Dallas Sci-Fi Book Club Message Board › New Book Choices -- Add more selections of your choice in the comments and t

New Book Choices -- Add more selections of your choice in the comments and then we will vote

A former member
Post #: 22
"A Fire Upon the Deep" - Vernor Vinge

In this Hugo-winning 1991 novel, Vernor Vinge gives us a wild new cosmology, a galaxy-spanning "Net of a Million Lies," some finely imagined aliens, and much nail-biting suspense.

Faster-than-light travel remains impossible near Earth, deep in the galaxy's Slow Zone--but physical laws relax in the surrounding Beyond. Outside that again is the Transcend, full of unguessable, godlike "Powers." When human meddling wakes an old Power, the Blight, this spreads like a wildfire mind virus that turns whole civilizations into its unthinking tools. And the half-mythical Countermeasure, if it exists, is lost with two human children on primitive Tines World.

"The Man in the High Castle" - Philip K. Dick

It's America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco, the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some twenty years earlier the United States lost a war—and is now occupied by Nazi Germany and Japan.

This harrowing, Hugo Award-winning novel is the work that established Philip K. Dick as an innovator in science fiction while breaking the barrier between science fiction and the serious novel of ideas. In it Dick offers a haunting vision of history as a nightmare from which it may just be possible to wake.

"The Dispossessed" - Ursula K. Le Guin

Centuries ago, the moon Anarres was settled by utopian anarchists who left the Earthlike planet Urras in search of a better world, a new beginning. Now a brilliant physicist, Shevek, determines to reunite the two civilizations that have been separated by hatred since long before he was born.

The Dispossessed is a penetrating examination of society and humanity -- and one man's brave undertaking to question the unquestionable and ignite the fires of change.

"The Yiddish Policemen's Union" - Michael Chabon

For sixty years Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the Federal District of Sitka, a "temporary" safe haven created in the wake of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. The Jews of the Sitka District have created their own little world in the Alaskan panhandle, a vibrant and complex frontier city that moves to the music of Yiddish. But now the District is set to revert to Alaskan control, and their dream is coming to an end.

Homicide detective Meyer Landsman of the District Police has enough problems without worrying about the upcoming Reversion. His life is a shambles, his marriage a wreck, his career a disaster. And in the cheap hotel where Landsman has washed up, someone has just committed a murder—right under his nose. When he begins to investigate the killing of his neighbor, a former chess prodigy, word comes down from on high that the case is to be dropped immediately, and Landsman finds himself contending with all the powerful forces of faith, obsession, evil, and salvation that are his heritage.

"Redshirts" - John Scalzi

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, with the chance to serve on "Away Missions" alongside the starship’s famous senior officers.

Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to realize that 1) every Away Mission involves a lethal confrontation with alien forces, 2) the ship’s senior officers always survive these confrontations, and 3) sadly, at least one low-ranking crew member is invariably killed. Unsurprisingly, the savvier crew members belowdecks avoid Away Missions at all costs.

Then Andrew stumbles on information that transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.

"Ready Player One" - Ernest Cline

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

"Anathem" - Neal Stephenson

Anathem is perhaps the most brilliant literary invention to date from the incomparable Neal Stephenson, who rocked the world with Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, and The Baroque Cycle. Now he imagines an alternate universe where scientists, philosophers, and mathematicians live in seclusion behind ancient monastery walls until they are called back into the world to deal with a crisis of astronomical proportions.

"The Windup Girl" - Paolo Bacigalupi

Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko. Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in a chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe.

"Ender's Game" - Orson Scott Card

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

"Neverwhere" - Neil Gaiman

Richard Mayhew is a young man with a good heart and an ordinarylife, which is changed forever when he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk. His small act of kindness propels him into a world he never dreamed existed. There are people who fall through the cracks, and Richard has become one of them. And he must learn to survive in this city of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels, if he is ever to return to the London that he knew.
Rusty P.
user 18985811
Dallas, TX
Post #: 1
I would like to add:
ARK by Stephen Baxter
It's the year 2030. The oceans have risen rapidly, and soon the entire planet will be submerged. But the discovery of another life-sustaining planet light years away gives those who remain alive hope. Only a few will be able to make the journey-Holle Groundwater is one of the candidates. If she makes the cut, she will live. If not, she will be left to face a watery death...
A former member
Post #: 1
I'm new to the group, so I'm not sure what you have read up to this point. However, I would be happy with any of the choices given so far! I'm already half way through Anathem, so, of course, that would be ideal... ;-)
A former member
Post #: 24
Heidi,

In the "Discussions" tab there's a discussion named "Previously Read Book List" that is up to date of everything read. Feel free to add suggestions after you've browsed them.
A former member
Post #: 2
Thanks, Nathan. I am a little new to Meetup, as well as to this group, so the guidance is appreciated.

I love the things that you have been reading so far! A couple additional suggestions would be:

Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds

A former member
Post #: 65
All of the suggestions look great, especially The Dispossessed and the Michael Chabon book. I also think the BBC miniseries of Neverwhere was amazing if you haven't seen it.
Roy A.
RoyAA
Dallas, TX
Post #: 7
A few to add to the mix. Some of the additions may be more off the beaten track but books I have enjoyed.

Bone Song by John Meaney: Meaney is interesting and often quite different. This is an odd scientific fantasy. Imagine a modern up to date world of magic. From Amazon:
In this darkly luminous thriller, John Meaney blends gritty futuristic noir with gothic fantasy to create a stunningly seductive world of death and desire. Here an honest cop must face his own darkest impulses as he hunts a perverse killer through a city of the dead.
There have been four celebrity murders already. Now it’s up to Lieutenant Donal Riordan to make sure that Tristopolis isn’t the scene of a fifth. But the necropolis’s vast underground network is already mobilizing for a battle of epic proportions against a powerful death cult whose dark influence reaches up to the highest echelons of Tristopolis’s elite. Riordan’s only hope is an unlikely alliance with a para-live female agent as they hunt—both aboveground and below—among gargoyles and zombies, spirit slaves and assassins, for the killers even the dead have reason to fear.

Startide Rising by David Brin: One of his best. Confession- I just want an excuse to re-read this book. This was one of the first books in his uplift universe and perhaps the best.From Amazon (BTW, when it was published, it wasn't the second book of a trilogy, but a novel that stood on it's own):
David Brin's Uplift novels are among the most thrilling and extraordinary science fiction ever written. Sundiver, Startide Rising, and The Uplift War--a New York Times bestseller--together make up one of the most beloved sagas of all time. Brin's tales are set in a future universe in which no species can reach sentience without being "uplifted" by a patron race. But the greatest mystery of all remains unsolved: who uplifted humankind?
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.

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson: At the risk of recommending yet another Stephenson book, I liked this one. It is before he started writing 1000 page books. From Amazon:
John Percival Hackworth is a nanotech engineer on the rise when he steals a copy of "A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer" for his daughter Fiona. The primer is actually a super computer built with nanotechnology that was designed to educate Lord Finkle-McGraw's daughter and to teach her how to think for herself in the stifling neo-Victorian society. But Hackworth loses the primer before he can give it to Fiona, and now the "book" has fallen into the hands of young Nell, an underprivileged girl whose life is about to change.

Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague De Camp: I thought I'd reach back for this one. It is still available. De Camp was a great writer from the golden age of SF. This book is one of the first where a modern man ends up in the past and tries to change history. Shortened from Amazon:
Rarely do books have such a great influence on a genre as Lest Darkness Fall has had on science fiction. Frequently quoted as one of the 'favorite' books of many of the masters of the field, this book by L. Sprague de Camp helped establish time-travel as a solid sub-genre of science fiction. Similar, thematically, to Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, the book tells the tale of Martin Padway who, as he is walking around in modern Rome, is suddenly transported though time to 6th Century Rome. Once in ancient Rome, Padway (now Martinus Paduei Quastor) embarks on an ambitious project of single-handedly changing history. ** L. Sprague de Camp was a student of history (and the author of a number of popular works on the subject). In Lest Darkness Fall he combines his extensive knowledge of the workings of ancient Rome with his extraordinary imagination to create one of the best books of time travel ever written.

Liege-Killer by Christopher Hinz: This is a farther out recommendation. This is a good SF adventure by a minor author not well remembered. I have read this a couple of times and both times found it a fast paced, well plotted, interesting read. From Amazon, but the description is not very good:
Earth is a blistered wasteland. The orbital colonies have rebuilt civilization and lived in peace and harmony for more than 200 years. The deadly Paratwa are extinct. But people are being butchered in ways that terrify the local authorities. Only one kind of creature could cause this mayhem, and as the body count grows, the name Paratwa is whispered once again. My addition: The Paratwa were genetically engineered assassins that had one mind and two bodies. They almost took over the world 200 years before and were exterminated by a much tougher culture of the time. In this story, two Paratwa hunters are unfrozen from cryogenic sleep to once again hunt down a Paratwa pair. Something like a serious "Demolition Man"
A former member
Post #: 25
We have quite a nice list here, but we need to do a pre-vote just to get the number down to 12 (the limit on the poll is 12).

Also, Roy, I took off "The Diamond Age" by Stephenson because we read that for September 2012 (relatively recently). And the "Uplift Saga" books look great, but I changed "Starside Rising" to "Sundiver" since Sundiver is book 1.

Everyone please list their top 12 from the list (or bottom 5, since there are 17). Here is the entire list submitted:

"A Fire Upon the Deep" - Vernor Vinge
"The Man in the High Castle" - Philip K. Dick
"The Dispossessed" - Ursula K. Le Guin
"The Yiddish Policemen's Union" - Michael Chabon
"Redshirts" - John Scalzi
"Ready Player One" - Ernest Cline
"Anathem" - Neal Stephenson
"The Windup Girl" - Paolo Bacigalupi
"Ender's Game" - Orson Scott Card
"Neverwhere" - Neil Gaiman
"Ark" - Stephen Baxter
"Solaris" - Stanisław Lem
"Revelation Space" - Alastair Reynolds
"Bone Song" - John Meaney
"Sundiver" - David Brin
"Lest Darkness Fall" - L. Sprague de Camp
"Liege-Killer" - Christopher Hinz
Jeff E.
user 11352834
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 5
Here are my choices, if we must be limited to 12:

"A Fire Upon the Deep" - Vernor Vinge
"The Man in the High Castle" - Philip K. Dick
"The Dispossessed" - Ursula K. Le Guin
"The Yiddish Policemen's Union" - Michael Chabon
"Redshirts" - John Scalzi
"Ready Player One" - Ernest Cline
"Anathem" - Neal Stephenson
"The Windup Girl" - Paolo Bacigalupi
"Ender's Game" - Orson Scott Card
"Neverwhere" - Neil Gaiman
"Sundiver" - David Brin
"Lest Darkness Fall" - L. Sprague de Camp
Roy A.
RoyAA
Dallas, TX
Post #: 8
I guess my short term memory is going. I didn't remember that we had read Diamond Age. Anyway, here is my list of books. As you suggested it is easier to pick the 5 books I least want to read although they are all choices with some merit.
The five I'd drop for this go-around:
The Dispossessed - Ursula LeGuin
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi
Ark - Stephen Baxter
Anathem - Neal Stephenson

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