Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels discussion

Synners
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Monthly Reading: Discussion > September 2019 Synners (No spoilers, please!)

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message 1: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 3538 comments Mod
Please post with no spoilers about Synners here


message 2: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 2 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3327 comments Mod
I started it yesterday. So far it is wtf is happening for me.


message 3: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 3538 comments Mod
Uh, oh, I'm not too good with wtf books.


message 4: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca | 96 comments It can't be more wtf than Nova Express was.


message 5: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 3538 comments Mod
LOL, Rebecca. Nova Express was the most wtf ever! And that's why I read very little of it and checked it off.


message 6: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 2 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3327 comments Mod
Rebecca wrote: "It can't be more wtf than Nova Express was."

This book starts with

"I'm going to die," said Jones.
The statuesque tattoo artist paused between the lotuses she was applying to the arm of the space case lolling half-conscious in the chair. "What, again?"

and by about 14% in the book we finally understand what it means. :) Yet to understand other things.


message 7: by Cynthia (last edited Sep 02, 2019 01:06PM) (new)

Cynthia Wheaton | 169 comments Don't yet know what dying again means in this book, but I've read others where repeating the death experience and then a resuscitation is done for pleasure and kicks (the ultimate high risk sport) or for its performance value (others pay to watch and the one who dies may become a popular star of the art-form.) Of course that means that medical science has reached a point where that is fairly safe in the sci-fi world of those books. All that to say it didn't arouse a WTF response in me.


message 8: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Wheaton | 169 comments I'm unsure whether reading "very little" of a book qualifies for checking the book off our list. My personal guideline says "no."


message 9: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 2 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3327 comments Mod
Cynthia wrote: "Don't yet know what dying again means in this book, but I've read others where repeating the death experience and then a resuscitation is done for pleasure and kicks (the ultimate high risk sport) ..."

Yes, it is not that uncommon, and not only in SF, just last month I finished The Way of Kings and it also started from a story where a narrator is glad he didn't die this time.

The med sci progress was a possibility, but the setting seemed too 'near future' for that. And there is some slang not readily apparent, like the word 'case' in the quote. I'm now about 20% and it's getting much better and more interesting, so don't be discouraged with the first few pages


Sylvie Helen (thetbrdiaries) | 3 comments I've just read the first chapter and I'm glad it's not just me! I can deal with WTF as long as it's intentional and (hopefully!) explained later on... because seriously, wtf?

Hoping I can get through a decent chunk before my lunch break is over!

(Sidenote, I also read The Way of Kings really recently and thought it was fantastic!)


message 11: by Sam (new) - added it

Sam (buchflimmern) I'm in the middle of moving house, so will join you later this month. I know the book is in one of those boxes ...


Anthony (albinokid) | 173 comments I’ve been making slower than normal progress because my schedule has been particularly nutty this week, but I’m really enjoying it at the halfway mark. In many ways it’s incredible to see how prescient so much of what she’s writing about feels.

Are other folks making progress with this as well?


Jemppu | 55 comments Been curious to pick this up. I've only read shorts from Cadigan before, and those have all been delightfully quirky, so I'll probably need to fit this in the schedule, now that there's an ongoing group effort going for it!


message 14: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Wheaton | 169 comments I'm only about 1/4 through, but I am enjoying it, too.


message 15: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 2 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3327 comments Mod
I just passed 50% mark and it definitely became better closer to the middle, or at least I began to understand what happens.


message 16: by Cynthia (last edited Sep 08, 2019 08:40AM) (new)

Cynthia Wheaton | 169 comments That's always the way with these books told from multiple perspectives that take a while to show how they are related. When they first became popular... was that in the 80's or 90's?... I struggled a bit to adapt, but then I came to love them.
Getting to know the characters separately before tossing them into a shared plot is my favorite way to vicariously experience the situation. It seems less like the author is telling you which character to identify with.


message 17: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 626 comments Oleksandr wrote: "I started it yesterday. So far it is wtf is happening for me."

I enjoy that experience. It is one reason I read SF more than other genres.

Is this book Cyberpunk? I'm typically turned off by that genre.


message 18: by Cynthia (last edited Sep 08, 2019 03:07PM) (new)

Cynthia Wheaton | 169 comments I do believe this book is considered one of the classics of cyberpunk.
I also recall that lots of inferior cyberpunk came out shortly after the first two greats, Synners and Neuromancer.


Antti Värtö (andekn) | 713 comments This is very cyberpunk, but not in a bad way. I only started yesterday, but Synners is obviously optimistic early-90's sort of cyberpunk, not the 2edgy4U late-90's cyberpunk.


Allan Phillips | 1790 comments Mod
I'm about a third through, and while first chapter was a bit wtf, it immediately started getting better. I read somewhere that the first 2/3 were difficult reading but the last 1/3 is tremendous and is what made it a classic. So far I'm not finding it that difficult to follow, and my concentration is shit. I like it so far and I'm all in on finishing it.


message 21: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 3538 comments Mod
I bookmarked about 20 places in the first chapter just in case I needed them later, but now I'm in the 2d chapter and it is making more internal sense.


message 22: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 2 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3327 comments Mod
Ed wrote: "I enjoy that experience. It is one reason I read SF more than other genres.

Is this book Cyberpunk?"


I also often enjoy going head first into unknown, but sometimes this unknown in a story, but other times - in words or phrases. As a non-native speaker I sometimes have problems with the second where I muse whether it is a new concept or just a rare word or rare usage of the word.

And yes, it is Cyberpunk, but with musicians (of live fast die young kind)


Antti Värtö (andekn) | 713 comments I enjoy this kind of SF narrative, where there is little to no exposition and the reader has to piece the setting and worldbuilding together like a jigsaw puzzle. I have some highlights as well!

And like Oleksandr I'm sometimes confused by some expressions. To a non-native speaker it's not always obvious whether some words are actual slang used today (well, in 1991) or concepts invented solely for this book. "Denver boot", for example. I had never heard the expression and at first assumed it was something Cadigan made up, but then I googled it and hey, turns out it's a real-world idiom.


message 24: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 3538 comments Mod
Well, English is my first language, and I didn't know what a Denver boot was! I just blipped over it as unimportant. Thanks, Antti.

I think part of my problem with the book is that she is just not very good at explaining. There are many people--like that Mark guy seems to have a bunch of different names and is sometimes called by the first name, or his last name, or a nickname, or two names.

I quit last night in chapter two when I had two long sentences in a row that both started with the word "but." Come on!

Still, I'm interested and will persevere, at least for a while.


Allan Phillips | 1790 comments Mod
I knew immediately what a Denver boot was! I went to college in Golden, Colorado, on the fringes of Denver. It was in heavy use in the late '70's and you did NOT want that to happen to your car! My parking fines piled up from illegally parking at my girlfriend's dorm in Boulder, lol. Never got towed or booted though!


message 26: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 3538 comments Mod
OMG, Allan! You went to Mines. I used to date a guy who went to Mines while I was at CU! He decided he hated the future he foresaw after taking an internship in mining (or something like that) between freshman and sophomore year and retreated to Southern Colorado State College where he majored in communications.

I remember that road from Golden to Boulder. In the winter. In a Volkswagen Beetle. With the defroster not functioning (as usual). Though I miss Colorado during the summer, I'm glad I am not there in the winter.

I remember at CU it snowed several inches on October 2 one year. Slogging from the dorms to class before I had bought any boots. Not for me. It's bad enough in Indiana. And you are in Texas, so obviously not for you either!


message 27: by Caitlin (new) - added it

Caitlin O'Neill (ktdid42) | 101 comments i agree with Allan the format chapter was so bizarre the language made it a little tricky to follow but it got easier in time. so far its okay but I'm liking American Gods better.


message 28: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 3538 comments Mod
I like American Gods better, also.


message 29: by Bryan, Village Idiot (new)

Bryan | 481 comments Mod
Hey guys and gals, I finished up American Gods and really liked it. But I'm having trouble with Synners. It seems this book is not on Audio!! I found an epub file of the book, but the struggle is real! Hopefully I'll find the time or a good text to voice program.


message 30: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 2 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3327 comments Mod
Bryan wrote: " Synners. It seems this book is not on Audio!!.."

From my sketchy observations quite a few Nebula nominees aren't on Audio. What critics select does not sell too well I guess


message 31: by Antti (last edited Sep 16, 2019 07:21AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Antti Värtö (andekn) | 713 comments Urgh. I'm about 60% in and starting to seriously lose interest. So many characters doing nothing. I'm not going to DNF now I've come this far, and it's not exactly bad per se, it just feels like this book never ends. It just goes on and on and on and on and on.

I had to check how many pages this book is, and I was surprised to find out is only 496. Feels like I've read 800 pages already.


message 32: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 2 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3327 comments Mod
Antti wrote: "Urgh. I'm about 60% in and starting to seriously lose interest. ."

Keep your faith, solder, the victory is in sight! MORE DRUGS and change for the machines!


message 33: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 3538 comments Mod
I skipped from 21% to Chapter 30, and I don't feel that I missed a thing. You do have Chapter 30 to look forward to. I could actually follow what was going on in Chapter 30


Allan Phillips | 1790 comments Mod
Haha, yes, Kate, I went to Mines, from '75-'79. Chemical engineer though, not mining. At the time, my sister lived in Louisville (just outside Boulder, for those not familiar) after graduating from CU. She still lives there, just off Arapahoe. Between her and said girlfriend, I drove Highway 93 many, many times, at all times of the year, in a 1972 Triumph Spitfire with no snow tires and 3-1/2 inches of ground clearance. 93 runs right along the foothills of the Rockies, winding up and down past huge pink granite outcroppings and broad fields of bright yellow wildflowers. It's an absolutely gorgeous drive on a sunny Spring day. I pretty much grew up in Colorado, and people think it is colder than it really is. While it is the mountains and you get snowstorms, it also gets 300 days of sun per year, as much as we get here in San Antonio, Texas. I miss seasons and periodic cold. This far south (2 hours from Mexico), there are two seasons: Hot As Hell and Fall.


Allan Phillips | 1790 comments Mod
Oh yeah, I finished Synners a couple days ago and I enjoyed it. It was ragged & confusing at times but I felt like it came together. Not a five star read but pretty good.


message 36: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah Tate | 314 comments I'm struggling with this one and I need you lovely people's advice!

I've had it checked out of the library since August. I've tried three times to start it and I've gotten less than 10% through.

I see the star ratings in this thread aren't exactly high (4, 4, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2).

How far through do I need to get in this before I know whether or not it's worth it / I'll like it?

A few people mention above that it's a "wtf" start, but are intrigued enough to read further. I'm just finding it irritating. Why is Cadigan making me slog through a hundred pages before giving me anything rewarding?


message 37: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 2 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3327 comments Mod
Sarah wrote: "How far through do I need to get in this before I know whether or not it's worth it / I'll like it?"

I'd say it probably not worth the effort. While there are interesting moments, the author made it too heavy, with multiple POVs. You may try like Kate did, fast forward to Chapter 30 to see how it all solved out.


message 38: by Sarah (last edited Dec 05, 2019 05:47AM) (new) - added it

Sarah Tate | 314 comments Oleksandr wrote: "I'd say it probably not worth the effort."

Thanks for the input Z.

I just popped over to the spoilers thread after reading your comment, and I think I'll take your advice and give this one a miss.


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