Emery's 2017 Reading Challenge Log

Annual Reading Challenge

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Re: Emery's 2017 Reading Challenge Log

Postby Frank » Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:06 pm

Looks interesting, I`ll have to check that out.
"Some believe that it is only great power that can hold evil in check.But that is not what I have found, it is the small everyday acts of normal folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
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Re: Emery's 2017 Reading Challenge Log

Postby Whiterook » Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:24 pm

Book 7

New York Deep
By Andrw J. Morgan

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Deep below Manhattan, tunnel engineer Josh Reed leads his team as they excavate the East Side Access extending New York’s railway service. But sparks fly as the drill hits an unusual crystalline material—one Josh has never seen before. They push on and Josh discovers something even more unexpected . . . a vast room, empty and lifeless.

Or so it seems.

When Josh finds out that the CIA are now looking for him, and that his co-workers have gone missing, he turns to his best friend and boss Lionel Parker for help. Together they unravel the mystery of the room, what’s inside it, and why the CIA are so desperate to keep them silent.
It’s nothing they could ever have expected.


So, I enjoyed Andrew's last outing, and decided to try another right back to back, and I was glad I did. It was quite enjoyable, but not as good as VESSEL. I noted more subtle issues of a British author writing for an American audience and scene, but it wasn't too distracting.

There were a few lame bits that were a bit tough to swallow, like the US Gov Central Intelligence Agency being unable or incapable of monitoring cell phones, ATM transactions and Airline/Bus ticket purchases!

The end was an interesting twist I should have seen coming but didn't, so KUDOS on that! It was however, a tad disappointing...I get it and it was OK....but with such a rev up to the end, the conclusion was like a party balloon with a slow leak: Still colorful and fun, but went limp at the wrong time.

All in all, a clever book, and a good Summer read....I would have been upset if I paid sizable money for it, however.

This author has potential!!!
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Re: Emery's 2017 Reading Challenge Log

Postby Whiterook » Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:50 pm

Book 8

Rendezvous with Rama
By Arthur C. Clarke

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While in the second hand book shop in a nearby town, I spotted a science fiction isle I never explored. It was like stepping back in time to the bookshops of my youth...well, books-wise...as most of the books were pretty old. I spotted three Rama books, starting with the second in what became a series of at least four that I now know of. I passed them up, and decided to look up the books when I got home. What I discovered was a pretty neat story line. I mean, Hey, it's Arthur C. Clarke...as in Sci-Fi writing Legend!

I decided to jump in, and ordered the Kindle version of Rendezvous with Rama, the first book, first published in 1973. Set in the 2130s, the story involves a 50-kilometre (31 mi) cylindrical alien starship that enters Earth's solar system. The story is told from the point of view of a group of human explorers who intercept the ship in an attempt to unlock its mysteries.

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The closest spaceship close enough to check out Rama was the solar survey vessel, Endeavour. Endeavour manages to rendezvous with Rama one month after it first comes to Earth's attention, when the alien ship is already inside Venus' orbit. The 20+ crew, led by Commander Bill Norton, enters Rama through a dual safety system consisting of two sets of triple airlocks, six in all, and explores the vast 16-km wide by 50-km long cylindrical world of its interior, but the nature and purpose of the starship and its creators remain enigmatic throughout the book. The astronauts discover that Rama is hollow, and that its inner surfaces hold vast "cities" of geometric structures that resemble buildings and are separated by streets with shallow trenches. A mammoth band of water, dubbed the Cylindrical Sea, stretches around Rama's central circumference. Massive cones, which the astronauts theorise are part of Rama's propulsion system, stand at its 'southern' end. They also find that Rama's atmosphere is breathable.

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Reading this book really stepped me back in time, as it fell right back into the Sci-Fi I remember reading back in the 70's....yet, the writing was so good, it didn't necessarily feel totally dated. Knowing there were books to come (even though I read Clarke originally claimed it was a stand-alone book, and even though it hints at the end tthere is more to come), it didn't come as as a surprise when the ending felt somewhat anti-climactic. It has a definitive 'end', but the alien spacecraft is still a mystery; the reader (as do the characters of the story) know nothing of why the ship appeared and who the owners were/are.

There were two interesting things left as an aftertaste, however:

1. The Ramans apparantly did things in triplicate...in three's. An example is the infrastructure/architecture in the ship, such as three stairways on the northern interior end. I am left with the feeling that in the next book, Rama II, and the third book (and yes, the fourth book)....that we are going to see the Ramans (or their tech) two more times with a definitive explaination of what the hell is going on?

...and yes, I went back and bought the other three hardcover books at the second hand shop :lol:

2. One of my favorite films recently was "Interstellar". That probably had a big influence on why I found these books attractive. The director of that film, Christopher Nolan, stated that Clarke's science-fiction vision was a major influence on his 2014 film Interstellar. This was most visually evident toward the end of the film with "Cooper Station" ...a rotating Rama-like spacecraft with a bright propulsion center at one end that mimics sunlight.

I enjoyed the book and look forward to the sequels, if a little trepidatious at being left feeling anti-climactic :D
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Re: Emery's 2017 Reading Challenge Log

Postby 50th » Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:30 pm

I read those books back in the '80's, they were very good and reminded me why I fell in love with science fiction in the first place. Back when I was in school, I read a lot of Arthur C Clarke, Issac Asimov and other great sci-fi writers. I used to have almost all of the Space 1999 books, all of the Star Trek Reader series and most of the Animated Star Trek series, along with the books to the first five Trek movies. After moving so many times, I have a handful of books from my old collections. Most of the books I have now are either much newer WWII books or books from my days at college. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did, and they stir your imagination as much as they did a teenager named Ron.
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Re: Emery's 2017 Reading Challenge Log

Postby Whiterook » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:41 am

50th wrote:...they were very good and reminded me why I fell in love with science fiction in the first place.


WOW, that's exactly the feeling I am getting as I read through these! :D The writing is definitely 'old-school' feel, yet the imagination and creative flare is still raw and vibrant, making it also feel contemporary.

I can still recall the hours spent at the local bookshop, in the sci-fi isle, marveling at all the cool art on the covers, and reading the jackets' description/reviews. I must confess that many a book was purchased due to he artwork in the cover :lol: ...yet, I can't recall one book I regretted buying. I also recall that the selection for science fiction in the city library wasn't terribly good.

I can further recall that my discovery, and subsequent addiction to science fiction tomes both large and small, inspired me to try my hand at writing a story myself....yeah, didn't go so well :o :shock:

50th wrote:'... when I was in school, I read a lot of Arthur C Clarke, Issac Asimov and other great sci-fi writers. I used to have almost all of the Space 1999 books, all of the Star Trek Reader series...'


Same list for me, too. Asimov's book, "The Stars, Like Dust' changed my life (in however large or small way) in becoming a rabid reader. Later, I became enamored with series books, and have: The Star Trek Readers (they were my wife's whom I refused to let discard); many of the early Star Trek Bantam books; all Babylon 5 books; and many Stargate Atlantis SG1 and Atlantis books. I even have a small collection of Star Wars books.

50th wrote:'...After moving so many times, I have a handful of books from my old collections. Most of the books I have now are either much newer WWII books....I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did, and they stir your imagination as much as they did a teenager named Ron.'


I as well, had started collecting a big amount of WWII books, only surpassed my my Fine Art and Art Instructional library...but the science fiction collection remains perhaps the largest collection (I've never catalogued them), and in the past couple years, started growing again (especially on my Kindle).

That said, I have discarded (as in, pared down) my home library considerably, and still need to go through more. Not that I am in the hoarding crowd...no where near...but they do take up considerable space if let loose. I have one four tier bookcase full of a mix; a small three tier bookcase in my studio, with my art books; and a shelf on a sunporch with the summer reading fare.
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Re: Emery's 2017 Reading Challenge Log

Postby Whiterook » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:50 am

By the way...I did start Rama II, which takes place about 70 years after the storyline of the first book. Though Clarke hadn't intended to do a series, the story is flowing nicely into a new line, with new characters. :D This second book (and the other two after), are all on hard cover first editions, which has had me come to the realization that if the story continues to hold my fancy to the point tat I see I would re-read them in the future (hint: Very Likely), I will need to find a hard cover 'Rendezvous...' to replace my Kindle version of that first book.

I also started another book, on my Kindle, and it captured my attention immediately upon reading. It's also sci-fi novel and so far, very good.
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Re: Emery's 2017 Reading Challenge Log

Postby Frank » Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:41 pm

Whiterook wrote:That said, I have discarded (as in, pared down) my home library considerably, and still need to go through more. Not that I am in the hoarding crowd...no where near...but they do take up considerable space if let loose. I have one four tier bookcase full of a mix; a small three tier bookcase in my studio, with my art books; and a shelf on a sunporch with the summer reading fare.


I read the Rama books when they first came out, and like most Clarke`s I really enjoyed them though I have to admit I can remember very little about them now.

We have also really pared down our library over the last couple of years, the problem is that unless we really did not like a book we tended to hang on to it in case we wanted to read it again. We have got rid of about 3/4 of our books leaving us with about 2 thousand +.

I still have the first adult book I ever bought, The Guns of Navarone, which I got in the mid 60`s . It cost me 3 shillings and 6 pence, 17 1/2 pence in modern money with most modern books going for £7-8 now.
"Some believe that it is only great power that can hold evil in check.But that is not what I have found, it is the small everyday acts of normal folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
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Re: Emery's 2017 Reading Challenge Log

Postby Whiterook » Mon Oct 23, 2017 5:45 pm

Book 9

Landfall
By John McWilliams

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In Alberta, Canada, at the foot of Dead Horse Mountain, a space capsule is discovered—a capsule that shouldn't exist. Thirty years earlier, Dr. Jan Lee, American entrepreneur and space tourist, purportedly destroyed this craft when he blew up the International Space Station in an act of unexplained sabotage. That event has since inspired conspiracy theories ranging from espionage to alien invasion.

Special Agents Lauren Madison and Ellis Cole have been assigned to investigate. But inside the capsule they find an even greater mystery: the remnants of a three-decade-old time-messaging experiment that could, within days, usher in a new era of manned space travel—or ignite an unimaginable disaster.

That's the basic plot. What we had here as a story of sending a message through time, and how it was done. The message itself was pretty evident to me, from early in in the story. I don't really know how to respond to my take on this novel.... It was the type story I'd enjoy in a 2-hour movie on a boring Saturday afternoon with nothing better to do. I read through the book pretty quick...thank goodness...but it wan't the most satisfying read I've come across, but being a free read definitely helped.

It was enjoyable on many spots, but I kept thinking this had the makings of an awesome book; until I got to the end and was...'really?'.

It was....OK.
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