The Sword and Laser discussion

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The Thread in Which We Suggest Books for Future Consideration

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message 1: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4198 comments I wasn't all that keen on How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, but while looking into Yu's other stuff (I was trying to figure out if he actually had a background in science), I came across Lev Grossman's The Magicians which looks pretty nifty. I wouldn't mind reading that as our book one fantasy month.


message 2: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments Recently I've been reading a lot of books from Haikasoru [1], a company that's translating Japanese SF into English, and I really think they'd be great for the group. Of the ones available as ebooks, I think these would be good choices:

Usurper of the Sun - Aliens build a ringworld between the Earth and the sun, plunging us into an ice age. Humans must find a way to communicate with the aliens and convince them that we're intelligent before we all freeze to death.

The Lord of the Sands of Time - A time traveling robot fights aliens in ancient Japan. It's much better than it sounds, and the setting is one rarely seen in the West.

Harmony - After 99% of humanity dies in a plague, the government decides to make sure the survivors live long, healthy lives by wiring them with advanced medical devices. But the technology has security flaws that could give hackers unprecedented control over people.

They also have several fantasy books, including Dragon Sword and Wind Child and Brave Story, but neither have been released as ebooks, and I know how people are about that.

[1] Tom will appreciate this -- their name is "High Castle" in Japanese, as in the Philip K. Dick novel where Japan takes over half of America.


message 3: by Alotor (new)

Alotor | 18 comments I would like to recommend Good Omens. All I have to say is this: Terry Pratchett + Neil Gaiman + end of the world = tons of fun.


message 4: by Halbot42 (new)

Halbot42 | 185 comments Second the motion for Good Omens. Prepare to laugh your assets off says Treading in dogstuff (formerly All Foreigners Especially the French, formerly Things Not Working Properly Even After Youve Given Them a Good Thumping, never actually No Alcohol Lager, briefly Embarassing Personal Problems, formerly known as Halbot42


message 5: by Halbot42 (new)

Halbot42 | 185 comments bonus points if you have the first american edition with the blue sky background by Berkely


message 6: by Brad Theado (new)

Brad Theado | 217 comments I am a bit done with wackiness. Princess Bride, How to Live Safely, even Last and Future King if you include the first book.

I'd like to read something hard core sci fi.

How about Hull Zero Three
The Colony
Omnitopia Dawn


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I'll second some hard sf and nominate Red Mars and Altered Carbon.


message 8: by Alex (new)

Alex DeJesus (zeus) | 21 comments Third the Good Omens. It could be the wacky book and we could have a more subdued book running alongside?


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Thirding the hard core sci-fi, and seconding Altered Carbon. And I guess firsting marshmallows since they're just good.


message 10: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments We've already done Gaiman, so I think we should avoid Good Omens for the sake of variety. Maybe some other Pratchett.

And if anyone wants hard SF, I'd go with Alastair Reynolds or Greg Egan.


message 11: by Alex (new)

Alex DeJesus (zeus) | 21 comments Have we done Greg Bear? We could do The Forge of God


message 12: by Tamahome (last edited Dec 01, 2010 10:53AM) (new)

Tamahome | 6363 comments Did they ever do Old Man's War Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1) by John Scalzi ? The first 2 chapters of Altered Carbon Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs, #1) by Richard K. Morgan are amazing. I think I'm a sucker for a character going through really exotic experiences.


message 13: by Nathan (new)

Nathan | 21 comments Heroes Die would be my suggestion. Great mixture of Science fiction and fantasy. It does have strong langue and violence, but not much more so than First Law books.


message 14: by Paul (new)

Paul Davidson (paulbd) I just got done with Neil Gaiman's American Gods so I wouldn't mind reading Good Omens, but if there is a lot of opposition to it we could pass. In the Terry Pratchett thread Small Gods keeps coming up as his best book. Might give that one a try.


message 15: by Space Preacher (new)

Space Preacher (spacepreacher) | 39 comments I have a copy of Altered Carbon I've been meaning to get around to.

Other than that I really just want more dark violent fantasy.


message 16: by Halbot42 (new)

Halbot42 | 185 comments Yeah, small gods is maybe the easiest entry point into discworld. Many of the novels revolve round a few sets of characters, this is one of the few that is really a stand alone discworld book, its one of the funniest and wisest things ever written. The fact that it lampoons religions, dogma, and war just sweetens the deal


message 17: by Noel (new)

Noel Baker | 364 comments another vote here for Altered Carbon, Takeshi Kovacs is flawed but awesome.


message 18: by Craig (new)

Craig | 53 comments Sean wrote: "We've already done Gaiman, so I think we should avoid Good Omens for the sake of variety. Maybe some other Pratchett.

And if anyone wants hard SF, I'd go with Alastair Reynolds or..."


Alistair Reynolds sounds good to me. I have been listening and watching the forum for about a year now and have been waiting for them to pick something I haven't already read (too many good things out there to spend time with re-reading things). I've been meaning to start on Reynold's (or Iain Banks) ouvre but haven't got around to it yet.


message 19: by Tina (last edited Dec 02, 2010 11:12AM) (new)

Tina (javabird) | 711 comments Is there a list of books the group has already read? I joined the group only recently, and I haven't caught up on the older podcasts yet.

I also have The Magicians on my to-do list, as well as Effinger's Budayeen Nights. Almost any one of the more recent books by Greg Bear would be great, and I still haven't read Neverwhere


message 20: by Aeryn98 (new)

Aeryn98 | 175 comments And another Altered Carbon vote


message 21: by Derek (last edited Dec 02, 2010 11:14AM) (new)

Derek Knox (snokat) | 274 comments The Curse of Chalion (Chalion, #1) by Lois McMaster Bujold

I know it's another fantasy book, but The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold is one of my all-time favorite books. I read or listen to it at least once a year, sometimes twice, and I'm feeling the urge to visit it again. Think it would be interesting to do so with the group.
Bujold's prose is so smooth that pages fly-by with barely a notice. Her characters are her real strength, they feel alive and vital. Much as I enjoy her other work, I think this is her masterpiece.
If you find this book enjoyable, try her Sharing Knife quartet. It's another fantasy series, but no big quests, or end-of-world evils to fight. It's about mostly ordinary people and how simple ideas, or small changes in thinking can have a more profound effect on the world then an Armageddon free-for-all.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Tina wrote: "Is there a list of books the group has already read? I joined the group only recently, and I haven't caught up on the older podcasts yet.

Check the Groups Bookshelf here for past reads.


message 23: by Tina (new)

Tina (javabird) | 711 comments Check the Groups Bookshelf here for past reads."

Thanks!


message 24: by Don (new)

Don (walsfeo) | 37 comments I've read One for the Morning Glory and Finity by John Barnes. Both books had great hooks and I'd like to read more of his writing. So on a selfish level I'm recommending something by him.


message 25: by Al (new)

Al | 159 comments Some things I think folks here would like but that are probably not widely read:

Holy Fire, Bruce Sterling
Garden of Iden or Sky Coyote, Kage Baker.
something by CJ Cherryh (Downbelow Station maybe?)

Holy Fire is about the tipping point in medical technology with an older generation living long enough to crowd out the younger culturally but the younger generation likely to be the first to live forever.

Garden of Iden and Sky Coyote are about immortal cyborgs manipulating human destiny...sort of. Garden of Iden is a bodice ripper...sort of...and Sky Coyote is about, well....let's just say that human personalities and cultures and not technology play the predominant dramatic role.

Cherryh has an almost patentable feel of humans caught up in events that they can attempt to shape but which are always right on the edge of going totally out of control. She does it well in both a SF and Fantasy setting. Lately everything is part of a long series but the earlier stuff is much more self-contained even where the books share settings.


message 26: by Steve (new)

Steve | 4 comments I think it's time for some good hard science fiction. I third the nomination for some Alastair Reynolds. Revelation Space would be a good place to start.


message 27: by Ralffie (last edited Dec 03, 2010 10:58AM) (new)

Ralffie | 26 comments How about a quick, classic SciFi? Isaac Asimov was planning on writing a short story, but it became the novel, The Gods Themselves. Fun read, cool ideas, not a series :)
Darn--not on Kindle™


message 28: by John (new)

John (jacor) It looks like the group always reads novels. Anyone else thing that a collection of short stories might not be a nice change? Perhaps
The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Seventh Annual Collection?


message 29: by Vance (new)

Vance | 362 comments I would be fine with any Pratchett, and it seems appropriate given the nature of the discussions lately, but I can see the point of holding off on it for "turn" or to since we have had light-hearted books lately. I like the look of Altered Carbon as well for the next one.

How about something like Lies of Locke Lamora for our next "sword"? I need to read it anyway! :0)


message 30: by Jlawrence, S&L Moderator (new)

Jlawrence | 964 comments Mod
I throw in my eternal vote for Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun (Shadow & Claw is the first half) - it's such a great combo of sword & laser-ness, and so richly layered that I've really wanted to do a re-read.

I'd also really like to re-read Vernor Vinge's fascinating A Fire upon the Deep. I got the annotated version that has all his world-building notes, that'd be a real treat.

From the suggestions so far, I'm most intrigued by Usurper of the Sun, Budayeen Nights and Downbelow Station (assuming it can be read standalone even though it's '#3').

Altered Carbon sounds similar in theme to Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, which the group's already read, though it does seems like a darker take on the theme.


message 31: by Brandon (new)

Brandon | 178 comments I would second Heroes Die it an enjoyable read with a great combination of science fiction and fantasy with some interesting moral issues.


message 32: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments Jlawrence wrote: "I'd also really like to re-read Vernor Vinge's fascinating A Fire upon the Deep. I got the annotated version that has all his world-building notes, that'd be a real treat."

Did you see that Vinge's finally written a sequel? The group really should do AFutD before it comes out.


message 33: by Jason (new)

Jason | 14 comments I'm mostly here to leach off the group for great book ideas. :-)

But, to play nice I went and did a quick look through for some laser books that were NOT part of a series, NOT by authors that were already covered as a group book (I think) and made a lasting impression on me.

Cold as Ice - light scifi. I want to say light laser, but it looks redundant. (this book does have a sequel but not required.
Heart of the Comet - hard scifi - lots and lots of ideas
Blood Music - hard scifi - one idea taken to the extreme


message 34: by Patrick (new)

Patrick (halfadd3r) As I think the majority of people on the board are George R.R. Martin fans what about the republication of Wild Cards?

I would be open to a collection though as some people have suggested. What about Steampunk or Metatropolis?


message 35: by Patrick (new)

Patrick | 93 comments Sean wrote: "Did you see that Vinge's finally written a sequel?"

I almost wish I had not seen this. Now I have to count the days until next October.


message 36: by Patrick (new)

Patrick | 93 comments How about Recursion by Tony Ballantyne?

I have never read Altered Carbon but it's been on my list so I would vote for it.


message 37: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) | 1212 comments I'd like to read something newer. My groups keep doing the same stuff. Altered Carbon has been done in at least one other book group I belong to. Good Omens has too. In fact, I think every book club I belong to here has read every Neil Gaiman book ever written. I like him, but not that much.

I have a copy of The Dervish House by Ian McDonald waiting to be read. I have loved everything he's written. I think the only reason I haven't read this one yet is that it's a hardback and I've been mostly reading on my Nook or listening to audio. I really need a kick in the butt to get going on this.


message 38: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4198 comments Wow, this thread has taken off. Funny, when I originally was thinking about it, I wasn't thinking people would be seconding (or 3rding or 4thing...) recommendations, more just creating a list of books that T & V could use as a starting point when thinking of new selections.

In retrospect, I probably should have made one for sci-fi and one for fantasy. Oops.

Lots of interesting recommendation here, once I have "free time" again, I'll probably check some of these out (though I confess, without S&L as a push, I probably wouldn't read most of the hardcore sci-fi...just can't get into it especially if they fubar the science).


message 39: by Neil (new)

Neil (rucknrun) Old Man's War I second the vote for this book. I loved the whole series. The idea for the book is incredible.


message 40: by Tina (new)

Tina (javabird) | 711 comments Blood Musicsounds interesting.

Altered Carbon supposedly has some graphic sex/violence so I'm not gonna be into that.


message 41: by Glenn (new)

Glenn Hopper (hghtrey) | 30 comments I agree Old Man's War is an amazing read and his idea of writing the same story from 3 different points of view in 3 different books was...interesting.


message 42: by Alex (new)

Alex DeJesus (zeus) | 21 comments It has been said but I think that with all the interest being drummed up by the show a Discworld book would not be entirely out of order.


message 43: by Don (new)

Don (walsfeo) | 37 comments Vance wrote: "I would be fine with any Pratchett, and it seems appropriate given the nature of the discussions lately, but I can see the point of holding off on it for "turn" or to since we have had light-hearte..."

I agree with all of this. I want to make sure we get Pratchet on the list sometime soon, but maybe not right away.

I also like the idea of reading Lies of Locke Lamora for our next sword, it has been on my "to read" list for a couple years now.


message 44: by Alex (new)

Alex DeJesus (zeus) | 21 comments I've heard that Lies of Locke Lamora is a rather good book and not only deserves a read but that the entire series is shaping up very well.


message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

I loved The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies. And I wouldn't mind a re-read of them with this group.

I'd still rather have some hard sci-fi or gritty fantasy though, to offset the rather light-hearted stuff we've read lately.


message 46: by Jlawrence, S&L Moderator (new)

Jlawrence | 964 comments Mod
Sean wrote: "Did you see that Vinge's finally written a sequel? The group really should do AFutD before it comes out."

Oh wow, I did not know that - very exciting! And yes, even more reason to read A Fire Upon the Deep now.


message 47: by Matthew (new)

Matthew (mhkid) A hearty second for The Book of the New Sun, it truly is both sword and laser :)


message 48: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6363 comments Matthew wrote: "A hearty second for The Book of the New Sun, it truly is both sword and laser :)"

That's more a Tom book than a Veronica book.


message 49: by Danforth (new)

Danforth (nomad_scry) | 35 comments I was going to suggest Out of Time by Lynn Abbey but it seems to be out of print. It is a modern fantasy about a middle-aged librarian who finds out she has a sort of magic. It has a really different feel to most of the fantasy I've read, really worth a try just for that. I really liked it.


message 50: by Phil (new)

Phil Lee I have two suggestions. The first is The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks. ne of my favourite SF books.

The second would be Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson. I nearly gave up with it but after persevering with the first 50 pages I discovered a magnificent fantasy world. I have read and re-read this book and love it.


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