Welcome Guest.   Make a donation to an author on the site October 31, 2014, 03:48:06 PM  *

Please login or register.
Or did you miss your validation email?


Login with username and password (forgot your password?)
Why not become a lifetime supporting member of the site with a one-time donation of any amount? Your donation entitles you to a ton of additional benefits, including access to exclusive discounts and downloads, the ability to enter monthly free software drawings, and a single non-expiring license key for all of our programs.


You must sign up here before you can post and access some areas of the site. Registration is totally free and confidential.
 
The N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2011! Download 30+ custom programs!
   
   Forum Home   Thread Marks Chat! Downloads Search Login Register  
Pages: Prev 1 2 3 [4]   Go Down
  Reply  |  New Topic  |  Print  
Author Topic: You like science fiction, don't you? Of course you do!  (Read 17391 times)
IainB
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 4,808


Slartibartfarst

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #75 on: June 11, 2014, 01:34:19 PM »

As I mentioned here, my 12½ y/o daughter "...is studying the category of Science Fiction in her English class.".

She's just read A for Andromeda, and written a review about it. I had never read the book, though I well recall having seen a recording of the BBC's serialisation of the made-for-TV script (the book was written after the serialisation).

Here's the review. It's not too bad, doesn't give the plot away, and made me want to read the book.
______________________________________________


From Andromeda comes a message unlike any other. What is it? Who knows, but one thing’s for sure, you will enjoy reading this book.

Written by two fabulous authors Fred Hoyle and John Elliot in 1962, A for Andromeda is about a group of scientists at a new satellite base who pick up a mysterious code from another galaxy. Follow them and their gripping twelve chapter journey trying to solve the code in A for Andromeda.

The book begins with the young scientist Dr Fleming at a newly-built British satellite research base. A few days after its construction, a mysterious binary code is picked up by the base, coming from the distant Andromeda nebula. Over a few months, Dr Fleming deciphers the code. Surprisingly, it is a set of instructions to build a supercomputer unlike any other. Once built, the computer is examined by the British prime minister. The computer is started by the prime minister and the code from Andromeda is fed into it. Fleming and the other scientists wait for hours, but nothing seems to be happening until – to their relief – after ten hours, a string of messages asking several questions is printed out by the computer.

Answers to the questions are fed in to the computer, and, uplifted by the initial success of the computer, the scientists wait with bated breath for the next instructions. Soon the computer gathers an unprecedented level of knowledge about life on earth. Then it gives instructions on building a life form of its own specifications. Dr Dawnay, a friend of Fleming’s bosses, is ordered in to help with creating the life form in Fleming’s lab. A simple creature is made a few months later. Its insides and skin look like green gelatinous goo. The creature has one distinctive feature - a small orb at the top of its body that acts as its eye. The scientists, especially Dr Fleming, dislike the creature and name it Cyclops. Fleming grows slightly suspicious of the computer and tries to limit the amount of information fed into it, but his colleagues refuse to acknowledge his concerns and continue to think up new ways to utilise this marvellous computer. Fleming is extremely angry and frustrated. This quote is from when the scientists try to create Cyclops:
Quote
Pg.81:
The cell elongated into two lobes which stretched and broke apart, and then each lobe broke again into two new cells.
“It’s reproducing!” Dawnay leant back and watched the screen, “We’ve made life!”
Fleming was standing up watching the screen intently. “How are you going to stop it?”
“I’m not going to stop it. I want to see what it does.”
“It’s developing into quite a coherent structure.” Reinhart observed.
Fleming clenched his fists up on the table, “Kill it!”
“What?” Dawnay looked at him in mild surprise.
“Kill it while you can.”
“It’s perfectly well under control.”
“Is it? Look at the way it’s growing.” Fleming pointed at the rapidly doubling mass of cells on the screen. “Kill it.”
Fleming looked around at their anxious unyielding faces, and then back at the screen. He picked up the heavy container in which the tea had been brought and smashed it down on the viewing plate of the microscope. A clatter of metal and glass ran through the hushed room.
The viewing panel went dead.
____________________________

After creating Cyclops, the computer quickly progressed to growing a human. A strikingly beautiful woman rapidly develops from a baby born in the lab, modelled on the likeness of a co-worker who died a number of months ago, under suspicious circumstances. They name the woman Andromeda, and she is given schooling, and the scientists soon find that her mental capacity is larger than most humans, and she soon soaks up whatever she is taught, like a sponge. Realising that Andromeda is genius-level, certain people wish to use her advanced skills.

Soon, other nations find out about the computer and become fearful of this alien technology in the hands of the British government. Some nations decide that the only way to reassert their global dominance is by the use of scare tactics, but the British government decides to utilise Andromeda’s intelligence to demonstrate their power.

With Britain looking to become a world power once again and thus with an increasing reliance on the strange supercomputer, Fleming begins to suspect again that the computer is not all that it might seem to be. It may perhaps have other more cynical ideas for the human race.

Fleming sets out to destroy the very programme he helped to create, but the supercomputer is not going out without a fight.

A for Andromeda is a story about another intelligence, alien to ourselves, and about what could happen if we did make contact with such an intelligence from a distant part of the universe.

It also deals with themes such as mankind’s increasing reliance on technology, and his never-ending quest for dominance and power, and also the ideas of First Contact, and good versus evil.

A for Andromeda is one of the best science fiction books I have read in a while, and I warn you that this book will have you hooked until the bitter end. It uses some sophisticated language and some description which helps the story along. Overall the plot was excellent.

My only negative point would be how time does not seem to exist in this story, but that bit you will have to find out for yourself.

My overall rating of A for Andromeda is four and a half stars out of five.

The computer and genetic technology described could have been difficult to believe at the time when the book was written, but is more readily believable today as we have moved towards having aspects of that technology now anyway. The science in the story seems accurate (one of the authors, Fred Hoyle was a scientist), except it glosses over the impossibility of communicating with a galaxy some 200 lightyears distant.

I would recommend this engrossing book for all people of 13 and over.
______________________________________________
Logged
Arizona Hot
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 779


see users location on a map View Profile Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #76 on: July 17, 2014, 06:33:33 PM »

I have read 3 books in this series and would like to recommend it.



Amazon.com Origins (Spinward Fringe Book 0) eBook Randolph Lalonde Kindle Store

Smashwords – Book Search randolph lalonde

Logged

"If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning"  - Catherine Aird
oblivion
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 359


see users location on a map View Profile Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #77 on: July 18, 2014, 04:20:39 AM »

Not sure if this is more appropriate here or not, really, but the current Humble books bundle is a pretty decent collection of sci-fi. Or speculative fiction. Or whatever Harlan Ellison now calls the collection of (excellent) short stories that are also available as part of the bundle. (There's three tiers to this one: pay what you want gets a set of books, beat the average gets a few more, more than $12 gets everything.)

Mostly, people are familiar with the Humble Bundle outfit as a source of (usually decent) games. However, they've done a couple of ebook and comics bundles in the past and they're usually pretty good.
Logged

-- bests, Tim

...this space unintentionally left blank.
40hz
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 10,770



see users location on a map View Profile Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #78 on: July 18, 2014, 07:54:59 AM »

Annihilation (The Southern Reach Trilogy) by Jeff VanderMeer.



I'll say it up front - you will either love or hate this book. You'll either read the first 20 pages with a growing sense of frustration and toss it - or you'll read the first twenty pages with a growing sense of frustration and not put it down until it's finished.

I'm in the second group.

Jeff VanderMeer has a weird style and approach to telling a story that I find absolutely hypnotic. Without handing you much, he has the ability to conjure up the most amazing images and symbols in your mind's eye and invoke eerie moods in your subconscious. Like his earlier works City of Saints and Madmen, Finch, and the (sadly out-of-print) Shriek: An Afterword, Annihilation continues in the same tradition - but in a new storyline which doesn't take place in his brooding city named Ambergris. Pretty neat feat for someone using only the printed word.

So here's the deal:

Quote
Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.

     The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

     They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.

Not for everyone. But, as the saying goes, "If you like this sort of book, this is a book you'll like."

Amazon's page has an extensive sampling of the first part of the book. Or you can read an excerpt of the first few pages here. I'd suggest you check them out first before buying it.

One review I saw that IMO nailed what this book is about can be found here.

Recommended - but with caveat. Thmbsup


-------------------------------------------------------

Note: if anybody has a copy of Shriek: An Afterword (either paperback or hardcover) they'd be interested in selling, please PM me? I need a second copy for a project I'm working on. Thx. smiley
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 08:08:23 AM by 40hz » Logged

Don't you see? It's turtles all the way down!
Arizona Hot
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 779


see users location on a map View Profile Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #79 on: August 14, 2014, 10:45:13 AM »

I would like to recommend these books on Wattpad. They are complete and I read all of both of them.

Don't Be a Hero A Superhero Novel - Wattpad

Burn Code - Wattpad
Logged

"If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning"  - Catherine Aird
IainB
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 4,808


Slartibartfarst

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #80 on: September 24, 2014, 07:22:56 PM »


Mentioned the first (Book 0) in the Spinward Fringe series:
I rather enjoyed the Spinward Fringe book. Difficult to put down. Recommended!  Thmbsup
Now want to read the rest in the series...

I'd like to add to this a (my) brief review of that book:
Quote
"Origins (Spinward Fringe Book 0)" by  Randolph Lalonde.    Thmbsup

As a veteran SF addict, I am often highly critical of new SF works, but I consider this book to be, overall, a good and enjoyable SF read.
I obtained it for FREE in the Kindle version, and it was evidently intended as a sample of more to come  - i.e., in the rest of the series.
I purchased a Kindle really just to try it out - a "suck-it-and-see" exercise. I was skeptical as to whether it could be an adequate or full replacement for all aspects of conventional books.
However, in the case of the "Origins" story, if I had not had a Kindle, then I suspect that I would probably never have bothered reading the story (even if it were available) in hardcopy. This is arguably a new dimension that Amazon Kindle has introduced to the book-readers in the publishing market, and is likely to lead to encouraging results for new authors like Randolph Lalonde, and more business for Amazon - so a  thumbs up for Kindle books there.

To my surprise, I found the Origins book to be hard to put down, due to it's having a good plot, good progressive development of the characters in the story (though sometimes a bit abrupt with the odd leap here and there, but that kept things moving), and lots of action, a love interest (just right, not too much), etc. - all "ticks in the box". The book is based in a future time, but is plausible - including, for example, the new future's science and technology invented by the author.

I read the Afterword by the author, where he summarises some of the trials and tribulations that he encountered in producing this book and developing it into a viable series. Very interesting, and I wish him the best of luck. I think he probably has a winner.
As a result of reading this first book I intend to follow it up with the next in the series.
Logged
Arizona Hot
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 779


see users location on a map View Profile Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #81 on: October 09, 2014, 01:52:48 PM »



This e-book may be considered fantasy by the people here, but I think they will like it and it is very scientific. You can read it online or download various versions of it, including a PDF version.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Sample texts:

Quote
This is the living-room of the house occupied by the eminent Professor Michael Verres-Evans, and his wife, Mrs. Petunia Evans-Verres, and their adopted son, Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres.
There is a letter lying on the living-room table, and an unstamped envelope of yellowish parchment, addressed to Mr. H. Potter in emerald-green ink.
------------------
Harry took a deep breath. "Mum, your parents didn't have magic, did they?"
"No," Petunia said, looking puzzled.
"Then no one in your family knew about magic when Lily got her letter. How did they get convinced?"
"Ah..." Petunia said. "They didn't just send a letter. They sent a professor from Hogwarts. He -" Petunia's eyes flicked to Michael. "He showed us some magic."
"Then you don't have to fight over this," Harry said firmly. Hoping against hope that this time, just this once, they would listen to him. "If it's true, we can just get a Hogwarts professor here and see the magic for ourselves, and Dad will admit that it's true. And if not, then Mum will admit that it's false. That's what the experimental method is for, so that we don't have to resolve things just by arguing."
--------------------
Harry was breathing in short gasps. His voice came out choked. "You can't DO that!"
"It's only a Transfiguration," said Professor McGonagall. "An Animagus transformation, to be exact."
"You turned into a cat! A SMALL cat! You violated Conservation of Energy! That's not just an arbitrary rule, it's implied by the form of the quantum Hamiltonian! Rejecting it destroys unitarity and then you get FTL signalling! And cats are COMPLICATED! A human mind can't just visualise a whole cat's anatomy and, and all the cat biochemistry, and what about the neurology? How can you go on thinking using a cat-sized brain?"
--------------------
"Well," Professor McGonagall sighed, after Harry's parents had composed themselves and returned. "Well. I think, under the circumstances, that I should avoid taking you to purchase your study materials until a day or two before school begins."
"What? Why? The other children already know magic, don't they? I have to start catching up right away!"
"Rest assured, Mr. Potter," replied Professor McGonagall, "Hogwarts is quite capable of teaching the basics. And I suspect, Mr. Potter, that if I leave you alone for two months with your schoolbooks, even without a wand, I will return to this house only to find a crater billowing purple smoke, a depopulated city surrounding it and a plague of flaming zebras terrorising what remains of England."
Logged

"If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning"  - Catherine Aird
rjbull
Charter Member
***
Posts: 2,778

View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #82 on: October 09, 2014, 05:22:50 PM »

^ looks like two of Sir Terry Pratchett's books are in similar vein:
  • The Science of Discworld
    When a wizardly experiment goes adrift, the wizards of Unseen University find themselves with a pocket universe on their hands: Roundworld, where neither magic nor common sense seems to stand a chance against logic. The Universe, of course, is our own. And Roundworld is Earth. As the wizards watch their accidental creation grow, we follow the story of our universe from the primal singularity of the Big Bang to the Internet and beyond. Through this original Terry Pratchett story (with intervening chapters from Cohen and Stewart) we discover how puny and insignificant individual lives are against a cosmic backdrop of creation and disaster. Yet, paradoxically, we see how the richness of a universe based on rules, has led to a complex world and at least one species that tried to get a grip of what was going on.
  • The Science of Discworld II: The Globe
    The acclaimed Science of Discworld centred around an original Pratchett story about the Wizards of Discworld. In it they accidentally witnessed the creation and evolution of our universe, a plot which was interleaved with a Cohen & Stewart non-fiction narrative about Big Science. In The Science of Discworld II our authors join forces again to see just what happens when the wizards meddle with history in a battle against the elves for the future of humanity on Earth. London is replaced by a dozy Neanderthal village. The Renaissance is given a push. The role of fat women in art is developed. And one very famous playwright gets born and writes The Play. Weaving together a fast-paced Discworld novelette with cutting-edge scientific commentary on the evolution and development of the human mind, culture, language, art, and science, this is a book in which 'the hard science is as gripping as the fiction'. (The Times)
     
Logged
Pages: Prev 1 2 3 [4]   Go Up
  Reply  |  New Topic  |  Print  
 
Jump to:  
   Forum Home   Thread Marks Chat! Downloads Search Login Register  

DonationCoder.com | About Us
DonationCoder.com Forum | Powered by SMF
[ Page time: 0.051s | Server load: 0.15 ]