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marlonharewood

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Right, I'm now about 210 pages into The Martian.

I almost like all the non-Mars stuff, but even the characters at NASA are horrible caricatures that are badly written and one dimensional. The dialogue is just so stilted and everything is just geared towards the next plot device. There's no mystery - take the Isis launch section for instance. Because of the way he starts to introduce some random failure you know before the bad stuff happens that it's going to happen. It's just rubbish, a terrible build to what should be a "omg what now" moment.

To then quickly introduce another solution that takes a few pages to sort out...well, it just starts to feel like padding. It all reads like a terrible blog.

I've just reached a point where Watney has screwed himself again but you know what, I know he'll come up with an amazing solution and dig himself out and then tell me how awesome he is before signing off with a wry observation or bit of wit. It's all so trite.

I've only got a couple more nights of reading to finish it though, so I will do, but I'm so disappointed by it. The premise is excellent and in the hands of a more capable writer there's either a wonderful sci-fi exploration of the meaning of humanity, a wry exploration of the frontier days but based on Mars or a tense techno-thriller type thing as NASA struggles to overcome its political obstacles to save a man from Mars. In Andy Weir it's got someone who's self proclaimed to "live off the grid" doing a bad job of so many different elements that he's got the one book in him out and I now hope he never gets published again.

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It's timeless really, with pretty much one glaring exception:

"His buyer for the three megabytes of hot RAM in the Hitachi wasn't taking calls."

Now, you might argue that it was the contents that made it 'hot', but if so, why specify the amount? I think I started a topic on this ages ago.

It's such a wonderful book. Transcends the genre, really.

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I just finished the new Neal Asher book. Very very good and after the terrible Owner trilogy a welcome return to the Polity and a return to the Asher I love. The Owner series he did is made painful to read by him inserting his politics into everything in there. It's like getting slapped in the face over and over by a UKIP manifesto.

The new one though is classic Asher back doing what he does best. Not for first timers though. Everything he's done so far in the Polity Universe seems to be building to something with the Jain and the Atheter. It kindof follows on from The Technician and is bringing the black AI Penny Royal to the front of events in a big way.

If anyone hasn't tried his stuff start with Gridlinked and read that series. It starts small scale and over the series ramps the scale up through the roof.

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Neuromancer - It's still amazingly prescient. I want to be a Rastafarian.

Dune is ace, I must have read it at least 5 times.

As for the others - I have a shelf full,

The original 2 trilogies by frank,

Trilogy about the butlerian jihad

Trilogy on the origins of house atreides, harkonen and corrino

Then the 2 that supposedly finish the series with hunters and sandworms.

[counts on fingers] 14 books. I once read them back to back the whole way through and it took nearly a year.

Dune messiah is horribly depressing.

I love the film, even though it's mental. Is the tv series they made a while back any good?

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What's the title of this new one? (Edit: Neal Asher; @flub)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Intelligence-Transformation-Book-Novel-ebook/dp/B00M43ZYN4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423740985&sr=8-1&keywords=neal+asher

It references back quite heavily to The Technician (And from that slightly sideways to the Jain) so if you're not up to date on Polity books read the others first.

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Thanks!

Yeah, I've read all the rest, including the Spatterjay books (but not the Owner books), so I'm well up to speed on the Polity. And Penny Royal again? Should be good.

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Better than you might think. It's pushing things in a very interesting direction.

The Owner books aren't Polity so not necessary to read. I'm slogging through the second one at the moment. They're not great.

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I loved Dune as a teen in the 80s. I read them all up to Heretics or Chapter House (I forget which), but after that lost interest because whichever was the last one I read seemed such hard work compared to the earlier ones.

But it's getting on for thirty years since I read them. Worth going back?

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Yes! The 6 originals at least are worth a read. Then the 2 new ones after if you want the ending perhaps. They aren't so good but there's some good ideas in the God emperor arc

But Dune on its own is spectacular.

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Right, I'm now about 210 pages into The Martian.

I almost like all the non-Mars stuff, but even the characters at NASA are horrible caricatures that are badly written and one dimensional. The dialogue is just so stilted and everything is just geared towards the next plot device. There's no mystery - take the Isis launch section for instance. Because of the way he starts to introduce some random failure you know before the bad stuff happens that it's going to happen. It's just rubbish, a terrible build to what should be a "omg what now" moment.

To then quickly introduce another solution that takes a few pages to sort out...well, it just starts to feel like padding. It all reads like a terrible blog.

I've just reached a point where Watney has screwed himself again but you know what, I know he'll come up with an amazing solution and dig himself out and then tell me how awesome he is before signing off with a wry observation or bit of wit. It's all so trite.

I've only got a couple more nights of reading to finish it though, so I will do, but I'm so disappointed by it. The premise is excellent and in the hands of a more capable writer there's either a wonderful sci-fi exploration of the meaning of humanity, a wry exploration of the frontier days but based on Mars or a tense techno-thriller type thing as NASA struggles to overcome its political obstacles to save a man from Mars. In Andy Weir it's got someone who's self proclaimed to "live off the grid" doing a bad job of so many different elements that he's got the one book in him out and I now hope he never gets published again.

Nah, 30 pages or so further into it and it's just getting worse. I can't stick with it, I'm done with it. Just an awful, awful book - probably the worst I've tried to read since The Da Vinci Code.

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Just finished Schismatrix and now onto the plus section of the book. Schismatrix really is rather good even if there were sections where i wondered if I should have taken notes previously as i'd forgotten names/affiliations .

The two shorts I've read so far have a completely different tone (Swarm & Spider Rose) but still pretty effective.

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I love Spider Rose, I think it's my favourite thing from the whole Schismatrix universe. So sad!

Schismatrix is pretty dense as a read, I've read it about four times I think and I still dig new stuff up. For a first time read I think it's best to let it wash over you for the overall flavour and the avalanche of ideas, and not worry too much about who is who (and becomes who). I mean, you could knock out a great novel about the Ultrabrights alone, and I think they probably get no more than a page or two in the book.

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Currently I'm reading Eon by Greg Bear. Originally I read it in 1992 and loved it, but after digging through some boxes recently found I had a copy of the sequel, Eternity, but had forgotten enough of the original to warrant a second reading.

Whilst I could remember some of the characters and plot points, enough had been forgotten to make it just as thrilling a read as 23 years ago. Also enough has happened in my life since 1992 to make me see this sory differently, not least the rather 80s political landscape (the book was published in 1987 and set in 2005).

Well worth it if you like epic, hard-SF novels. Looking forward to the sequel.

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I love Spider Rose, I think it's my favourite thing from the whole Schismatrix universe. So sad!

Schismatrix is pretty dense as a read, I've read it about four times I think and I still dig new stuff up. For a first time read I think it's best to let it wash over you for the overall flavour and the avalanche of ideas, and not worry too much about who is who (and becomes who). I mean, you could knock out a great novel about the Ultrabrights alone, and I think they probably get no more than a page or two in the book.

I got a very Lovecraftian vibe from them , given that I've only read one collection of short stories I could be blowing out my arse on that one though.There seems to be an entire universe of stories that could be developed from Schismatrix but I'd worry that it would water down the impact of the original itself or that it would jsut become a bloated mess.

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Currently I'm reading Eon by Greg Bear. Originally I read it in 1992 and loved it, but after digging through some boxes recently found I had a copy of the sequel, Eternity, but had forgotten enough of the original to warrant a second reading.

Whilst I could remember some of the characters and plot points, enough had been forgotten to make it just as thrilling a read as 23 years ago. Also enough has happened in my life since 1992 to make me see this sory differently, not least the rather 80s political landscape (the book was published in 1987 and set in 2005).

Well worth it if you like epic, hard-SF novels. Looking forward to the sequel.

I love this book. It's so Reagan era then kaboom. Mind blown.

Leant it to a friend recently who hadn't read it before and he basically chewed through it in one sitting

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I got a very Lovecraftian vibe from them , given that I've only read one collection of short stories I could be blowing out my arse on that one though.There seems to be an entire universe of stories that could be developed from Schismatrix but I'd worry that it would water down the impact of the original itself or that it would jsut become a bloated mess.

Well, that's the amazing thing about Sterling. He created all that, and hasn't touched it since.

For my money, he is the greatest SF writer of them all. Have I mentioned that before in this thread?

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Currently I'm reading Eon by Greg Bear. Originally I read it in 1992 and loved it, but after digging through some boxes recently found I had a copy of the sequel, Eternity, but had forgotten enough of the original to warrant a second reading.

Whilst I could remember some of the characters and plot points, enough had been forgotten to make it just as thrilling a read as 23 years ago. Also enough has happened in my life since 1992 to make me see this sory differently, not least the rather 80s political landscape (the book was published in 1987 and set in 2005).

Well worth it if you like epic, hard-SF novels. Looking forward to the sequel.

I love this book. It's so Reagan era then kaboom. Mind blown.

Leant it to a friend recently who hadn't read it before and he basically chewed through it in one sitting

another Eon fan here :) Read it about a year ago and it blew my mind!! got the sequal but not read it yet, bit unsure about reading it or not, will it sour the legacy?

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It's funny, I've just started listening to the Southern Reach trilogy on audible, and it really reminds me of Wool. Nothing really similar about them I guess, but the post-apocalypse (ish) and gradually revealed nature of the catastrophe strike the same chord.

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Well, that's the amazing thing about Sterling. He created all that, and hasn't touched it since.

For my money, he is the greatest SF writer of them all. Have I mentioned that before in this thread?

Where's best to start with this guy then?

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Depends what sort of thing you are after really, thematically he ranges far and wide.

If you like space opera SF, then definitely Schismatrix (Plus if you can get it, as it includes the short stories that appeared in his anthology Crystal Express).

If you like short stories, A Good Old Fashioned Future is a real treat, as it has a lot of his near future stuff that is wonderful, and also includes my favourite Leggy Starlitz gig in a wonderful little story. Leggy is his main recurring character, as much as he has one.

If you want 'science' based SF, Heavy Weather is a great read. Holy Fire is more near future medicine SF, touching on post humanism. It's frankly nuts, but I love it.

If you fancy ducking your head into the Leggy Starlitz world straight off, then Zeitgeist is a great novel...but personally I would try out the Leggy short stories that appear in some of his anthologies first. They can be a bit of an acquired taste. They are barely SF, but just enough that they can carry the tag. Spaghetti thrown against the wall futurism might be a more apt description.

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