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I thought I'd start a catch-all for one of my favorite genres--science fiction.  Here is a non-spoilered recap of my latest, which I really enjoyed.

Noumenon by Marina J. Lostetter was the tale of a large group of people tasked with investigating a space anomaly, then return and report.  Given the distance from earth to the anomaly, the group was committed to a multi-generational space trip.  The details of how this was accomplished, what happened along the journey, and especially what happened on the return (and by now I am hard to surprise!), was well done.  Also discusses the term "noumenon" for people who enjoy learning new terms.  The technical talk was kept to a minimum.

There is a follow-up novel called Noumenon Infinity, which I am currently too cheap to buy, but maybe next payday.  The first novel can stand on its own without being too aggravatingly cliffhangerish.

A couple of other books this reminded me of are:

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

Foundation (the whole series) by Issac Asimov

 

 

 

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My mom, who died in February at 91, would love this. She was an avid, almost compulsive reader, and read all genres. However, science fiction was her first love. I remember her reading hardcore science fiction magazines when I was a child. I too love reading, but I never got into science fiction. I do like some of the softer SF that is out now.

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  • 1 month later...

That sounds really good! I'm going to check that book out.
Have you read Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson? It's about an intergenerational starship that's being sent from Earth to a possibly habitable extraterrestrial planet. I would classify it as Hard SF, but the technical talk is not annoying or too long or complex, I like how Robinson does that. It is also about creating a narrative, so there's an extra layer there which I liked as well.

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6 hours ago, Marly said:

Have you read Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson?

Thank you for the recommendation, @Marly!  I haven't read Aurora, but it does sound like something I'd like, so I added it to my wish list.

I've read the Mars Trilogy by Robinson and enjoyed that, so I'm a little familiar with the author.  I'm always on the lookout for sci-fi books on exploration and planetary settlement.  Hard sci fi is a bonus to me, but I understand people aren't always thrilled to encounter that in a novel, so I tend to point that out when I review a book.

Thanks, again!

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  • 4 weeks later...

My Sweet Satan by Peter Cawdron would make a great movie!  The book itself could really use an editor in spots, but the plot was thought-provoking.  The ending sets up for a potential sequel (I didn't investigate if there is already one published), but I used my imagination and that was pretty darn scary.

The plot involves the typical space crew going to investigate an anomaly orbiting around Saturn.  I have to say the beginning was one of the best openings I've read in a sci fi novel, but it took me a while to understand what was going on.  There were a couple of annoying spots, and if I were an editor I'd smooth them out.  (I'm always trying to rewrite books to my liking, lol.)

I'll put what I liked/disliked under spoiler.  Overall, really enjoyed this.  A few short passages containing "hard science" discussion.
 

Spoiler

 

The message portion unscrambled by NASA includes the phrase, "I want to live and die for you, Satan."  This plays to humanity's superstitious nature and, while the scientists try to stay on track, there is some fear of what that phrase might entail. 

Jasmine is allowed to be confused and weak during the course of the novel.  Characters that are severely injured and/or traumatized and then bounce perkily back to their normal routine sometimes irk me.  Really?  I stub my toe and it's on the couch for me, lol.

There were a couple spots where I think the author was trying to preach...something...to his reading audience.  Maybe I picked up on it because I've been on FJ long enough that these things put me on my guard.  Also, the first time I read someone calling another astronaut "honey" was annoying, but later I rethought that--for reasons.

The ending, wow.  The aliens are heading back to earth with HAL Jason!  And Jasmine!  And reminded me of a scene in Interstellar!

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just finished Noumenon Infinity by Marina J. Lostetter, which is the sequel to Noumenon (first mentioned at the top of the thread).   The adventures in the sequel were outstanding.  Once again, this is a multi-generational story.  Given that fact, you have to pay attention to the timelines, as well as some sub-dimensions thrown in.  I thought the author did a good job at keeping things relatively simplified so my head didn't spin too much, lol. 

And I just received notification that Aurora by KIm Stanley Robinson has become available for me at the library.  Looking forward to getting started on that later this week. 

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On 1/2/2019 at 4:20 AM, Marly said:

Have you read Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson?

Once I picked up this book, it was hard to put down.  I thought Kim Stanley Robinson did a brilliant job with the characters, the science, the social issues, etc.   There was a lot of explanation of the scientific processes, but it was part of their daily life over the centuries, so I personally thought it was fascinating (though I admit to skimming a bit when the AI was talking to itself during a certain portion of the novel).  I have an interest in sociology, so I've appreciated Robinson's ability to build complex societies and lead them through various hardships.

Thanks for the recommendation, @Marly!   I have The Three-Body Problem on hold for my next sci-fi fix.

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  • 5 months later...

I don't know if I've mentioned one of my favorite sci-fi authors, Jack McDevitt.  He's done some good series, which I've read several times, and he has some stand-alones which range from decent to pretty bad (if you see he's taken on a co-writer, it is usually means it's a weak effort).

To anyone who might enjoy his novels, especially the Hutchins and Benedict series, his collection of short stories:  Cryptic - The Best Short Fiction of Jack McDevitt is a must read.  It was so much fun reading short stories about the series, but from different angles, new storylines that weren't included in the main novels, some of his philosophy through the lens of sci-fi, etc.   I am too steeped in his series to know if this collection would be as enjoyable to people who haven't read his works, but it was honestly the most entertaining book I've read in quite a while.

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  • 3 months later...

I just finished Across the Void by S.K. Vaughn.  This novel is a typical waking-up-alone-what-happened-to-my-crew sort of thriller, but it is well written.  I really wanted to tweak the plot points a few times to make it a little more realistic.  It's main weakness is that everything wraps up too quickly and conveniently, if that makes sense.  I'd still recommend it as a sci-fi cozy (is that a thing?), lol.

Also, I read the first three novels in the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers (The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet; A Closed and Common Orbit; and Record of a Spaceborn Few), which I can recommend.   Then, I forgot I had already read the third installment, so I checked it out via audiobook and am glad I did.  Record of a Spaceborn Few is very enjoyable this second go around.  The narrator does a good job with all the voices and makes the vignettes of everyday routine on the station come alive.

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  • 1 year later...
On 2/4/2019 at 12:52 PM, CTRLZero said:

Noumenon Infinity by Marina J. Lostetter, which is the sequel to Noumenon (first mentioned at the top of the thread).   The adventures in the sequel were outstanding.  Once again, this is a multi-generational story.  Given that fact, you have to pay attention to the timelines, as well as some sub-dimensions thrown in.  I thought the author did a good job at keeping things relatively simplified so my head didn't spin too much, lol. 

Two years later, I tackled Noumenon Ultra.  The opening gave a good recap of the first two novels so I was able to start reading with a reminder of the plot line.  Be aware that there are appendixes that help define the characters, ships, etc.  This would have been helpful in sorting through this complex final novel in the series.  I liked parts of this novel, but it was so many thousands of years in a post-human future that I skimmed over portions.  There was a lot of back and forth with the timeline.  I occasionally threw up my hands in bewilderment.  Maybe I’ll try this book again later, when I’m able to concentrate better.  

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