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I caught a bit of Question Time last night and tried to make out the sci-fi novels on the bookshelf in Jess Phillips' household:

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000kc4d/question-time-2020-25062020

 

hzLHw22.png

 

John le Carre - ?? 

The Handmaid's Tale

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

 

Doug Naylor - Red Dwarf: Last Human

Rob Grant - Red Dwarf: Backwards

Orson Scott Card - Ender's Game

William Gibson - Count Zero

Iain M Banks - ???

 

Asimov(?) - ??

Arthur C Clarke - 2001

Two Dune books (judging by the colour and font, I think the one on the right is the edition I have)

Possibly a Terry Pratchett (with the box running down the spine)

Isaac Asimov - ???

Aldous Huxley - 

 

Apparently she's done this before, with a shelf full of comics.

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Le Carre never wrote SF! :quote:

 

That Banks books is probably The Algebraist, but the colour isn't exactly clear so I cannot be sure.

image.png.4ad5174a483c28fab3335c80e31d7b26.png

 

One of the Asimov books (I think there's more than one anyway) is Prelude to Foundation

The Huxley is most likely Brave New World, simply because it's SF and no one reads his other books (trufax man).

The other Dune book looks like the film tie-in edition of the first book.
image.thumb.png.4a982a99331ccd0f16a659a7b274cd91.png

 

She's also got David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas on the top shelf which is partly SF (one third of it anyway).

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The Iain M. Banks is definitely The Algebraist. The Asimov is Prelude to Foundation. Handmaid's Tale is on there. Aldous Huxley's Brave New World as well. 

 

She's got quite a few Sue Townsend 'Adrian Mole' books on there. Jonathon Coe's 'The Rotter's Club'

 

She also has this, which is rather lovely.

 

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48 minutes ago, Talvalin said:

No, but is there any harm in trying to guess the books she has from a low-res screen capture, and for us to discuss those books?


None at all, what’s your point?

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On 01/07/2020 at 21:54, ZOK said:


None at all, what’s your point?

 

What was yours? I'm no fan of Jess Phillips, but I see absolutely no reason to bring up your hatred of her in this thread when some of us were simply interested in identifying the books on her shelf.

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33 minutes ago, Talvalin said:

 

What was yours? I'm no fan of Jess Phillips, but I see absolutely no reason to bring up your hatred of her in this thread when some of us were simply interested in identifying the books on her shelf.


So you see absolutely no reason for it. I did, and that’s why I posted it - although I’m sure you could have divined that for yourself.

 

My reason was that she is a scumbag, if it wasn’t clear before.

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I have a terrible memory for detail, so all I know about Jess Phillips is that I dislike her for some reason, but I can't remember why.

 

Then I saw all those books on her shelf and wondered if I'd got it mixed up, and she was actually really cool because she's read a lot of books I like.  Then ZOK's post confirmed that I was probably right the first time, and I expect I decided I disliked her for a good reason. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/06/2020 at 14:13, Talvalin said:

 

I'll be interested to hear what you think about it, as Amazon reviews seemed to think it wasn't as good as Revenger. Which reminds me that I bought Revenger when it was going cheap a year or two ago and I should really read it, given that the last Reynolds book I read was House of Suns back in....2008. 

 

Yeah Shadow captain is pretty poor. The main reason for that is it suffers from middle book syndrome. Very little actually happens in it and it drags on far too long. You could remove about one hundred pages and end up with a much tighter book. It'ss seems he had an ending in mind but just meandered trying to ge there. I have started the third book now and so far it's a much better read. More has happened in the first four chapters than almost the entire of the second book. I wonder if he took criticism of it onboard?

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  • 3 weeks later...

The Doctor Who book Human Nature by Paul Cornell is currently £1.99. You might remember it from the David Tennant story but this is the original version written for the arch manipulator seventh Doctor and his then companion archaeologist from the future Bernice "Benny" Summerfield. It's a very good read.

 

https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Doctor-Who-Nature-History-Collection-ebook/dp/B00PARJ46O/257-2218921-6006009?psc=1

 

Hulton College in Norfolk is a school dedicated to producing military officers. With the First World War about to start, the boys of the school will soon be on the front line. But no one expects a war – not even Dr John Smith, the college’s new house master…

The Doctor’s friend Benny is enjoying her holiday in the same town. But then she meets a future version of the Doctor, and things start to get dangerous very quickly. With the Doctor she knows gone, and only a suffragette and an elderly rake for company, can Benny fight off a vicious alien attack? And will Dr Smith be able to save the day?

An adventure set in Britain on the eve of the First World War, featuring the Seventh Doctor as played by Sylvester McCoy and his companion Bernice Summerfield. This book was the basis for the Tenth Doctor television story Human Nature / The Family of Blood starring David Tennant.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 17/07/2020 at 00:12, pulsemyne said:

Yeah Shadow captain is pretty poor. The main reason for that is it suffers from middle book syndrome. Very little actually happens in it and it drags on far too long. You could remove about one hundred pages and end up with a much tighter book. It'ss seems he had an ending in mind but just meandered trying to ge there. I have started the third book now and so far it's a much better read. More has happened in the first four chapters than almost the entire of the second book. I wonder if he took criticism of it onboard?

 

I didnt think much of the second book either, the third was a bit better but still not a patch on the first. It was a big dissapointment as I really enjoyed Revenger and was hyped for the rest of the story.

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On 10/08/2020 at 15:05, Flub said:

I was surprised that I didn't make it all the way through the first book. I just wasn't feeling it sadly and I normally enjoy his stuff.

I've never actually read any of his other stuff but just picked up shadow captian in waterstones and then found out it was part of a trilogy. Revenger worked better than the others because it did not get as bogged down in mindlessness like shadow captian does. The third is better than the second simply due to something actually happening in it. Although he did go a bit murder happy with the secondary characters.

 Still better than a swift kick in the bollocks and worth a read. Now onto a fucking massive book all about Stalin. It should probably have been subtitled "What a cunt eh?"

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  • 2 weeks later...

I didn't realise this was out

Noumenon Ultra

 

https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Noumenon-Ultra-Book-3-ebook/dp/B085VDQXRS

 

Left to watch over a planet created by the alien structure known as the Web, the ships of the NOUMENON convoy and the artificial intelligence I.C.C. have lain dormant for thousands of years. Now, though, creatures are stirring in the convoy’s halls. With seemingly miraculous speed, the planet is coming to life.

Where have these beings come from? And why? To understand this new anomaly, I.C.C. reaches out to the descendants of its original crew. Together, they will embark on a stunning journey of discovery billions of years in the making.

 

But I was never happy with the ending. Glad to know there's a new one.

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I'm currently reading World Engines - Creator by Stephen Baxter. Sequel to World Engines - Destroyer. If you've read a lot of Baxter and liked it (Especially his Manifold series) you'll probably like this. Another iteration of Malefant (This time from a world line where Nixon introduced universal income) ends up in the future investigating a very weird Phobos. Stuff happens. Then the second book starts :) I don't want to say much about the plot because with Baxter it's all about figuring out where he's going this time with the science.

 

Full of hard science (But a little looser this time) but an enjoyable read.

 

 

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When I finish the Baxter I have the latest Adrian Tchaikovsky to read. The Doors of Eden.

 

https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Doors-Eden-Adrian-Tchaikovsky-ebook/dp/B081YYLJC7/257-2218921-6006009

 

Four years ago, two girls went looking for monsters on Bodmin Moor. Only one came back.

Lee thought she’d lost Mal, but now she’s miraculously returned. But what happened that day on the moors? And where has she been all this time? Mal’s reappearance hasn’t gone unnoticed by MI5 officers either, and Lee isn’t the only one with questions.

Julian Sabreur is investigating an attack on top physicist Kay Amal Khan. This leads Julian to clash with agents of an unknown power – and they may or may not be human. His only clue is grainy footage, showing a woman who supposedly died on Bodmin Moor.

Dr Khan’s research was theoretical; then she found cracks between our world and parallel Earths. Now these cracks are widening, revealing extraordinary creatures. And as the doors crash open, anything could come through.

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Just finished World Engines - Creator. Loved it. Readers of Baxter's Manifold series might like to know that it turns out to be set

 

Between the first two books of the Manifold series and I vaguely remember the last book in the series being a location in this new series.

 

2 books and done. Very satisfying. 

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On 21/08/2020 at 10:30, Flub said:

When I finish the Baxter I have the latest Adrian Tchaikovsky to read. The Doors of Eden.

 

https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Doors-Eden-Adrian-Tchaikovsky-ebook/dp/B081YYLJC7/257-2218921-6006009

 

Four years ago, two girls went looking for monsters on Bodmin Moor. Only one came back.

Lee thought she’d lost Mal, but now she’s miraculously returned. But what happened that day on the moors? And where has she been all this time? Mal’s reappearance hasn’t gone unnoticed by MI5 officers either, and Lee isn’t the only one with questions.

Julian Sabreur is investigating an attack on top physicist Kay Amal Khan. This leads Julian to clash with agents of an unknown power – and they may or may not be human. His only clue is grainy footage, showing a woman who supposedly died on Bodmin Moor.

Dr Khan’s research was theoretical; then she found cracks between our world and parallel Earths. Now these cracks are widening, revealing extraordinary creatures. And as the doors crash open, anything could come through.

 

I'm only 36 pages into this but I'm already sold on it. billion year old immortal trilobites flying through space on organic photon drives and solar sails, devouring asteroids for energy and having immense minds.

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I sat down to read Blindsight by Peter Watts last week and did the whole thing in a day. I think the last time I did that with a book was when I was 11 or 12. Completely enthralled by it, such an interesting approach to a first contact story. Highly recommend.

 

I've just started the sequel, Echopraxia, and it's not really grabbed me yet, feels a bit like he's trying to cram too much into it.

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I quite like Echopraxia, but it's more work to read than Blindsight, that's for sure. Good ending though and I really like Brucks as a character.
Doors of Eden sounds good, might be my next book.

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Roadside Picnic by Arkady Strugatsky and Boris Strugatsky

 

Aliens visit earth without interacting or being seen by any of the human race and leave behind their "rubbish" in certain spots. This "rubbish" is highly technologically advanced and much sought after for study and experimentation but the zones/spots are highly unstable with dangerous and unexplained phenomenon . "Stalkers"  travel into the zones to retrieve this "rubbish" and sell it on the black market despite attempts by the authorities to prevent it.The story largely follows a specific stalker over the course of a few years.

 

 Unsurprisingly the authors are Russian and  I don't know if that informs a certain viewpoint on humanity but this is a dark, grim book  with a good dose of alcoholism thrown in. It's only about a 100 pages long and spit into 4 chapters , I was kinda anxious going on after chapter 1 as there was a pervading sense of dread building  but was engrossed in the story and ultimately blew through it very quickly.It's a fantastic read and absolutely worth picking up, even if you don't enjoy it it's not long.

 

 Also , for fans of Jeff Vandermeer's Southern Reach Trilogy( I am)  I don't think it's cited as an inspiration but it was the 1st thing I thought of when I started into it.

 

 

 

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Yes I know that story, and I can’t think of it either...there’s a portal that aliens keep dumping ‘junk’ through or something, is it JG Ballard maybe? 
 

By the way, I’ve been downloading lots of Gardner Dozois short story collections to make sure I haven’t missed any. Finding his stuff is always a pain because he edited a thousand books but only wrote about twenty stories so they crop up everywhere and his name is on everything, but I think I’ve found the best anthology, and you all need to read it, it’s called When The Great Days Come, with an intro by Robert Silverberg:

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B005B01GZW/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

It’s £5.52 on Kindle, has nearly all his best shorts in it (A Special Kind of Morning, Chains of the Sea, A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows, Morning Child etc), and for my money he just cannot be beaten for this highly lyrical, big science, high misery style SF.

 

Basically if you like beautiful stories of how the world will end, this is it.

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