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Awesome New Sci-Fi

Ready Player One

Recently, I’ve been on a roll – reading some really good sci-fi. Here are a few of my new favorites, some of which could easily make my all time list.

    Wool – Terrific, post apocalypse with a twist – looking forward to the second book
    The Night Circus – A little ‘softer’ than most hard-core sci-fi, but I couldn’t put it down
    Ready Player One – Absolute MUST read for anyone who remembers the 80’s

And probably not worth your time…

    On a Hill – Just couldn’t get into it
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Ringworld

Ringworld

Ringworld is yet another remind that I really love science fiction.  Not always because of the characters or story lines, but often it is the unique paradigm or idea that I would otherwise never have thought.   Ringworld fits into this category.  Although it is a good story one, with good characters, it’s really the concept of a long-lost, forgotten world, build in a ring that grabbed me.  I had to know what it is, who built it, why it exits, etc. Larry Niven doesn’t answer all of these questions, but that might be just as well, because my imagination gets to fill in all of the blanks.

Ringwold is a must read for sci-fi fans.  It’s a reasonable quick read, with an element of mystery.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Terry

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The Windup Girl

The Windup Girl

The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalup, won both the 2009 Nebula Award and the 2010 Hugo Award for best science fiction novel. It is a dark, biopunk sci-fi novel, set in the 23rd century Thailand, where global warming is out of control, food is scarce, disease and plague are common, and governments are corrupt.

The novel follows Anderson Lake, a businessman and spy, and his relationship with Emico, the ‘windup girl’. Emico is a genetically engineerd humanoid, designed and built to serve her owner. As society breaks down, Anderson and Emico face many challenges.

The Windup Girl is a fast-paced, action adventure, science fiction novel. If you enjoy post-apocalyptic, anti-society, biopunk sci-fi, similar to Blade Runner, then this is a must read.

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Doomsday Book

Doomsday Book

Time travel is certainly not a new science fiction concept, nor is the notion of historians going back in time to study the past. So maybe the concepts are not new, but I still loved this book. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis, won both the Hugo Award and Nebula Award, so I must not be alone.

As a sci-fi geek, I am attracted to complex, science-rich, innovative novels that make me think and wonder “what if”. Doomsday Book is not one of these. The general concept and even story line is relatively simple; a young historian goes back in time to study Oxford in 1320, but accidentally arrives during the Black Death pandemic. From that point, we follow both Kirvin in 1348, and her friends trying to find and bring her back.

I enjoyed Doomsday Book because Connie Willis made me love it...

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Man Plus

Man Plus

Man Plus, by Frederik Pohl was terrific.  First, before reading, you should be ready for a novel that was written in 1976.  Personally, I love classic science fiction because it often speaks as much about the time during which it was written, as it does about the actual story.  Man Plus is no different.  While reading it, I stopped several times to remind myself ‘this is how people viewed the world in 1976’ (they smoked everywhere).

Man Plus is a quick, easy read.  The story kept me engaged, and I was never bored.  Basically, as you’ll learn within a few pages, the government is attempting to turn a man into a cyborg, capable of living on Mars.  The story follows his transformation, while also commenting on societal and economical conditions which are encouraging this project.

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2013 Hugo Awards

2013-hugo-award-nominees_images_story_index

The Hugo Awards have been given out every year since 1955. This year’s winners for the Hugo Awards were announced at LoneStarCon3, the 71st World Science Fiction Convention, held in San Antonio, TX, August 29 – September 2, 2013. Congratulations to all of the winners.

Best Novel

Winner: Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi (Tor)
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
Blackout by Mira Grant (Orbit)
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi (Tor)
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed (DAW)

Best Novella

Winner: The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon Publications)
After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress (Tachyon Publications)
On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bod...

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Red Mars

Red Mars

I had a love-hate relationship with Red Mars.  Let’s start with what I loved.  There are lots of classic science fiction novels that incorporated life on Mars, and I have read a bunch of them.  This is the first that made it actually sound somewhat possible.  The concept of systematically terraforming a completely uninhabitable and hostile world, was cleverly made to sound believable and possible by Kim Stanley Robinson.  He really did his research.

I also loved the social aspects woven into the book.  Robinson does a terrific job of depicting how an advanced group of people might build a society and political structure if they were to begin from scratch.  Watching various groups and cultures evolve and interact under the harsh Martian environment was a lot of fun.

Now, here is wh...

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Koko, by Peter Straub

Koko, by Peter Straub If you are at all interested in Vietnam stories, then this book should bubble up on your list.Read More

Sci-Fi Mobile App is Done!

Screenshot

It’s done! I’ve written and published an iPhone app for Sci-Fi fans. Check it out on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id628452917

On the surface, the app contains standard book/reading library functionality. It lets you keep lists of books you have read, would like to read, and are reading. It provides a title search and pulls book detail information (i.e. cover photo, description, etc.). It also provides a barcode scanner for adding your existing books to the handheld library. You can rate books you love, and track those which you own.

The app becomes more specific to fans of Science Fiction by including a recommended reading lists. Currently, it provides lists Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy award winners...

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Writing an iPhone App

iPhone

I started writing an iPhone app for myself and other avid readers of Science Fiction.

I read a lot of Science Fiction.   I occasionally forget what I have already read and begin reading a book for the second or third time.  Sometimes it takes a chapter or two for me to figure it out.  There is so much great sci-fi out there, so I don’t typically like to read a book more than once (except for a few classic favorites).

A few years ago, I tried tracking the books I read in Excel.  It seemed like a great idea, but I quickly forgot to update the spreadsheet.  It required way too much discipline for me.

I needed a better way to track my reading.  I tried a few other iPhone apps, but didn’t love any of them.  So I am writing my own...

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