Li | 206 comments Mod
Robert wrote: "If you want short and absurd, both funny and dark, there is Bookhunter, a noir detective story of the Library Police. ..."

Ha, that reminds me of the library army in Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 1


message 11: by Robert (new)

Robert (rahenley) | 84 comments Further espionage alternatives:
- William Gibson’s Spook Country
- G. Willow Wilson’s Alif the Unseen
- Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon

Or for secret agent/diplomacy humor: Keith Laumer's Retief!.


message 12: by Eric (new)

Eric Li | 206 comments Mod
I was trying to find some fantasy espionage stories. So far tried a couple of YA books. Nothing interesting there


message 13: by Robert (new)

Robert (rahenley) | 84 comments Eric wrote: "I was trying to find some fantasy espionage stories. So far tried a couple of YA books. Nothing interesting there"

Alif the Unseen is fantasy, as is Declare.


message 14: by Eric (new)

Eric Li | 206 comments Mod
Declare is a fantasy story? Wow I just started, that sure spoiled a bit for me but cool!


message 15: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 2 comments Mod
For graphic novels, I've heard good things about Lumberjanes #1, as well as the The Stonekeeper series.


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