Wednesday, 12 August 2015

August SE book club!

Sorry about the delay guys! But, fear not, SE book club is still here and still happening!

Ok, so the last post generated 77 comments, but the winner in terms of upmods is Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Now, before anyone downvotes me, let me explain why I think this book is actually a really awesome choice for our book club:

1. It's pretty short.
2. It's pretty easy to read, with some good characters and action scenes that really move the plot along.
3. It's got soldiers killing aliens while wearing suits of powered armor, which is an image that has had a definitive impact on my life.
4. It's got a rather overt political statement that will make the book a really good book to discuss. I think that it ought to be a book that will provoke a really good discussion - which is actually what the book has done since it was first published.
5. There is a movie, but if you watch it and don't read the book, we'll know. Actually, I think that some of the tone the movie has really emphasizes the politics of the book, but that's something for a discussion post. =P

As an aside, this is one of my personal favorite books - I'm a long time sci-fi fan and a huge book nerd (ask Steele), and this book is a fun read, but one that will make you think about the message. I think that it'll be as enjoyable as the Martian, but with more substance to discuss - something I know you guys lamented last month.
[SFW] [SE Book Club] [+6 Good]
[by lrdcthulu@11:54pmGMT]


biblebeltdrunk said @ 12:11am GMT on 13th Aug [Score:1 Good]
arrowhen said @ 2:14am GMT on 13th Aug [Score:1 Funsightful]
Well, why not? I've been complaining about it for the past 20 years, it's probably time I read it again to see if it's really as bad as I remember.
foobar said @ 4:54pm GMT on 13th Aug
It is. It's the worst of Heinlein's fascist tendencies.
lilmookieesquire said @ 8:24pm GMT on 13th Aug
Don't look at me. I voted for the Harry Potter fan fic.
papango said @ 5:05am GMT on 17th Aug
It really is. I got to a particularly egregious part and my Kindle took one for the team and turned itself off. I think it knew.
steele said @ 12:16am GMT on 13th Aug
And I already have a copy downloaded in that big ass reddit's books torrent on my usb stick. sweet! :D
lilmookieesquire said @ 8:30pm GMT on 13th Aug [Score:1 Informative]
HoZay said @ 2:27am GMT on 14th Aug
Starship Troopers seems to be available as PDF at:
coffeejoejava said @ 12:19am GMT on 13th Aug
Love the book...hated the movie! Was required reading while in the Marine Corps. The idea that the military runs the country after a coup concerning POWs was interesting. I always found it interesting that you could live your life anyway you wanted but to have a say in matters, to be able to vote, you had to serve. And there was no reason why anyone could not serve. Crippled? No sweat. Mentally feeble? Got a covered. Macho man or woman? Step right up. The reasoning was even though the person being elected or voting is an idiot, at one point in time he stood up and said he would sacrifice everything he/she had to serve. They took on something bigger than themselves. Sounds like a good deal to me.
lilmookieesquire said[1] @ 12:41am GMT on 13th Aug
That's great if you're fighting an intergalactic genocidal war against aliens- but otherwise I feel like there are other, more productive, ways to serve your country than military. But the idea that you have to earn the right to vote is kind of interesting. But it just sounds to me like conscription you can opt out of if you give up the right to vote.

edit: That said, pretty awesome book. And I loved the movie, although it didn't have much of anything to do with the book.

Also the second movie is absolute shit. third one is okayish.
biblebeltdrunk said @ 1:49am GMT on 13th Aug [Score:1 Good]
What if there was an option to do a civil service like firefighting?
lilmookieesquire said[1] @ 2:27am GMT on 13th Aug
I'd be WAY into that.

It makes more sense than a voting age. It's like "you can vote when you become a productive contributing member of society"

Edit: also working at homeless shelters, building houses for homeless, volunteering medical services, teaching. All that stuff. Basically creating things vs destroying.
arrowhen said @ 3:37am GMT on 13th Aug
That would be great IF everyone who wanted to be a productive contributing member of society was able to do so. I'd hate to see people denied the right to vote because they were too busy working at their shitty low-paying jobs just to keep their families fed to have any time left over to do anything (or the money left over to learn the skills to do anything) useful to society.

Now, if you add Basic Income and unlimited free education to the mix and THEN make contributing to society a prerequisite for voting, I'd be cool with that.
lilmookieesquire said @ 3:46am GMT on 13th Aug [Score:1 Funny]
Well that or pool all the 1% elite into buenos aries. Either or.
R1Xhard said @ 8:50am GMT on 13th Aug [Score:1 Good]
Lol Buenos Aries.

Why not just send them all to USA (or even Texas). Mexico's had a few years of practice with the war on Drugs. Well stick all the rich there close it boarders and yea also our toxic waste dump.

If we go the whole route Canada's fine just a few more mounties and She'll be right mate.
papango said @ 9:02am GMT on 13th Aug
For me, the problem is that 'productive member of society' is going to be defined by people with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. So anybody challenging the established order is going to end up disenfranchised.

I don't think pre-Civil War America would have consider abolitionists the be 'productive members of society' or that later suffragettes or civil rights leaders would make the cut. So you end up with a system that perpetuates itself by shutting out dissenting voices.

You won't get a living wage or free education because the people pushing for those things are agitators who can quickly and easily be stripped of their voice.

I consider taxation to be the only real criteria for representation. I pay to maintain the system so I get a voice. And I'm not talking about income tax, there are a myriad of taxes that people contribute to just by going about their lives, (sales taxes, road taxes, various levies and duties). If you're a competent adult citizen of a democracy, you should have a say. If you don't, it might not actually be a democracy.
arrowhen said @ 1:44pm GMT on 13th Aug
But even with universal suffrage we (and I'm talking about the US here) don't get a living wage or free education, because rich people want to stay rich and need to keep everyone else stupid so they can tell them how to vote.
coffeejoejava said @ 10:23am GMT on 13th Aug [Score:1 Insightful]
In the book, You do not have to join the military. There are any number of ways to serve. You could dig ditches, test weapons, be a test subject....everything was open to serve.
biblebeltdrunk said @ 3:26pm GMT on 13th Aug [Score:1 Insightful]
Yes, but I thought it was all related to the war effort. My comment was more towards conscientious objectors. also, also, video having to do a small amount of community service to earn your vote is an interesting topic by itself.
midden said @ 1:04am GMT on 13th Aug
I'm listening to Iain M. Banks' Excession on my commute this week. I love his books, and generally enjoy audiobooks when I can't have the dead tree kind, but the guy reading this is painful to listen to. He's a British guy with a terribly monotonous, droning, scratchy, plodding delivery. He sounds like an 90 year old BBC actor who probably played a dying Senator in I Claudius. I should have paid for the version; their British reader guy is sooo much better.
lrdcthulu said @ 2:08am GMT on 13th Aug
Excession is also by a wide margin the most complicated of Banks' books. I bet the poor reader really doesn't help.
buzhidao said @ 9:53am GMT on 13th Aug
it's also just so much fun to actually read the ship exchanges. i cant imagine how they are doing that justice.
lilmookieesquire said @ 2:36am GMT on 13th Aug
I also think it's kind of the basis for how Star Craft Two differs from Star Craft one. They actually have giant ass mechs in two- while Starcraft one was more like the movie (tons of expendable marines)

But really, to me, the book is about technological progress making armor relevant again- not so much as defence, but in terms of transportation and weapon carrying capacity.

It's basically a vehicle with weapons you can wear. At the time the book was written, that was mind blowing. Now it seems like a matter of a few hundred years (still have energy/power plant issues)
coffeejoejava said @ 10:25am GMT on 13th Aug
The actual "war" in the book seems to be a sideline issue, a way to bring you into the discussion of the politics of the book.
lilmookieesquire said @ 9:34am GMT on 19th Aug
There's a imgur must read 16 book sci fi list + comments here for future ref:

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