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View Poll Results: Which book should we read for November?
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell 14 28.00%
Ubik by Philip K. Dick 6 12.00%
Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress 6 12.00%
The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi 2 4.00%
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham 6 12.00%
Deathworld by Harry Harrison 2 4.00%
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick 5 10.00%
Summer of Love, A Time Travel by Lisa Mason 1 2.00%
Armageddon 2419 AD by Philip Francis Nowlan 6 12.00%
Metropolis by Thea von Harbou 2 4.00%
Voters: 50. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-25-2012, 08:57 PM   #1
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November 2012 Book Club 1st Vote

November 2012 Mobile Read Book Club 1st Vote

Help us choose a book as the November 2012 eBook for the Mobile Read Book Club. The poll will be open for 4 days, followed by a 3 day run-off poll between the two* most popular choices. The vote this month will be hidden.

We will start the discussion thread for this book on November 20th. Select from the following Official Choices with three nominations each:

(1) Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Amazon (UK) / Amazon (US) / Barnes & Noble / Kobo
Spoiler:
From Amazon:

A postmodern visionary who is also a master of styles of genres, David Mitchell combines flat-out adventure, a Nabokovian lore of puzzles, a keen eye for character, and a taste for mind-bending philosophical and scientific speculation in the tradition of Umberto Eco and Philip K. Dick. The result is brilliantly original fiction that reveals how disparate people connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky.

“[David] Mitchell is, clearly, a genius. He writes as though at the helm of some perpetual dream machine, can evidently do anything, and his ambition is written in magma across this novel’s every page.”—The New York Times Book Review

“One of those how-the-holy-hell-did-he-do-it? modern classics that no doubt is—and should be—read by any student of contemporary literature.”—Dave Eggers

“Wildly entertaining . . . a head rush, both action-packed and chillingly ruminative.”—People

“The novel as series of nested dolls or Chinese boxes, a puzzle-book, and yet—not just dazzling, amusing, or clever but heartbreaking and passionate, too. I’ve never read anything quite like it, and I’m grateful to have lived, for a while, in all its many worlds.”—Michael Chabon


From Publishers Weekly:

At once audacious, dazzling, pretentious and infuriating, Mitchell's third novel weaves history, science, suspense, humor and pathos through six separate but loosely related narratives. Like Mitchell's previous works, Ghostwritten and number9dream (which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize), this latest foray relies on a kaleidoscopic plot structure that showcases the author's stylistic virtuosity. Each of the narratives is set in a different time and place, each is written in a different prose style, each is broken off mid-action and brought to conclusion in the second half of the book. Among the volume's most engaging story lines is a witty 1930s-era chronicle, via letters, of a young musician's effort to become an amanuensis for a renowned, blind composer and a hilarious account of a modern-day vanity publisher who is institutionalized by a stroke and plans a madcap escape in order to return to his literary empire (such as it is). Mitchell's ability to throw his voice may remind some readers of David Foster Wallace, though the intermittent hollowness of his ventriloquism frustrates. Still, readers who enjoy the "novel as puzzle" will find much to savor in this original and occasionally very entertaining work.


(2) Ubik by Philip K. Dick
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Google / Kobo Books
Spoiler:
Glen Runciter runs a lucrative business—deploying his teams of anti-psychics to corporate clients who want privacy and security from psychic spies. But when he and his top team are ambushed by a rival, he is gravely injured and placed in “half-life,” a dreamlike state of suspended animation. Soon, though, the surviving members of the team begin experiencing some strange phenomena, such as Runciter’s face appearing on coins and the world seeming to move backward in time. As consumables deteriorate and technology gets ever more primitive, the group needs to find out what is causing the shifts and what a mysterious product called Ubik has to do with it all.


(3) Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
Amazon / BooksOnBoard
Spoiler:
In a world where the slightest edge can mean the difference between success and failure, Leisha Camden is beautiful, extraordinarily intelligent...and one of an ever-growing number of human beings who have been genetically modified to never require sleep.

Once considered interesting anomalies, now Leisha and the other "Sleepless" are outcasts—victims of blind hatred, political repression, and shocking mob violence meant to drive them from human society...and, ultimately, from Earth itself.

But Leisha Camden has chosen to remain behind in a world that envies and fears her "gift"—a world marked for destruction in a devastating conspiracy of freedom...and revenge.


(4) The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi
Amazon / Apple / Barnes & Noble
Spoiler:
The most exciting SF debut of the last 5 years - a star to stand alongside Reynolds and Morgan. Jean le Flambeur is a post-human criminal, mind burglar, confidence artist and trickster. His origins are shrouded in mystery, but his exploits are known throughout the Heterarchy - from breaking into the vast Zeusbrains of the Inner System to steal their thoughts, to stealing rare Earth antiques from the aristocrats of the Moving Cities of Mars.

Except that Jean made one mistake. Now he is condemned to play endless variations of a game-theoretic riddle in the vast virtual jail of the Axelrod Archons - the Dilemma Prison - against countless copies of himself.

Jean's routine of death, defection and cooperation is upset by the arrival of Mieli and her spidership, Perhonen. She offers him a chance to win back his freedom and the powers of his old self - in exchange for finishing the one heist he never quite managed . . .

The Quantum Thief is a dazzling hard SF novel set in the solar system of the far future - a heist novel peopled by bizarre post-humans but powered by very human motives of betrayal, revenge and jealousy. It is a stunning debut.


(5) The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Fictionwise / Google eBook
Spoiler:
eBook Description: "All the reality of a vividly realized nightmare," The Times of London wrote of John Wyndham's terrifying post-apocalyptic thriller Day of the Triffids, published in 1951. The novel is often labeled science fiction, but it might best be described as a completely unnerving fantasy, even at the distance of half a century- for nothing dates this story of a world rendered helpless by a frightening, unearthly phenomenon. Triffids are odd but interesting plants that seem to appear in everyone's garden. They are curiosities, but little more, until an event occurs that alters human life--what appears to be a meteor shower, spectacular at first, turns into a bizarre green inferno that has blinded virtually everyone and rendered humankind helpless. Even stranger, spores from the inferno have caused triffids to suddenly take on lives of their own--large, crawling vegetation that uproot themselves and roam about, attacking humans and inflicting agony. William Masen happened to escape being blinded in the green inferno--he was hospitalized with his eyes bandaged following surgery--and he is now one of the few humans left who can see, who can avoid being attacked by triffids, who might be able to save mankind from the chaos and possible extinction threatened by this cataclysm. Day of the Triffids is generally held to be John Wyndham's finest novel, and it was his first significant work. His style has been described aptly as "speculative fiction." The real power of Day of the Triffids is not in its pure invention but in its matter-of-fact depiction of bizarre phenomena occurring in the midst of day-to-day life. The narrative voice of William Masen is calm and reasoned throughout as he describes the ongoing nightmare and his attempt to prevail, recalling the struggle from an almost historical perspective. Wyndham tells a mesmerizing story in Day of the Triffids, one that has lost none of its quiet terror. (from Fictionwise)


(6) Deathworld by Harry Harrison
Patricia Clark Memorial Library (files contains offsite links): ePub / Mobi
Spoiler:
Deathworld is the first in a series of novels begun in 1960 and originally serialized in Astounding Science Fiction Magazine. It’s the story of Jason dinAlt a professional gambler with psionic skills who finds himself on Pyrrus the deadliest planet to be colonized by humanity. Violent weather, active tectonics, heavy gravity, abundant predators, and a hostile splinter group of colonists is only the beginning of Jason’s quest to learn the truth about Pyrrus.


(7) Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Amazon / Kobo / Overdrive
Spoiler:
By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn't afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep. . . They even built humans. (from Amazon)


(8) Summer of Love, A Time Travel by Lisa Mason
Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Spoiler:
Publication Date: May 28, 2010
A Philip K. Dick Award Finalist. A San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book of the Year.

The year is 1967 and something new is sweeping across America: good vibes, bad vibes, psychedelic music, psychedelic drugs, anti-war protests, racial tension, free love, bikers, dropouts, flower children. An age of innocence, a time of danger. The Summer of Love.

San Francisco is the Summer of Love, where runaway flower children flock to join the hip elite and squares cruise the streets to view the human zoo.

Lost in these strange and wondrous days, teenager Susan Bell, alias Starbright, has run away from the straight suburbs of Cleveland to find her troubled best friend. Her path will cross with Chiron Cat’s Eye in Draco, a strange and beautiful young man who has journeyed farther than she could ever imagine.

With the help of Ruby A. Maverick, a feisty half-black, half-white hip merchant, Susan and Chi discover a love that spans five centuries. But can they save the world from demons threatening to destroy all space and time?

A harrowing coming of age. A friendship ending in tragedy. A terrifying far future. A love spanning five centuries. And a gritty portrait of a unique time in history--the Summer of Love.

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (A New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book). (from Amazon)


(9) Armageddon 2419 AD by Philip Francis Nowlan
Feedbooks (Kindle) / Patricia Clark Memorial Library: ePub / LRF
Spoiler:
The original Buck Rogers story.


(10) Metropolis by Thea von Harbou
Feedbooks
Spoiler:
Thea von Harbou's book is the indispensable companion to Fritz Lang's immortal film. As most people know, Lang's film was butchered by German and American editors-we have lost about 25% of the film. Essential scenes and many of the subplots were deleted to make it fit within a small time frame. Reality Check: The shorter the film, the more times they can show it, and the more money they collect. Consequently, with the best of restorations, we are seeing a film with as many gaps as a hockey player's smile.
This book, which was serially published before the film's release, fills in the gaps. You get a better sense of the story that Lang and von Harbou are trying the tell. The book allows you to get inside the heads of Freder and co. in a way that the film does not allow. You get a stronger feel for the dystopic milieu that Freder fixes.

This story is essentially mythic, so devotees of Joseph Campbell, George Lucas, and James N. Frey will devour the book and the film. You see the messianic and redemptive elements that makes this story so enduring. This story is one of my favorites, and rates with anything C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkein wrote, although not with the same level of craftsmanship. (from Amazon)



The fine print:
*Should the first vote produce a 3-way or more tie for first place, or 2-way or more tie for second, the second poll will have more than two choices.
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:13 PM   #2
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In a shocking turn of events, I voted for Cloud Atlas.
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:24 PM   #3
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Crap - the options are so difficult for this one that I was really hoping for a visible vote so I could play sheep this time around.
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:36 PM   #4
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What a great selection! So hard to choose...
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:45 PM   #5
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Missed the nominations this month, so here are my thoughts while sifting through the candidates:
  • Cloud Atlas: already in my TBR pile, so yeah, will probably vote for it
  • Ubik: Not a fan of psyhic stories unless the setting is a purely fantasy universe: wizards, magic, etc. Telepathy, telekinesis, they're too anti-scientific. I can imagine humans evolving a mild empathic ability based on chemical excretion & reception -- we have pheremones already -- but that's it. I'll tolerate telepathy in a science fiction story if the story is otherwise exemplary. Justin Cronin's "The Passage" is a recent one.
  • Beggars in Spain: Those who require no sleep are outcasts. Isn't sleeplessness a trait one can easily hide? Today, some people need only four hours of sleep. Surely a sleepless person can pretend they sleep 4 hours/night. Especially easy if you live alone or with only your spouse & family (who are in on the secret).
  • The Quantum Thief: "mind burglar", "steal their thoughts". Blech. However, very well rated and a nominee for a Locus Award. Probably worth reading despite those aspects.
  • Day of the Triffids: One of those titles that I feel I ought to read but probably never will. As the description says, better to approach this one as fantasy rather than science fiction.
  • Deathworld: more psionics. *sigh* On the other hand, I'll give almost any Hugo Award nominee a try.
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: Dick's short stories have made great films but not always the greatest reading. Last one I read was The Minority Report. Not bad, but I liked the movie better.
  • Summer of Love, A Time Travel: Looks like a fun mix of cultural anthro and sci-fi/fantasy. (I don't claim to be consistent in my tastes.)
  • Armageddon 2419 AD: Suggests the pulp quality of Edgar Rice Burroughs' "John Carter" series, which I couldn't read past volume three or four. Silly escapism and flat secondary characters would be my guess. So many books, so little time.
  • Metropolis: Sheesh, I didn't realize this existed! I'll probably pair a reading/viewing regardless of the poll's outcome, since an extended, restored edition of the film was recently made available.

I was just riffing there, so please don't take offense if I dissed your favorite book based on next to no information.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:31 AM   #6
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With all due respect, any sci-fi poll that does not include a work by Iain M. Banks is a joke. He is undoubtedly the greatest living science-fiction writer and has developed the genre the most since the greats (and deserves to be included in their number). These nominations are absurdly out-of-touch and this poll meaningless. Oh well and ho-hum.

Last edited by Rizla; 10-26-2012 at 04:50 AM. Reason: Added scathingness
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rizla View Post
With all due respect, any sci-fi poll that does not include a work by Iain M. Banks is a joke. He is undoubtedly the greatest living science-fiction writer and has developed the genre the most since the greats (and deserves to be included in their number). These nominations are absurdly out-of-touch. Oh well and ho-hum.
Funny I was thinking that I hadn't nominated any of his and yet I've still got many to read. Would have been fun discussing one of his books.

But oh well - there's always next year.

Just in case...you do realise this isn't a poll for best science fiction writers/books?
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:53 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by caleb72 View Post
Just in case...you do realise this isn't a poll for best science fiction writers/books?
Then what is it for? Presumably it's not a poll for crap science fiction writers/books? If it is, I take offence at Dick's inclusion.
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Old 10-26-2012, 06:19 AM   #9
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I've got both Cloud Atlas and Metropolis on my TBR, but I'm going with Metropolis because it seems like more fun, it's free, and I want to see the restored movie.
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:40 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Rizla View Post
With all due respect, any sci-fi poll that does not include a work by Iain M. Banks is a joke. He is undoubtedly the greatest living science-fiction writer and has developed the genre the most since the greats (and deserves to be included in their number). These nominations are absurdly out-of-touch and this poll meaningless. Oh well and ho-hum.
If you had put a smile on this and included it with your post in the nominations thread, your book probably would have been nominated.
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:43 AM   #11
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The Day of the Triffids is the one of these that I have actually read, years ago during my Sci-Fi/Fantasy period as an adolescent. It might be nice to read it again to see if I would like it as much as I recall liking it then. Invasion of the “Plant People.” Cloud Atlas is a book that I definitely want to read so there is that. Then again a book based on the great silent film Metropolis sounds interesting. I wish that we did have multiple choice voting as none of the others appeal to me at all. Would only read the selection on schedule if it was one of those three, and maybe not even then, so maybe I should not even vote this round.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:34 AM   #12
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Well I'd already started Cloud Atlas, in an attempt to read it before the movie came out (ha.), so I voted for that.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rizla View Post
With all due respect, any sci-fi poll that does not include a work by Iain M. Banks is a joke. He is undoubtedly the greatest living science-fiction writer and has developed the genre the most since the greats (and deserves to be included in their number). These nominations are absurdly out-of-touch and this poll meaningless. Oh well and ho-hum.
So why didn't you nominate any of ian M. Banks' eBooks?
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:36 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Rizla View Post
Then what is it for? Presumably it's not a poll for crap science fiction writers/books? If it is, I take offence at Dick's inclusion.
Your strong opinions are entertaining, but in answer to your question, it is for the books we're most interested in reading this month in this particular category. No one ever said they need be the best (or worst) of the particular category.
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:22 PM   #15
AnemicOak
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Minnesota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
So why didn't you nominate any of ian M. Banks' eBooks?
From the nomination thread...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rizla View Post
I nominate Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks.
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book club, november 2012, vote

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