Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’

SciFi Discussion – Foundation

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Foundation Book Cover

On the 18th September we reviewed Foundation by Isaac Asimov. Published in 1951, it is the first book in the classic science fiction Foundation Trilogy.

The premise of the series is that mathematician Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, a concept of mathematical sociology (analogous to mathematical physics). Using the laws of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale; it is error-prone on a small scale. It works on the principle that the behaviour of a mass of people is predictable if the quantity of this mass is very large (equal to the population of the galaxy, which has a population of quadrillions of humans, inhabiting millions of star systems). The larger the number, the more predictable is the future.

Using these techniques, Seldon foresees the imminent fall of the Galactic Empire, which encompasses the entire Milky Way, and a dark age lasting thirty thousand years before a second great empire arises. Seldon’s psychohistory also foresees an alternative where the intermittent period will last only one thousand years. To ensure his vision of a second great Empire comes to fruition, Seldon creates two Foundations—small, secluded havens of all human knowledge—at “opposite ends of the galaxy”. (more…)

SciFi Discussion – Embassytown

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Book cover of Embassytown by China Mieville

On Tuesday 21st we successfully navigated our way across the Immer to discuss Embassytown by China Mieville.

“Embassytown: a city of contradictions on the outskirts of the universe. Avice is an immerser, a traveller on the immer, the sea of space and time below the everyday, now returned to her birth planet. Here on Arieka, humans are not the only intelligent life, and Avice has a rare bond with the natives, the enigmatic Hosts – who cannot lie. Only a tiny cadre of unique human Ambassadors can speak Language, and connect the two communities. But an unimaginable new arrival has come to Embassytown. And when this Ambassador speaks, everything changes. Catastrophe looms. Avice knows the only hope is for her to speak directly to the alien Hosts. And that is impossible.”

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SciFi Discussion – The Island of Dr Moreau

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

Island of Dr Moreau book cover First published in 1896, The Island of Doctor Moreau was written by legendary author H. G. Wells.

The text of the novel is the narration of Edward Prendick, a shipwrecked man rescued by a passing boat who is left on the island home of Doctor Moreau, who creates sentient beings from animals via vivisection.

Did We Like It?

Most people finished reading it and liked it. There were criticisms about the science of turning animals into people and the general dreariness of the story.

Is It SciFi?

The science was vague without any real explanation and some of us thought it was more of a horror story than science fiction. Despite these niggles we felt that, yes, it is SciFi. We also thought that The Island of Dr Moreau was a book that has stood the test of time.
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Sci Fi Book Club – The Island of Dr Moreau

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Sci Fi Book Club

Title: Sci Fi Book Club – The Island of Dr Moreau
Location: MadLab
Description: Book Club for Science Fiction Fans
Date: 17-07-2012
Start Time: 19:00
End Time: 21:00

The Island of Dr Moreau by H.G. Wells

This month we’ll be discussing The Island of Dr Moreau by H.G. Wells, advocated by Hwa Young Jung.

The Island of Doctor Moreau is an 1896 science fiction novel written by H. G. Wells, who called the novel “an exercise in youthful blasphemy.” The text of the novel is the narration of Edward Prendick, a shipwrecked man rescued by a passing boat who is left on the island home of Doctor Moreau, who creates sentient beings from animals via vivisection. The novel deals with a number of philosophical themes, including pain and cruelty, moral responsibility, human identity, and human interference with nature.

When the novel was written in 1896, there was much discussion in Europe about degeneration and animal vivisection. Interest groups were formed to address the issue: the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection was formed two years after the publication of the novel.

Copies of the book are available to borrow from the Madlab.

We will also be floating ideas for future books. Are there any Scifi books that you think we should read? Come along and let us know!

See you on the 17th!

SciFi Books for Following Months:

  • 21 st August – Embassy Town by China Meiville advocated by Tom Swingler

Dates to be confirmed:

  • Reamde by Neal Stephenson advocated by ???


Stay Connected with Manchester Sci-Fi Book Club!

You can contact us via Twitter @mcrsf_madlab using #mcrsf

Keep up to date with Manchester Sci-Fi book club posts at Madlab:
http://madlab.org.uk/content/tag/mcrsf/

We also have a group on Google which we would encourage you to join.

Sci-Fi Book Club – Brasyl

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Sci Fi Book Club

Title: Sci-Fi Book Club
Location: MadLab
Description: Book Club for Science Fiction Fans
Date: 15-05-2012
Start Time: 19:00
End Time: 21:00

Brasyl – Ian MacDonald

This month we’ll be discussing Brasyl by Ian MacDonald.

Alex will be advocating the book and he has provided an introduction to Brasyl on his blog.

Brasyl is a story presented in three distinct strands of time. The main action concerns Marcelina Hoffman; a coked-up, ambitious reality TV producer in contemporary Brazil, a striving amateur capoeirista who transcends the cliches of luvvy television phony and becomes a full-fledged, truly likable person as we watch her embark upon a mad new project. Marcelina is going to find the disgraced goalie who lost Brazil a momentous World Cup half a century before and trick him into appearing on television for a mock trial in which the scarred nation can finally wreak its vengeance.

Another strand is set in mid-21st century São Paulo, at a moment when the first quantum technologies are reaching the street, which industriously finds its own use for these things. Q-blades that undo the information that binds together the universe, Q-cores that break the crypto that powers the surveillance state that knows every movement of every person and object in Sampa and beyond.

The final strand is a 18th century Heart of Darkness adventure in the deep Amazon jungle, as we follow an Irish-Portuguese Jesuit into slaver territory where he is sent to end the mad, bloody kingdom of a rogue priest who scours the land with plague and fire. He is joined by a French natural philosopher, who intends to reach the equator and discover the shape of the world with a pendulum.

Copies of the book are available to borrow from the Madlab.

See you on the 15th!

SciFi Books for Following Months:

  • 19th June – Excession by Iain M. Banks advocated by Tim
  • 17th July – The Island of Dr Moreau by H.G. Wells advocated by Tom Jenkins

Dates to be confirmed:

  • Embassy Town by China Meiville advocated by Tom Swingler
  • Reamde by Neal Stephenson advocated by ???


Stay Connected with Manchester Sci-Fi Book Club!

You can contact us via Twitter @mcrsf_madlab using #mcrsf

Keep up to date with Manchester Sci-Fi book club posts at Madlab:
http://madlab.org.uk/content/tag/mcrsf/

We also have a group on Google which we would encourage you to join.