Posts Tagged ‘scifi’

SciFi Discussion – Ender’s Game

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Last Tuesday Manchester SciFi book club got together to discuss Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. The main characters are three particularly intelligent children who shape the world at the time of conflict with insectiod space aliens known as the Buggers. The main protagonist, Ender Wiggin, is sent off to the Battle School space station where he develops his skills as a strategist. While Ender is unknowingly killing the buggers, his brother and sister, Peter and Valentine, use the blogosphere to gain political power and prevent warring factions from destroying each other on Earth.

Did We Like It?

Whilst some of us may have tried to hate it, the majority of us did enjoy Ender’s Game. That’s not to say it was without fault. Criticisms included uncompelling characters, children who were too self-aware, too many descriptions of battles and a quick ending that felt like it had been tacked on at the end.

The author is a playwright and that came across in the writing style. Initially written as a short story, the first edition of the novel was published in 1985, with a second edition printed in 1991. The second edition contains an introduction which helped readers to understand the circumstances of the characters and the plot. Those of us who had not read this introduction felt that they had not understood the book as well as those of us who had read it. One criticism of the book was that if it had been better written, it would not have need the introduction. It was postulated that Ender’s Game is one of the author’s earlier works and that his writing style has probably improved.

At beginning of each paragraph there was a short conversation by two of the characters controlling Ender’s progress through Battle School. We thought this was not really necessary since Ender was mostly aware of what was going on, however it added extra characters into the story which helped break the battle scene monotony. (more…)

SciFi Discussion – Rule 34

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

On Tuesday last week Manchester SciFi Book Club got together at the Madlab to discuss Rule 34 by Charles Stross, which was advocated by Tom. The title is a reference adage “If it exists, there is porn of it.”

Before I start, please accept my apologies for this post being a bit on the short side or if I’ve left out any important points of view. I forgot to bring my notebook to the meeting.

Is it SciFi?

Rule 34 book cover US version

The main technology aspect of Rule 34 is an artificial intelligence that is able to monitor and manipulate people via the internet, largely through social networking, CCTV and mobile phones. The book is set in the near future and because of that we felt the scifi aspect, and the novel in general, could soon become become dated. If you are thinking about reading Rule 34 it would be better to read it sooner rather than later.

Manchester SciFi Book Club: Rule 34

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Sci Fi Book Club

Title: Manchester Sci-Fi Book
Location: MadLab
Description: Book Club for Science Fiction Fans
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2011-10-18
End Time: 21:00

Rule 34

This month’s book is Rule 34 by Charles Stross.

The near-future setting and focus on technological changes makes it tempting to call Rule 34 a cyberpunk novel, but unlike most in the genre, it focuses on the effects of technology on ordinary people, instead of the hackers who create it. In Rule 34’s case, the focus is on the police investigation of a string of bizarre murders apparently related to Internet spamming.

Set in the near future of 2030 or so, the book derives its name from the commonly held rubric that Rule 34 of the Internet is “If it exists, there is porn of it. No exceptions.” The main character, Liz Kavanaugh, is a cop in Edinburgh assigned to the Rule 34 squad, which chases meme-crimes—scouring the darkest corners of the Internet to detect whether people’s darkest fantasies are turning into reality anywhere. –Rowan Kaiser

Why not read Rule 34 and join us at Madlab for a light hearted, yet in-depth, discussion about it?

Manchester Sci-Fi Book Club Contacts

You can contact us via Twitter @mcrsf_madlab using #mcrsf

Keep up to date with Manchester Sci-Fi book club posts at Madlab:

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

SciFi Books for Following Months:

SciFi Discussion – Anvil of Stars

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

On Tuesday last week Manchester SciFi Book Club got together at the Madlab to discuss the 1992 Greg Bear novel Anvil of Stars, which was advocated by Mark.

Is it SciFi?

Anvil of Stars book cover

Given that the story is about a group of people setting forth in a futuristic space ship to avenge the destruction of the planet Earth, we thought that, yes, it is SciFi!

SciFi Discussion – Snow Crash

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

On the 19th July Manchester Science Fiction book club met at Madlab to discuss the Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Our advocate for this superb modern classic scifi book was Simon Carter.

Set in the not-too-distant future, Snow Crash is about a drug that controls the minds of computer programmers in the virtual world of the Metaverse. In the real world, laws have ceased to exist, franchulates are controlled by corporations, the Mafia delivers pizza and people are starting to speak in tongues.