Group Reads - Sci-Fi Coffeehouse

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Group Reads - Sci-Fi Coffeehouse

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Jul. 26, 2008, 3:00pm

Welcome to the Group Reads - Sci-Fi Coffeehouse. This is the place for browsing collections for selections, discussion of which books to read, organizational issues and just plain talk regarding group reading in general. After we select a book threads for the specific selection discussion will magically appear, so be sure to keep up with what's going on in here. if all goes according to plan, this thread will be the key to unlocking the low down on what's up.

Jul. 26, 2008, 3:11pm

I have no idea what to recommend, but a friend of mine has suggested a good place to delve into sci-fi would be with David Brin's Earth, so I'll suggest that. I would like to suggest that in the interest of reasonability here we try to limit our reading to readily accessible, reasonably priced books.

Who's got something else?

Jul. 26, 2008, 3:15pm

How about something by Arthur C. Clarke, in honour of his passing earlier this year? I'm not sure whether to suggest a newer one or one of his classics, though.

As for readily accessible and reasonably priced, try your local library.

Jul. 26, 2008, 4:14pm

How about Childhood's End?

Jul. 26, 2008, 4:38pm

i wouldn't mind rereading Childhood's End..i haven't read it since junior high, so it's almost like a "new" book.
Would alternating old / new books make sense? Are people ok w/ getting hold of new books (since our son finished college we have a little more discretionary income than we used to; but i don't know how others stand and if folks would rather do books that they already have or can eaily be picked up @ a local library).

Bearbeitet: Jul. 26, 2008, 4:39pm

I've read Earth. I'd give it a pass. It's a very thick paperback and, while not bad per se, it's not worth the wordcount.

I thought the idea was to choose something new. How about...

Farthing, Jo Walton
Halting State, Charles Stross
Kéthani, Eric Brown.

Or maybe I could even suggest this one...

Jul. 26, 2008, 4:52pm

It seems to me that new SF reads would be easier since local booksellers will probably have them. SF Classics would be interesting too, and Arthur C. Clarke would definitely fall into that category.

I love the idea for the group by the way. Thanks.

Jul. 26, 2008, 5:20pm

Put your picks out there, old or new, good, bad or indifferent. Put 'em out and oh, say next Friday, say, we'll separate the top five most often picked and set up a vote on which to choose. Then start reading as soon as you wish. We'll keep the discussion going on that book ad infinitum and, after a reasonable time (six weeks or so) we'll select another read.

So, let's nominate until next Friday when we'll close the nominations.

Jul. 26, 2008, 8:23pm

Wanted to make a post to show my interest.

I would like to do a group read for Arthur C. Clarke, he is one of my favourite authors.

If we want to read a newer ACC book, what about "The Last Theorem?" It's co-written with Frederik Pohl, and and have it slated for an Aug 05 release.

Jul. 26, 2008, 9:21pm

Ian Banks, The Algebraist - it's a newish book that i've started several times. I'd like to read it, i think....and if it were a group read i think i'd get through!

Jul. 26, 2008, 9:33pm

Hominids by Robert Sawyer is one I've been meaning to read for a while now but never got around to.

Jul. 26, 2008, 9:42pm

I've been meaning to try Banks for a while. Maybe a group read would help me get around to him. Have other folks read his stuff? What would you recommend reading first?

Same idea and question for Charlie Stross.

I have also heard very good things about Hyperion, and I already have a copy, so I'd be up for that.

Jul. 27, 2008, 4:31am

Farthing is a good choice because it is still available for a free download (along with some other books) on if you are quick.


For Banks I would recommend a Culture novel as your first one. The Player Of Games is probably the most approachable although there is something to be said for starting with Consider Phlebas (it was published first).

Stross is harder to pick out a book. He has the Laundry series which is basically British Secret Service and Cthulhu mashed together; The Merchant Princes series which is world-walking pseudo-fantasy; The Eschaton series which is space-opera; and four stand-alone novels which are fairly different. Pick what appeals to you most.

Jul. 27, 2008, 4:32am

#10 and #12 If you're going to read Banks, don't start with The Algebraist. It's one of his weakest.

#9 I can't think of anything I'd sooner not read than a late Clarke (er, no pun intended). The quality of his books plummetted as he got older and more infirm. 3001 was dreadful.

Hyperion I wouldn't mind rereading, I have to admit. But then you'd have to go and read the sequel, The Fall of Hyperion.

But if we're in that sort of mood, then one book(s) I've been wanting to reread for ages is Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun, and I think that'd be fun to do as a group read.

Jul. 27, 2008, 4:34am

#13 those who don't have the PDF could be, er, provided with it by those of us who do.

Also free from Tor and possibly worthy of reading are In the Garden of Iden, Crystal Rain, Old Man's War, Starfish and Spin.

Jul. 27, 2008, 8:52am

13> Here's the link to those free downloads on

The link apparently closes today, so hurry if you want them. I don't know if there are any rules about redistribution.

I downloaded them all in .mobi format so I can read them on kindle.

Jul. 27, 2008, 10:26am

Great group idea. Farthing would be a joy to reread. Old Man's War would a interesting to read since I haven't read any Scalzi yet.

Earth was a book I enjoyed 17 years ago, but I don't think I'd ever want to reread it.

Arthur C. Clarke could be the basis of a reading group all his own. I don't find his books worth the effort any more. A reread of 2001: A Space Odyssey was not a success.

Hyperion was okay. I guess I'm almost alone in thinking Ilium was a better read. Not a suggestion, mind!

Jul. 27, 2008, 11:36am

Does it have to be a novel? What about a current year's best anthology? Some will like some stories but not others but probably everyone will find at least something that appeals to them. It would offer a wide range of what was done in the field last year including some newer authors along with the older ones.

The Dozois' 25th year's best is available now.I've read this year's Strahan but it has fantasy in it also. I can't remember who does the third one.

Jul. 27, 2008, 12:32pm

#14 I would love to do TBotNS. I didn't suggest it because I thought it might be a bit much, but I feel sure it would spark a lot of interesting discussion.

Jul. 27, 2008, 12:44pm

#18 There's a whole raft of original and reprint anthology series available each year these days. The short story is dead - yeah right...

Dozois: weighty, the same old faces keep on appearing.
Hartwell: smaller, some overlap with the Dozois.
Strahan: I've yet to try one of these.

Solaris: original stories, has had good reports.
Fast Forward: Pyr original, no idea what it's like.
Eclipse: Night Shade original, was a bit of a fuss over this year's ToC.

Jul. 27, 2008, 12:56pm

Two things: if someone nominates an anthology and it is selected by the group, we'll be reading an anthology, second, since I will be keeping up with what has been nominated, and I am not as knowledgeable as the rest of you, while acronyms may come naturally to you, they do not to me, please give the complete (or accepted) title so I can record it properly, TBotNS means nothing to me.

Bearbeitet: Jul. 27, 2008, 1:11pm

The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe, for the acronymically impaired. ;-)

Jul. 27, 2008, 1:26pm

I would prefer books available in paperback, since the SD library takes forever to get SF hardbacks in the catalog. I would also prefer novels to anthologies--I am NOT a short story reader. However, it may well be possible to have several threads going, one for anthologies, one for new sf and one for classic sf. I remember Clarke fondly for The Deep Range and Tales from the White Hart, but haven't read anything of his since 2001. I downloaded Farthing and would be open to reading it. My TBR pile has Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky and A Fire Upon the Deep, Marianne de Pierres' Nylon Angel and Code Noir, Capacity by Tony Ballantine, and Iron Sunrise by Charles Stross. among others.

Jul. 27, 2008, 1:55pm

On Arthur C .Clarke: I agree that an earlier work would be best. Rendevous with Rama is a classic and a provocative read.

On Ian Banks: I've read a couple of his culture novels and would agree that starting there would be best. On a selfish note I would prefer not to read Consider Phlebas as I just read it a few weeks ago.

On an anthology: although not my usual fare, I find the idea intriguing. An anthology has the strength of evoking multiple discussions on different stories.

Whatever is chosen, I'm looking forward to the effort.

Jul. 27, 2008, 3:33pm


You have forgotten the Rich Horton best of the year anthology. I am currently reading that one and the some of the first few stories have been corkers.

Personally of the three original anthologies you list I have enjoyed the Solaris ones more than either Eclipse or Fast Forward.

Jul. 27, 2008, 10:35pm

#21 sorry about that, geneg, I thought the reference to the prior post would give enough context. I will make a point of avoiding the initialisms.

Jul. 28, 2008, 2:22am

#14 I didn't like his new trilogy, or 3001, but what about Light of Other Days?

Jul. 28, 2008, 3:31am

I've read it. It was... meh. I think with Clarke, you're going to have to go back to his classics - Rendezvous with Rama, Childhood's End, The City and the Stars...

The Book of the New Sun gets my vote. It's a book that will generated a lot of discussion. And reading it at a relatively leisurely pace shouldn't detratc from it.

Bearbeitet: Jul. 28, 2008, 8:18am

After a little research, I wholeheartedly endorse iansales's recommendation of Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun. It sounds both interesting and mature, and its themes suggest lots of juicy discussion topics.

Jul. 28, 2008, 8:53am

well i've read, and enjoyed several Bank's books so i've been surprised by my inability to get 50 pages into the Algebraist..

Bearbeitet: Jul. 28, 2008, 9:43am

i'll go w/ Gene Wolfe - he's important and, again, i need motivation to finish one of his books...started a couple and for whatever reason gave up. But I WILL finish The Book of the New Sun if selected!!

Jul. 28, 2008, 10:46am

Some problems with The Book Of The New Sun.

It is four novels so it is long. It is also not a quick read - you have to have your wits about you as you read and maybe access to a good dictionary. When we last did something like this people were taking 3 or 4 weeks to read something fairly short and straightforward like Eifelheim. Also some people didn't like discussing things until they had read the entire work.

Having said all that I would love to reread the series. I just don't think it will work if you are trying to attract a sizeable group of people.

Jul. 28, 2008, 11:05am

The idea here is to have an open ended period to read a selected work, however long it takes. In the Literature group they started with War and Peace, some folks had it read in a couple of weeks, others straggled in as many as three months after starting. At a point that most here read what we select, we will start the selection process for the next read. If you are behind, no worries, mate, just keep going, keep discussing, and continue forward. This is not supposed to turn into a high pressure set-up. Some people who finish late may choose not to read the next selection and wait for the one to follow. This is just a way to encourage people to read works they may not otherwise read.

As for discussion, where practical works will be logically broken into different discussion threads based on portions of the work. If The Book of the New Sun is four novels then I anticipate a different discussion thread for each novel. There may be threads dedicated to exploring just one aspect of the work, or a character, or anything that might engender its own discussion.

Friday I'll post the five most nominated books and create a poll so we can vote. By the following Friday we should have a book selected.

Check out how Group Reads - Literature is working for Bleak House. That's the model I'm using here. Bleak House is our fourth book and we're finally getting it right.

Jul. 28, 2008, 11:08am

Well, we could just read the first novel in The Book of the New Sun, which is The Shadow of the Torturer, and then after that decide if we want to continue or read something different.

Bearbeitet: Jul. 28, 2008, 12:10pm

Here's what I've picked up so far. The figure in parentheses is the number of nominations for the work. One thing about that, I don't mind multiple suggestions, but sometimes I don't know if you are making a nomination or just musing over a title. I've included everything I thought looked like it might be a suggestion. Being more specific in your verbiage would be helpful.

When nominating an anthology "The Rich Horton best of the year" doesn't help me much. Please give specific title and editor. This is why some anthology suggestions have not been included here: not enough information.

Anyway, here is where we are:

Earth - David Brin
Childhood's End - Arthur C. Clarke
Farthing - Joe Walton (3)
Halting State - Charles Stross
Kethani - Eric Brown
To Catch a Thief - Keith Sheffield
The Last Theorem - Arthur C. Clarke and Frederik Pohl
The Algebraist - Iain M. Banks
Hominids - Robert Sawyer
Hyperion - Dan Simmons (2)
The Player of Games - Iain M. Banks
Phlebas - Iain M. Banks
The Fall of Hyperion - Dan Simmons
Book of the New Sun - Gene Wolfe (5)
In the Garden of Iden - Kage Baker
Crystal Rain - Tobias S. Buckell
Old Man's War - John Scalzi (2)
Starfish - Peter Watts
Spin - Robert Charles Wilson
The Dozoi's 25th Year Best - Anthology
A Deepness in the Sky - Vernor Vinge
A Fire Upon the Deep - Vernor Vinge
Nylon Angel - Marianne de Pierres
Code Noir - Marianne de Pierres
Capacity - Tony Ballantine
Iron Sunrise - Charles Stross
Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C. Clarke
The Shadow of the Torturer - Gene Wolfe (Book one of The Book of the New Sun).

Jul. 28, 2008, 12:05pm

>34 jamesorr:, I think the idea of different threads for the different parts of the book takes care of that for each individual reader in the group.

Jul. 28, 2008, 12:18pm

>36 richardderus:, Yes, I agree. geneg's post appeared as I was writing mine.

Jul. 28, 2008, 12:32pm

Great idea for a group! I'm in! OK, this is the last exclamation point, I promise!

I'm pretty open to anything, new or old. However, if it's someone like Clarke, Heinlein, or Asimov, my interest might have to be forced. Not that I don't think they are great writers, but chances are I've already read the book at least once.

I'm all about being exposed to some good SF writers, whether they be old or new. As to book availability, unless the author is unusually obscure, older books will likely be findable at the variety of outlets for used books, many of them online.

Oh, and I'm cool with either novel, anthology, or collection. I like short stories.


Jul. 28, 2008, 1:17pm

You can remove the Sheffield one if you want. That was just me being silly. Not because the book is rubbish - it might be on lulu but it's quite good. Honest. I - ahem - know the author. Feel free to purchase a copy...

Jul. 28, 2008, 2:02pm

Please note that reading The Shadow of the Torturer is like reading The Fellowship of the Ring; it is the first portion of a long novel, not the first novel in a series. It's wonderfully written, does a great job of introducing characters and their world, etc., but it doesn't complete the story. It might be hard to discuss it without including the remaining volumes.

Jul. 28, 2008, 2:42pm

>39 iansales:, I actually thought that looked kind of interesting and might buy it regardless of what's picked here.

Jul. 28, 2008, 4:00pm

I can recommend it...

Jul. 28, 2008, 5:12pm

The voting will bring order out of chaos.

Jul. 28, 2008, 6:22pm

Oh...if we are voting then I'll pick one, though many of the possible choices would be fine...

A Fire Upon the Deep - Vernor Vinge

It's a book I've had around and been meaning to read for some time.

Jul. 28, 2008, 10:00pm

ok..a vote...or two. (seriously, two votes - in order of preference - per person?)

1. gene wolfe The Shadow of the Torturer - i don't have it and would like to give wolfe another chance, having abandoned my other attempts.
2. Fire upon the deep. i have it, loved it when i read it originally, and know i'd like rereading and talking about it.

Jul. 28, 2008, 10:13pm

My official votes:

Farthing by Jo Walton

A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge

Jul. 28, 2008, 10:38pm

Jul. 29, 2008, 1:50am

My official votes:

The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe (or The Shadow of the Torturer)

Farthing, Jo Walton

Jul. 29, 2008, 3:33am

Votes from me:

Old Man's War, by John Scalzi.
"A Fire Upon The Deep", Vernor Vinge.

Jul. 29, 2008, 9:33am

Seems a bit daft to vote for a series and the first book of that series. Can we assume all votes for The Book of the New Sun or The Shadow of the Torturer are for the latter, and a decision will be made at the end of the first book on whether to continue?

Jul. 29, 2008, 11:49am

Lot's of interesting books there, tough to narrow it down, I went from 27 to 18 to 8 and finally ...

In the Garden of Iden

Is it odd I'm not voting for my own nomination?

Jul. 29, 2008, 11:59am

"Is it odd I'm not voting for my own nomination?"


No, not odd, just means your open to new possibilities. Sounds like a key attribute of someone with an interest in science fiction.

Jul. 29, 2008, 4:33pm

Slow down, folks we are not voting yet. Voting will begin Friday. We're still in nomination mode. Everything between msg# 44 and #54 will be ignored. If you actually want to nominate those referenced between #43 and this one, suggest it again and I will add it to the total nominations for that work. Remember the five top nominees will be selected for the voting process.

Nominations close Friday, 8/1/08 at 12:00pm CDT.

Feel free to nominate as many as you like.

Trust me, when we start voting you'll know it.

Jul. 29, 2008, 4:44pm

Well, my own short list of the 27 suggestions came down to 8 titles ...

To Catch A Thief (no touchstone)
Hominids (my own suggestion)
Consider Phlebas
The Shadow of the Torturer
In the Garden of Iden
Old Man's War
A Fire Upon the Deep

Do we need 3 stages for this really? Suggestions, nominations, then voting? I mean, if somebody comes up with a new suggestion at this point and it sounds interesting to me I might want to nominate that too, which could make things quite complicated. Or maybe I should edit this post for additional nominations to keep things together?

Jul. 29, 2008, 4:53pm

Suggestions and nominations are the same thing. One stage. Voting is a different process. Second stage. Two stages.

We are still nominating. If there is something you wish to nominate that is not on the list so far, nominate it. If you wish to second a current nomination do so. That will increase its chances to be one of the works we vote for.

I only published the list earlier to let everyone know where the nominations were to that point.

Just be patient. This will all make sense in the end.

Jul. 29, 2008, 5:08pm


Hyperion / Fall Of Hyperion - read as a single unit for discussion.

Jul. 29, 2008, 5:14pm

We have Dan Simmons' Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion listed separately. If you wish to nominate them then please distinguish by title or as andyl did nominate them both together as a combined read. So: that gives three options with regard to these works,

Fall of Hyperion
Hyperion/Fall of Hyperion

Bearbeitet: Jul. 29, 2008, 5:38pm

Hmmm, sorry, guess I started it. I saw your post #43 talking about voting, and I saw you had counts after the titles in the list you posted before that and I misunderstood. Oops. Guess I'm just over eager to start reading and discussing. :)

Jul. 29, 2008, 5:44pm

Wow I have a bunch of these on the to be read pile

-Any of these
The Algebraist - Iain M. Banks
Phlebas - Iain M. Banks
Hyperion - Dan Simmons
The Fall of Hyperion - Dan Simmons
Old Man's War - John Scalzi
Spin - Robert Charles Wilson
A Deepness in the Sky - Vernor Vinge
A Fire Upon the Deep - Vernor Vinge
Iron Sunrise - Charles Stross

-Wouldn't mind picking these up
Childhood's End - Arthur C. Clarke
The Dozoi's 25th Year Best - Anthology
Starfish - Peter Watts

Jul. 29, 2008, 7:17pm

In addition to many already listed, I'll add a couple more I've had my eye on -

Dawn by Octavia E. Butler - post apocolyptic/alien invasion

Limit of Vision by Linda Nagata - biology, consciousness, and nanotech

Jul. 29, 2008, 11:00pm

Oh, okay. Sorry I jumped the gun. I'd like to second the nomination of A Fire Upon the Deep. I'm not sure my previous upthread comment was counted a second, so I'll second (again?) Hyperion. I'll also second Old Man's War since it'd be nice to read a Scalzi, what an interesting guy!

Jul. 29, 2008, 11:30pm

Got 'em.

Jul. 30, 2008, 3:10am

Since I mentioned anthologies upthread I guess I should nominate one. So, I'll nominate
The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty Fifth annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois.

For a novel I'll suggest for consideration Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler.

Jul. 30, 2008, 3:59am

Can I just point out that the large Dozois Year's Best anthology isn't generally available in the UK (or Europe) for that matter. The hardcover is orderable from the paperback isn't (well not and fulfilled by Amazon). The UK edition is published as "The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 21"* in September.

* The UK missed the first out on the first three and the publishers missed out 1994 which was the Twelfth Annual Collection.

Jul. 30, 2008, 11:15am

This is where we stand currently in our nominating process sorted by most nominations so far to least:

Book of the New Sun - Gene Wolfe (5)
Hyperion - Dan Simmons (4)
Old Man's War - John Scalzi (4)
A Fire Upon the Deep - Vernor Vinge (4)
Farthing - Joe Walton (3)
The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty Fifth Annual Collection - ed Gardner Dozois - Anthology (3)
Childhood's End - Arthur C. Clarke (2)
The Algebraist - Iain M. Banks (2)
Phlebas - Iain M. Banks (2)
The Fall of Hyperion - Dan Simmons (2)
Starfish - Peter Watts (2)
Spin - Robert Charles Wilson (2)
A Deepness in the Sky - Vernor Vinge (2)
Iron Sunrise - Charles Stross (2)
Halting State - Charles Stross
Kethani - Eric Brown
Earth - David Brin
To Catch a Thief - Keith Sheffield
The Last Theorem - Arthur C. Clarke and Frederik Pohl
Hominids - Robert Sawyer
The Player of Games - Iain M. Banks
In the Garden of Iden - Kage Baker
Crystal Rain - Tobias S. Buckell
Nylon Angel - Marianne de Pierres
Code Noir - Marianne de Pierres
Capacity - Tony Ballantine
Rendevous with Rama - Arthur C. Clarke
The Shadow of the Torturer - Gene Wolfe (Book one of The Book of the New Sun)
Hyperion/Fall of Hyperion - Dan Simmons
Dawn - Octavia E. Butler
Limit of Vision - Linda Nagata
Parable of the Sower - Octavia E. Butler

Jul. 30, 2008, 11:20am

Some nominations:

Earth as a seconding because I lik eit an think it re-reads well.

Story of your life as either just that short story, or the collection if you can get hold of it.

foreigner because there is a lot of SF out there that isn't as simple as Clarke.

Bearbeitet: Jul. 30, 2008, 11:22am

Geneg, my post #56 should be considered as nominations or seconds if you like, except Hominids which I suggested in the first place. I don't think you've counted it in your tally.

Jul. 30, 2008, 11:30am

Just curious, if this isn't the voting, why are we keeping tallies of the times something has been nominated? Or is this some kind of pre-vote, where only the books nominated the most go into the ballot. I purposely didn't nominate something if it had already been nominated, so in a way that would throw the vote count off.

If nothing else, we are generating a great reading list!

Jul. 30, 2008, 11:45am

The way I'm thinking about it is ...

At this point if there's a book you want to read you suggest it.
If you would like to read somebody else's suggestion, say so. No real prioritization here, just if you'd like to read it at all.
On Friday, geneg will tally the results and pick the top 5, and we all vote for which of the 5 we'd like to read.

The only thing like this I've done before has been off-line, in which we all suggested one book, wrote it on a piece of paper, put it in a hat and drew one. I can see that might not work too well online however.

Jul. 30, 2008, 11:59am

Oh. I missed the part where he was going to pick the top 5. So it really a sort of pre-vote.

At this point, I'd either have to "pre-vote" for about a dozen books or stick with my two, so I'll stick with my two. Looks like I'll be reading those on my own though. The earliest books nominated will likely be the top 5 under that scheme.

Jul. 30, 2008, 12:01pm

The only thing like this I've done before has been off-line, in which we all suggested one book, wrote it on a piece of paper, put it in a hat and drew one. I can see that might not work too well online however.

The only way I'd done something like this before was we first generated a random list of the names of the people intersted and then we went down the list and at each persons turn, they chose the book we were going to read.

Jul. 30, 2008, 12:16pm

I would like to reread Foreigner again because I didn't particularly care for it on first reading (and I usually like Cherryh). The only problem if I do like it on rereading then Invader, Inheritor and Precursor seem to be OOP in the UK.

On the pre-vote / vote thing - why not just use a single-transferable vote on the entire list of nominations? Maybe restrict it to just three choices.

Jul. 30, 2008, 2:31pm

jamesorr, got 'em.

Jul. 30, 2008, 2:37pm

As I said in a previous post: nominations will be closed Friday 8/1/08 at 12 noon CDT. At that time I will create a poll with the five works that got the most nominations. We will have a week to vote and the work with the most votes becomes the selection.

If you wish to nominate or reiterate a work that is already in nomination, please do.

Jul. 30, 2008, 2:44pm

We will vote on the top five because folks who nominated something not in the top five will need to be heard from on the final vote.

This first time seems slow, but from here on out it won't seem so bad because we will be repeating this process while many are still reading the first selection. It should go muy mucho mas smoothly next time.

Jul. 30, 2008, 4:49pm

I just found this thread and am really interested in joining. Of the list so far, some I've read, some were so long ago that it will be practically new and some I haven't. I don't think you really need any new suggestions, so I will wait and cast my vote (A Fire Upon the Deep, in case I forget to check in) on Friday. Can't wait to see what's picked!

Jul. 31, 2008, 12:09am

#66 andyl, I forgot about the time lag for the UK and Europe for the Dozois. If this group read effort survives until September I'm sure Anathem is going to come up. Are you guys getting that in Sep.? When are those of you in Australia scheduled for Anathem?

Jul. 31, 2008, 12:18am

Another vote for Gene Wolfe (the first book of four, whichever it is).

Jul. 31, 2008, 2:51am

Anyone who is voting for Wolfe, you would be better off voting for reading all four books. The first three books have fairly open endings - you know that the characters still have quite a lot of stuff to do, and there is no clear resolution in the endings of the first three books. There are several new editions of the novesl that combine the novels together, either as a 4-in-1 book, or two two-in-one novels.

If you can appreciate what the first novel is doing, you will want to read the next three novels, because they are written in the same style, but continue on from the first novel with little discontinuity in between. And, if you can't, then you would not want to read the rest of the series, regardless.

Jul. 31, 2008, 5:24am


Apparently Anathem's true first will be the UK edition. Atlantic Books has it down for a September 1st release, the US first edition is currently listed as September 9th.

Jul. 31, 2008, 5:33pm

Iron Sunrise - Charles Stross #1
Crystal Rain - Tobias S. Buckell #2

Jul. 31, 2008, 5:56pm

I'll second second Childhood's End. Has anybody ever read any Jonathan Lethem? I'd like to, but I haven't really gotten into the few of his books I've looked at.

Jul. 31, 2008, 9:28pm

>84 Whatnot: NightSmoke, Gun, With Occasional Music is the book of his I've read and enjoyed. This is not a nomination. It was a wry twist on noir. I found myself very pleased at the end of the book that I'd taken the journey with him.

Jul. 31, 2008, 10:07pm

Thanks, I might check that one out.

Back to topic in 3...2...

Aug. 1, 2008, 5:05am

Here is a suggestion: could we make the voting for the books a separate thread, labelled something like "August Voting Thread"?

Bearbeitet: Aug. 1, 2008, 9:17am

87, I think that's the intention. I believe voting starts at 1:00 PM Eastern today.

Aug. 1, 2008, 10:20am

Voting will be conducted through a free polling site. I will set it up at noon CDT today and it should be ready by 1 pm CDT. When I have it ready I will post a link to the poll from this thread. Click the link and vote. It'll be quite easy and will come crystal clear when you see it. The vote will last until Friday noon CDT next.

Aug. 1, 2008, 10:25am

This is where things stand now:

A Fire Upon the Deep - Vernor Vinge (6)
Book of the New Sun - Gene Wolfe (5)
Old Man's War - John Scalzi (5)
Hyperion - Dan Simmons (4)
Farthing - Joe Walton (4)

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty Fifth Annual Collection - ed Gardner Dozois - Anthology (3)
Consider Phlebas - Iain M. Banks (3)
The Shadow of the Torturer - Gene Wolfe (Book one of The Book of the New Sun) (3)
Childhood's End - Arthur C. Clarke (3)
Iron Sunrise - Charles Stross (3)
The Algebraist - Iain M. Banks (2)
The Fall of Hyperion - Dan Simmons (2)
Starfish - Peter Watts (2)
Spin - Robert Charles Wilson (2)
A Deepness in the Sky - Vernor Vinge (2)
To Catch a Thief - Keith Sheffield (2)
Earth - David Brin (2)
In the Garden of Iden - Kage Baker (2)
Foreigner - C. J. Cherryh (2)
Crystal Rain - Tobias S. Buckell (2)
Halting State - Charles Stross
Kethani - Eric Brown
The Last Theorem - Arthur C. Clarke and Frederik Pohl
Hominids - Robert Sawyer
The Player of Games - Iain M. Banks
Nylon Angel - Marianne de Pierres
Code Noir - Marianne de Pierres
Capacity - Tony Ballantine
Rendevous with Rama - Arthur C. Clarke
Hyperion/Fall of Hyperion - Dan Simmons
Dawn - Octavia E. Butler
Limit of Vision - Linda Nagata
Parable of the Sower - Octavia E. Butler
Story of Your Life - Ted Chiang

If your book doesn't make it this time, nominate it again. The only works to be excluded are previous selections. Whatever we select this time won't be eligible again for many a Martian orbit.

Aug. 1, 2008, 1:03pm

Nominations are officially closed.

Aug. 1, 2008, 1:17pm

Aug. 1, 2008, 1:27pm

Ta-daaa! Voted!

Aug. 1, 2008, 1:52pm

The maps cool. Interesting to see where everybody is.

Aug. 1, 2008, 2:43pm

does the map pull the location information from the library thing account? i signed up for a vizu accnt after i voted, and put my zip code and a couple of demographic thingies in, but the locational information was already present.

Aug. 1, 2008, 2:43pm

does the map pull the location information from the library thing account? i signed up for a vizu accnt after i voted, and put my zip code and a couple of demographic thingies in, but the locational information was already present.

Aug. 1, 2008, 2:46pm

I think it captures your ISP location when you vote.

Aug. 1, 2008, 2:48pm

No, it'll be determining it based on your IP address. Not the most accurate of methods. I once tested it against a few thousand addresses people entered on one of my works websites and it came out about 75% accurate.

Aug. 1, 2008, 5:04pm

Thanks for the link.

Aug. 1, 2008, 11:57pm

Bumping thread in case others can't find it.

Aug. 2, 2008, 8:22pm

Someone needs to join the group...we have 17 members and 18 votes on the poll!

Aug. 2, 2008, 8:51pm

Oops, that would be me :-)

Aug. 2, 2008, 10:30pm

It's not necessary to join to vote or otherwise participate.

Bearbeitet: Aug. 3, 2008, 9:19am


Sorry if my noting the statistics implied such to you. I found it curious and was commenting is all.

Aug. 3, 2008, 1:42pm

#98 - so even now, w/ dynamically assigned IP addresses for most ISP users, the range of available addresses for a particular ISP is more or less regionally specific? At one point in time every ethernet adapter had a specific IP address assigned (?) - from a range amongst those available to that computer systems admin. network (ie one knew if an address was a UNC university address or a NIEHS address, and the IP address was static). Now for most users using commercial services we're assigned temporary IP addresses ? - though if i do ipconfig, mine doesn't seem to change very frequently. Being a geographer, but not a network sort, i've always been curious about functions like traceroute and the long abandoned "end of the internet" maps (at one point in time one map had it at St.John's @ NewFoundland where my phd advisor had relocated, so i was pleased to tell him that he was at the very end of the internet..circa 1995 or so.).

Aug. 3, 2008, 1:47pm

Depends. Most IP will assign you a static IP, if you ask for one (or pay for one). Otherwise, they use DHCP. If you're on a network, chances are your IP is a private one -- i.e., or -- and your IP shows up locally as one of a block assigned to the network. If anyone's interested...

Aug. 3, 2008, 4:02pm

i've always assumed that one of the reasons our NIH/ (.gov) addresses are static ip addresses are so that our govt. can easily trace "abuses" - however defined - to particular computers if not particular users. Initially they were static because that's how IP addresses were assigned..but now it's another way for tabs to be kept on us. i assumed that (in addition to freeing up ip addresses which became a scarcer resource much more quickly than anyone guessed -i know there's some new schema that will augment the # of addresses by some ungodly factor but i don't think it's been implemented - that the advantage (as our ISP sold it..)to DHCP was a slight bit more security in re outside intrusions. Or at least repeated intrusions ??

Aug. 3, 2008, 10:13pm

I'm sorry - you need to take away 1 vote for Farthing. I didn't realize that one could vote 2x for the same book, and trying to see how the site worked, i cast a 2nd vote (for Farthing). Looks like Gene Wolfe by a semi-demi-landslide. Fine w/me, i need to finish a book of his at long last and i'll see if our local library has it....

Aug. 3, 2008, 10:56pm

Are you sure you don't want to do a runoff between the top two vote getters? My bias is that reading, in effect, 4 books for the first group read is a little excessive. And, at least for me, to read just the first of the four books that doesn't really wrap things up would be unsatifying. So my hope would be that those who voted for the three lowest vote getters might agree with me and thus a runoff might push Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep into top place.

So how about a runoff???

Aug. 4, 2008, 1:57am


I'm cool with however the book gets chosen, as most of them have been in my library on my tbr list for some time.

Curiously, while Wolfe's series is 4 books, Vinge's tome counts for about two, and Simmons book is no slouch for page count either:

Hyperion - 482 pages
A Fire Upon the Deep - 613 pages
The Book of the New Sun 260 + 250 + 298 + 313 = 1121 pages

As a side note observation - I can always guage pretty accurately the age of a SF book on my shelves by the thickness of its spine.

Aug. 4, 2008, 2:55am

For those that want to change your vote, you can simply go to "revote."

Bearbeitet: Aug. 4, 2008, 4:23am

#106 that would be IP4.

#109 this isn't the Locus Awards...

Aug. 4, 2008, 4:48am

Ok, let me introduce where I'm coming from. It's been many, many years since I last read sci-fi. I've been on a mystery binge, with an occasional non-fiction read. And when I was reading sci-fi, I read the classic authors, so I am totally unfamiliar with contemporary work. To be honest, I was a bit surprised by Gwen's posting #110 about the length of these books. I can't imagine a mystery being 600+ pages.

Anyway, I saw this group and thought it would be interesting to get back into reading this genre. So I will go with whatever the group decides and try the book selected. It may turn out that contemporary sci-fi is not my cup of tea, but I won't know till I try it.

Aug. 4, 2008, 5:54am


Unfortunately it is a bit hard to categorise it all as contemporary SF. All the top 5 suggestions are quite different in tone and feel (even though two of the books could loosely be described as space opera). For example I think you would enjoy Farthing quite a bit more than anything else - it being an English country house mystery as well as a SF book.

Some of the issues are length are to do with market but mysteries usually happen in the real world that we know and the writer has to do less world-building which can explain some of the shorter length.

Aug. 4, 2008, 6:23am

#114 You're right, andyl. The five books all sound very different. And Farthing would be more like the mystery genre I've been reading lately. But I am really intrigued by the world of A Fire Upon the Deep, at least based on the reviews and descriptions.

You probably made a good point regarding some of the length being due to world building.

Aug. 4, 2008, 10:13am

bob, even though most IP addresses are dynamically assigned, ISPs will assign blocks geographically.

This method of determining location off IP address certainly isn't going to narrow it down to street, or even zip code. The best it will do is city, if that.

Bearbeitet: Aug. 4, 2008, 11:27am

On the issue of length: Over the last several months I have read Our Mutual Friend, 900+ pages, Middlemarch, 800+, Age of Innocence, 300+, Bleak House, 700+, and by the end of the week (I hope) Earth, 600+. Not only were all these books thick, but they were old too. Given the open ended nature of these reads size should not be an issue.

Aug. 4, 2008, 2:24pm

i figure if I were to do Gene Wolfe in a group read, i'd at least finish 1 book (of a quartet, that's a given) and either have a better idea why i haven't finished any of his i've started previously, or, perhaps (and w/ luck), read Wolfe w/ an improved POV and attitude and have more books to go on and add to my TBR virtual and actual pile.

A Fire Upon the Deep is excellent and holds up well throughout its universe and species building length

Aug. 4, 2008, 3:22pm

#117 Not only were all these books thick, but they were old too. Given the open ended nature of these reads size should not be an issue.

For the SF book, not old enough! Oh for the succinct days of the 60's when the average SF novel was 175-200 pages, or even the 70's, when 300 pages was a lot.

Why this is occurring is a thread topic on its own. I do know that whichever bohemoth is chosen, it's going to take me a good long while. :)

Aug. 4, 2008, 4:34pm

I just had an idea...

If Wolfe's Series were to win, perhaps that could just mean that we read the first book in the series, The Shadow of the Torturer.

Then, when it comes time to read our next group book, the second in the series could be nominated along with any other nominations and people could vote. It would become a group decision as to whether to immediately continue with the series, or read a completely different novel.

Just an idea that came to mind.

Aug. 4, 2008, 5:17pm

I suggested the same earlier.

Then we get to argue about what is the "first" book, given the various omnibus editions available...

Aug. 4, 2008, 5:21pm

#119 Gwen, I so agree with you about the 60's and 70's when books were written with an economy of words. And even with the short length, the sci-fi authors still presented some interesting and bizarre worlds.

Aug. 4, 2008, 6:14pm

I chime in with support for the run-off idea. I'll gladly read the Wolfe, but it's a whacking great bundle of paper...shorter might be better for a first-time group read.

When does voting close? I didn't look while I was at the polling site and I can't remember the post number where that was set.

Aug. 4, 2008, 7:44pm

When we were deciding which five books to vote on, the first book of Wolfe's series was listed, by itself, as a nominee. Had more people nominated it, instead of the whole series, it would be one of the ones we are voting on. But it didn't, and we aren't.

Aug. 4, 2008, 8:47pm

Unless the purpose is to campaign against Gene Wolfe in general, I'm not sure what the fuss is about. As was noted earlier by geneg (post #117) many of the selections are lengthy. I've looked at the editions of Wolfe's work out now and they total about 800p. Given that other books are in the 400-600 page range, I don't see the real problem.

One solution would be to stagger another book as a second option say three or four weeks in, so if Wolfe isn't working for you there's something to read and contribute.

It's just a suggestion, but I would hate to see the experiment scuttled but a difference of opinion or reading taste. Even if there are only five or six contributors per book, I'd be happy as long as the conversations are interesting and intelligent.

*please deposit my two cents!*

Aug. 5, 2008, 3:04am

When is the poll closed?

Aug. 5, 2008, 8:40am


Bearbeitet: Aug. 5, 2008, 10:03am

121Then we get to argue about what is the "first" book, given the various omnibus editions available...

Interesting. If the books don't even have a specific order, then why the insistance on reading all four books at once? In any case, I have the original paperpacks (hence, the 1121 page count) and the volumes are clearly marked in a specific order. Did Wolfe do major revisions later or add in prequels or other material?

Aug. 5, 2008, 10:17am

128- The books have a specific order it's just that that you can get the books in one volume, two volumes or four volumes. Page counts will be higher on MMPBs than in the trade paperbacks or hardcovers.

Aug. 5, 2008, 10:22am

Even more reason to pick The Book of the New Sun: I've just been given the new edition of Lexicon Urthus to review for Interzone...

Aug. 5, 2008, 1:00pm

#130 yeah, I got one too. I was gonna say I can post definitions from it if we read Wolfe. You and I can take turns ;-) I plan to post a review here after I've spent a little time with it.

Aug. 5, 2008, 1:52pm

You have the new edition? I've seen first editions going for $200 on eBay.

Aug. 5, 2008, 9:42pm

I've got a first as well (although the spine of the jacket is a little faded), along with several of the little addenda/corrigenda booklets. I saw a notice of the new edition and popped the folks at Sirius a note volunteering to review it here among all the serious readers and book buyers, and three days later the new paperback was in my mailbox. It appears that mantis has done a nice job of integrating a pretty good bunch of new stuff, but I've been really busy and have just started looking.

Aug. 7, 2008, 4:01am

Here's a link of relevance should The Book of the New Sun win the vote.

Aug. 7, 2008, 11:51am

Poll closes tomorrow, Friday, 8/8/08 at 12 noon CDT.

Ian, that splurbit makes it sound interesting to me.

Aug. 7, 2008, 1:25pm

Now I'm confused. In a previous post I chose A Fire Upon the Deep. After that the voting link was posted. So did they count the vote from my posting or do I need to go to the link and vote? And what map?

Aug. 7, 2008, 1:55pm


Go to the link and vote and all will be revealed. :)

Aug. 7, 2008, 2:16pm

Got it! Thanks!

Aug. 7, 2008, 4:36pm

All will be revealed? When? Where? ... oh, right. This is the internet.

Although I voted for The Book of the New Sun all the other options look appetizing. I'm for reading them all.

Bearbeitet: Aug. 7, 2008, 6:47pm

#84 Lethem i've lost track..of where we are, let alone where the voting link is..but
She Crawled Across the Table is both good sf and spoof of academia; and Guns with occasional music as mentioned is also very enjoyable..And his books tend to be short~

out of curiosity, who are the other tar heels here?

Aug. 7, 2008, 7:09pm

The link to vote is at message 92

Aug. 7, 2008, 7:53pm

I voted a couple days ago but I don't see a Toronto balloon...

Aug. 8, 2008, 12:01am

Have joined, have voted. My only SF books this year have been Fairyland, New Space Opera and Vonnegut. I have about 15 years to fill in and have missed some of the older classics like The Book of the New Sun. Hi everyone.

Aug. 8, 2008, 10:59am

Lola, does the following look like you?

Date: 08/02/2008
Time: 03:46 PM EST
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada

If it does your balloon is partially obscured by someone else, maybe in Buffalo or close by.

Aug. 8, 2008, 11:02am

Polls close in two hours. The Book of the New Sun leads with A Fire Upon the Deep in second place.

Aug. 8, 2008, 11:21am

Could be, could be...

***stepping on Buffalo's foot***

Aug. 8, 2008, 11:41am

Your balloon is obscured by a buffalo? What? What?

Aug. 8, 2008, 11:55am

#140 Bob, I live in NE Durham. I see you're not too far away. My wife is a UNC grad. I'm not but have been a long-time fan of their hoopsters.

Bearbeitet: Aug. 8, 2008, 12:44pm

Damn buffaloes are the bane of my existence! And I'm afraid to get on a train and shewt 'em for fear of bursting balloons...

Oh, look, it's past noon. Do we know what we're reading?

Aug. 8, 2008, 2:47pm

I got busy and lost track of time. Polls are closed. The winner is:

The book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe

I'll set us up some discussion threads.

Remember, their is no time limit, but in a month or so, as people get finished we'll do this again, if their is still interest.

Aug. 8, 2008, 3:14pm

Buffalo?! That would be me! Sorry about obscuring you in Toronto, at least you have the Leafs! Ha!

Aug. 8, 2008, 4:29pm

If you zoom in, you can distinguish everyone. Two Brits, two Canadians, two Aussies, and the rest in the US. Quite a group.

Aug. 8, 2008, 4:37pm

I live in the US, but am actually a Brit (Scot to be precise). So, not sure what that counts as :).

Bearbeitet: Aug. 8, 2008, 5:14pm

In the Group Reads - Sci Fi group I have set up discussion threads for each of the four books that make up The Book of the New Sun.

Aug. 9, 2008, 4:22am

I can see three balloons in Britain - presumably me, Ian and ReadingFox. I'm the Sheffield vote (that is where my ISP is not where I am).

Aug. 9, 2008, 12:29pm

PlusNet? I used to work for them.

Aug. 9, 2008, 3:00pm

Yep, that's right.

Aug. 11, 2008, 3:30pm

OK, so now that the book has been chosen how does this work - do we read the whole book and get back together by a certain date or do we discuss a chapter at a time or what (obviously I've never done this before!)

Aug. 11, 2008, 4:37pm

I've read the first book and started on the second. There are threads for each of the books you can post your thoughts in.

The individual chapters are quite short, so a chapter by chapter discussion might be impractical.

Aug. 11, 2008, 7:44pm


Aug. 12, 2008, 10:00pm

I'm reading the first Wolfe book and I'll definitely post in the first book thread when I finish. It might be awhile. I'm finding his writing style slow going, though I might speed up as I become more used to it.

Aug. 18, 2008, 2:56am

evidently out of print when i tried to order it from an independent bookstore. And i didn't have my "friends of the UNC library" card w/ me, so i couldn't replace my out of date one for free and would've had to spend $25 to get a new one...later this week, i'll have the card w/ me and pull it out of the undergrad library. (YA??????)

Aug. 18, 2008, 4:28am

Aren't the Orb omnibus editions Shadow And Claw and Sword and Citadel available either?

Aug. 18, 2008, 1:28pm

I'm about 2/3 done with Shadow of the Torturer. I'm not going to make it through all four books cause I don't like it enough to spend that much time on it. If I jump from the first to the 4th book, will it make any sense to me?

Aug. 18, 2008, 4:03pm

I finished "The shadow of the torturer". My opinion: not bad, but at this point I don't quite understand why it's such a classic. The first fourth promised more than the rest delivered, I think, or maybe I was led to expect a different sort of story, what with the rich philosophical and ethical implications of being a torturer, living in a tyranny etc.

Still, a rompful adventure is OK with me too, although, deja vu, deja vu...

And I could do without Severian's "profundity" on women. Them wenches and doxies, I mean. He's what, about twenty, and knew like one woman in his whole life.

Stylistically, no great shakes. I enjoy the latinizing and the obscure terms (I wonder if "oblesque" and "badelaire" will stick to my vocab), though at times the rhetoric goes a bit pompous. Incidentally, I feel obliged to point out the clumsy usage of "fricatrice" in one sentence, something about how "even a fricatrice opening her legs a dozen times a night wouldn't..."--well, while it's not impossible that a fricatrix would open her legs any number of times, the name designates one who's amatory specialty and/or preference is giving handjobs. Sort of a wasted term, there.

The plot and the characters... becomes a real jumble after he leaves the torturers. Hop, circus freaks, pub maids, giants, virgins, amnesiac angels (I love how to Dr. Talos Dorcas signifies "Innocence", while Severian's banging her forgetful brains out) and so on. I don't mind the mixture if there's (ultimately) some plan to it.

One thing--or that sort of thing--annoyed me, for instance, in that flower-duelling episode, when the "weapon" turns against Severian. I have no problem with accepting any painstakingly elaborate concept, however weird (or ridiculous) it may be, as long as there are no last-minute changes and additions to it, just for the sake of driving the plot. I mean, we are spending several chapters preparing for this duel and figuring out the properties of these weird plants--and then something totally unprecedented happens, and Severian's flower wants to eat his face. (And we get no explanation past that mumbled conjecture in Agilus's cell, "oh you knew that at night it would get warmer blah blah". What?!)

Anyway, this is a minor annoyance, but the accumulation of such manoeuvres can lead to bigger annoyance.

Aug. 18, 2008, 5:31pm


I would say not.


I wouldn't class the entire work as a rompful adventure far from it. However the large themes developed within the work is often a counterpoint to the fragmentary form of the story elements. On a purely surface plot and form basis it could be read as a hokey picaresque travelogue but the meaning often exists at right angles to the text. Plot points are skipped over and only referred to in retrospect. Others are presented in a misdirecting manner. Some others are not really cleared up (or at least not explicitly). You do need to read the whole to understand the parts. I think some of the imagery in Claw might help point the way to what Wolfe is trying to do with the text as a whole - however I have read the book before and that may help me pick up on such points more quickly than I otherwise would.

As for fricatrice - well the appendix says that the words chosen are done so for suggestive reasons rather than definitive ones. The dictionary definition is just a harlot.

Aug. 18, 2008, 5:49pm

Oh, I do intend to read the whole thing. Speaking of picaresque, I WAS reminded (in a comparison unfavourable for Wolfe) of Charles de Coster's "Till Eulenspiegel" in several places.

The dictionary definition is just a harlot.

That's not a good dictionary.

Bearbeitet: Aug. 19, 2008, 8:13am

#165 Lola, I don't understand your complaint about the avern attacking Severian. All his knowledge of it comes from Agia, who was plotting against him. It makes perfect sense that there would be a surpise.

ETA: when she agrees to help Severian pick an avern, Agia says something like "you have me to teach you? God help you" (obviously I don't have my book at hand). Doubly prophetic, it seems, in that he does need God's help, or someone's, if the secretly hostile Agia is his instructor, and apparently he gets some sort of help, since it appears he should have died when the flower attacked him.

Should we continue on the other thread?

Bearbeitet: Aug. 19, 2008, 9:56am

Any chance you could move the discussion about the book specifics to the thread for the book? I read this thread for news and would rather not have to worry about spoilers and stuff. That's the reason I'm avoiding the book specific thread until I finally finish the book (which is slow going for me). Thanks!

edit - Jim53 beat me to it but I didn't see it until after I posted. :-)

Aug. 19, 2008, 8:28pm

ooops, somehow I managed not to see four other threads. Sorry!

Aug. 21, 2008, 10:15am

I just found this from geneg's post in Group Reads - Literature. What a good idea! I'm not joining this one because this month's TBR pile keeps outgrowing my reading time but I'll definitely be in for the next choice!

Aug. 22, 2008, 3:48am

I took the suggestions from the polls, and have got myself "A Fire Upon the Deep" (Waiting for the Book of the New Sun to come), and plan to start this weekend. It looks very interesting.

Sept. 3, 2008, 8:57am

When do we vote for the next book to read? I've only just started The Sword of the Lictor, but I suspect I'll be done with all four in about a week. Of course, I do have other books I want to read as well...

Sept. 3, 2008, 9:23am

It is tempting to say soon. However there are people who are further behind (as well as ahead) in reading the books than you and I.

I would think waiting a couple of weeks before opening things up to new nominations (in a new thread please).

Sept. 3, 2008, 2:20pm

I think another 4 - 6 weeks should do. Not all of us are professional readers and don't have unlimited reading time for 1,000 pagers. There is no time limit to finish, but pressing people to finish can be intimidating. This is supposed to be fun. I've established a new thread for discussion of the work as a whole. If people use this thread, even just to indicate they're done, we can use it like microwave popcorn, as the wave of completions peaks we can start the process for the next read. In the meantime if you have another book to read, please feel free.

Sept. 5, 2008, 3:18pm

I finally got my copy of the book in the mail today. I guess I am probably the last one to read the book, but I am really excited, and I will try to catch up on the next one once it is chosen. I love receiving books in the mail!

Sept. 5, 2008, 3:38pm


You may be the last to start but that doesn't mean you will be the last to finish. Bob has only just started the first book this week as well. I'm on book three at the moment and I usually have a gap where I read something else between each book of the BotNS.

Sept. 5, 2008, 6:55pm

#177 I am glad that I have company at the beginning of the journey. It looks like it will be a good book and I plan to start it tonight!

Sept. 6, 2008, 7:00pm


I am still waiting for my librarian to receive my copy from the state-library.

I have read it less than a year ago, but there have been a lot of books under that bridge between now and then, and I wanted to see if the comments and views of other readers would influence and improve my perception of the book.

Bearbeitet: Sept. 13, 2008, 3:59pm

anyone else up for a go @ Neal Stephenson's latest, Anathem? I have it in my checkout @ Amazon..but need a bit of impetus to buy it after the last couple of volumes of the Baroque Cycle. But this one appears promising...

Sept. 14, 2008, 4:43am

I gave up on Stephenson after read 2/3 of the Baroque Cycle. I still think he's over-rated.

Sept. 14, 2008, 9:34am

While I don't have a negative opinion of Stephenson, I was under the impression we would move on to one of the other books discussed when we settled on Shadow of the Torturer such as Hyperion or A Deepness in the Sky. Maybe put Stephenson in our digital TBR file?

Sept. 14, 2008, 1:32pm

Diese Nachricht wurde vom Autor gelöscht.

Sept. 14, 2008, 1:32pm

Diese Nachricht wurde vom Autor gelöscht.

Sept. 14, 2008, 1:33pm

Given a choice, i'd rather read a book i don't own, maybe Scalzi(?); at least 7/8 people here have Hyperion in their catalog and 4+ the Vinge. I've never read anything of Scalzi's as best i know, so that would be something new. I like Hyperion a good deal and have read it twice, but it IS a bit pretentious; and i like A Deepness in the Sky a good deal more, but, again, just as a matter of personal preference, would rather try a book/author that's new to me.

Now i'm confirmed in my opinion that i'm not esp. wild about Wolfe...though i've enjoyed the Craw more than tSotT.

Sept. 14, 2008, 1:39pm

Maybe the method for picking a second book was never fully determined, but I had the impression for the next book we'd start over, though I'm sure some of the same books would show up again.

But I didn't finish choice one, so I don't plan to nominate or vote for anything on round two. Might try to read it though, if it's not too long. I'm taking a couple of classes that both have a lot of reading associated with them.

Sept. 14, 2008, 2:20pm

There are 8 of us with at least one Scalzi book in our library as well, out of the 25 members. Although I've read and own 3 of his books, The Last Colony is still on my TBR pile. I have both A Deepness in the Sky and A Fire Upon the Deep in my TBR pile (not in my catalog) and would welcome a push to move one of them up. I suspect we will end up nominating a new group, and then voting on them, and whatever is new and interesting to the most will be chosen!

Question to the group: I've already mentioned that I really liked The Fifth Head of Cerberus when I read it 20-some years ago. Of course, it's possible that my tastes have changed. I've not been that engaged in tBotNS at all. In my TBR pile is Wolfe's There Are Doors. What are your opinions of that book?

Sept. 15, 2008, 4:46am

I'd agree that The Fifth Head of Cerberus is better than The Book of the New Sun. I've not read There are Doors, though.

I only have an ebook of Old Man's War - the edition Tor gave away free when promoting their new web site. Incidentally, they've decided to give away even more free books.

Sept. 15, 2008, 11:12am

GwenH is correct. The process for selecting the next book will be the same as the last one. We will start from scratch, spend a couple of weeks taking nominations, a week voting, and start reading the next one mid October.

I will create a new nominations thread in two weeks. This should be enough time for those still involved with The Book of the New Sun to finish.

Sept. 15, 2008, 12:23pm

There Are Doors is pretty odd. The protagonist is not the sharpest crayola in the carton, and the reader has to figure this out. He's in love with a goddess from a world where men die after having sex once. Figures from the Nixon administration appear.

My own favorite among Wolfe's single-volume novels is Castleview, which is subtitled "An Arthurian epic of modern Illinois," and is just that.

Sept. 24, 2008, 3:54am


We should probably start our discussions now, so that we can actually get the group read underway by mid-October.

Sept. 28, 2008, 12:38pm

Possibly Anathem tho i'm not liking it as much as I'd hoped. It's reminding me too much of TBotNS (albeit a bit lighter). I'd also defn. be up for rereading/discussing one of V.Vinge's later space operas as was mooted in the first round. Probably A Fire upon the Deep as it precedes A deepness in the sky.

Sept. 28, 2008, 6:32pm

#192 bob, there's a new topic posted for suggestions for book 2.