Results tagged “SciFi” from kwc blog

Sci-Fi Book List

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Following the meme:

"This is a list of the 50 most significant science fiction/fantasy novels, 1953-2002, according to the Science Fiction Book Club. Bold the ones you've read, strike-out the ones you hated, italicize those you started but never finished and put an asterisk beside the ones you loved."

Mine in the extended.

Book: Red Mars

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marscrater.jpgRed Mars is a book about Mars colonization, which means the story breaks down into two basic elements: Mars and the people that colonize it. Of the two, I cared more about Mars, which Robinson does a more than adequate job with.

I've been fascinated with Mars, as you can see from all the Mars-related links I have in this entry, and I enjoyed reading a book that tries to put Mars into humanscale and explores the science and culture of change that could befall it with colonization. Robinson puts a lot of science into the book, good enough that I don't have to lose my suspension of disbelief over it. In my one area of understanding, AI, I can state that the treatment of robots in the book went very well with some NASA AI talks (Mars Exploration Rover (MER) planning and AI and the New Exploration Vision) that I've been to recently.

There are characters to go along with the Martian terrain, but I did not find myself caring much about them as much as I did about what they were doing to Mars. Robinson does a good job in making them unheroically realistic; in this aspect they fit in with the scientific realism in this book. However, the 'driven scientist' archetype that he uses as a template for his characters rings false to me and in some ways the characters end up becoming more outlandish than Mars.

I haven't made up my mind as to whether I'll read Blue Mars and Green Mars as it's hard to imagine the same sense of exploration and pioneering that made the first book so compelling, but if any of you out there have recommendations let me know.

Some other Mars entries on this blog: * LiveJournals for the NASA Mars rovers * Cool Mars Animation Video * Moons of Mars * Marvin the Martian Going to Mars

Red Mars is also a great complement to the Google Earth Plus Mars Database -- the Google Earth visualization provides a low resolution skeleton and Robinson's text gives you enough to let your imagination fill in the rest. I am considering re-reading Red Mars, but next time with a greater focus on locating the geographical points on Mars maps to get a better sense of scale and environment.

Several quotes in the extended.

Book: Martian Chronicles

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I started reading *Martian Chronicles* not realizing that I would be seeing Ray Bradbury speak at Comic-Con. If only the flight to San Diego were a bit longer so that I could have gotten a bit farther by the time I heard him speak -- I really enjoyed reading this book, and if I were braver I would have asked him for 'tips' in reading it.

In many ways it is not really a novel, as it is really a bunch of short stories loosely connected with one another (which made it perfect for finishing up on multiple Caltrain/BART trips). It certainly does not express hope for mankind, nor for technology/space travel, but it does open up the imagination in a variety of ways in how it plays with old (e.g. Poe) and new in both familiar and unfamiliar settings. Any number of the short, 10-page-or-shorter passages could have been published as a short story on its own merits, but published together they give a disjoint, yet complete narrative.

Comic-Con: Ray Bradbury

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Ray Bradbury's session was mostly full of soundbites and anecdotes (which he was prompted for). I'm afraid that these notes are very accurate, but I am transcribing them for my memory anyway. For each of these stories there's a lot more to tell, and I'm fairly certain that they've been told before (as most of the stories were prompted), so I would Google for the whole story if you're actually interested.

Read on for my notes and a photo.