MoFo Book Club - April '22

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We all float down here....
This month's book is "Six Wakes" by Mur Lafferty.

If there are no objections I'll move up the discussion for this month as most have been reading this selection for a while now.

1st half discussion on April 7th, Entire book discussion on April 14th.



The Adventure Starts Here!
Sounds good. I'm about 1/3 of the way through the book at this point. Hoping to have time to finish it once I complete a big freelance project this weekend.



A system of cells interlinked
This month's book is "Six Wakes" by Mur Lafferty.

If there are no objections I'll move up the discussion for this month as most have been reading this selection for a while now.

1st half discussion on April 7th, Entire book discussion on April 14th.
Sounds good! I am done with the book, so the schedule works for me!
__________________
"There’s absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP



I've already returned the book to the library, and I'm terrible about remembering what would be halfway of a book (especially one I read so quickly).

I will definitely chime in when we get to the point where we can discuss the whole thing!



We all float down here....
How is everyone doing, progress-wise?
Not finished yet. Having trouble with this one......



The Adventure Starts Here!
How is everyone doing, progress-wise?
About halfway. Really enjoying it, but it was a busy weekend so I'm trying to get caught up and finished in the next few days.



We all float down here....
Everyone should feel free to discuss the entire book, spoiler free, as of today.



Great!

While I liked the book more than our previous one, Midnight Library, I was still overall pretty mixed on it.

I thought that the concept was really cool: a bunch of clones, isolated on a spaceship, investigating their own murders.

I didn't mind the thing of switching perspectives from chapter to chapter, though I feel that structure has become a bit of a cliche in the last 15 or so years.

Ultimately, though, I didn't feel like it rose to be anything much more than the sum of its parts. Several of the characters felt really thin (especially the captain, Paul, and the big bro first mate).

I also had really mixed feelings about the development of what could be done by the "hackers". It felt like the rules were constantly being rewritten to suit the needs of the plot. And hand-waving it by saying "Oh, well she's just really amazing at it" didn't cut it for me.

The concept of the multiple personalities of the single character being held captive in a single body was cool.

Unfortunately, the final reveal of the killer left me totally flat, and I had already guessed the twist about why they were all aboard the ship in the first place. It also seemed BEYOND STUPID to me that they made their killer into the ship's AI. Like, excuse me?! You are putting the person who tried to murder you and who hates you with a deep visceral passion in charge of your navigation and life support systems?!

Great ideas, subpar execution. The writing was a bit clunky and it just didn't build to a satisfying conclusion. A quick and easy read, though, I will give it that. I think I read it in about 4 or 5 days.



A system of cells interlinked
I will post asap! Had a post started today, but just getting back to my desk now, and I am still at work! Ack!



We all float down here....
Magritte painting that opens the book


Paul Seurat was also a painter
As was Pierre-Auguste Renior




A system of cells interlinked
At first glance, this book seemed almost custom built for me. A locked-house mystery in space with mind maps and clones? I'm in!

Alas, by the middle of this book, I found myself staring longingly at my to-read stack, which contained renowned authors such as Alastair Reynolds and Peter F. Hamilton. Lafferty came across like a gamer kid who reads too much fan-fiction. Her writing was passable at best, and at worst, I was seriously questioning her ability to even construct sentences properly.

I did like the opening chapter, which hooked me right from the start. I tried to ignore the clunky prose and focus on the mystery, but the characterization was poor and really, the sci-fi seemed almost arbitrary at times. I've read too much Vinge, Meiville, and Hamilton for the light sci-fi concepts on display here to hold my interest. By mid-book, I was forcing myself to continue. I have never had a a DNF shelf, but I am thinking that at my age, perhaps I need to start one. This is reinforced by the fact that as soon as I finished Six Wakes, I read a book that might end up going into my Top 10 favorite sci-fi novels of all time. This book also featured clones, and also contained a mystery, but it wasn't billed as such, so the mystery ended up being an added bonus instead of a letdown.

Another difference here was that instead of a glorified game of Clue in Space, I was reading about 6 million year-old clones that use a combination of chemicals and tech to slow their metabolism for centuries at a time as they traveled vast distances, visiting massive machine intelligences, entire solar systems enclosed in Dyson spheres, and races of people that had harnessed the energy of black holes, all the while attempting to figure out who was attempting to exterminate their entire clone line in an attempt to exact revenge for reasons unknown. I went from forcing myself through chapters of Six Wakes to sneaking in reading time whenever I could.

The worst part? I had considered both books for the club, opting for Six Wakes because it was a bit shorter than House of Suns. Allow me to apologize, because House of Suns was fantastic, and I highly recommend it to anyone that likes good sci-fi.

Anyway, yea...I didn't like my submission!



We all float down here....
I feel almost exactly the same way about this book as @Sedai.

A locked house mystery with clones in outer space? Yes please!

I had to put it down around the halfway point as I could no longer deal with the clunky writing, glacial pace and overly lengthly and unnecessary bio's on the characters.

The unrealistic behavior of the crew was, perhaps, the final straw for me. They wake up to a horrific scene and realize that they are in real jeopardy of 'true death' and all know they need food quickly as new clones yet most of the crew sits drinking whiskey as they watch the ships janitor struggle with the new food printer. Seems normal to me....

I never like to add a book to my DNF pile, but I just couldn't go on with this one. Sorry.



A system of cells interlinked
The unrealistic behavior of the crew was, perhaps, the final straw for me. They wake up to a horrific scene and realize that they are in real jeopardy of 'true death' and all know they need food quickly as new clones yet most of the crew sits drinking whiskey as they watch the ships janitor struggle with the new food printer. Seems normal to me....
This scene had be really thinking about not continuing, as I was wondering how the story had reached this point. As I mentioned before, there are so many amazing sci-fi books by fantastic authors out there...I should have followed suit and shipped this one into DNF!



We all float down here....
Nominations for May are now open until 4/24. Voting will close on 4/28.

Please feel free to continue to discuss 'Six Wakes' in this thread.

My nomination is: 'The Confidence Game: Why we fall for it... Every Time'



"It’s a startling and disconcerting read that should make you think twice every time a friend of a friend offers you the opportunity of a lifetime.”
—Erik Larson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dead Wake and bestselling author of Devil in the White City

Think you can’t get conned? Think again. The New York Times bestselling author of Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes explains how to spot the con before they spot you.

“[An] excellent study of Con Artists, stories & the human need to believe” –Neil Gaiman, via Twitter


A compelling investigation into the minds, motives, and methods of con artists—and the people who fall for their cons over and over again.

While cheats and swindlers may be a dime a dozen, true conmen—the Bernie Madoffs, the Jim Bakkers, the Lance Armstrongs—are elegant, outsized personalities, artists of persuasion and exploiters of trust. How do they do it? Why are they successful? And what keeps us falling for it, over and over again? These are the questions that journalist and psychologist Maria Konnikova tackles in her mesmerizing new book.

From multimillion-dollar Ponzi schemes to small-time frauds, Konnikova pulls together a selection of fascinating stories to demonstrate what all cons share in common, drawing on scientific, dramatic, and psychological perspectives. Insightful and gripping, the book brings readers into the world of the con, examining the relationship between artist and victim. The Confidence Game asks not only why we believe con artists, but also examines the very act of believing and how our sense of truth can be manipulated by those around us.



The sea was angry that day, my friends
I was a bit befuddled by the chicken or the egg question. The author tries sneak the readers past the reality before dropping the brick the ship is actually an environment of hyper-surveillance. Around page 230 it’s revealed IAN has quasi-omnipotence on board, monitoring personal interactions, heart rates, registering deceptive and deviant behaviors in real time. Throw in the crew consists entirely of sketchy jailbirds and open sociopaths who can’t be trusted to screw in a light bulb by themselves. How could any assault work under the conditions where surveillance system could literally chart the idea of homicidal rage becoming acute and overt in micro-gestures? A successful murder requires IAN to be turned off, but if the computer is shut off, how did the cloning functions work? IAN would have used that power source instantly to re-boot it’s control of the ship.

Also there is one funny continuity error, sorry Muriel, but 200 years from now Florida is going to be under water.



A system of cells interlinked
Nominations for May are now open until 4/24. Voting will close on 4/28.
Sorry, I missed this post and the start of the May activities...

Both my wife and I ended up having surgery, her in late April and me in the first week of May, so my focus was not so much on MoFo at the time. Looks like maybe May diidn;t get off the ground?

I will go ahead and post a nomination for whichever round happens next, if one does end up happening:



"Beneath the towering bleached ribs of a dead, ancient beast lies the city of New Crobuzon, where the unsavory deal is stranger to no one--not even to Isaac, a gifted and eccentric scientist who has spent a lifetime quietly carrying out his unique research. But when a half-bird, half-human creature known as the Garuda comes to him from afar, Isaac is faced with challenges he has never before encountered. Though the Garuda's request is scientifically daunting, Isaac is sparked by his own curiosity and an uncanny reverence for this curious stranger. Soon an eerie metamorphosis will occur that will permeate every fiber of New Crobuzon"



I've had my eye on Smaller and Smaller Circles



Payatas, a 50-acre dump northeast of Manila's Quezon City, is home to thousands of people who live off of what they can scavenge there. It is one of the poorest neighborhoods in a city whose law enforcement is already stretched thin, devoid of forensic resources and rife with corruption. So when the eviscerated bodies of preteen boys begin to appear in the dump heaps, there is no one to seek justice on their behalf.
In the rainy summer of 1997, two Jesuit priests take the matter of protecting their flock into their own hands. Father Gus Saenz is a respected forensic anthropologist, one of the few in the Philippines, and has been tapped by the Director of the National Bureau of Investigations as a backup for police efforts. Together with his protege , Father Jerome Lucero, a psychologist, Saenz dedicates himself to tracking down the monster preying on these impoverished boys.

Smaller and Smaller Circles, widely regarded as the first Filipino crime novel, is a poetic masterpiece of literary noir, a sensitive depiction of a time and place, and a fascinating story about the Catholic Church and its place in its devotees' lives.


But I also like the look of both of the other nominations!



A system of cells interlinked
I was a bit befuddled by the chicken or the egg question. The author tries sneak the readers past the reality before dropping the brick the ship is actually an environment of hyper-surveillance. Around page 230 it’s revealed IAN has quasi-omnipotence on board, monitoring personal interactions, heart rates, registering deceptive and deviant behaviors in real time. Throw in the crew consists entirely of sketchy jailbirds and open sociopaths who can’t be trusted to screw in a light bulb by themselves. How could any assault work under the conditions where surveillance system could literally chart the idea of homicidal rage becoming acute and overt in micro-gestures? A successful murder requires IAN to be turned off, but if the computer is shut off, how did the cloning functions work? IAN would have used that power source instantly to re-boot it’s control of the ship.

Also there is one funny continuity error, sorry Muriel, but 200 years from now Florida is going to be under water.
Good call on the vitals monitoring etc.

Ian was taken down to a pretty dormant state before the killings, and I thought they covered the clone activation, with Maria triggering it just before she was killed?

Also: Tak's nom description has the wordd noir in it, so obviously I am interested!