Group Reads Book 6

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Group Reads Book 6

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1rojse
Apr. 16, 2009, 7:15am

Since it takes about a month to thrash out our group read selection, it's probably time to start compiling the selection of books we will read now.

2billiejean
Apr. 17, 2009, 9:04am

Just to let everyone know, I had trouble finding this book (Last and First Men). It has at last arrived, and I am starting it today. Sorry to be so late with this.
--BJ

3iansales
Apr. 17, 2009, 9:30am

I've had the book all along, but I've yet to read it. Other books ahead of it on the TBR... but I plan to start it before the end of the month.

4billiejean
Apr. 18, 2009, 11:09am

I have a book to nominate:

Solaris by Stanislaw Lem.

I had a couple of other ones to nominate, but now I can't remember what they were. I will add them when I find where I wrote them down.
--BJ

5GwenH
Bearbeitet: Apr. 19, 2009, 10:50pm

With J.G. Ballard's passing, I'll nominate a couple of books on my shelf I haven't read:

Vermilion Sands - from the back cover, "embodies the languid decay of a tawdry dream."
Chronopolis - a collection of his shorter stories

6iansales
Apr. 20, 2009, 2:02am

What about something more recent, like Millennium People or Kingdom Come?

7andyl
Apr. 20, 2009, 4:59am

#6

Well I guess because those two are usually considered mainstream. The two collections that Gwen mentions are unashamedly SF.

Personally I would go for The Unlimited Dream Company because I haven't read it, and haven't got a copy. It also won the 1979 BSFA Award.

8iansales
Apr. 20, 2009, 5:23am

Unfortunately, Chronopolis is a US-only collection. Vermilion Sands, however, is still available on Amazon.co.uk. Also available are some nice new editions of The Complete Short Stories Vol 1 and Vol 2, The Atrocity Exhibition, Concrete Island, Cocaine Nights, Crash, SuperCannes* and The Unlimited Dream Company. I've already read Cocaine Nights, Crash and SuperCannes, though.

(* Gah. This is insane - without the hyphen between Super and Cannes, the touchstone works... but the title is shown hyphenated. But with the hyphen, the touchstone doesn't work...)

9andyl
Apr. 20, 2009, 6:52am

#8

Yeah but if it was a US only collection someone could post the contents and I would read those stories from the Complete Short Stories.

Hello America is also in print.

10rojse
Apr. 20, 2009, 8:25pm

Well, if we want to read a Ballard book, what about The Drowned World?

11bobmcconnaughey
Apr. 20, 2009, 9:45pm

i'd really like to reread the drowned world again - i remember being really impressed by it decades ago. I think it was my intro to the 60s "new wave" SF.

12ronincats
Apr. 20, 2009, 10:11pm

There is one copy of The Drowned World in storage in the San Diego Library. But I had really been hoping for a modern potential classic after the last book.

13bobmcconnaughey
Apr. 21, 2009, 5:44pm

#12 - good point. Might be time to go look @ a few reviews of new stuff i haven't read.

14richardderus
Apr. 22, 2009, 4:11pm

Cyberabad Nights by Ian R. MacLeod?

15bobmcconnaughey
Apr. 22, 2009, 4:41pm

Cyberabad Days ? by Ian McDonald ?that's what i found @ Amazon - and would be happy to order a new book. I've liked McDonald's River of Gods and Brasyl a lot so that's a good suggestion by me.

16iansales
Apr. 22, 2009, 5:29pm

It's only just been published in hardback and, I think, trade paperback. I'd sooner we picked something available in massmarket.

17billiejean
Apr. 22, 2009, 7:59pm

Here are the other two suggestions that I had:

Way Station by Clifford Simak

Phytosphere by Scott MacKay.

These were LT recommendations.
--BJ

18rojse
Apr. 22, 2009, 8:24pm

Nominations so far:

Chronopolis by J. G. Ballard
Millennium People by J. G. Ballard
Kingdom Come by J. G. Ballard'
The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard
The Unlimited Dream Company by J. G. Ballard
Vermilion Sands by J. G. Ballard
Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
Phytosphere by Scott MacKay
Cyberabad Days by Ian R. MacLeod
Way Station by Clifford Simak

It looks like I might have accidentally stumbled onto the J. G. Ballard fan group on LT.

19billiejean
Apr. 23, 2009, 4:06am

LOL! I think that you are right!
--BJ

20iansales
Apr. 23, 2009, 4:36am

Well, he has just died. And he was a giant of the genre. If he hadn't died, I suspect no one would have nominated any of his novels.

Here's a few more suggestions:
Majestrum, Matthew hughes
The Accord, Keith Brooke

21richardderus
Apr. 23, 2009, 9:27am

ian mcdonald is, of course, the author of cyberabad days. pain making me fuzzy, sorry.

how about beggars in spain by nancy kress? paper editions of this one.

22Aerrin99
Apr. 23, 2009, 10:17am

Ooooh, I've heard such good things about Beggars in Spain!

I'll also toss Neuromancer (William Gibson) up there, since it was my vote last time and it's still on my tbr list...

23iansales
Apr. 23, 2009, 10:20am

I've read Beggars in Spain and thought it was merely okay. Neuromancer I'd be interested in reading again, just to see how well it's aged.

24richardderus
Apr. 23, 2009, 10:25am

i'm just reading beggars in spain for the first time now. it's okay, quite competent writing, but it's getting better as i go along instead of the usual decreasing satisfaction i get from "just okay" books.

25rojse
Apr. 23, 2009, 7:40pm

Chronopolis by J. G. Ballard
Millennium People by J. G. Ballard
Kingdom Come by J. G. Ballard
The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard
The Unlimited Dream Company by J. G. Ballard
Vermilion Sands by J. G. Ballard
The Accord, Keith Brooke
Neuromancer, William Gibson
Majestrum, Matthew Hughes
Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
Phytosphere by Scott MacKay
Cyberabad Days by Ian R. MacLeod
Way Station by Clifford Simak

26rojse
Apr. 23, 2009, 7:41pm

#20

Surely we should be appreciating giants of the genre that are still alive? Or do writers have to be like painters, and only get their true appreciation after they have passed on?

27GwenH
Apr. 23, 2009, 8:20pm

I'll throw out one more, a book I just came across that looks interesting....

Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon

28iansales
Apr. 24, 2009, 3:02am

#26 We might as well note his passing by reading one of his books. Perhaps, if he hadn't died, in due time one of his books would have been picked.

29bobmcconnaughey
Apr. 25, 2009, 12:06pm

but i do have an urge to read something relatively new. Neuromancer held up decently, when i reread it a couple of yrs ago, but Gibson's writing has defn. improved over time.
Zoe's Tale is going mass market in a couple of days in the US. I liked Old Man's War a good deal. And then i can pass the copy on to the friend who passed on her copy of OMWar to me! So I'll add one nom for Zoe's Tale.

30rojse
Bearbeitet: Apr. 29, 2009, 8:40pm

I would like to nominate The Watchmen just for something a bit different. It's a graphic novel about superheroes set in an alternate history of the 1980's. Apparently won a Hugo in 1988 and graphic novels were subsequently banned from nominations.

31rojse
Apr. 29, 2009, 8:41pm

Chronopolis by J. G. Ballard
Millennium People by J. G. Ballard
Kingdom Come by J. G. Ballard
The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard
The Unlimited Dream Company by J. G. Ballard
Vermilion Sands by J. G. Ballard
The Accord, Keith Brooke
Neuromancer, William Gibson
Majestrum, Matthew Hughes
Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
Phytosphere by Scott MacKay
Cyberabad Days by Ian R. MacLeod
Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon
The Watchmen by Alan Moore
Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi
Way Station by Clifford Simak

We'll leave the nominations open until next Monday, then we will start seconding books for that next week, if that is okay with the rest of those in the group read.

32andyl
Apr. 30, 2009, 5:52am

#30

That isn't quite right. Each Worldcon can have one special Hugo category if they wish. These are rarely the same year to year. In 1988 the category was "Best Other Forms" which Watchman won. This year there is the special category of "Best Graphical Story" (which apparently could be a three panel comic as length isn't an issue). Also at last year's business meeting someone proposed a new permanent category of "Best Graphical Story" which passed. It will need to be ratified at this year's business meeting (another vote) before it comes into being as a Hugo category.

Apparently this year's special category of "Best Graphical Story" seems to have got a reasonable number of nominations so it looks hopeful for those who want to see a graphical story Hugo.

33billiejean
Mai 1, 2009, 1:20am

I can't remember. Do we just second one book?
--BJ

34rojse
Mai 1, 2009, 11:24pm

#33

Yes, we nominate as many books as we like, but we can only second one book.

35Welachild
Mai 4, 2009, 10:49am

I'd like to second The Accord by Keith Brooke

36Aerrin99
Mai 4, 2009, 11:09am

I'll second Beggars in Spain.

37andyl
Mai 4, 2009, 11:36am

If we are moving to seconding then I'll add my voice to The Accord.

38ronincats
Mai 4, 2009, 11:56am

I'll second The Watchmen.

39richardderus
Mai 4, 2009, 12:22pm

seconding the watchmen.

40aihre
Bearbeitet: Mai 4, 2009, 2:35pm

(new member joining)

I second Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi. (Especially since it's quite high on my reading list.)

BTW, Cyberbad Days was written by Ian McDonald, not Ian R. MacLeod.

41rojse
Mai 4, 2009, 8:05pm

Currently

(3) The Accord, Keith Brooke
(3) The Watchmen by Alan Moore
(2) Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
(2) Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi

Chronopolis by J. G. Ballard
Cyberabad Days by Ian McDonald
Kingdom Come by J. G. Ballard
Majestrum, Matthew Hughes
Millennium People by J. G. Ballard
Neuromancer, William Gibson
Phytosphere by Scott MacKay
Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon
Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard
The Unlimited Dream Company by J. G. Ballard
Vermilion Sands by J. G. Ballard
Way Station by Clifford Simak

42billiejean
Mai 5, 2009, 12:42am

I will second Neuromancer.
--BJ

43BekkaJo
Bearbeitet: Mai 5, 2009, 8:05am

I'd quite like to second Solaris since it is also on the 1001 books to read before you die which I am plugging away at :)

44rojse
Mai 5, 2009, 4:01am

Currently

(3) The Accord, Keith Brooke
(3) The Watchmen by Alan Moore
(2) Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
(2) Neuromancer, William Gibson
(2) Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
(2) Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi

Chronopolis by J. G. Ballard
Cyberabad Days by Ian McDonald
Kingdom Come by J. G. Ballard
Majestrum, Matthew Hughes
Millennium People by J. G. Ballard
Phytosphere by Scott MacKay
Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon
The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard
The Unlimited Dream Company by J. G. Ballard
Vermilion Sands by J. G. Ballard
Way Station by Clifford Simak

We'll leave the seconding open for several days so that everyone can have the chance to nominate something, and then the top five (plus any tied votes) will go to an online poll.

45iansales
Mai 5, 2009, 4:12am

I''ll second Neuromancer since I'd like to see how well it stands up today.

46GwenH
Mai 5, 2009, 10:12am

Hah, I suppose I should think about considering my taste in SF reading validated in some way. I've read 3 of the 6 seconded books within the last few months. :D

Maybe I'll even vote for one of them, and then I'd spend the time finishing my slog through "Last and First Men". Yes, I'm still attacking it a few pages at a time. I'm even enjoying it in small doses. Stableford has a very dry and subtle sense of humor.

47bobmcconnaughey
Mai 5, 2009, 10:23am

i'll second Zoe's Tale - i liked Old Man's War and this is in some wise a sequel, and a mass market paperback and I haven't read it.

I really don't think Neuromancer stands up all that well, and i'm a major Gibson fan. It's not that technology has long passed (in many regards) that described in Neuromancer that's my problem, it's that I think Gibson has rather steadily improved his writing over the years (although he's become a bit less SFish,too). But both his immersion on Japanese culture and his marked growth as a writer make his later books much more appealing to me. (I did reread Neuro about a year ago, and kept my copy of course, it IS an important book)

48CD1am
Mai 5, 2009, 3:55pm

I'll second Majestrum by Mathew Hughes.

49rojse
Mai 6, 2009, 7:37am

(3) The Accord, Keith Brooke
(3) The Watchmen by Alan Moore
(3) Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi
(3) Neuromancer, William Gibson
(2) Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
(2) Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
(2) Majestrum, Matthew Hughes

Chronopolis by J. G. Ballard
Cyberabad Days by Ian McDonald
Kingdom Come by J. G. Ballard
Millennium People by J. G. Ballard
Phytosphere by Scott MacKay
Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon
The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard
The Unlimited Dream Company by J. G. Ballard
Vermilion Sands by J. G. Ballard
Way Station by Clifford Simak

If someone seconds one of the three books with two votes, I'll start the poll up.

50geneg
Mai 6, 2009, 1:12pm

I second Cyberabad Days. It has a really cool title. Reminiscent of 1940's memoirs with a flavor of the mysterious Middle East. Of course, I have no idea what the book is actually about, but the title sells it to me.

51LolaWalser
Mai 6, 2009, 1:18pm

So... how many seconded books will enter the final round?

I'll second (third) that Nancy Kress book, I never heard of the author.

52rojse
Mai 6, 2009, 6:41pm

(3) Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
(3) Neuromancer, William Gibson
(3) The Accord, Keith Brooke
(3) The Watchmen by Alan Moore
(3) Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi
(2) Cyberabad Days by Ian McDonald
(2) Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
(2) Majestrum, Matthew Hughes

Chronopolis by J. G. Ballard
Kingdom Come by J. G. Ballard
Millennium People by J. G. Ballard
Phytosphere by Scott MacKay
Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon
The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard
The Unlimited Dream Company by J. G. Ballard
Vermilion Sands by J. G. Ballard
Way Station by Clifford Simak

#51

Top five, plus any tied vote, will enter the voting round. So if we had six books with three votes, we'd vote on those six.

I'll leave the vote open until next Monday, gives everyone the rest of the week to choose.

53bobmcconnaughey
Mai 7, 2009, 8:24am

i read the prequel to Cyberabad Days and liked it a lot - but, as Ian says, if one has to buy it, it's only out in a trade paperback at this point, i think.

anything but Solaris, really. I don't think watchmen is anywhere nearly as good as V for Vendetta but i do own it. I'm sure our son can't find the copy of beggers in spain he "borrowed" several years ago for his class in SF lit, but wouldn't mind buying a new copy. Neuromancer IS historically (well, w/in genre) v. important, so worth talking about. I just want something w/ a bit of plot and some decent characterization and maybe just a bit of excitement.

54aihre
Mai 7, 2009, 1:34pm

*nudges bobmcconnaughey and whispers* Vote for Zoe's Tale or Majestrum! ;) Either one should have all your criteria... although it's worth reading Scalzi's previous novels before one tackles Zoe's Tale. *grin*

56bobmcconnaughey
Mai 11, 2009, 9:39pm

well i enjoyed old man's war a good deal, so i cast a losing vote for Zoe's Tale.

57billiejean
Mai 12, 2009, 8:38am

You never know. Things can change. There are still a lot of votes out there. :)
--BJ

58bobmcconnaughey
Mai 14, 2009, 7:11am

hmm. if it voting comes down to a tie, i think i'd like to switch my vote away from Zoe and on to Neuromancer - there IS an awful lot of discussion material in one relatively slim volume!

59ronincats
Mai 16, 2009, 12:11pm

Looks like it's still a tie between Beggars in Spain and Neuromancer. That's a good choice for me. Beggars has been sitting waiting for me to read it for years because I really liked Kress' An Alien Light, and, also sitting on my shelf, I haven't read Neuromancer since it first came out. So I'm good either way, and I'll finish Watchmen on my own.

16 votes, although I only count 14 markers.

60GwenH
Mai 16, 2009, 12:49pm

I count 16 markers. There are two close to each other in southern California, one in Canada, one in Australia.

BTW, I didn't vote as I'm still reading Last and First Men.

So far, including bobmcconnaughey's switch to Neuromancer, it looks like that's winning.

61ronincats
Bearbeitet: Mai 16, 2009, 1:30pm

Ah, I missed the La Jolla one, hiding behind mine. I counted the one Australia, two Canada, 3 in England, 3 on the west coast, 4 in the midwest, 3 in the east. So I come out with the 16 too. Thanks, Gwen.

Bob, why does it say you are in South Carolina on the poll map?

62bobmcconnaughey
Mai 17, 2009, 12:20pm

i didn't know i'd moved till you noticed it. I dunno - i'm pretty sure i was in NC for the previous polls.

63rojse
Mai 17, 2009, 11:10pm

Since it looks like it is a tie between Neuromancer and Beggars in Spain, and Bob has changed his vote to Neuromancer, it looks like that is the winning book.

64LolaWalser
Mai 17, 2009, 11:13pm

Wait! Wait! Wait!

I switch my vote to Beggars in Spain.

hehehehe

65GwenH
Mai 18, 2009, 12:05am

I have an idea for a tie-breaker!

I was just stuck about 10 miles from the epicenter of a mag 5 earthquake. Some books went flying out of my bookcases. I could pick one of those for you. Maybe the one with the name closest in the alphabet to one of the two frontrunners.

Just kidding of course. I'm just finding myself a bit hyper after the shake and rattle. This is the second one in as many weeks. :-O

And the SF bookcases really did wobble a bit! Woah, I'm hearing lots of sirens suddenly. Not surprised exactly, though me and my neighbors were rattled but ok.

66rojse
Mai 18, 2009, 7:39pm

Obviously you are fine, since you are able to make posts on LT, so the real question here is, are your books okay?

67GwenH
Mai 18, 2009, 8:59pm

Yeah, my books mostly survived unscathed. A few paperbacks landed funny and ended up with creases in their covers, but only a few.

68LolaWalser
Mai 19, 2009, 9:34am

Why don't we vote on Neuromancer and Beggar? Polls are FUN.

69rojse
Mai 19, 2009, 7:43pm

#68

Only if your choice wins.

By the way, I change my vote to Neuromancer. It looks like Neuromancer wins, then. ;-)

70billiejean
Mai 20, 2009, 12:59am

Yea! I already have a copy of this one. :)
--BJ

71LolaWalser
Mai 20, 2009, 8:12am

I vote to ban changing votes!

Seriously, I think the only fair thing to do about ties is to break them by another round of voting.

72RebeccaAnn
Mai 20, 2009, 8:20am

I think that can only be said by someone who didn't change their vote to Beggars in Spain! ;-P

73bobmcconnaughey
Mai 20, 2009, 10:50am

i really don't know how much of a pain it is to put up the polls, but if it's pretty easy, voting again seems reasonable to me - but then i'm not doing any of the work.

74richardderus
Mai 20, 2009, 3:17pm

I weigh in on the tie-breaker vote side, instead of the vote-changing side. That said, either book's workin' for me.

75geneg
Mai 20, 2009, 4:34pm

Which is the better read?

76rojse
Mai 20, 2009, 8:46pm

It's not overly difficult to set up a poll - five minutes work at most. Just create an account with Vizu, and you can set up the poll.

So here is the poll.

http://www.vizu.com/poll-vote.html?n=164609

Just to clear up any misconceptions, I don't actually run this at all - Geneg created the group, after all. I just occasionally do whatever needs to be done, under the instructions of the majority of people who are concerned enough to post their opinions. If anyone thinks something needs to be done, whether it is starting a new voting thread, creating a poll, or whatever else there is, by all means go ahead and do it.

77billiejean
Mai 21, 2009, 12:49am

And thanks so much for all you do! I really appreciate it.
--BJ

78Pandababy
Mai 21, 2009, 5:09pm

I just joined and if isn't too late I'd like to vote for Beggar's In Spain. I read it a couple of years ago but Nancy Kress is one of my favorite authors and would enjoy reading it as part of a group. The same would go for Remnant Population.

My latest new read is Conspirator, and although C. J. Cherryh is my favorite author and I loved Foreigner, I didn't think Conspirator measured up. My latest re-read is War of Honor, Weber's tenth book in the Honor Harrington series, which I like very much more this second time around.

79Aerrin99
Mai 21, 2009, 6:50pm

> 78 We're doing a run-off for the tie now, so if you just visit the poll link, you can vote!

http://www.vizu.com/poll-vote.html?n=164609

80bobmcconnaughey
Mai 21, 2009, 8:01pm

whatever the reason, i'm back home in N. Carolina now.

81rojse
Bearbeitet: Mai 21, 2009, 11:16pm

Read your blog, Ian, including your comments about Stapledon's Last and First Men. It seems to match the comments given by other posters - good ideas, but doesn't delve deeply enough into them.

Perhaps you might enjoy something of Stapledon's that has more of a conventional narrative tone, such as Sirius or Odd John, and concentrates more closely one or two ideas instead of a multitude?

82iansales
Bearbeitet: Mai 22, 2009, 4:04am

#81 I have Star Maker (it's also in the SF Masterworks series, and I have them all), but I believe that's much like Last and First Men. I also collect the Galaxy novels by Beacon Books, and the first one they did was Odd John. I'm still looking for a copy. Which reminds... I ought to do a blog post on the Beacon Books...

83rojse
Mai 22, 2009, 7:08am

#82

What are the Galaxy novels, dare I ask, or will I find out in one of your future blogs?

84iansales
Mai 22, 2009, 7:19am

I shall post a link as soon as the piece is finished. For the time being... here's a piece on one of them.

85rojse
Mai 23, 2009, 12:41am

#84

So, SF novels with added sex scenes?

Hmm... I don't see how Odd John would work in that sort of way.

86iansales
Mai 23, 2009, 2:18am

I think Odd John was one of the few that wasn't "spiced-up". Neither was Philip José Farmer's Flesh, but that was only because it didn't need to be...

87ogodei
Mai 24, 2009, 12:59pm

#85

I think this happened with some regularity in the 50s and 60s in order to resell magazine stories as novels. For instance, Fritz Leiber published "You're All Alone" in Fantastic Adventures in 1950. In '53, an editor at Universal Publishing added soft-core porn scenes and sold the result as the novel The Sinful Ones. Then the story was shortened and published again as "The Big Engine" in Galaxy in '62, then sold yet again as the novel You're All Alone, with new Leiber-written sex scenes, in '72.

Ian is right that sometimes the graphic sex (well, graphic for the 50s) changes the tone of the book to a large degree. Obviously the editors were trying to reach a new audience for the works.

88bobmcconnaughey
Mai 24, 2009, 8:31pm

OK - just ordered a copy of Beggars in Spain. I'm good w/ either (in about 2 wks)

Jeez - we were inventorying a bunch of MMP SF/F books and the cheesiness of the books construction was chastening - not to mention the realization that probably a third of them are too funky in re mold/dust for me to actually read again.

89rojse
Mai 24, 2009, 8:36pm

It seems that Nancy Kress' "Beggars in Spain" is the winner of the run-off poll, getting over sixty percent of the vote.

90ronincats
Mai 31, 2009, 11:03pm

When shall we plan to start or, alternatively, to have finished so we can discuss? I don't see a thread started for it yet, so I'm going to start one under the book's title.

91rojse
Jun. 1, 2009, 9:13pm

Good work, ronincats.

92CD1am
Bearbeitet: Jun. 2, 2009, 3:23pm

The library just notified me that Beggars in Spain is in so I should be able to get this read in time to actually participate in the discussion.