[bksvol-discuss] Next Meeting of the Science Fiction Club, Thursday, December 8, 2011

  • From: "Evan Reese" <mentat1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <bookshare-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "Bob Acosta" <boacosta@xxxxxxxxxxx>, <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <scifi@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2011 21:28:09 -0500

Hello Folks,

Well, the book we read for this month, The Quiet War, received decidedly mixed 
reviews, with one person really disliking it and noone really raving about it.

Our next book takes us a few centuries further into the future, and much 
farther out in space. For our next meeting, we're reading Revelation Space by 
Alastair Reynolds, available both from Bookshare

http://www.bookshare.org/browse/book/32261

and from BARD at

http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.nls/db.56476

The next meeting will be on Thursday, December 8, 2011.

Place: Book Nook at

http://conference321.com/masteradmin/room.asp?id=rs7867a2369e0e

Time: 9 PM Eastern, 8 PM Central, 7 PM Mountain, 6 PM Pacific, and 02:00 UTC.

Here's the NLS synopsis for Revelation Space:

Resurgam, Delta Pavonis system; 2551. Dr. Daniel Sylveste discovers the 
puzzling remains of a civilization annihilated nine hundred thousand years ago. 
Believing that the truth will save humanity, he seeks answers aboard a starship 
despite its dangerous cyborg crew.

Here's a longer positive description by David Langford taken from Amazon's page 
for this book:

Alastair Reynolds's first novel is "hard" SF on an epic scale, crammed with 
technological
marvels and immensities. Its events take place over a relatively short period, 
but
have roots a billion years old--when the Dawn War ravaged our galaxy.
Sylveste is the only man ever to return alive and sane from a Shroud, an enclave
in space protected by awesome gravity-warping defenses: "a folding a billion 
times
less severe should have required more energy than was stored in the entire 
rest-mass
of the galaxy." Now an intuition he doesn't understand makes him explore the 
dead
world Resurgam, whose birdlike natives long ago tripped some booby trap that 
made
their own sun erupt in a deadly flare.
Meanwhile, the vast, decaying lightship Nostalgia for Infinity
 is coming for Sylveste, whose dead father (in AI simulation) could perhaps help
the Captain, frozen near absolute zero yet still suffering monstrous 
transformation
by nanotech plague. Most of
Infinity's tiny crew have hidden agendas--Khouri the reluctant contract 
assassin believes
she must kill Sylveste to save humanity--and there are two bodiless stowaways, 
one
no longer human and one never human. Shocking truths emerge from bluff, 
betrayal,
and ingenious lies.
The trail leads to a neutron star where an orbiting alien construct has defenses
to challenge the Infinity's planet-wrecking superweapons.
At the heart of this artifact, the final revelations detonate--most 
satisfyingly.
Dense with information and incident, this longish novel has no surplus fat and 
seems
almost too short. A sparkling SF debut.

And finally, here's a somewhat less glowing, but by no means negative, review 
from Publishers Weekly taken from the same page:

This distant-past/far-future, hard sci-fi tour de force probes a galaxy-wide 
enigma:
why does spacefaring humanity encounter so few remnants of intelligent life? 
Excavating
the 900,000-year-old Amarantin civilization on its home world, Resurgam, 
archaeologist
Dan Sylveste discovers evidence of a splinter cult that abandoned Resurgam for 
the
stars but returned, only to be swallowed up by a mysterious cataclysm that 
destroyed
all the Amarantins. Aboard the Nostalgia for Infinity, a vast light-hugger ship 
in
interstellar space, the ominous Triumvirate of cyborg starfarers seeks Sylveste 
to
heal its captain, afflicted by the deadly Melding Plague, which turns 
once-humans
into their own semisentient spaceships. In Chasm City on the slum-ridden world 
of
Yellowstone, assassin Ana Khouri joins the Nostalgia's crew intent on killing 
Sylveste.
Clearly intoxicated by cutting-edge scientific research in bioengineering, space
physics, cybernetics Reynolds spins a ravishingly inventive tale of intrigue. 
Hard
SF addicts will applaud the author's talent for creating convincing alien beings
and the often uneasy merging of human and machine intelligence, depicted here as
nearly too frighteningly real for comfort. Others, however, may find these 
human-cybernetic
hybrid characters chilling, dispassionate (except for their built-in drives 
toward
revenge and murder) and foreboding. Reynolds's vision of a future dominated by 
artificial
intelligence trembles with the ultimate cold of the dark between the stars.

Sounds like another one that may get mixed reviews. But whatever the case, I 
hope to see another good crowd to talk about it next month.

Evan
 

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