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Post by Toaster on Thu May 21, 2009 2:41 pm

I've been trying to get back into reading recently. To be honest, I think that My problem has been that I started off, in Sixth Grade, reading Michael Crichton books, and have since struggled to find ANY other with equal talent. Anyways, in search of motivation, I came up with this idea.

Quite simply, the goal is for us to vote on one book every 3 weeks or so. Seeing as we have a few people around here living in more rural areas, with less immediate access to books, we may have to leave a little bit of extra time for acquisition.

I really have NO idea whether or not this will work out. I have an idea of a few people that might sign in, but outside of that, I'm really not sure. If barely any people say they'll be a part of it, I'll give up and forget it all... Sad

My hopes are that we can set a limit for discussion, to avoid spoilers and such. I think 3 days per 50-100 pages (haven't decided yet) would be sufficient.

The books on this list are selections I've made based on some of the books mentioned in the 'Favorites' thread, as well as a few of my own personal favorites. For our next book (if there is a next book) I'll be happy to consider suggested books (VIA PM) for the poll.

Anyways, Post if you're interested and PLEASE DO NOT VOTE if you do not intend to be a part of the discussion, regardless of which book wins.

BOOK DESCRIPTIONS:

PREY

In Prey, bestselling author Michael Crichton introduces bad guys that are too small to be seen with the naked eye but no less deadly or intriguing than the runaway dinosaurs that made 1990's Jurassic Park such a blockbuster success.

High-tech whistle-blower Jack Forman used to specialize in programming computers to solve problems by mimicking the behavior of efficient wild animals--swarming bees or hunting hyena packs, for example. Now he's unemployed and is finally starting to enjoy his new role as stay-at-home dad. All would be domestic bliss if it were not for Jack's suspicions that his wife, who's been behaving strangely and working long hours at the top-secret research labs of Xymos Technology, is having an affair. When he's called in to help with her hush-hush project, it seems like the perfect opportunity to see what his wife's been doing, but Jack quickly finds there's a lot more going on in the lab than an illicit affair. Within hours of his arrival at the remote testing center, Jack discovers his wife's firm has created self-replicating nanotechnology--a literal swarm of microscopic machines. Originally meant to serve as a military eye in the sky, the swarm has now escaped into the environment and is seemingly intent on killing the scientists trapped in the facility. The reader realizes early, however, that Jack, his wife, and fellow scientists have more to fear from the hidden dangers within the lab than from the predators without.

The monsters may be smaller in this book, but Crichton's skill for suspense has grown, making Prey a scary read that's hard to set aside, though not without its minor flaws. The science in this novel requires more explanation than did the cloning of dinosaurs, leading to lengthy and sometimes dry academic lessons. And while the coincidence of Xymos's new technology running on the same program Jack created at his previous job keeps the plot moving, it may be more than some readers can swallow. But, thanks in part to a sobering foreword in which Crichton warns of the real dangers of technology that continues to evolve more quickly than common sense, Prey succeeds in gripping readers with a tense and frightening tale of scientific suspense. --Benjamin Reese --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Time Traveler's Wife

This clever and inventive tale works on three levels: as an intriguing science fiction concept, a realistic character study and a touching love story. Henry De Tamble is a Chicago librarian with "Chrono Displacement" disorder; at random times, he suddenly disappears without warning and finds himself in the past or future, usually at a time or place of importance in his life. This leads to some wonderful paradoxes. From his point of view, he first met his wife, Clare, when he was 28 and she was 20. She ran up to him exclaiming that she'd known him all her life. He, however, had never seen her before. But when he reaches his 40s, already married to Clare, he suddenly finds himself time travelling to Clare's childhood and meeting her as a 6-year-old. The book alternates between Henry and Clare's points of view, and so does the narration. Reed ably expresses the longing of the one always left behind, the frustrations of their unusual lifestyle, and above all, her overriding love for Henry. Likewise, Burns evokes the fear of a man who never knows where or when he'll turn up, and his gratitude at having Clare, whose love is his anchor. The expressive, evocative performances of both actors convey the protagonists' intense relationship, their personal quirks and their reminiscences,


2001: A Space Odyssey

When an enigmatic monolith is found buried on the moon, scientists are amazed to discover that it's at least 3 million years old. Even more amazing, after it's unearthed the artifact releases a powerful signal aimed at Saturn. What sort of alarm has been triggered? To find out, a manned spacecraft, the Discovery, is sent to investigate. Its crew is highly trained--the best--and they are assisted by a self-aware computer, the ultra-capable HAL 9000. But HAL's programming has been patterned after the human mind a little too well. He is capable of guilt, neurosis, even murder, and he controls every single one of Discovery's components. The crew must overthrow this digital psychotic if they hope to make their rendezvous with the entities that are responsible not just for the monolith, but maybe even for human civilization.

Clarke wrote this novel while Stanley Kubrick created the film, the two collaborating on both projects. The novel is much more detailed and intimate, and definitely easier to comprehend. Even though history has disproved its "predictions," it's still loaded with exciting and awe-inspiring science fiction.


DUNE

This Hugo and Nebula Award winner tells the sweeping tale of a desert planet called Arrakis, the focus of an intricate power struggle in a byzantine interstellar empire. Arrakis is the sole source of Melange, the "spice of spices." Melange is necessary for interstellar travel and grants psychic powers and longevity, so whoever controls it wields great influence.

The troubles begin when stewardship of Arrakis is transferred by the Emperor from the Harkonnen Noble House to House Atreides. The Harkonnens don't want to give up their privilege, though, and through sabotage and treachery they cast young Duke Paul Atreides out into the planet's harsh environment to die. There he falls in with the Fremen, a tribe of desert dwellers who become the basis of the army with which he will reclaim what's rightfully his. Paul Atreides, though, is far more than just a usurped duke. He might be the end product of a very long-term genetic experiment designed to breed a super human; he might be a messiah. His struggle is at the center of a nexus of powerful people and events, and the repercussions will be felt throughout the Imperium.

Dune is one of the most famous science fiction novels ever written, and deservedly so. The setting is elaborate and ornate, the plot labyrinthine, the adventures exciting. Five sequels follow


Sphere

the focus of this science adventure tale is humankind's encounter with an alien life form. Within a space ship lying on the sea bottom is a mysterious sphere that promises each of the main characters some personal reward: military might, professional prestige, power, understanding. Trapped underwater with the sphere, the humans confront eerie and increasingly dangerous threats after communication with the alien object has been achieved. The story is exciting and loaded with scientific and psychological speculations that add interest at no cost to the action, including an intriguing sequence in which human and computer attempt to decode the alien communication. As the story races to an end, suspicions of evil-doing fall as many ways as in a detective novel. Young adults should find this book both accessible and satisfying.


Da Vinci Code

A murder in the silent after-hour halls of the Louvre museum reveals a sinister plot to uncover a secret that has been protected by a clandestine society since the days of Christ. The victim is a high-ranking agent of this ancient society who, in the moments before his death, manages to leave gruesome clues at the scene that only his granddaughter, noted cryptographer Sophie Neveu, and Robert Langdon, a famed symbologist, can untangle. The duo become both suspects and detectives searching for not only Neveu's grandfather's murderer but also the stunning secret of the ages he was charged to protect. Mere steps ahead of the authorities and the deadly competition, the mystery leads Neveu and Langdon on a breathless flight through France, England, and history itself. Brown (Angels and Demons) has created a page-turning thriller that also provides an amazing interpretation of Western history. Brown's hero and heroine embark on a lofty and intriguing exploration of some of Western culture's greatest mysteries--from the nature of the Mona Lisa's smile to the secret of the Holy Grail. Though some will quibble with the veracity of Brown's conjectures, therein lies the fun. The Da Vinci Code is an enthralling read that provides rich food for thought.

Starship Troopers

Juan Rico signed up with the Federal Service on a lark, but despite the hardships and rigorous training, he finds himself determined to make it as a cap trooper. In boot camp he will learn how to become a soldier, but when he graduates and war comes (as it always does for soldiers), he will learn why he is a soldier. Many consider this Hugo Award winner to be Robert Heinlein's finest work, and with good reason. Forget the battle scenes and high-tech weapons (though this novel has them)--this is Heinlein at the top of his game talking people and politics.


UPDATE: I created this new thread so that I could allow people to change and cancel their votes. To be clear once more, PLEASE do not vote if you are not dedicated to reading WHICHEVER book is chosen. The poll will be open until Saturday night, at which point voting time will expire. GO!
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Post by Untamed Reign on Thu May 21, 2009 5:24 pm

I picked Da Vinci Code but if Dune is picked I guess i'll just have to go with the flow.

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Post by Death no More on Thu May 21, 2009 5:37 pm

I picked prey just because it sounded good, and I love science but I didnt read dune so if I had the chance I would go with dune, but it will probably win so I dont care Very Happy
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Post by Gauz on Thu May 21, 2009 5:49 pm

Did you guys read what he said above?
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Post by Cheese on Thu May 21, 2009 5:56 pm

I picked Dune because I've actually been meaning to get it for yonks... plus it was winning... Razz

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Post by Untamed Reign on Thu May 21, 2009 6:42 pm

x Gauz x wrote:Did you guys read what he said above?

What did he say that we argued ?

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Post by CivBase on Thu May 21, 2009 7:13 pm

I like "Digital Fortress" and "Ender's Game" better... new thread and poll? Razz

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Post by KrAzY on Thu May 21, 2009 7:34 pm

starship troopers is a quicker read than dune.... Dune itself isn't fantastic.... the goodness of dune is reading the whole series (8+ books).... so unless you are willing to read through a whole slew of books to get the full effect.... then I would stick with starship troopers
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Post by Rasq'uire'laskar on Thu May 21, 2009 8:09 pm

I read the first book of Dune, and I was pretty amazed. I was afraid to read the rest, because I wasn't sure they'd live up to the first one.

In addition, Frank Herbert's son wrote the rest of the Dune series (a semi-Tolkien parallel) and he kinda... irked me.
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Post by Gold Spartan on Thu May 21, 2009 8:26 pm

Am I the only one here who hasnt read any of these books?
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Post by Lord Pheonix on Thu May 21, 2009 8:31 pm

World War Z is a good read

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Post by Gold Spartan on Thu May 21, 2009 8:39 pm

I recommend Eye of the World or Guns of the South. Both are excellent reads.
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Post by KrAzY on Thu May 21, 2009 8:40 pm

anyway


Starship troopers = sci fi commentary on current world issues at the time

Dune = Sci Fi epic


I reccommend reading both.... I reccommend reading starship troopers first
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Post by TNine on Thu May 21, 2009 9:23 pm

Gold Spartan5 wrote:Am I the only one here who hasnt read any of these books?
No Smile
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Post by Toaster on Thu May 21, 2009 9:56 pm

Lord Pheonix wrote:World War Z is a good read

I thought about adding that. It will probably be on the list some time in the future, if this works out well. I just know that myself and a few other people on these boards read that pretty recently, so it felt too soon.

Strange, the turn of events that caused Dune to take the lead. I was sure Starship Troopers would win... (I voted Dune)

Still have 2 days though.
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Post by Ascendant Justice on Thu May 21, 2009 10:10 pm

*Looks around* I have not read any of those books.... Sad

But I have seen the Starship Troopers movie though, if that comes somewhat close to the book :/
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Post by Rasq'uire'laskar on Fri May 22, 2009 1:26 pm

Ascendant Justice wrote:*Looks around* I have not read any of those books.... Sad

But I have seen the Starship Troopers movie though, if that comes somewhat close to the book :/
I suggest you delete that before KrAzY sees it.
The movie was written and directed by a frikkin' MORON who couldn't see the beauty of a Heinlein Republic, and didn't read the book until the producers suggested he read it and tie it in with the movie, since his script already had basic similarities to the novel.

Alone, the parody of jingoism might have worked, with better actors, dialogue, and costume design...
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Post by Vigil on Fri May 22, 2009 1:44 pm

I like the film, just because it's so delightfully trashy and cheesy.

Not read the book, so I don't have an opinion on that.

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Post by Toaster on Fri May 22, 2009 2:18 pm

Maybe we should read Starship Troopers then?

I read the first half of it, but I got caught up in some school reading, and never got back to it.


Last edited by ReconToaster on Fri May 22, 2009 2:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Cheese on Fri May 22, 2009 2:23 pm

I'm cool with that.

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Post by Angatar on Fri May 22, 2009 2:25 pm

I'm actually going to get Starship Troops now.
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Post by Cheese on Fri May 22, 2009 2:26 pm

Well... Democracy fails again. Razz

Starship Troopers it is!

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Post by Toaster on Fri May 22, 2009 2:26 pm

Well hold off on reading it Angatar... I think it's gonna pull ahead.
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Post by Nocbl2 on Fri May 22, 2009 8:01 pm

STARSHIPZ TROOPERZ!!!!
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Post by Angatar on Fri May 22, 2009 8:04 pm

ReconToaster wrote:Well hold off on reading it Angatar... I think it's gonna pull ahead.
Don't have it. Apparently my library has no good books in it, and they need to get them from other libraries.
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