Red Mars

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This is another book on colonization. To be totally honest I enjoyed the first half of the book more than the second, and I rather thought the book dragged on and could have done with a more vigorous editing. There are sections which are deeply descriptive, but it doesn’t progress the story. Overall, I was a little disappointed.

[isbn: 0553560735]
[awards: hugo nominee 1993; nebula winner 1993]

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Speaker For The Dead

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This is the second book in the Ender’s Game series, and is better than the novelized Ender’s Game, although it is impossible to beat the short story version. Ender has grown a lot over the time between this book and the last, and the story is compelling and believable. I really enjoyed this book.

[isbn: 1857238575;9781857238570]
[awards: nebula winner 1986; hugo winner 1987; locus_novel winner 1987]

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Rendezvous With Rama

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This is a classic book, so I expected a lot from it. I was a little disappointed to be honest. The book is slow, although interesting. There chapters are all very short as well (around four or five pages), which is a little odd. There is a lot of potential with this concept, and I feel this book could have gone a lot further.

[isbn: 0330240242]
[awards: winner hugo 1974; winner nebula 1973]

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Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

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I sympathize with the other LibraryThing reviewer who had trouble finding characters to like in this novel. This book isn’t very long, but took me ages to read because the main character is so whiney. The whole story seems to revolve around how he’s never happy, and that didn’t work for me. I think the underlying ideas are interesting, but I just hated Julius so much that I didn’t enjoy the book.

There is an interesting reference to Snow Crash on page 97 though.

[award: nominee nebula 2004]
[isbn: 076530953x]

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Ender’s Game

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I’ve read this book before, many years ago. I figured I should re-read it, given how much I love the short story. Unfortunately, I think the short story is better than the novelization. The novel tends to try to explain too much, although the last chapter is a worthy addition. I’m sure I’ll still read the rest in the series though, as there is more to see in this universe.

[award: winner nebula 1985; winner hugo 1986; locus_short_fiction nominee 1978; locus_novel nominee 1987]
[isbn: 0812550706;185723720X]

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The Accidental Time Machine

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Joe Haldeman does good work, and in general I have really liked his books. They’re easy to read, fun, and interesting. Better than that, they’re all quite different in the topics they cover, so he’s not in a rut. The only exceptions have been There Is No Darkness, which wasn’t very good and Forever Free, which I thought was lazily plotted. This book is no exception to the rule, and I really enjoyed it. One theme to Joe’s work that I am noticing is that the “sex scenes” are always anti-climatic, which is interesting to note.

I’d like to have heard more about the One Year War, but there is scope for that to be another separate book. I don’t think this book suffers from the lack of coverage, and its mostly tangentially interesting because I’d like to see how a society transforms itself in that way.

[award: nominee nebula_novel 2007]
[isbn: 978044101667;0441016162]

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The Diamond Age

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I loved this book. I think its going on my list of all time favorites. The first half of the book is better than the second, but I think that might be because young Nell resonated much more strongly with me than older Nell. I read this book because it came up at a scientific conference where I went to a presentation about 3D fabrication, and its now entirely clear why the presenter thought this was relevant, given 3D nanotech fabrication plays a strong part in this book. Excellent read.

[award: nominee prometheus 1996; winner hugo 1996; nominee nebula_novel 1996]
[isbn: 0553573314]

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Mona Lisa Overdrive

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This is the book which wraps up the Sprawl series (Burning Chrome, Neuromancer and Count Zero). Its a great book, with several separate story lines which are beautifully molded together by the end of the book. It also wraps up the confusing elements of the various other stories nicely. I really enjoyed it.

[award: nominee nebula_novel 1988; nominee hugo 1989; nominee prometheus 1989]
[isbn: 0553281747]

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Neuromancer

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This book is a classic, and I first read it a long time ago. Its pretty clear in retrospect why it kicked off the cyberpunk movement, and I’m glad that the future it proposed hasn’t come to pass (yet). Despite being written in the 1980s the book isn’t dated, although it does make more sense if you’ve spent some time in Japan.

[isbn: 0586066454]
[award: winner nebula_novel 1984; winner hugo 1985]

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