reader’s voice

Books

Books

Nominations are now closed for our June read. It’s time to vote on the book we’re going to read next month.

Here are the candidates:

Shadow and Claw is comprised of the first two books of Gene Wolfe’s four-volume The Book of the New Sun (1980–83), which is a critically acclaimed work of far-future science fantasy in the Dying Earth tradition of Jack VanceThe Shadow of the Torturer is the tale of young Severian, an apprentice in the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession — showing mercy toward his victim. The Claw of the Conciliator continues the saga of Severian, banished from his home, as he undertakes a mythic quest to discover the awesome power of an ancient relic, and learn the truth about his hidden destiny.

Farnham’s Freehold by Robert Heinlein — It’s a cross-time fight for freedom as a family retreats to a bomb shelter during a nuclear attack — only to emerge hundreds of years in the future, thrown forward in time by the blasts. There lifeboat ethics rule as they struggle to survive … until they’re discovered by up-time humans, the survivors of the apocalypse. These survivors are of African descent.  Down-time humans — in fact, all of the European-descended — are held guilty for the state into which the world has fallen and designated as automatic slaves.  The only escape is to find a way back down-time, to change events sufficiently to make absolute certain this nightmare future never get a chance to happen in the first place!

The Freedom Maze — Delia Sherman’s young-adult fantasy novel focuses on an adolescent girl of 1960 who is magically sent back in time to 1860 when her family owned slaves on a Louisiana plantation. With her summer tan, she’s mistaken for a slave herself, and she learns the hard way what life was like.  In the process, she comes to appreciate the values of honor, respect, courage, and personal responsibility.

Ready Player One — Ernest Cline’s genre-busting blend of science fiction, romance, suspense, and adventure describes a virtual world that has managed to evolve an order without a state and where entrepreneurial gamers must solve virtual puzzles and battle real-life enemies to save their virtual world from domination and corruption. The novel also stresses the importance of allowing open access to the Internet for everyone.

Snuff — A Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett (winner of a Prometheus Award for Night Watch, also set in Discworld), Snuff blends comedy, drama, satire, suspense and mystery as a police chief investigates the murder of a goblin and finds himself battling discrimination. The mystery broadens into a powerful drama to extend the world’s recognition of rights to include these long-oppressed and disdained people with a sophisticated culture of their own.

[Keep reading…]

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Books

Earlier this month I floated the idea of starting a reading group or book club feature called The Lightmonthly Read. I think we’ve received enough interest to justify going ahead with it. The more the merrier — so if you are among those who expressed interest,  please spread the word, bring a friend.

To refresh everyone’s memory, the idea is that every month we’ll read and discuss a book that we selected the previous month. Generally I think we’ll have a nomination phase starting on the first of every month and then hold a vote, allowing a week for each phase. That should give everyone at least two weeks to acquire a copy of the book after voting is closed.

This time around, however, since next month will be the inaugrual Lightmonthly Read and we’re already 10 days into April, we’ll skip the nomination phase and go straight to voting on a short list.

Since the Prometheus Award finalists were just recently announced, we’ll choose our May read from the list of finalists — sans The Children of the Sky, because Matthew Dawson has already reviewed it, and The Restoration Game, because we’ve received a copy from Pyr that Matthew Alexander is going to review soon. That leaves the four finalists listed at the end of this post.

Discussions will take place mostly in the Prometheus Unbound forums. I’ve created a set just for the Lightmonthly Read: one forum for discussing the current month’s read, one subforum for voting on future reads, and another subforum to archive the discussions of previous month’s reads. Old threads on previous reads won’t be closed; this setup is meant to place focus on the current month’s read. To create and maintain a reading group or book club atmosphere, the Lightmonthly Read forums are members-only; you’ll have to register an account on Prometheus Unbound and be logged in to read and post in them. Anyone can register, and it’s easy.

We may occasionally hold live voice and video discussions using Google+ Hangouts or Skype.

One of the participants may be invited to write an official review of the selected book for Prometheus Unbound at the end of the month. If you’re interested, let us know at some point before the month is out. Otherwise, one of the staff will write the review.

We hope eventually to get authors involved in discussions of their work, whether they can only spare an hour in a Google+ Hangout or have time to participate in the forum over the course of a few days or even the entire month.

Authors, this is a great way to promote your work and to interact with your current and potential fans. It’s also a good opportunity for book giveaways. If you’re interested in participating in the Lightmonthly Read, let us know.

[Keep reading…]

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Books

to-read pile

We’re thinking of launching a new feature here at Prometheus Unbound and want to gauge reader interest before doing so.

The feature will likely be called The Lightmonthly Read — a geeky name for a rather familiar concept: a reading group or “book of the month” club.

The idea is that each month readers of Prometheus Unbound will nominate stories and vote on the one they want to read in the following month. We’ll all read and discuss the story, including Prometheus Unbound staff, in one of our forums. We might also make use of Google+ Hangouts on occasion. At the end of the month, someone (either one of you or one of us) will get a chance to officially review the story for Prometheus Unbound.

That’s just for starters.

If The Lightmonthly Read proves to be a success, we plan to solicit author involvement. We could get authors to participate in the forum discussions for a day, or a week, or even the entire month — whatever the author is up for. You might get a chance to participate in a Google+ Hangout or Skype chat with your favorite author. We might even be able to coordinate some book giveaways.

Does this new feature interest you? Let us know in the comments.

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ASK THE READERS | What is the best science fiction for people who “serve” in the military? Thumbnail
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Hint Hint

That’s what i09 asked their readers yesterday. More specifically, they wanted to know what is “the best science fiction to read or watch if you’re actually serving in the military. … What kind of SF gets you through the day (and night)?”

You can guess what sort of suggestions io9’s typical readers will come up with. Or you could brave the comments to find out.

But I’m sure we libertarians would have some quite different suggestions.

We wouldn’t be asking what kind of science fiction gets soldiers engaged in unnecessary, counterproductive, imperialist wars through the day (and night). We wouldn’t be asking what sort of fiction soothes their consciences (if they feel any guilt at all) or reinforces their misguided patriotism. Or what merely helps them pass the time while keeping their minds off of the rigors of war or how much they miss their loved ones.

No, we would ask what kind of science fiction would prick their consciences and awaken them to what their “service” really means:
[Keep reading…]

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