The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet Read Along, Wk 2

Sci-Fi Month 2015 is a month-long event to celebrate science fiction hosted by Rinn Reads and Over the Effing Rainbow. You can view the schedule here, follow the event on Twitter via the official @SciFiMonth Twitter account, or the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

the-long-way-to-a-small-angry-planet-read-alongI’m reading The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers and participating in this Read Along for Sci-Fi Month. The Read Along is hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow. sci-fi-month-badge

This week we’re taking a look at “Port Coriol” to “Cricket.” And Chris over at Galleywampus is asking the questions.

Spoilers below!

There has been significant conversation about AI, what it means to be alive, whether or not AI should have rights, whether or not a person can fall in love with a specific instance of AI, etc. This is a bit of a sticky situation. After the discussion between Pepper and Jenks, how do you feel about Lovey’s and Jenks’ relationship? Should they move forward with their plan?

I think this will be a problem for Lovey and Jenks. Lovey has never had a body so that is going to be very strange plus it’s illegal so they will have to hide her. Another problem could be the mechanics of the body, the tech. It may not work as it’s supposed to. It could fail and Lovey could die. Also the tech selling the body may blackmail them. All sorts of things can go wrong.

There is also the idea which has been written about in science fiction for years: what happens when an Artificial Intelligence is smarter than humans and thinks they can make better decisions than humans. Especially if they’re tired of being treated as slaves or second-class citizens.

In the chapter “Intro to Harmagian Colonial History,” we see Dr. Chef’s perspective of having been a mother, though he is currently male, and Sissix’s perspective that children aren’t people yet. Ohan is referred to as they/them. The Akarak are referred to as xyr/xe. These perspectives and preferences are perspectives actually held by different groups of humans in our own world. Do you think assigning these perspectives to aliens rather than humans make them easier or harder to sympathize with?

I think it’s easier to sympathize with alien perspectives. We expect aliens to be different and maybe strange, but we usually expect humans to follow our rules and morality.

How might the ship robbery have been different if the Wayfarer were armed?

People would probably have died. If Wayfarer had weapons she would have fired on the other ship when it first appeared. If the crew of Wayfarer had weapons with them ready to fire there might have been a shoot-out with people from both sides getting injured or killed. Considering the crew had never encountered pirates before they would probably have hesitated to fire their weapons, but the pirates wouldn’t have hesitated.

If Rosemary hadn’t been able to speak to the pirates some of the crew probably would have died and would have starved or run out of fuel if the pirates had stolen everything.

As I finished the fourth chapter in my section, “Cricket,” I thought it might be a good place to stop and talk about some of our favorite humorous moments so far. What scenes really tickled your funny bone? Who makes you laugh the most and why?

These are two of the scenes I thought were funny. I think most of the funny moments for me are when the different species try to understand each other.

The different species trying to understand the food of others:

I thought it was some sort of spicy potato.”

“I have never understood potatoes,” Sissix said. “The whole point of a potato is to cover it with salt so you don’t notice how bland it is. Why not just get a salt lick and skip the potato?’

“Don’t ask me,” Ashby said, standing up. “Potatoes are a grounder thing.”

 

When Sissix is moulting and irritated and angry about everything:

“Do you ever get tired of Humans?”

“On occasion. . . .”

“I’m definitely tired of them today.” Sissix said, laying her head back. I’m tired of their inability to smell anything. I’m tired of how clingy they get around kids that don’t even belong to them. I’m tired of how neurotic they are about being naked. I want to smack every single one of them around until they realize how needlessly complicated they make their families and their social lives and their—their everything.”

Dr Chef nodded. “You love them and you understand them, but sometimes you wish they—and me and Ohan, too, I’m sure—could be more like ordinary people.”

“Exactly.” She sighed. . . . But today . . . I don’t know. It feels like having a mess of younger hatchmates who won’t stop playing with your toys. They’re not breaking anything and you know they’re only trying to please you, but they’re so little and annoying, and you want them all to fall down a well. Temporarily.”

I’m looking forward to what everyone else thought about these questions!

My Sci-Fi TBR

toptentuesday2Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted at the Broke and the Bookish blog. Each week a different topic is introduced and it is fun to see what everyone writes each week. Check out their blog for more information.sci-fi-month-badge

This week instead of talking about the topic “movie adaptations” which I didn’t have answers for and since it’s Sci-Fi Month I’m talking about the sci-fi books I already own and really want to read soon. I’ve had some of these books for years. It’s time to read them!

Books published 2000 to present

Golden Son by Pierce Brown (audiobook), Red Rising #2

I read the first book in this series and it was very good. I bought the second book shortly after it came out, but haven’t read it yet.

Lines of Departure by Marko Kloos (ebook), Frontlines #2

I read the first book a couple of years ago. It’s military science fiction which I really enjoy.

The Human Division by John Scalzi (audiobook), Old Man’s War series #5

One of my favorite series and authors. I recently read book 3 and am really looking forward to this book.

Caliban’s War by James S.A. Corey (audiobook), Expanse series #2

I read Leviathan Wakes a couple of years ago and really liked it, but haven’t read the second book yet. And the Syfy channel is starting a new series (called The Expanse) based on the book series (premieres December 14).

Caliban’s War was a Locus Award Nominee for Best Science Fiction (2013).

vN by Madeline Ashby (ebook), The Machine Dynasty #1

I haven’t read anything by this author, but this is a book about a self-replicating humanoid robot. Sounds really good. It was nominated for the Locus Award for Best First Novel (2013).

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (audiobook), Maddadam #1

This series sounds good and Margaret Atwood is an excellent author. The book was nominated for the Man Booker Prize (2003).

Published before 2000

Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh (audiobook), Foreigner #1

The first book in this series. It’s an alien-human first contact story. First published in 1994. There are 16 books in the series so far.

Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold (paperbook), Vorksoigan Saga #8

I love Miles Vorkosigian and was reading several books every year for awhile. I got interrupted a few years ago and I haven’t read any books in this series for a few years. I don’t remember exactly where I left off, but I think this is the book I need to read next. I’ve had this book and some of the others for a few years!

This book won both the Hugo Award for Best Novel (1995) and the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1995).

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (ebook), The Forever War #1
This sounds like the kind of book I would like–a military science fiction. There are three books in the series, but the description says it can be read as a stand-alone book.
This book won three big awards: Hugo Award for Best Novel (1976), Nebula Award for Best Novel (1975) and Locus Award for Best Novel (1976).

 

Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (audiobook), no series

I read Starship Troopers when I was a teenager, but don’t remember too much about it–except the book isn’t like the movie. I want to read it again.

Starship Troopers won the Hugo Award for Best Novel (1960).

And an extra nonfiction about Star Wars!

how-star-wars-conquered-the-universe

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe by Chris Taylor (audiobook)

“An energetic, fast-moving account of this creative and commercial phenomenon, How Star Wars Conquered the Universe explains how a filmmaker’s fragile dream beat out a surprising number of rivals and gained a diehard, multigenerational fan base – and why it will be galvanizing our imaginations and minting money for generations to come.”

Do you have science fiction books you want to read in your TBR books?

The Martian by Andy Weir

the-martian-by-Andy-WeirThe Martian by Andy Weir
Narrated by R.C. Bray
Series: None
Genre: Science Fiction
Setting: Mars, Space between Earth and Mars & Earth
Published by Crown, 2014
Audible book, purchased
314 pages
10 hours, 53 minutessci-fi-month-2015
Grade: A
Narrator grade: A
Synopsis: Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Initial impressions

  • Very exciting! Well written and engaging. It’s one of my favorite books of the year.

Cheers

  • Such a good story. There’s excitement, suspense and heroism.
  • So many people have weighed in about this book and have written reviews I don’t think I have anything new to say. However, I want to talk about how much I liked the book.
  • Mark Watney keeps a journal which is what an astronaut and scientist would do. He wants to leave a record behind to let others know what he did in case he doesn’t survive. He’s often profane and irreverent and his personality comes through. At one point when he thinks he might survive after-all he thinks he should be more careful about what he writes!
  • The narrator is excellent. Mr. Bray is very matter-of-fact which I think is the Mark would act.
  • I haven’t seen the movie, but the entire book I could picture Matt Damon in this role as I listened to the narration!
  • I’m impressed by Mark’s ingenuity. I know astronauts are chosen and trained as problem-solvers and that’s illustrated in this book. It would be easy to give up and he never did.
  • He figures out how long his food will last, how many calories he needs plus oxygen and water needs and looks at those stats without flinching. He looks at risks and decides what he can manage to do. Even though he is clear-sighted he still makes mistakes.
  • The book reads like a nonfiction book. I’ve heard that the solutions to problems that Mark Watney comes up with are things that would work. That’s amazing!
  • I like the science in this book though I’m not a scientist and don’t understand all the science, but I think Mr. Weir does a good job mixing the science with the personalities of characters and humanity of the book.
  • I like all the problem-solving in the book–plus the obsession by news organizations and the public when they find out Mark is alive. That seems very realistic. I found myself thinking about the millions of dollars spent plus risking the lives of other people to save one person, but that also seems like something we would do, if possible.
  • I thought it was also realistic that not everyone at NASA is on-board with decisions made. And many of the things Mark does are very risky and sometimes don’t go as planned.
  • I think listening to this story made it more realistic and enjoyable. For me this is the perfect audiobook.

Jeers

  • None

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I’m looking forward to more books in the future by Andy Weir.
  • I think I especially loved this book, because one of my daughters wanted to be an astronaut and wanted to go to Mars. She was even on a team of kids in third grade who won a competition to make a space suit to go to Mars. They made the spacesuit and created a video to show and explain it They won all the local and regional contests as well as the national contest. The prize was a trip to Space Camp in Alabama. (She isn’t an astronaut today, but she is a plant pathologist–so if she went to Mars she’d be able to diagnose plant diseases there!)

Awards

  • Seiun Award for Best Novel (2015)
  • John W. Campbell Memorial Award Nominee for Best Novel (2015)
  • ALA Alex Award (2015)
  • Japanese Booksellers Award Nominee for Translated Fiction (2015)
  • Green Mountain Book Award Nominee (2016)

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Andy Weir was first hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at age fifteen and has been working as a software engineer ever since. He is also a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. The Martian is his first novel.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Audiobook Challenge–hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • TBR Pile Challenge–hosted by the Bookish blog
  • Sci-Fi Month–hosted by Rinn @ Rinn Reads and Lisa @ Over the Effing Rainbow

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet Read Along–Wk 1

sci-fi-month-2015

Sci-Fi Month 2015 is a month-long event to celebrate science fiction hosted by Rinn Reads and Over the Effing Rainbow. You can view the schedule here, follow the event on Twitter via the official @SciFiMonth Twitter account, or the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

the-long-way-to-a-small-angry-planet-read-alongI’m reading The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers and participating in this Read Along for Sci-Fi Month. It’s hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow. This week we’re taking a look at Part 1 – “Transit” to “The Job.” And Over the Effing Rainbow is asking the questions this week.

Note: if you haven’t read the book, there will be spoilers!

  1. First things first, we get to meet the central cast – the crew of the Wayfarer. What are your first impressions of this crew? Which members, if any, stand out the most to you and why?

Continue reading “The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet Read Along–Wk 1”

Sci-Fi Month–Nov 2015

This year, Sci-Fi Month in November is hosted by Rinn @ Rinn Reads and Lisa @ Over the Effing Rainbow

Check out their blogs for more information about this month-long event. There are lots of activities which take place on participants’ blogs and other places throughout the internet. Check out the Google document which list participants’ activities.

I’ve loved and read science fiction since I was a young teenager. My brother who is five years older read lots of science fiction (still does) and I read some of the authors he read–Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Then I continued on to my own authors: Andre Norton and Anne McCaffrey and countless others. I go through phases in my reading–sometimes reading less science fiction and sometimes more while I read other genres as well. But through the years I’ve always read some each year.

This sounds like lots of fun and I love that it continues for a whole month!

My Plans

Review books:

  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Prequels to the Earth Girl series–“Earth and Fire” (a novella) & Earth 2788 (short stories) by Janet Edwards
  • A couple more if I can get them read!

Additional plans:

I have a couple more ideas I need to refine before they’re ready

I also plan to participate in The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet Read Along

Are you participating in Sci-Fi Month? How are you planning to celebrate science fiction this month?