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February SFFKIT: Space Travel

2017 Category Challenge

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Edited: Jan 14, 2017, 5:10pm Top

Welcome to the discussion thread for February's SFFKIT theme: space travel!

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Exploration of our solar system
- 2001 by Arthur C. Clarke's
- Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
- The Martian by Andy Weir

Distant journeys
- The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
- The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
- A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge
- Blindsight by Peter Watts
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Sentient spaceships
- Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
- The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey

Space opera (which features a lot of interplanetary travel, even if space travel itself is not the primary theme)
- Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's Liaden Universe
- Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series
- The Old Man's War series by John Scalzi

Please remember to update our Wiki page.

Enjoy your travels!

Jan 14, 2017, 5:34pm Top

I am planning on Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie and The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers.

Jan 14, 2017, 5:55pm Top

I'm planning on reading Starflight!

Jan 14, 2017, 8:39pm Top

Maybe another Bujold book.

Jan 14, 2017, 9:00pm Top

I am looking forward to Three Books of Known Space by Larry Niven, an omnibus containing World of Ptavvs, A Gift from Earth, and Tales of Known Space.

Jan 14, 2017, 9:22pm Top

Jan 15, 2017, 2:02pm Top

>7 christina_reads: I am quite excited about this book as I have seen a lot of good comments from LTers, even ones who don't read much sci-fi!

Jan 15, 2017, 2:20pm Top

>7 christina_reads: Stop tempting me!!!

Jan 15, 2017, 5:46pm Top

>4 Kristelh: there are a lot of them!

I've a stack of newly-acquired SciFi, will have to go through to see what fits. :)

Jan 15, 2017, 6:11pm Top

Great suggestions so far! I'm also intrigued by The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I'll be interested in seeing the reviews here.

Edited: Jan 16, 2017, 1:01pm Top

I'm thinking of A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Or some Bujold.

Jan 17, 2017, 2:30pm Top

I'm going to reread Out of the Silent Planet, the first book in Lewis' space trilogy.

Jan 17, 2017, 3:52pm Top

>13 casvelyn: I read those a few years ago, found them interesting.

Jan 19, 2017, 11:44am Top

>14 fuzzi: I love the entire series, although That Hideous Strength is my favorite.

Jan 19, 2017, 2:27pm Top

Dang! I have the first three of the Old Man's War series, but this series was NOT one of the 17 series I was planning on making progress on this year (i.e., I didn't want to start any other series this year!).

So, I could if I have to...but just wondering, do you think Foundation would fit?

Jan 19, 2017, 2:53pm Top

Dang! I have the first three books of the Old Man's War series, but I had NOT selected this series as one of the 17 I would make progress on this year!

So, looking for advice, do you think Foundation might fit?

Worst case scenario is that I add another series...

Jan 22, 2017, 10:59am Top

Since I finished The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell earlier this month, I may read the sequel in February Children of God.
I've been wanting to go back to the SF classics--many of which I've never read.
I'm considering Ringworld or starting the Vorkosigan series

Jan 22, 2017, 4:26pm Top

>17 LisaMorr: I'd read Foundation a long time ago ... too long to remember if it has any space travel in it. However, these challenges are very flexible, so feel free to read whatever you think will fit. Of course I don't want to dissuade you from your specific 2017 goals, but I did enjoy Scalzi's series very much. :)

>18 bluebird_: There are plenty of classics, including Ringworld, that I've not read either and that are on my want-to-read list. If you decide to start the Vorkosigan series, please consider visiting our Vorkosigan Saga thread:

Jan 26, 2017, 3:17pm Top

I'm thinking of reading The stars my destination by Alfred Bester.

Edited: Jan 26, 2017, 5:24pm Top

Definitely space travel in Foundation, Lisa. Go for it. Keep in mind that the book was originally 8 short stories published in the pulps and don't expect too much character depth.

I am thinking of finally getting to Leviathan Wakes by James Corey, as it's been on my shelves for 5 years and is now the first of 7 books in the Expanse series. It has gotten uniformly high ratings for being good space opera. I have The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet on my Kindle, but given my emphasis on clearing my back acquisitions this year, think I'll prioritize the Corey.

Jan 28, 2017, 1:47pm Top

>21 ronincats: ooh! Leviathan Wakes!!! Excellent read, go for it.

>18 bluebird_: I also highly recommend Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series.

Jan 29, 2017, 5:50am Top

>21 ronincats: Thanks! I read the Foundation trilogy ages ago, and I want to re-read it as well as the rest of the Foundation books.

Feb 1, 2017, 6:43pm Top

>19 mathgirl40: Thanks for the link to the Vorkosigan Saga thread! Oh dear! My TBR pile is continuing to grow (no surprise there!). Looks like Shards of Honor is a good place to start--hopefully I'll get to it later this month.

Feb 1, 2017, 9:25pm Top

>20 lavaturtle: Good choice!

>21 ronincats: I've had Leviathan Wakes on my TBR pile for ages too. Maybe I'll get to it this month.

>24 bluebird_: Shards of Honor is an excellent place to start with the Vorkosigan series, though there are other possible entry points.

I've started listening to the audiobook version of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, narrated by Martin Freeman.

Feb 2, 2017, 2:24pm Top

I started Orphans of the Sky, an older Robert Heinlein that I picked up a few months ago. So far, it's good.

Feb 5, 2017, 7:42am Top

I read The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams. Such fun, but was hoping there would be a space ship or something but they only flew around with Thor's hammer through parallel universes so probably doesn't fit. Now on to Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga, #7) which I hope has space travel. (the cover has a space ship0.

Edited: Feb 5, 2017, 8:56am Top

Instead of Foundation, I've realized that I haven't finished Pandora's Star yet, which definitely has space travel and is one of the series I'm focusing on this year.

Feb 5, 2017, 2:43pm Top

>27 Kristelh: I loved Barrayar. I don't recall much space travel in that one, though.

Feb 6, 2017, 7:28am Top

Feb 6, 2017, 10:30pm Top

Hmmm. It's looking like most of Pebble in the Sky takes place on Earth as a small, unimportant part of the Galactic Empire. I had this vague idea it was set in the Asteroid Belt. Never mind.

Feb 10, 2017, 2:23am Top

Just finished Fallen dragon & now starting Pandora's star am sure they cover the brief .....

Feb 10, 2017, 6:51am Top

I'm about 2/3s of the way through Hidden Empire by Kevin J. Anderson. Enjoying it very much.

Feb 12, 2017, 4:47pm Top

I absolutely loved The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers!

Feb 13, 2017, 11:23am Top

>34 DeltaQueen50: Good to hear! I'm reading it now, and it hasn't totally grabbed me yet, but I'm only a short way into it.

Feb 13, 2017, 7:05pm Top

I sure hope it grabs you the way it did me, Christina!

Feb 13, 2017, 7:13pm Top

I read Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold because it was tagged Space Travel but really there wasn't any space travel that occurred at the time of the story. Space travel did occur and at one point there is mention of space travel but the only traveling occurring was in light air transport. I won't put it in the wiki but it is very uncertain that I will get another read before end of month. Very good book by the way that I probably will use for the medical Cat.

Feb 13, 2017, 9:19pm Top

>26 fuzzi: That's one of the few Heinleins I've not read yet. I'll be interested in hearing what you think of it.

>27 Kristelh: I too found that the Douglas Adams I'd just finished, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, had more time travel than space travel but I'll probably count it anyhow.

>28 LisaMorr: >32 roundballnz: I'll have to try Peter F. Hamilton sometime. I do like space opera.

>31 Robertgreaves: I can understand why you had thought a book in a series called "Galactic Empire" would have space travel!

>33 majkia: I'm glad you're enjoying Hidden Empire. I've heard mixed reviews of Kevin J. Anderson's work, but I'm hoping he's better than these imply, as I have a couple of his books on my shelves to read.

>37 Kristelh: Too bad there wasn't much space travel in Barrayar, but I agree that it's a terrific novel and well worth reading.

I just finished a recently published novella by Alistair Reynolds, The Iron Tactician, which I enjoyed very much. This one definitely has space travel and even features a sentient spaceship.

Please remember to update our Wiki page. By the way, there's no rule about how much space travel is required to add a book to the Wiki. If you think it fits the theme in any way, please go ahead and add it.

Edited: Feb 14, 2017, 1:15am Top

I am planning to start black holes and baby universes by Stephen Hawking . Anyone here who had already read it??

Feb 14, 2017, 12:30am Top

>37 Kristelh: Oh, heck, just think of that space fleet overhead that could have thrown its support behind either faction with definitive results. Count it!

I do need to get moving on Leviathan Wakes--I'm being distracted by other books.

Feb 14, 2017, 12:46pm Top

>38 mathgirl40: here's my review of Orphans of the Sky:
Started good, progressed to very interesting, then became predictable with a Deus ex machina type ending. The women characters had subservient, non-speaking roles. A fan of this author would probably enjoy this book, despite its faults.

Feb 14, 2017, 12:46pm Top

Feb 14, 2017, 5:03pm Top

Holding out against the swelling tide for Long Way to a Small... and instead beginning Behind the Throne.

Feb 14, 2017, 5:35pm Top

>38 mathgirl40: I'm liking Pandora's Star, but it was a little slow getting going - there are so many characters and it took a while for the different plot lines to start to come together (and they still all haven't yet of course). The paperback I'm reading is 988 pages long with pretty small print...so I'm glad it's pulled me in a bit more, and hopefully I'll finish it soon!

Feb 14, 2017, 7:32pm Top

>38 mathgirl40: and >44 LisaMorr: I really enjoyed Pandora's Star as well as Judas Unchained. I've enjoyed everything I've read in the Commonwealth Saga. They are, however, mostly long!

Feb 16, 2017, 3:48pm Top

I can't believe I don't have any space travel (fiction) in my HS library! Luckily, however, tor.com had a wonderful short story in this week's newsletter called Extracurricular Activities by Yoon Ha Lee. A fun romp about breaking a spy out from a space station.

If you are not already, I highly recommend signing up for Tor's newsletter. It's geeky fun!

Feb 19, 2017, 2:07pm Top

Finished Starflight, which seemed sort of stuck between YA and Adult. I think it suffered from, from being a YA book, because I think the characters would have been more believable (and the plot, too) if they'd been in their 20s, and if the book as a whole had had more depth. I love YA lit., but this one just needed more; it felt like all of the depth was on the characters' psychology, with no depth/focus left over for the world, the plot, or non-main-character details. In any case, onward...

Feb 20, 2017, 12:55pm Top

Count me as a fan of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Feb 22, 2017, 10:53am Top

I have read Agent of Change, my first experience of the Liaden series -- really fun! I look forward to reading more :)

Feb 22, 2017, 11:46am Top

While Leviathan Wakes is still on my nightstand and a priority for this year, I decided I needed something shorter and faster-reading for this month's challenge and so have just started reading The long way to a small, angry planet, which I picked up as a Kindle special on Halloween last year.

>49 leslie.98: I'm a big fan of the Liaden series! We had a thread going introducing a number of people to it in 2015, here:
I always recommend starting with Agent of Change. Love those turtles!!

Feb 22, 2017, 10:54pm Top

>39 Medialaze: Haven't read this one yet, but I have read A Brief History of Time. How accessible is Black Holes and Baby Universes?

>41 fuzzi: Thanks for the review. I find Heinlein hit-or-miss, but I will probably get around to reading this one day.

>44 LisaMorr: >45 majkia: Thanks for the recommendations. I'd like to read this series, but the length of the books is rather intimidating. I'm already in the midst of some series with very long books, such as the Wheel of Time, and I despair that I'll never finish them in this lifetime!

>46 mamzel: I've not read anything by Yoon Ha Lee, but several people have recommended Ninefox Gambit to me. I'll keep this story in mind too.

>47 whitewavedarling: I love YA too but don't usually find too much science-fiction in this genre. There's a lot of fantasy and dystopian literature, but not many space-travel books. Too bad this one fell a bit short of the mark.

>48 luvamystery65: I've read a good number of books from the Liaden series and have enjoyed all of them. My favourites so far are the Theo Waitley books.

>50 ronincats: I didn't get around to Leviathan Wakes either this month. I too love the Clutch Turtles in the Liaden series!

Edited: Feb 23, 2017, 7:32am Top

Ok, I've sunk to reading 'hot' books. Three quarters of the way though Behind the Throne and loving it, but also just starting The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.

ETA: fixed the touchstone

Feb 23, 2017, 9:44am Top

I don't know if I will finish this by the end of the month, but I've started Old Man's War by John Scalzi.

Feb 23, 2017, 10:27am Top

I've read A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Not much space travel really, except that somehow John Carter transfers from Earth to Mars and back in the blink of an eye. A fun piece of pulp.

Feb 23, 2017, 1:18pm Top

Finished Behind the throne by K.B. Wagers. Exciting and satisfying space opera.

Feb 23, 2017, 8:55pm Top

>53 luvamystery65: I really enjoyed that series. I hope you do too.

>54 sushicat: Those old pulp covers are hilarious! :)

>55 majkia: Thanks for the recommendation. Another new space opera series to consider!

Feb 24, 2017, 4:28am Top

I read The long way to a small, angry planet which is absolutely fabulous.

Feb 26, 2017, 6:26pm Top

>50 ronincats: I think that 2015 thread is what spurred me to get Agent of Change -- it has just taken me this long to actually read it! Now that I have finished up the Vorkosigan series, I have time to take up another sci-fi series & I think that this one fits the bill.

Feb 27, 2017, 12:56pm Top

AND in under the wire for this month,

Book #32 The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (467 pp.)

And this book certainly qualifies for the SFFKIT February Category Challenge: Space Flight. Lots of people have loved this book and I can certainly see why. Not a fast-paced action adventure as some science fiction is, this uses the structure of a spaceship voyage during a full year in real time in space to allow us to learn about and identify with a diverse crew of characters and their universe, so that when push does come to shove, we are deeply invested. Looking forward to the next book.

Feb 28, 2017, 10:32pm Top

I made it under the wire as well. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I'm also looking forward to the next in the series.

Mar 1, 2017, 7:07am Top

Edited: Mar 1, 2017, 8:00am Top

Yippee! Good job, all!

On to March... http://www.librarything.com/topic/250097#5954482

Mar 1, 2017, 4:29pm Top

I finished Pandora's Star on Monday, an epic alien invasion story. Worm-holes are used for travel between planets, but when an anomaly at the far reaches of the known universe is observed by an astronomer, the quickest way to get there and check it out is by developing and building a new kind of starship.It was a bit of a slow starter because there were sooooo many characters to follow, but it ratcheted up to a rip-roaring finale!

Mar 1, 2017, 7:31pm Top

>57 MissWatson: >59 ronincats: >60 dallenbaugh: >61 majkia: Wow, this sounds like the must-read SFF book this year! Now I'm wondering if I'm the only one who hasn't read it yet. :)

>58 leslie.98: I've read a number of books in the Liaden series and I've enjoyed all of them. I don't think the series is as good as the Vorkosigan series (to be fair, very few writers are as good as multiple-Hugo-winner Bujold), but the books are very entertaining.

>63 LisaMorr: Thanks for the review!

Mar 1, 2017, 7:33pm Top

February is now over, but feel free to add more thoughts to this thread if you are still working on your space-travel books. Don't forget to update our Wiki page:

Now I'll wander over to the March thread as >62 fuzzi: suggests ....

Mar 1, 2017, 7:36pm Top

>64 mathgirl40: I thought The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet was especially interesting in that the book was originally self published and financed by a Kickstarter campaign. 53 people contributed money so the author could publish it. Jackpot!!!

Mar 1, 2017, 8:03pm Top

>66 dallenbaugh: Thanks for that information. I've funded some SFF anthologies on Kickstarter myself, so it's nice to know this model does work for some authors!

Mar 3, 2017, 8:28am Top

I finished Shards of Honor last weekend. Thanks for the recommendation. I really enjoyed this and will most certainly read more of the Vorkosigan series.

Mar 3, 2017, 12:44pm Top

>68 bluebird_: I really enjoyed that one, and the follow-up, Barrayar.

Mar 3, 2017, 10:04pm Top

>68 bluebird_: >69 fuzzi: And don't forget the third Cordelia book, Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen. I really liked that one too.

Mar 4, 2017, 3:46pm Top

>68 bluebird_:, I think Barrayar is even better.

Mar 4, 2017, 9:20pm Top

>70 mathgirl40: not gotten that far in the series, yet...

Mar 9, 2017, 7:18am Top

>69 fuzzi: and >71 Kristelh: Barrayar is next on my list!
>70 mathgirl40: Thanks for the info on the other Cordelia book. I like her character so will put that as 3rd on my list before I move on to others in the series.

Edited: Mar 9, 2017, 8:01am Top

>73 bluebird_: I should mention that there are some spoilers in Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen. Since it takes place in Cordelia's later years, there are references to events that happen in the other books. If you want to read Miles's story without knowing about the major life events that happen to him, then I suggest you read this book after reading the Miles books.

Mar 9, 2017, 1:31pm Top

>74 mathgirl40: thanks for the suggestion. I try to read books in chronological order, as I don't like spoilers.

Mar 9, 2017, 3:23pm Top

>74 mathgirl40:. Thanks for the heads up! I prefer my reading spoiler free so will hold off on the 3rd Cordelia book.

Group: 2017 Category Challenge

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