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Dallas Sci-Fi Book Club Message Board › 2011 Newest Book Poll

2011 Newest Book Poll

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A former member
Post #: 266
Here's the list (in two messages) vote for 8 and we'll cover the next 8 months:

Contact - Sagan
It is December 1999, the dawn of the millennium, and a team of international scientists is poised for the most fantastic adventure in human history. After years of scanning the galaxy for signs of somebody or something else, this team believes they've found a message from an intelligent source--and they travel deep into space to meet it. Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Sagan injects Contact, his prophetic adventure story, with scientific details that make it utterly believable. It is a Cold War era novel that parlays the nuclear paranoia of the time into exquisitely wrought tension among the various countries involved.

Startide Rising - Brin
The Terran exploration vessel Streaker has crashed in the uncharted water world of Kithrup, bearing one of the most important discoveries in galactic history. Below, a handful of her human and dolphin crew battles armed rebellion and a hostile planet to safeguard her secret--the fate of the Progenitors, the fabled First Race who seeded wisdom throughout the stars.

Ambient - Womack
Set in a decaying and violent twenty-first-century New York, Ambient tells the story of O'Malley, a very special bodyguard for an outrageously ruthless CEO named Dryden, and of his attempts to woo Dryden's personal femme fatale, Avalon. But what begins as a simple case of unrequited love quickly turns into a complicated deathtrap involving corporate intrigue, murderous family rivalries, and perverse subcultures.

Strange in a Strange Land - Heinlien
Stranger in a strange land tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human raised by Martians on the planet Mars, upon his return to Earth in early adulthood. The novel explores his interaction and transformation of Earth culture. Typically of Heinlein, this book cover a variety of human taboos, including homosexuality, nudism, and cannibalism. The book introduces the character of Jubal Harshaw who is a central figure in many later books by Heinlein.

Star King - Vance
Star King is the first book of the Demon Princes quintet. The series' story follows Kirth Gersen as he wreaks his revenge on five interstellar criminals who were responsible for enslaving his town when he was a child. Each novel details his revenge on one of the criminals. The first criminal is Attel Malagate the Woe, a member of an alien race known as Star Kings.

The Integral Trees - Niven - interesting setting
The book takes us into a free-fall environment, the remains of a gaseous planet orbiting a star in a binary system. Life has evolved there, free of the constrains of gravity. Ponds drift about as spheres of water, and multi-kilometer long trees are like small worlds containing lifeforms of numerous bizzare types. Humankind has reverted to tribal structures, the technology that brought them long forgotten. The old ways of Earth have all but dissapeared, existing only as ghosts in the speech patterns of the characters.

On Basilisk Station - Weber
The Hnor Harrington series' kickoff puts a giddy Commander Harrington at the helm of her first serious starship, the HMS Fearless. But her excitement quickly fades--political maneuvering by top brass in the Manticoran navy has left her light cruiser outfitted with a half-baked experimental weapons system. Against all odds (just the way Honor likes it), she still manages a clever coup in tactical war games, a feat that earns her accolades--and enemies. The politicians she's offended banish her to a galactic backwater, Basilisk Station. But that outpost soon proves to be a powder keg, and it's up to Harrington and the Fearless crew to thwart the aggressive plans of the Haven Republic. A perfect mix of military SF and high adventure. EBook available from the Baen Free Library http://www.webscripti...­

The Time Ships - Baxter - the not so sequel
What if the time machine from H.G. Wells' classic novel of the same name had fallen into government hands? That's the question that led Stephen Baxter to create this modern-day sequel, which combines a basic Wellsian premise with a Baxteresque universe-spanning epic. The Time Traveller, driven by his failure to save Weena from the Morlocks, sets off again for the future. But this time the future has changed, altered by the very tale of the Traveller's previous journey.

More Than Human - Sturgeon
All alone: an idiot boy, a runaway girl, a severely retarded baby, and twin girls with a vocabulary of two words between them. Yet once they are mysteriously drawn together this collection of misfits becomes something very, very different from the rest of humanity. This intensely written and moving novel is an extraordinary vision of humanity’s next step.


A former member
Post #: 267
The Man Who Was Thursday - Chesterton - written in 1907
At first read, G.K. Chesterton’s the Man Who Was Thursday is a zany mystery story filled with often surreal twists that turn more traditional thrillers on their ear. Set in a fantastic London where the ridiculous never nears the sublime, our hero, Gabriel Syme revolts against the status quo and breaks out as—normal. Yet Syme’s normalcy provides the perfect foil to illustrate the insanity around him—and for Chesterton to illustrate the insanity he saw in turn-of-the-century London.

1984 - Orwell - the classic
George Orwell wrote 1984 a year before his death to show the world the grim and bleak future of a society subject to totalitarianism. It’s a disturbing and chilling story of Big Brother, where sex is frowned upon and only to be used for reproductive purposes. In the novel the world has been grouped into three opposing forces: Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia. Winston Smith, of Oceania, is living in London, a society where you are monitored constantly through telescreens which are in every room. Even if you are physically alone, you are always being watched and individualism is forbidden. The government provides the ‘entertainment’: movies and music. Crime is monitored by the Thought Police, an elite and secretive government organization that can erase you and all records of your existence.

Caves of Steel - Asmiov - the first Robot book
A human police detective, Baley, lives in New York City a thousand years hence. He's tapped to help solve a murder in a community where robots are not reviled and ends up with a partner, Daneel, who is a highly sophisticated, humanoid machine. Baley and Daneel don't have an easy time with each other or with those New Yorkers, called Medievalists, who despise robots. The action moves swiftly, yet there is time for Asimov to weave in some engaging and edifying glosses on the Bible as literature—and for Baley to smoke, making this as an adult book of the period.

Atlas Shurgged - Ayn Rynd - very imaginative
Atlas Shrugged is the astounding story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world–and did. Tremendous in scope, breathtaking in its suspense, Atlas Shrugged stretches the boundaries further than any book you have ever read. It is a mystery, not about the murder of a man’s body, but about the murder–and rebirth–of man’s spirit.

Old Man's War -Scalzi - Star troops!
With his wife dead and buried, and life nearly over at 75, John Perry takes the only logical course of action left him: he joins the army. Now better known as the Colonial Defense Force (CDF), Perry's service-of-choice has extended its reach into interstellar space to pave the way for human colonization of other planets while fending off marauding aliens. The CDF has a trick up its sleeve that makes enlistment especially enticing for seniors: the promise of restoring youth. After bonding with a group of fellow recruits who dub their clique the Old Farts, Perry finds himself in a new body crafted from his original DNA and upgraded for battle, including fast-clotting "smartblood" and a brain-implanted personal computer. All too quickly the Old Farts are separated, and Perry fights for his life on various alien-infested battlegrounds.

Spin – Robert Charles Wilson
One night the stars go out. From that breathtaking "what if," Wilson (Blind Lake, etc.) builds an astonishingly successful mélange of SF thriller, growing-up saga, tender love story, father-son conflict, ecological parable and apocalyptic fable in prose that sings the music of the spheres. The narrative time oscillates effortlessly between Tyler Dupree's early adolescence and his near-future young manhood haunted by the impending death of the sun and the earth. Tyler's best friends, twins Diane and Jason Lawton, take two divergent paths: Diane into a troubling religious cult of the end, Jason into impassioned scientific research to discover the nature of the galactic Hypotheticals whose "Spin" suddenly sealed Earth in a "cosmic baggie," making one of its days equal to a hundred million years in the universe beyond. As convincing as Wilson's scientific hypothesizing is--biological, astrophysical, medical--he excels even more dramatically with the infinitely intricate, minutely nuanced relationships among Jason, Diane and Tyler, whose older self tries to save them both with medicines from Mars, terraformed through Jason's genius into an incubator for new humanity. This brilliant excursion into the deepest inner and farthest outer spaces offers doorways into new worlds--if only humankind strives and seeks and finds and will not yield compassion for our fellow beings
A former member
Post #: 268
My votes:

Stranger in a Strange Land
The Integral Trees
On Basilisk Station
The Time Ships
More Than Human
Old Man's War
Atlas Shrugged
A former member
Post #: 14
My votes:

Contact - Sagan
Stranger in a Strange Land - Heinlein
The Man Who Was Thursday - Chesterton
1984 - Orwell
Caves of Steel - Asmiov
Atlas Shurgged - Ayn Rynd
Star King - Vance
Snow Crash - Stephenson (not on the list, but has been barely passed up the last 2 votes) tongue
A former member
Post #: 2
Any chance of convincing folks to choose two now to tide us over and then open it up for some different choices?

There are a number of books in the nomination thread that started in March that look really interesting but by the time I cross off the ones from the current voting selection that I'm not interested in or have read too many times I'm coming up far short of eight left.

Diamond Age over Snow Crash if we're doing Stephenson [ Nathan started it :) ]
Old Man's war is such a quick read it might be fun to do it at the same time as Jon Steakly's Armor or Heinlein's Startship Troopers just for the contrast.

Roy A.
Dallas, TX
Post #: 3
It is easier to see the books I am reluctant to read than the ones I want to.

Startide Rising - read a long time ago and loved
Star King - great Vance
The Time Ships - Sounds interesting
Caves of Steel - I've forgotten the plot I read this so long ago. Classic robot?
Old Man's War - As Larry said, a quick read - hint, hint: It's fun to read
Snow Crash or the Diamond Age (write in and dealers choice)
Stranger in a Strange Land

Of the others, I have reservations about:
Ambient - Apparently written with lots of new slang to learn. Compared to Clockwork Orange which I found somewhat difficult to read for the same reason

Atlas Shrugged - Pretty good read and good for hours and hours of political discussion. Also 1200 pages

1984 - Dead grim!
A former member
Post #: 2
Startide Rising
More Than Human
Caves of Steel

Read both Startide and More Than Human years and years ago, remember liking. Read Old Mans War more recently and it was an interesting concept. Spin is on list because it was an "if you liked....." recommendation with Vernor Vinge. I'm pretty sure I've read a few of the others, too, but memory of them is fuzzier and I'm sure any of them will be fine. Not as interested in Time Ships, 1984 or Stranger in a Strange Land.

A former member
Post #: 3
On Basilisk Station
Caves of Steel
More than Human
Star King

Not an Ayn Rand fan. Oooh, that rhymed a bit.
user 11321847
Dallas, TX
Post #: 3
Strange in a strange land
Snow Crash
The time Ships
sorry nathan but please no 1984 high school flash backs not interested :)

But I will read whatever the group decides - So far I have enjoyed our picks, for me it is reading something new.
A former member
Post #: 269
Okay, the results:
Contact, Caves, Stranger in a Strange Land got 5 votes
Time Ships, More Than Human, Star King and the write in Snow Crash each got 3 votes

Everything else got 2 or less. So......Here we go

Caves of Steel - July
Contact - August
Star King - Sept
Stranger in a Strange Land - Oct
Snow Crash - Nov (this has been on the list and always got votes but never enough, so we'll go with it over Diamond Age)
More Than Human - Dec
Time Ships - Jan 2012

After Jan I believe the world has ended anyway, so that's probably it for us all.
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