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Old 04-22-2009, 05:51 PM   #1
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Discussion: Neptune Crossing by Jeffrey A. Carver (SPOILERS)

The book we read for April 2009 was Neptune Crossing by Jeffrey A. Carver

Here is the official thread for discussing the book.
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Old 04-22-2009, 06:53 PM   #2
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/ This was an interesting concept for a book. /

/// No it wasn't. ///

/ Well sure it was. An alien presence inside a guys head telling him what to do in order to save the world. Telling him not to tell anyone because they won't believe him and there wasn't time. /

/// Did you not see Star Wars? ///

/ Ok... but Obi Wan was in Luke's head after he died but not for the whole story. /

/// Why is it these benevolent aliens can't do their own dirty work. I mean it's nice that they want to save the earth and all. But in your Cowboy stories they always took credit, and got the girl too. ///

/ Wait, Bandie got the girl. /

/// Not really... he got some then had to take off and crash into a comet and get "translated" to who knows where. (people that read the next book know where) ///

/ Ok... good point. It was interesting that we were mining Triton. A moon trillions of miles away has some metal that we need. That must have been worth it's weight in.... well whatever metal it was. /

/// I think it was Latinum. It's like platinum without the "P". ///

/ No, you watch to much TV... that is what the Ferngie's used. /

/// Oh... right. Sometimes I can't separate TV from reality. Remember I just live in your head. ///

/ Yea, I know... any luck finding an apartment yet? /

/// ???? ///

BOb
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:02 PM   #3
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BOb - that review is brilliant!

(Was I the only one who sort-of imagined Napoleon and Copernicus as being vageuly C3PO and R2D2- eqsue? With a bit of Helix from Freefall thrown in:
)

I enjoyed reading it though - enough to read the two sequels. It was light, fun reading; even if it wasn't desperately original.

However, there are things I want to know more about - the translator and the quarx mostly (I haven't finished book 3 yet, so I may yet get my desire)
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Old 04-23-2009, 08:02 AM   #4
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Thank you BOb - for excellent review.

I barely finished the book, and actually found it annoying for quite some time. IMO the entire first half - or even 2/3 - should have been compressed to maybe 20-30 pages. The amount of repetitive details building up to the "happening" was way, way oversized. And the actual happening was undersized and rather boring after all the time we spent preparing for it.

Sorry, didn't enjoy this at all..
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Old 04-25-2009, 08:16 PM   #5
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This book separated the wheat from the chaff (the sci-fi fans from the others).

Being chaff myself, I tried twice, but could not get past the first paragraph.

The stumbling block for this particular chaff (which probably makes you wheat crazy with anticipation) was the very first paragraph:

Quote:
"The cavern was cold, even in the slow energy flux of the translator's alien mechanisms. The quarx did not feel the near-absolute-zero cold, but was aware of it, as it awakened to the silence of a still world. Its first impression was not of place but of time, vast corridors of time through which it had floated in an almost coffinlike existence."
"Slow energy flux?" "Translator's alien mechanisms?" "Quarx?" "Corridors of time?" What are those things? Re-read that paragraph! Oops, must not be concentrating, didn't get it on the second read. Maybe I should read something light [pushed Menu button].

Repeat the following day. Pass over that first paragraph because I'm clearly an ignoramus. Oops, stumbling again on "cup of electrons in the hands of an angel." What is being portrayed. High voltage? Does it make a difference that an angel is holding the cup? How do the electrons stay in the cup? Jeez, I'm a turd. Either dismally ignorant of sci-fi terms and metaphors, or too picky in wanting to picture what I'm reading.

Hope all you wheat enjoyed it. Thank You Jeffrey Carver for immediately separating out us chaff.

Last edited by jj2me; 04-25-2009 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 04-25-2009, 08:36 PM   #6
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jj2me:
I found the prologue confusing as well, but I am glad that I didn't give up because of it. The rest of the book is not terribly technical.
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Old 04-25-2009, 08:38 PM   #7
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Once you get past the beginning, it picks up. I liked it and like Starrigger, so it was sure to be a crowd pleaser. There aren't enough of these types being written lately, IMO.
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Old 04-25-2009, 08:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DixieGal View Post
Once you get past the beginning, it picks up. I liked it and like Starrigger, so it was sure to be a crowd pleaser. There aren't enough of these types being written lately, IMO.
I think what kept me going through the book was trying to figure out if the quarx was real or just another manifestation of Bandicut's brain damage, and what the final consequences would be for either option.
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Old 04-25-2009, 09:38 PM   #9
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jj2me, if you stick it out past the beginning, you will find that you come to like the Quarx and Bandicut. Bandicut is just an ordinary guy put in a situation he doesn't want to be in but has no choice. He has to do what's right or it could all go horribly wrong. I think the way it was written is quite good for people into science fiction and even though not all that into it.
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:18 AM   #10
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The story was decent, but the typography drove me crazy. I had to stop; I kept getting literary whiplash. Note to authors: Large numbers of backslashes do not aid immersive reading.

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Old 04-27-2009, 09:44 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Jack Tingle View Post
The story was decent, but the typography drove me crazy. I had to stop; I kept getting literary whiplash. Note to authors: Large numbers of backslashes do not aid immersive reading.

Regards,
Jack Tingle
if the slashes in the book are the slashes on bobs post, those are forward slashes.

also I like scifi with weird terminology, though I havent gotten into reading this book yet. Though I would never have made it through DUNE, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Sun Diver, and other scifi books.

I think angels cup power energy thingy is using too much metaphor where it isn't needed. Unfortunately what I'm reading here doesn't bring this novel up any on my read list, its stuck firmly in the middle
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:11 AM   #12
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I made it as far as Bandicut going out with the mining crew before I decided it wasn't really my cup of tea.

I thought the initial premise was interesting, and the Triton environment was depicted intriguingly. But I couldn't suspend my disbelief in the Quarx/Bandicut relationship, which seemed too contrived. And the opaque nature of the Quarx's mission went from tantalising to irritating pretty quickly.

The mining crew came across as one those stereotypical gung-ho work crews beloved of SF stories since at least Alien - at which point I found the call of other books became too loud to ignore.
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Old 04-29-2009, 11:58 PM   #13
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I really liked it and I'm glad I read it. Now I'm reading the rest of the series. I give it 5 stars.
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Old 05-01-2009, 04:13 PM   #14
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Before commenting on the actual contents of the book, I'd like the say that I thought the presentation was excellent. I read using the epub version on a PRS-505 and liked the layout, typography and excellent cover.

Moving on, I can live with the central conceit, although I'm not crazy about voice-in-the-head stories (like the ones Baen has published by David Drake et al.) but I had trouble accepting the forced nature of the mystery.

Mr. Carver had to conceal the motivation and nature of the Quarx from the reader, but he did it by keeping that even from the Quarx by forcing a sort of amnesia on him. By the end of the book, we still can't be sure that the Quarx is altruistic and how it came to be trying to save these civilisations.

There are also too many loose ends for me to really enjoy. I don't mind series, but I like each book to be very self-contained (e.g. I think John Scalzi does a great job with this in his Ghost Brigades books). This entire novel felt to me almost like a setup for the *real* series.

On the other side of the ledger, I liked most of the human characters. Contrary to Sparrow above, I really enjoyed the mining scenes. In fact, I wish that Mr. Carver would write a nitty gritty story next. In his books, the science fictional elements are often the ones I like the least (for e.g. the star rigging, dragons, Quarx) and the human elements are the ones that I like the most.
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Old 05-01-2009, 07:46 PM   #15
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Finished Strange Attractors, I liked it as well and now I'm reading Infinite Sea.
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