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hokkyokusei

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I've enjoyed previous book threads, and as I just scored some books for my birthday, was wondering what everyone is reading these days. As for me...

Just finished:

Titan - Stephen Baxter
(Alternate universe, hard SF, very depressing, but quite gripping. Cassinsi-Huygens finds traces of life on Titan, NASA is on the wane after columbia crash [prophetic?!], manned trip to Titan is cobbled together, China emerges as a superpower, everybody dies. Sorry for the spoiler, but it's fairly predictable from very early on that it's not going to end well.)


Currently reading:

Project Orion - George Dyson
(Not quite as good as I'd hoped, a bit repetitive in parts, still interesting though - a fascinating concept, I'm surprised there isn't much SF based around this concept, only one novel as far as I am aware)

The Year's Best Science Fiction Twenty-first Annual Collection - Edited by Gardner Dozois
(Best short stories of 2003. I buy this collection every year, there are always gems in it, and I thoroughly recommend it for real SF fans. For UK based people, this is the US edition, the UK edition has a lower number [we started later in the collection series], but has identical content!)


On the pile:

A man on the Moon - Andrew Chaikin
(The story of Apollo, this is highly recomended over on sci.space.history)

Korolev - James Harford
(Biography of the Soviets' "Chief Designer". Another recomendation from sci.space.history)

The Years of Salt and Rice - Kim Stanley Robinson (More alternate universe SF - this time medieval Europe is even more devastated by the Black Death, and western civilisation doesn't get going)


Still managing to resist "The Da Vinci Code". Seems popular (apparently the biggest selling hardbook book in the UK), but is it any good? It was ripped to shreds in a review on the radio this morning!
 

Mike

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Originally posted by hokkyokusei
Still managing to resist "The Da Vinci Code". Seems popular (apparently the biggest selling hardbook book in the UK), but is it any good? It was ripped to shreds in a review on the radio this morning!
I thought it was great. People moan about innaccuracies but it doesn't stop it being a good read.
 

DynaSoar

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Half finished a collection of Heinlein which was half SF and half essays, primarily about nuclear bombs. The latter half put me off.

Finishing: Who Censored Roger Rabbit. I've been stuck in bed sick with food poisoning, OK?

Finished: The Wreck of the River of Stars by Micheal Flynn. SF about a doomed trans-solar system freighter written very superbly in a classical tragedy style. I can see how this might not be a favorite of popular SF readers, but I'll just bet this guy is riding high on the esteem of his writer colleagues. This is artful literature that happens to be pretty good SF. Only Brain Aldiss wrote this well in SF. The philosophical points are also very cool:

"There have always been Golden Ages. They always ended yesterday."

"One's most treasured possesions are rarely necessities."

"No one is a hero when they go forth. It is only in coming back that they may be heroes."

Also finished (again): A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge. A huge, as in extragalactic sized, novel. A significant portion of the plot filler is in the messages passing through the transgalactic Usenet (including full headers). "Hexapodia as the key insight." Includes some recalcitrant flamers a la r.m.r.

Starting: How to Design, Build, and Test Small Liquid-Fuel Rocket Engines (https://www.risacher.org/rocket/) I'm studying up before starting to put together a System Solaire motor.

I picked up Homer Hickam's autobiography Rocket Boys on tape for the drive to Texas. After listening to it several times I turned it over to the guys at Rocketguts to listen to, and maybe sell to make money for the their TARC team. I liked it better than October Sky.
 

illini

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Originally posted by hokkyokusei


A man on the Moon - Andrew Chaikin
(The story of Apollo, this is highly recomended over on sci.space.history)
You're going to love that one. Another excellent book on Apollo - and now back in print - is Apollo, Race to the Moon by Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox.

As for me, I finished Washington's Crossing by David Hackett Fischer not long ago. Excellent, excellent read on the turning point of the American Revolution. If not for this, we'd all be speaking...err...English.

Currently reading Noble House by James Clavell.
 

hokkyokusei

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Originally posted by illini
You're going to love that one. Another excellent book on Apollo - and now back in print - is Apollo, Race to the Moon by Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox.
I actually have a .pdf of that somewhere, but I'd rather have the dead tree version.
 

wwattles

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Originally posted by DynaSoar
Half finished a collection of Heinlein which was half SF and half essays, primarily about nuclear bombs. The latter half put me off.

Were they following the standard Heinlein model? You know, 1) Create a really good premise; 2) Develop a good plot with a moderate sprinkling of philosophy, action, and brazen sexuality; then just when it is getting good, 3) Throw in one more plot twist that pushes it over the edge to unbelieveable or just plain dumb?

I've read most of his works, including "Grumbles From The Grave" and it frustrates me to no end how they mostly follow that pattern!

WW
 

rstaff3

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I don't have anything on my plate, but I have read the Dyson book. I have even built a stand-off scale model of the Hot Rod test vehicle (G64 powered, not high explosive :)). I will most likely enter it in the next Descon.
 

hokkyokusei

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Originally posted by rstaff3
I don't have anything on my plate, but I have read the Dyson book. I have even built a stand-off scale model of the Hot Rod test vehicle (G64 powered, not high explosive :)). I will most likely enter it in the next Descon.
Cool! Got any pictures?
 

MissileDaughter

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Wow. I must be very different. I am currently reading all of the books the local library (well, almost all) had on yoga:
Yoga for Wimps ,
Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga , and
Esential Yoga (my spelling is off today. So, sorry).
And, when I get time to finish it, I am also reading Foxworthy's No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem and a really boring psychology book called I'm Okay, You're Okay.
This is all on top of reading a book for english. :D
 

graylensman

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Originally posted by DynaSoar


Also finished (again): A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge. A huge, as in extragalactic sized, novel. A significant portion of the plot filler is in the messages passing through the transgalactic Usenet (including full headers). "Hexapodia as the key insight." Includes some recalcitrant flamers a la r.m.r.

Dyna

Read that for the first time last year. Grand Idea SF - very much a modern space opera. The Tines were great aliens. Loved the Usenet stuff too.

Toss in my five-star rating for "A Man On The Moon" as well. you may very well come away from that one with different Favorite Astronauts...

Otherwise, working on "The Explosive Child" - so we can help our explosive child. haven't read any SF/space stuff recently. :(
 

hokkyokusei

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Originally posted by rstaff3
Yup...
Nice. Any plans for the "hulled" version?
I know a guy in the UK was planning on making the shell from fibreglass.
 

hokkyokusei

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Originally posted by DynaSoar

Also finished (again): A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge. A huge, as in extragalactic sized, novel. A significant portion of the plot filler is in the messages passing through the transgalactic Usenet (including full headers). "Hexapodia as the key insight." Includes some recalcitrant flamers a la r.m.r.
I like the sound of that. I'll put it on my wish-list for xmas.
 

rstaff3

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I had of course given this some thought when I read the book, looked at the web sites, etc. But I do this on anything that vaguely resembles a rocket. :) No real plans, however it would be a good item to model. I say find some G1000s and simulate the pulse-detonation propulsion by timing them half a second apart. :D
 

GL-P

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I like the Ben Bova books.

I'm reading "I, Robot"
 

GL-P

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No way, I'm reading the original first. Then I'll see the movie. Don't want to get tainted by the movie.
 

hokkyokusei

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Originally posted by GL-P
No way, I'm reading the original first. Then I'll see the movie. Don't want to get tainted by the movie.
Good plan ;)
From what I hear, the movie is scarcely related to the original at all.
 

Starbug

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Currently reading:

Bill Nelson's Diary of a Hyperdreamer

and various Christmas catalogues that keep dropping on the doormat!
 

Miss Riley

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I've got a few on the go:

Patricia Cornwell - Trace (pressie from Starbug!)

Annie Waller - Married to Albert (thinly veiled "fiction" about life married to an RAF Hercules pilot - so named because the Hercules aircraft is nicknamed Fat Albert)

Elizabeth Pantley - The No-Cry Sleep Solution (starbug junior still wakes in the small hours occasionally, and I NEED my sleep!)
 

North Star

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Don't know where you lot get the time to read ...

Work - queue in traffic - eat - mess about with computer - try to build rocket, give up and go to sleep - wake - eat - go to work ....... no time to read ...

:confused:
 

Chilly

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I heartily agree about "Titan". It was way, way too depressing. I figured out about 2/3 of the way through that it was just hopeless but finished it anyway. I also didn't care for the usual rogue military and dangerous right-winger stereotypes. Guess I just need to get on with finishing my *own* book!

Baxter's "Voyage" was much better and I highly recommend it. It's an alt-history view of how Apollo could've progressed into a mission to Mars in the 80's. Great story with well-drawn characters and good pacing.
 

graylensman

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I'm a big Stephen Baxter fan, but haven't read "Titan" yet. Highly recommend any of his Xeelee Saga work; <i>Manifold:Time</i> and <i>manifold:Space</i> are great as well.
 

Hospital_Rocket

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Re-Reading Clifford Simak's Way Station.

IMHO one of the best SF books ever written.

Also

A.C. Weisbecker's Cosmic Banditos

This one you have to read to belive. Imagine if you will a down on his luck drug smuggler who finds a book on quantum physics. Then he tries to relate Heisenberg & Schrodinger to drug smuggling.

Don't really think I can explain it, you gotta read it...

https://www.aweisbecker.com/banditos/reviews.shtml
 

hokkyokusei

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Originally posted by North Star
Don't know where you lot get the time to read ...

Work - queue in traffic - eat - mess about with computer - try to build rocket, give up and go to sleep - wake - eat - go to work ....... no time to read ...

:confused:
Lets just say I keep a lot of my books in the bathroom.
 

hokkyokusei

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Originally posted by Chilly
I heartily agree about "Titan". It was way, way too depressing. I figured out about 2/3 of the way through that it was just hopeless but finished it anyway. I also didn't care for the usual rogue military and dangerous right-winger stereotypes. Guess I just need to get on with finishing my *own* book!

Baxter's "Voyage" was much better and I highly recommend it. It's an alt-history view of how Apollo could've progressed into a mission to Mars in the 80's. Great story with well-drawn characters and good pacing.
Yeah, I guess there were some pretty tired stereotypes in there. I still enjoyed Titan, it was just a bit of a gruelling read. But there was something compelling about it that kept me with it to the end. I just realised that some of teh segments on Titan were reminiscent of "The worst journey in the world" by Apsley Cherry-Gerrard, a polar explorer with the ill-fated Scott expedition.

Voyage is certainly worth a read.

Another alternate-history Stephen Baxter short story that's a bit depressing is "Prospero One" it's available on the internet.
 

hokkyokusei

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Originally posted by Hospital_Rocket
Re-Reading Clifford Simak's Way Station.

IMHO one of the best SF books ever written.

I agree! Simak is one of my favourite SF authors. It's a great shame that his books seem to have disappeared from book shelves over here. As recently as the 80s I can remember a couple of feet of Simak novels, but now nothing! Can they all be out of print?
 

Ozymandias

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I don't have a lot of time to do any leisure reading but I am trying to read See You at the Top. I'm only 2 chapters into it but it's really motivational. I hope I can read it more soon.
 
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