Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels discussion

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Monthly Reading: Discussion > September 2019 Synners (Caution! There be spoilers here!)

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

Kateblue | 3552 comments Mod
You can blab about anything in Synners here.


message 2: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Wheaton | 169 comments Just got the notice that I can pick up my copy at the library. That's on my to-do list for today. I've been wanting to read Synners for a few years and I'm glad we chose it for this month.


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

Kateblue | 3552 comments Mod
I bought it on sale (Kindle) some months ago, so I am glad to read it now.

Note that this is the "There be spoilers here!" thread.


message 4: by Sylvie Helen (new)

Sylvie Helen (thetbrdiaries) | 3 comments I have just finished and don't really know what I think?? Conceptually really interesting but I think I kind of just didn't fully get it. Maybe it needs to sink in for a bit...


message 5: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3343 comments Mod
I finished it, here is my review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

A question - the final battle in the virtual space, did they fought Mark's (sliver of) personality in his stroke or in Markt?


message 6: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Wheaton | 169 comments I'm having a hard time getting through this book because I have so much course-related reading to do this quarter. But I'm almost half-way through and still interested. I just seem to fall asleep soon after I begin reading it in bed... I guess my brain is pretty tired from the day packed with learning activities. It is amazing how close to our real technology and the social consequences of that technology the author imagined them to be.


message 7: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3343 comments Mod
Cynthia wrote: "I'm having a hard time getting through this book because I have so much course-related reading to do this quarter.."

If it isn't a secret, what are your learning?


message 8: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)

Kateblue | 3552 comments Mod
I did finish it.
1) Too many characters--which the book was even criticized for, so it's not just me.
2) Lack of use of names when there is a change of POV, also, sometimes more than one name for a character.
3) AT 20%, I looked for info as to who everyone was on the internet, found three interesting reviews. Based on them, I quit reading at 21% and skipped (arbitrarily) to chapter 30.
4) I liked chapter 30, but then it just got all psychedelic again. Only Roger Zelazny has been able to make that fun for me.

Checking it off the list--sorry, I thought I should have liked it better

And yes, Cynthia, what are you learning?


message 9: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Wheaton | 169 comments I'm studying the life histories, art, and teachings of four prominent mystics and prophets, Meister Eckhart, Hildegard von Bingen, Thomas Merton, and Mary Oliver, focusing on the role of the creative arts as spiritual practice. Aren't you glad you asked?


message 10: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Sep 15, 2019 10:44PM) (new)

Kateblue | 3552 comments Mod
Well, since I don't know who Meister Eckhart, Hildegard von Bingen, Thomas Merton, or Mary Oliver are, now I feel totally and completely undereducated! I think I will go look up who they are!


message 11: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3343 comments Mod
Cynthia wrote: "I'm studying the life histories, ... Aren't you glad you asked?"

I actually am glad :)
I haven't known about any of them and wiki synopsis of their lifes and works sounds interesting.

Back to the topic, I agree with Kate that psychodelic part was off for me. Maybe as they say in the book, MORE DRUGS are needed to get it


message 12: by Anthony (new)

Anthony (albinokid) | 173 comments I too wanted to enjoy this more than I did. I think Cadigan has a lot of skill and style, and I appreciate the fact that she doesn’t over explain things. However, the last third got a more than a bit incoherent for me. I enjoyed most of the characters, and I am impressed by how prescient her take on VR and AR technologies was. Glad I read it but it was an underachiever in the end.


message 13: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)

Kateblue | 3552 comments Mod
I liked Chapter 30. I got a story of what was actually going on in Chapter 30. They were running in the streets. Then it got incoherent again.


message 14: by Antti (last edited Sep 21, 2019 11:33AM) (new)

Antti Värtö (andekn) | 715 comments Finished today. FINALLY. I wish I had abandoned the book midway, but what's done is fone. We do what we do.

Cadigan could foresee many of the developments of the Web impressively, but that's a cold comfort to a present-day reader. This was such a boring book. I was reminded a lot of the movie Interstellar: at first the story seemed interesting and had good if not new ideas, but then it gets bogged down and the ending degenerates into a pile of sentimental woo-woo.

Like Anthony, I really wanted to like the book. The characters were good and Cadigan manages to avoid needless exposition, trusting her readers to puzzle the pieces together.

But the middle third was almost completely unnecessary: the story ground to a halt for much too long. I was briefly excited with chapter 30, when the plot seemed to move into high gear, but then the supremely boring virtual-reality trip began, and it went on and on.

Synners was twice as long as it should've been. Cadigan has writing skill, but she doesn't seem to really know how to "kill her darlings", as they say. This book is filled with darling moments that should've been cut.


message 15: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3343 comments Mod
Antti wrote: "Synners was twice as long as it should've been. "

Second this!


message 16: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)

Kateblue | 3552 comments Mod
I agree that it was too long because I skipped from 21% to Chapter 30 and I don't feel bad about it at all!


message 17: by Allan (new)

Allan Phillips | 1802 comments Mod
Yeah, it could have been shorter, spent a lot of time setting up the characters and situation, and little time resolving it. I guess that's why we like the last part better? I did like it, but the way Cadigan started the chapters/paragraphs got to be irritating. You wouldn't know who the character was until a few paragraphs after it started. So you're always thinking, "who is she talking about?"


message 18: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)

Kateblue | 3552 comments Mod
Yes! Absolutely, Allan. She would change point of view, but there were so many characters, you didn't know where you were or who you were watching. It was complicated enough without that!


message 19: by Allan (new)

Allan Phillips | 1802 comments Mod
I didn't have any problems keeping track of the characters. And I did really like the book, although it was not the easiest to read. That way of writing the paragraph as was obviously conscious, but not what point it served.


message 20: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Wheaton | 169 comments I really was enjoying it, too.
I hope to pick it back up after my courses for the next quarter are finished.
I like a good amount of complexity in my novels, but I can't juggle that much thinking with the thinking I have to do in my coursework.
I must be getting older!


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

Kateblue | 3552 comments Mod
I know what you mean, Cynthia. I've had some very "think-heavy" jobs. That's when I started reading simpler stuff to decompress. After a while, I started re-reading old faves instead of looking for new books. That's why I joined goodreads, to stop repeating!


message 22: by Allan (new)

Allan Phillips | 1802 comments Mod
I just can't do re-reads, unless I totally don't remember anything about a book, and that's rare. The only ones I remember re-reading for pleasure were The Door into Summer and The Puppet Masters. I'll be re-reading Neuromancer because I don't recall it. Too many good books to read to spend time reading familiar stuff, IMHO.


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

Kateblue | 3552 comments Mod
Allan, that's why I'm trying to quit rereading. So many books, so little time. I'm doing better.


message 24: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Tate | 319 comments My first ever DNF in this group! I've picked it up 3 times since August and never got very far.

Anthony wrote: "I think Cadigan has a lot of skill and style"
I felt like I should be enjoying it because of Cadigan's style. Kept telling myself I wasn't in the mood for this book right now. But who knows if I'll ever be.

The only thing that almost intrigued me was the tattoos. What was the purpose of them?


message 25: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3343 comments Mod
Sarah wrote: "The only thing that almost intrigued me was the tattoos. What was the purpose of them?"

The source code of the AI was archived/turned into fractals, which in turn where tattooed, so by scanning tattoos you may re-create the AI


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