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message 1: by Geoff (new)

Geoff (geoffbratt) | 49 comments Hi everyone,

Lets get this group active!

I'm looking for group members to nominate some books for our next group read. Have any suggestions? Let us know!

I'm going to nominate Rendezvous With Rama.

Also, I was thinking a start date of April 1 for whichever book is chosen.

message 2: by Bill (new)

Bill Wellham (stereodeluxe) | 35 comments Good book... Read it years ago (but I am sure I speed-read it). I will read it again to refresh the old memory cells!

message 3: by Michael (new)

Michael Yes, I'd read this book again - it's been many since I last did, so will be good to give it another go. Hopefully, a few more people will join us before 1st April!

message 4: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rebecita) Hey, I'll join in! I've always trying to catch up on classic scifi and I've never read any Clarke, so this sounds good to me.

message 5: by Bill (new)

Bill Wellham (stereodeluxe) | 35 comments Ive just got myself a new copy of 'Rendezvous with Rama' Ready to go!

But I have to finish 'Cities in Flight' first. I shall find some long quiet evenings to myself, which will mean avoiding the wife all next week!

message 6: by Geoff (new)

Geoff (geoffbratt) | 49 comments I have to finish Greg Bear's Eon. I've only just started, so I've got a few days of solid reading ahead of me by the looks of it.

Well, it sounds like we have a consensus! Rendezvous With Rama it is. Does anyone have any objections to the reading time being two weeks? Would anyone prefer a month?

Feel free to give nominations for the next group read, starting either mid-April or May.

message 7: by Michael (new)

Michael Two weeks sounds good to me :-D

message 8: by Michael (new)

Michael Started reading Rendezvous with Rama!

message 9: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rebecita) Me too! Just read a couple chapters and it's riveting.

message 10: by Michael (last edited Apr 06, 2010 02:04PM) (new)

Michael OK, just finished Rendezvous... and it was as enjoyable as I remembered it. It really does draw you in and flies along. I will reserve further comment until everyone confirms they've finished - is that me, Geoff, Bill and Rebecita, or is anybody else reading as well?

message 11: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rebecita) Done!

message 12: by Bill (last edited Apr 06, 2010 05:05AM) (new)

Bill Wellham (stereodeluxe) | 35 comments Im way into the book. Currently flying with James Pak and his Dragonfly kite craft! Although I enjoy the book (having read it several years ago), I still feel a little detached from any of the actual human characters. They seem a little cold and intense. I guess for me, the main star is Rama itself. I love how the science behind the weather and atmosphere seems highly feesable. This book must have seemed such a tangent to all other SF of it's time.

Anyway... must go... head down and read on!

message 13: by Michael (new)

Michael Looks like it's just we four reading RwR - how're you getting on, Geoff & Bill?

message 14: by Michael (new)

Michael Thinking about the next read, how about The Rediscovery of Man by Cordwainer Smith. I love these stories; Smith created a truely alien atmosphere with his tales of the evolution of humanity and culture.

The Rediscovery of Man (SF Masterworks, #10) by Cordwainer Smith

message 15: by Geoff (last edited Apr 09, 2010 05:55PM) (new)

Geoff (geoffbratt) | 49 comments I've still barely started Rama. I really want to finish Eon first, but the book is fairly heavy and is slowing me down.

The Rediscovery of Man sounds good for the next read. Any other nominations?

message 16: by Bill (new)

Bill Wellham (stereodeluxe) | 35 comments Finished!

Yeah it is a great book. I let myself try to imagine the actual size of the settings. Imagine just a handful of explorers in an alien environment, with just a short time to make some kind of sense of everything. I enjoyed the way RAMA started to wake up, and rotate; the way things shifted and changed inside. I understand now that our explorers just didn't have enough time to visit all the cities and regions before they had to leave.

The most important thing I got from this story, having missed it before; was that the alien race that built and launched Rama had no interest in Earth or humaninty. We were just an un-noticed interference on its long journey from and to places un-known. We were just an observer. I can imagine that mankind's first contact may turn out to be like this. We will discover something which we don't understand, and has nothing to do with us anyway!

Still felt that the characters were a little empty; but maybe that is not so important.

Have never read the sequels, but will now.

A goodread!

message 17: by Bookbrow (new)

Bookbrow | 15 comments I enjoyed Rama a few years ago.

There are so many good books in the SF masterworks series I would love to crack any of the below three (if I can be so presumptuous)

The Centauri Device byJohn M. Harrison

The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke

Grass by Sheri S. Tepper

message 18: by Geoff (new)

Geoff (geoffbratt) | 49 comments Sorry about my absence lately. University life has been very busy, and work has been busier still.

We haven't had a lot of votes for the next group read, so I guess I'll make an executive decision and go with Michael's suggestion The Rediscovery of Man for the month of May, followed by Bookbrow's suggestion Grass for the month of June.

I case anyone is wondering, no I still haven't finished Rendezvous With Rama yet. But I will catch up. Don't let me hold up any discussion in the Rama Room.

If anyone doesn't like my picks, feel free to make other suggestions because I'm open to negotiation :).

message 19: by Michael (last edited May 03, 2010 11:44AM) (new)

Michael Geoff - good choice; you know it makes sense ;-D.

That said, I'm not yet finished reading my current book, The Darker Sex: Tales of the Supernatural and Macabre by Victorian Women Writers. Nearly there, though, so should start on The Rediscovery of Man towards the end of the week.

If anybody has not yet read this collection of connected short stories, the opening tale, Scanners Live in Vain is an absolute joy and a classic in its own right.

Smith's treatment of the human body and its possible manipulations is touched upon in a few of his stories and I generally find them rather unsettling.

Another good collection of Smith's stories, with different but connected tales, is The Instrumentality of Mankind
The Instrumentality of Mankind by Cordwainer Smith

message 20: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rebecita) Thanks for making an executive decision on the next reads! I'm really here to read things I wouldn't have found on my own anyway, and those look fascinating. And a female author to boot!

I've also been busy with real life and am being poky in commenting further on Rendezvous, but I'll get there. I'm enjoying the flexibility of our little group.

message 21: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rebecita) Question about rediscovery - no luck on the Masterworks edition at the library. I saw it suggested that this is the same as The Best of Cordwainer Smith but I couldn't confirm the same lineup of stories. Anyone?

message 22: by Bill (new)

Bill Wellham (stereodeluxe) | 35 comments Geoff...

You done Rama yet??

I am trying to get hold of 'Rediscovery of Man'.

And Im still trudging my way through 'Cities in Flight'. (It's not proving to be new fave book)

message 23: by Michael (new)

Michael Hi Rebecca. If the contents given in the description for Best of... ISBN 0345245814 is correct, then, yes, Best of... is exactly the same as the Rediscovery of Man.

Having finally finished my last book, I am now reading both the Instrumentality of Mankind and Rediscovry of Man. I've read them both before, but not at the same time as each other. Although the stories in the two books can be read entirely independently of each other, being set in the same milieu and with the chronology flitting between the two, I thought I'd try following them sequentially.

If the editions you all are reading are similar to mine, then you will have a timeline at the front which shows the order in which the stories can be read.

message 24: by Sean (last edited May 28, 2010 02:32AM) (new)

Sean Byrne (stegofreak) | 24 comments Just rejoined the group so I'll be missing out on the Smith discussion but looking forward to reading 'Grass' in June.

Would also like to put forward Babel-17 for the following book as my mate has been raving about it recently.

message 25: by Sean (new)

Sean Byrne (stegofreak) | 24 comments Still waiting for my copy of Grass to come into my local store which is bugging me because when I finish the book I'm currently reading (After the Quake) the next book on my to read list is Ulysses and I expect that to be a long read.

message 26: by Sooz (last edited Jun 08, 2010 07:43AM) (new)

Sooz Sean: i've not read After The Quake, but consider myself a Murakami 'fan'. loved The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, After Dark, and Kafka on the Shore.

i read Grass years ago, and found it one heck of a ride. by far my favourite Tepper novel. it was the first one of hers i read, which was unfortunate in a way, as i was forever after chasing the first 'high' of reading Grass.

message 27: by Bookbrow (last edited Jun 14, 2010 09:03PM) (new)

Bookbrow | 15 comments I am a third of the way into Grass and I can say that it is quite a deep and strange novel, I don't want to give anything away but will look forward to other opinions when we have moved onto the next read.

Sooz, I know where you are coming from when you read a book by an author that is so good that it is almost impossible topping that book. The sad thing is that some authors may have only a few good/great novels in them, the positive for us readers is that there are more books out there.

message 28: by Sean (new)

Sean Byrne (stegofreak) | 24 comments Just got my copy of Grass yesterday. Heftier than I'd expected.

message 29: by Geoff (new)

Geoff (geoffbratt) | 49 comments WOW, I am really behind! The last three months have been a little crazy for me (finished my final & hardest semester of uni, and moved house). But now I have some time to read! Only 2 books to catch up on... not so bad. I've also finished Greg Bear's Eon finally. The book was very interesting, but because of all my distractions lately, I had to restart it 2 times. My review of it is posted now too.

Bill: No, I haven't finished Rama yet. I was reading it at the same time as Eon, but I put it on hold because of time restrictions and they were similar in theme, and didn't want to get the stories mixed up. I think I'll read The Rediscovery of Man first, then finish Rama next.

Sean: I like the sound of Babel-17 for the next group read (July). How does Roadside Picnic sound for August? It is fairly short, so maybe we can combine it with another short one for August (The Book of Skulls comes to mind as a short one, but I'm sure there are a few others). Does anyone have any other suggestions or objections?

message 30: by Sean (new)

Sean Byrne (stegofreak) | 24 comments I'm prepared for anything in August but I'd suggest we read a Philip K. Dick novel soon. Not because I'm in a rush to read one but because there are so many of them in the series (1 in 7 or so) that we could end up with nothing but K. Dick to read.

message 31: by Alan (new)

Alan | 2 comments Andrew wrote: "Geoff, you've made me feel better about how behind I am, too. Got sucked into Childhood's End half way through The Rediscovery of Man, but hope to finish both this weekend.

I need to read Babel-17..."

I'm game for reading Babel-17, just picked up a copy in the new bindings. Hopefully they reissue more of the original list soon as i only have a few of the original binding releases.

Also like the sound of reading 'Roadside Picnic' as it is one of the few books i picked up a few years back and is screaming for me to re-read it.

Currently re-reading 'Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep' as part of the reissues.

message 32: by Alan (new)

Alan | 2 comments Andrew: I might have to play the waiting game. Got all of the re-issues to date, which outnumbers my original collection. But certainly may pick up some second hand copies to pass the time.

Especially looking forward to the Aldiss books later this year. Hope to see them on the reading list.

message 33: by Sean (last edited Jun 21, 2010 11:20AM) (new)

Sean Byrne (stegofreak) | 24 comments Given that the new bindings have new ISBN numbers you might still be able to get the older bindings by ordering with the ISBN codes. I'd say larger retailers have a back stock of the old bindings. I recently ordered Grass in the old binding in my local Waterstones.

Also, the World Cup is causing havoc with my reading. Even though Ireland aren't at it I find myself tuning into most games. Barely 150 pages into this month's group read.

message 34: by Geoff (new)

Geoff (geoffbratt) | 49 comments I agree, we should definitely read some PKD soon (thanks for the suggestion, Sean!). How does everyone feel about A Maze of Death as well as Roadside Picnic for the August reads, since they are both short?

The only problem with collecting the older bindings is that many are out of print (last time I looked, about 15 or so) and very difficult to find new copies of. I've (luckily) finished collecting the older bindings, with the exception of the latest addition to the series (The Man In The High Castle), which I've put off due to it being mistakenly numbered the same as the previous book (#72). I haven't bothered to find out whether they've fixed the number on more recent copies yet.

message 35: by Sooz (new)

Sooz i recently watched Stalker - the film based on Roadside Picnic. i promply sat down the next day and watched again, AND added Roadside Picnic to my to-be-read pile. i would love to participate in the August group read of this book!

message 36: by Michael (new)

Michael PKD is probably my favourite SF author, so I'd definitely be in for one of his except for A Maze of Death, but only because I've just read it! It's a very good book, so if you all pick it for a next read that's cool, I'll just catch up on some other reading :-)

message 37: by Geoff (new)

Geoff (geoffbratt) | 49 comments Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said is another short PKD. How about that in conjunction with Roadside Picnic for August?

message 38: by Michael (new)

Michael I think it's been a couple of years since I read Flow My Tears... so I'm happy to cast my vote that way.

message 39: by Sooz (new)

Sooz hmmmm ... as i am all ready halfway through Flow my Tears (while waiting for Babel 17 to come in) i am happy to cast my vote that way as well!

i am patiently waiting to read some comments on Grass. other than Bookbrow's (love the name and profile pic by the way - very clever) comment "deep and strange", i am left wondering what people thought of it.

message 40: by Sean (last edited Jul 02, 2010 05:16AM) (new)

Sean Byrne (stegofreak) | 24 comments Finally got into a good run of reading Grass so I should be finished it tomorrow.

EDIT: he said before remembering that he's working a nine hour shift at work tomorrow.

message 41: by Sean (new)

Sean Byrne (stegofreak) | 24 comments Finished Babel-17 yesterday. Another great book. Reading Grass last month resulted in me picking up The Death of Grass by John Christopher so I've delved into that now. It's interesting going from an abundance of grass to a lack of it.

message 42: by Sooz (new)

Sooz i'm waiting for Babel 17 (and Roadside Picnic) to arrive. meanwhile i am also reading The Death of Grass. only a couple of chapters in, but so far i like the writing and the premise. interestingly, Tepper's novel, in it's abundance of grass was so epic - so long and relatively dense - compared to The Death of Grass, a more terse style and a much shorter book.

message 43: by Bill (new)

Bill Wellham (stereodeluxe) | 35 comments I read Babel-17 just a few months ago. I shall hold back my views of this until I hear what everyone else thinks. (just one comment... I wish authors would not write phonetically worded lisps into their writings... began to 'et on my 'erves after a 'hile)

message 44: by Bill (new)

Bill Wellham (stereodeluxe) | 35 comments If a P.K. Dick comes up... I challenge you all to read Three Stigmatas of Palmer Eldritch! I need to read it again just to convince myself that drugs don't work. Or do they? My mind still hurts.

message 45: by Bookbrow (new)

Bookbrow | 15 comments Sooz wrote: "i'm waiting for Babel 17 (and Roadside Picnic) to arrive. meanwhile i am also reading The Death of Grass. only a couple of chapters in, but so far i like the writing and the premise. interesting..."

I also like to read like-minded books, like reading two end of the world novels back to back, of course I also like the random quality of the good reads reader groups to sometimes lead the way.

I quite like John Christopher's books, I found the death of grass a while back I had been looking for it for some time I have not read it yet but will at some point in the future.

message 46: by Sooz (new)

Sooz Bill - let's us know if you figure out that age-old question, Do drugs work? ;)

the use of drugs to evoke a desired social effect is a popular one in sci fi, and P.K. Dick has certainly done his fair share of writing on drugs - mostly from the dark,tangled perspective. it is P.K. Dick afterall.

Bookbrow: The Death of Grass is the first John Christopher i've read. i am on a bit of an apocalyptic / post apocalyptic bender at the moment. like a lot of books in that sub-genre of sci fi, there really is limited science involved. The Death of Grass is very believable. a simple straightforward story, with a sprinkling of the moral dilemnas that are pretty much common to end-of-the-world tales.

message 47: by Bookbrow (last edited Jul 16, 2010 08:58PM) (new)

Bookbrow | 15 comments Sooz wrote: "Bill - let's us know if you figure out that age-old question, Do drugs work? ;)

the use of drugs to evoke a desired social effect is a popular one in sci fi, and P.K. Dick has certainly d..."

Sooz, I am in the same state of mind, I enjoy a story where society has to rebuild from scratch, the altering of social groups, power struggles etc. I read Damnation Alley by Zelzany (a really poor book, but kind of fun in a seventies Tv show kind of way) and currently I am reading Swan Song by Robert McGammon

You may be interested in John christophers's Wrinkle in the skin, John Wyndam's Day of the triffids, Hot house by Brian Aldiss, Lucifer's Hammer By Larry Niven, alas babylon by Pat Frank, the long tomorrow by leigh Brackett, and Eternity Road By Jack McDevitt, all pretty good End of the world novels.

message 48: by Sooz (new)

Sooz Bookbrow: thanks for the recommendations. i have read Day of the Triffids and Alas Babylon as a teenager, many years ago. Lucifer's Hammer and Eternity Road a little more recently. i've held Swan Song in my hands, but the size of it is a little daunting. if you really sing it's praises when you finish it i might be tipped in favour of buying it. no pressure. ;)

and now that i have finished the Death of Grass - i've moved on to Where Late The Sweet Bird Sang - i'd highly recommend it. if at the end of Swan Song, you are still in the mood for more end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it, pluck it from your shelf, dust it off and give it a go. not overly long, it concerns itself with the days immediately following - so it is very much a tale of the apocalypse rather than post.

message 49: by Bookbrow (last edited Jul 17, 2010 07:09AM) (new)

Bookbrow | 15 comments Sooz wrote: "Bookbrow: thanks for the recommendations. i have read Day of the Triffids and Alas Babylon as a teenager, many years ago. Lucifer's Hammer and Eternity Road a little more recently. i've held Sw..."

I have been looking for that book for some time now, It's on my find/buy/acquire list, I may have to order it. I understand it's a classic! Thanks for the tip.

message 50: by Mrdavidpeat (new)

Mrdavidpeat | 1 comments Hello, I'm new to this group and website (but not the SF Masterworks series!) and would ardently join in with reading Flow my tears... & Roadside Picnic for next read.

I'm currently on a Horselover Fat binge, reading 'The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch' alongside Vol. 2 of his short stories. The Tarkovski film version of Roadside Picnic is compelling, it would be interesting to read the book.

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