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June Book Discussions > Right Ascension with spoilers .....

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm still only starting the book, (14%), but I was pretty disturbed by this big Death Star ship with it's Omega thing that can wipe out 9 billion people all at once.

I know this is space opera so wiping out entire planets is permitted, but that took me by surprise.

I wasn't that disturbed when it blew up a few % ago. And I'm hoping that is all just premise for the actual story ...


message 2: by Liz (new)

Liz | 19 comments But it brings up my friends' James Bond rule. Don't show us/ tell us about the toys if you're not going to use it!

(Just 12% through...)


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I just finished the book. It was OK. The big Death Star genocide for no reason did give the book an overall darker tone than it would have had otherwise ... I would have liked if the author had explored some of the themes more fully - this touched on some very serious issues but didn't explore them.

Perhaps they are explored more deeply in the sequel. I don't know if I'm going to read it (yet) but I did enjoy this one enough that I could read another novel by Derrico.


message 4: by Tracey (new)

Tracey Alley (traceya) I finished the book last night and overall I wasn't that impressed. I tend to agree with Geoffrey that there were some issues that could have been more fully explored but overall it just didn't grab me. Maybe I'm more into fantasy than Sci-Fi.


message 5: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnahr) I just finished the book. I have to say, I really didn't care for it much. The theme of the ethics of using WMDs is a good idea but it was never really developed deeply. It was bad to use them against the Korgians even though they were attacking us, but okay to use them against the Lucani Ibron because they were attacking us. What?

I would go along for a while and be into the story and then something would happen to make me roll my eyes.

I found the chapter where they confront the evil traitor Le Jaunte just bizarre. I thought I had wandered into an Ian Fleming novel. I was waiting to hear "The name's Bond, Admiral James Bond." The evil megalomaniac taking over the world/universe, he won't kill the hero directly, so after telling him his evil plans, he sends the ship out to be destroyed by a conveniently passing comet. Seriously??

I liked the idea of the story but I didn't enjoy this enough to read the sequel.


message 6: by Carey (last edited Jun 07, 2010 05:27PM) (new)

Carey Bostwick (carebear11) | 40 comments DonnaR wrote: "I just finished the book. I have to say, I really didn't care for it much. The theme of the ethics of using WMDs is a good idea but it was never really developed deeply. It was bad to use them a..."

I have read both this book and its sequel and I thought the sequel was better, more realistic. The characters have flaws and some die.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

DonnaR wrote: "I just finished the book. I have to say, I really didn't care for it much. The theme of the ethics of using WMDs is a good idea but it was never really developed deeply. It was bad to use them a..."

I hear you about rolling eyes. A number of the lines shot me out of the text, just as I was starting to get into it. Like "Come on..." sigh.

Overall like people said, the book was unimpressive. Though the dedication threw me, because I thought as the Admiral represented the author's father, he wouldn't be the "main" character (not sure why, I guess my own assumption). So Zack died rather abruptly for me, but then everything after that was falling dominoes.

Something the Arcadians said stuck with me though. They said their weapon was destroyed before they could even fire it once. So shouldn't the Lucani have come *before* Korg? I dunno...


message 8: by David Derrico (new)

David Derrico Hello, everyone. I hope it's OK for me to post here in the discussion about my novel -- please let me know if it's not. First of all, I'd like to thank you for choosing Right Ascension as the book to discuss this month. As far as I know, it's the first time my book has been selected for a book club discussion!

I'd also like to apologize to those of you who didn't enjoy the novel; I'm sorry it didn't meet your expectations. Thank you to everyone who took the time to read it and leave your thoughts. It's always very valuable to hear from readers, as I continually try to improve my writing. It's fascinating to see reactions from readers -- I have to say this is the first time I've seen someone complain of too much action! =)

I don't intend to "defend" the book or anything (I'm obviously biased!), but I did want to ask about the comment regarding why it wasn't OK to annihilate an entire species with a doomsday weapon, but was OK to fire it in an uninhabited system to destroy a specific threat. I thought the discussion of that point was a major theme in the novel, as there are scenes that discuss the atrocity of the Korgian Annihilation, how Atgard refuses to fire in an inhabited system and is demoted and relieved from command for it, debate over whether it was the right thing to do, etc.

I'd also like to briefly comment on the physics. I do understand the physics of objects in space, zero gravity, inertia, lack of friction, lack of air or need for wings, that velocity is a vector and how to combine multiple velocities in different directions, etc. I guess I didn't make it clear enough in the book. However, my intention in writing is not to focus on the technology, and I made a conscious decision not to break up the action by describing every detail of how the ship maneuvers -- just like I wouldn't talk about steering columns and coefficients of friction and weight transfer when describing a car chase. That being said, I did take your comments to heart, and I had accidentally used the word "banked" once, which was inappropriate. So I made some changes to clarify the opening dogfight scene and uploaded a revised version to Amazon (the new version might not hit B&N and other places for a few weeks).

Anyway, thanks for the feedback, and I'm thankful to all of you for giving it a try and providing your thoughts. I'm also glad that some of you enjoyed it enough to read the sequel.

- David


message 9: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnahr) My worst nightmare! The author responds! Just kidding, thanks David, for being brave enough to join in the discussion.

To clarify my thoughts... I just never was clear on your view toward WMDs. Yes, Atgard refuses to fire on the inhabited system. But he also, more than once, swears deadly vengeance against the beings who killed his son. So, it seems in his mind that it's okay to kill the Lucani Ibron because they deserve to die. The idea of a WMD in the hands of someone bent on vengeance seems to be exactly the reason another race might see fit to destroy us. It was that inconsistency that bothered me throughout the book. Yes, the theme was important in the book but I guess I never felt I had a handle on what you were trying to really say about it.

I will say that I have certainly been thinking about it. I have spent the morning reading Uranium: War, Energy and the Rock that Shaped the World. I just finished the chapter about the development of the atomic bomb. It does seem truly remarkable that no one has ever used one on another country all these years. And the fear we all (of a certain age) used to have of the US and USSR destroying the world has pretty much melted away. Good thing or bad?

The questions relating to the ethics of having and/or using WMDs are certainly worth discussing.


message 10: by Charles (new)

Charles (nogdog) David wrote: "...I did take your comments to heart, and I had accidentally used the word "banked" once, which was inappropriate. So I made some changes to clarify the opening dogfight scene and uploaded a revised version to Amazon (the new version might not hit B&N and other places for a few weeks)...."

Hmmm...a new era in book publishing begins, where published books can evolve incrementally based on reader feed-back. Interesting....


message 11: by David Derrico (new)

David Derrico Donna, it's interesting that you bring up Atgard's thirst for vengeance because some people consider Atgard to be "too perfect." He was a very strong character with many good traits, but I also wanted to show that he was human and had flaws (and physical limitations), including his internal struggle between his own strong sense of morality and his personal desire for revenge.

As for not being clear on my view towards WMDs, my goal in writing the book was partially to entertain, but also to hopefully inspire some thought about ethics, philosophy, and doing the right thing (the discussion of which is often sorely lacking in popular culture). On the other hand, I did NOT want to write a philosophy textbook (even though I was a philo major) or beat people over the head with what I thought. So I'm glad to hear that you've been thinking about some of these weighty issues, since that was really my main goal in writing the book. As for the final "answer," I'm not going to pretend that I've figured out the one and only right way to deal with WMDs when the best minds in the world haven't reached a consensus in decades. What I wanted to do was present some morally ambiguous situations, see how the characters reacted to them, and hopefully inspire the reader to consider their own thoughts on the issues. I think if all the answers were easy and black & white and wrapped up with a nice little bow, it wouldn't have the effect I was going for.

Charles, I do see it as an advantage of e-publishing. Yes, it takes work to re-format changes for print, Kindle, ePub, and other formats, but it's much cheaper and easier than re-printing thousands of paper books. And I get to fix typos or make helpful changes and improve the product for future readers. Of course, one could probably go too far with changes, but I think having the option is a good thing.


message 12: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 13, 2010 06:21PM) (new)

The whole issue with the use of WMD was glossed over and lightweight, lost in all the action scenes, and I don't give the philosophical problems a lick of thought in this novel, though--like Donna--a nonfiction work on uranium can make me think. Science fiction authors like Clarke don't need starships defending against peril to make a story interesting and can use the consequences of science to engage the reader.

There was room for a great science fiction novel here. Humanity creates the biggest WMD ever, thinks of itself right and good for defending itself, but learns there is a big fish in the pond of space, and they are now on the receiving end of destruction.

I also have to say that the characters did nothing for me. Good novels must have interesting characters; I don't have to like them--a great character can be a dishonest scoundrel--but they should be somewhat original and have me want to know more about them or how they will solve whatever issues confront them, but in this book I really felt like they were cutouts from a TV show with their names changed to keep the copyright lawyers at bay. I'm not a fan of TV shows to begin with, so the similarity hit with a double negative punch.


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