Gaming Steve Message Board

Ubergeekdom => Books => Topic started by: sgore on February 12, 2013, 08:07:25 pm

Title: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on February 12, 2013, 08:07:25 pm
Who likes books?! I do.
I love them.
I love them with much of my heart.

And when one loves something like books should they not share with others that magical love?
I dare say we start a book club. We pick a new book (either every month or every two weeks) and dedicate some discussion to it on the forum. It could be a fun thing to do as a group.

We would just need to decide on an interval, and on what book to start off with.

And of course, gauge interest. Is there interest? If so, let's give it a shot. (I've been trying to force myself to do recreational reading in anyhow, and this may be a fun way to do it.)



CURRENT BOOK: The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling

CURRENT READING DEADLINE: The first two sections by March 18th.

Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: eropS on February 12, 2013, 08:11:15 pm
I could read a book I suppose.

Two weeks is asking too much of this college student but I think I could manage to find the time in a month. Sounds fine to me I'm interested.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: PatMan33 on February 12, 2013, 08:51:50 pm
I could do this depending on the costs of specific books. When I've been in book clubs in the past we had checkpoints. Would anyone be opposed to something like... Read X-Chapter by X-Date, rather than having a date to finish the whole book by? It may cut down on people bailing, too.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on February 12, 2013, 08:55:55 pm
I'd be cool with that.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Oviraptor on February 13, 2013, 10:19:38 am
I am interest. I do think we should regulate the cost though, which shouldn't be too hard to do. Just avoid new releases that only available in hard copy. :P Things like Kindle or Google Books might also help.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on February 13, 2013, 01:03:17 pm
To avoid the cost to me, lets only read books I already own.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: eropS on February 13, 2013, 01:21:19 pm
Yeah on that. Who decides what we read?  Grouo vote?  Rotating pick?  A pool?

Pat I'd rather a final deadline rather than xx pages by xx time since week to week is different for me.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on February 13, 2013, 02:53:20 pm
I was thinking we could have a short nomination process, and bring it to a final poll (maybe two votes per person, so someone can vote for their own suggestion if they truly want to while still being able to vote for someone else's so that it doesn't end in a five-way tie).
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: PatMan33 on February 13, 2013, 03:43:29 pm
Pat I'd rather a final deadline rather than xx pages by xx time since week to week is different for me.

**** me do we really have to disagree on every ****ing thing? :-\

Do whatever erops wants, I don't care.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Brandonazz on February 13, 2013, 04:05:40 pm
I could find a pdf of whatever book is chosen and put it here. I've gotten pretty good at scrounging for textbooks.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: PatMan33 on February 13, 2013, 04:21:15 pm
PDFs would be awesome!

Cost is definitely definitely a major factor in this. Sam's method also works, assuming he and I have the same extensive libraries. Which we do. :P
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Brandonazz on February 13, 2013, 05:26:44 pm
Any first book suggestions then, Pat?

Sci-fi or fantasy would prolly be the safest bets here.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on February 13, 2013, 09:04:31 pm
Indeed! If Pat or anyone else has suggestions feel free to put them forth!
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: PatMan33 on February 13, 2013, 09:26:49 pm
Nope.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on February 14, 2013, 10:05:05 pm
Well, if nobody has any specific suggestions yet, I could put in a few myself:

The Accidental Time Machine - Joe Haldeman
Cat's Cradle- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Mindplayers- Pat Cadigan
Islands in the Net - Bruce Sterling
The City & The City - China Miéville

I haven't read any of these, but they've all caught my interest, (Miéville's especially given the setting (via wikipedia): "The City & the City takes place in the cities of Besźel and Ul Qoma. These two cities actually occupy much of the same geographical space, but via the volition of their citizens (and the threat of the secret power known as Breach), they are perceived as two different cities. A denizen of one city must dutifully 'unsee' (that is, consciously erase from their mind or fade into the background) the denizens, buildings, and events taking place in the other city — even if they are an inch away.)")

Submissions are still open, of course.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Brandonazz on February 14, 2013, 10:08:05 pm
I've never read any of the Dune series.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on February 14, 2013, 10:16:07 pm
Nor have I. It may be fun. We happen to have a copy of Dune itself in my house, and the paperback is available for under $10 on Amazon (in some cases, under $5), so that may be a convenient one.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Oviraptor on February 15, 2013, 03:44:37 am
So we'll compile a list and take a vote? draw from a hat? vote from a hat?
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Kenotai on February 15, 2013, 07:20:49 am
I like the idea of either The City and The City or Dune.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: PatMan33 on February 15, 2013, 07:51:50 am
The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling.

Neo, Sam, and I were talking about this one a while back. Just kinda cropped back up.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on February 15, 2013, 01:39:47 pm
So we'll compile a list and take a vote? draw from a hat? vote from a hat?

I'll close submissions in about 24 hours, and we can vote (2 votes each). It appears I'm not able to change the number of votes one can cast for forum polls already created, so we may just do it openly in the comments and tally things up at the end.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: PatMan33 on February 15, 2013, 01:52:56 pm
You know what, maybe I do care.

We should have check-ins while reading the book, not just an end date. Where is the fun in listening to everyone's thoughts on the book after they've already finished it? We should be discussing the book as we read it, and having a certain date to read up to chapter 5 allows us to all discuss the book on a level playing field without actually having to finish. And this means we will be asking questions that we would not ask if we had already finished the book. It allows us to theorize about what is happening and why, as well as what MAY happen in the future or what we hope or expect to see. You can't get that if we've all already finished the book.

Yes to multiple deadlines.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on February 15, 2013, 02:01:38 pm
I'm actually with Pat on this one. We'll need to be mindful of people's schedules, certainly, but going through it together could make it a more enriching experience. If I could change my vote away from 1 month (also something I appear to be unable to edit) I would.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Oviraptor on February 15, 2013, 03:27:46 pm
Changed the poll to allow re-votes. Once we're ready to start, I can also change the number of votes per person.

I think I will also vote Yes for multiple deadlines.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on February 15, 2013, 05:17:14 pm
yeah lets have multilines.

Also I would be interested in the difference engine and I would be happy to reread Dune as well because that **** is ****ing classic brah.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: eropS on February 16, 2013, 06:52:50 am
Sure I'm fine with either option, just let me know when and what we're reading, my suggestions would only be books I've read and I'm not sure how honest an effort I would put into 'rereading' them.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on February 16, 2013, 01:50:48 pm
Alright, submissions are closed.

I'll edit the poll and open things up for voting!

(And Ovi, if you could change the number of possible votes available to two, I would be much obliged.)
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Oviraptor on February 16, 2013, 03:13:33 pm
Alright, changed, everyone can vote now!
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Rysworld on February 17, 2013, 08:33:10 am
I've never personally read the Difference Engine and need an excuse to do so.

Oh and uh I guess I've just been lurking this thread a bit without actually telling people I'm probably going to do this.

I might have a bit less free time because of school and stuff, but I do like reading for fun and need to get back into it.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on February 17, 2013, 04:03:32 pm
I might have a bit less free time because of school and stuff.

Yeah, one thing you learn when you become an adult is that when you were at school you had a lot MORE free time.

 ;)
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on February 21, 2013, 09:06:42 am
The poll's pretty much been set at 10 votes for the last few days, with Difference Engine in the lead, so it seems we have our decision for the first book!

Check in when you've acquired it, and we'll get started on making up a deadline schedule.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Brandonazz on February 21, 2013, 11:49:27 am
PDF (http://www.mediafire.com/?cu9vfw8u4n59mzx) EPUB (http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?88t8njkr87njhel)

Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/The-Difference-Engine-William-Gibson/dp/0440423627)
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Oviraptor on February 21, 2013, 01:31:25 pm
Acquired. There appears to be only six chapters. Only one chapter per deadline, then?

Also, a map! I like this book already. Wondering what sort of events took place to make Mexico French.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Brandonazz on February 21, 2013, 01:33:37 pm
Probably this, but different. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_intervention_in_Mexico)

Also why did you use spoiler tags? You're not spoiling anything.

The map comes before the first chapter even starts. :P
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Oviraptor on February 21, 2013, 02:29:30 pm
Except the map says "1855." :P Then again, the CSA didn't exist in 1855 either.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: PatMan33 on February 21, 2013, 03:03:58 pm
Ready when you guys are!
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Inkling on February 21, 2013, 03:05:34 pm
I'll pick up a copy in the next day or two.  I get to brave the nightmare that is the science fiction section of a book store.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on February 21, 2013, 04:09:09 pm
I'll try and get my hands on this tomorrow.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Brandonazz on February 22, 2013, 12:03:23 am
Loaded up and ready.

In bed.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: eropS on February 22, 2013, 10:17:26 am
Im ready
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: PatMan33 on February 22, 2013, 10:44:40 am
Loaded up and ready.

In bed.

(http://i.imgur.com/RcwbKUL.gif)
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Rysworld on February 22, 2013, 03:58:40 pm
I've got it.

Whenever you guys are ready.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Cobra on February 23, 2013, 11:01:25 pm
I'll have to have a look to see if my local library has it, if so I might join in.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Inkling on February 25, 2013, 08:16:14 pm
Book Acquired.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: PatMan33 on February 27, 2013, 09:26:46 pm
So, how about we begin reading this weekend?

Anyone have a problem with that?
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on February 27, 2013, 09:46:43 pm
I should be able to. I haven't picked up the book yet, but I should have time before Saturday.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on March 02, 2013, 12:59:43 pm
Book: Acquired!
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Oviraptor on March 02, 2013, 01:27:33 pm
So, when/what is deadline?
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: LadyM on March 02, 2013, 05:21:13 pm
Since I'm back from my trip, I'll join this also. I have the book on Kindle.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: PatMan33 on March 03, 2013, 09:19:57 am
So, when/what is deadline?

I also this.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: LadyM on March 03, 2013, 09:40:52 am
So, when/what is deadline?

I also this.

Me too. Who is in charge? Sgore?

Name it sir.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Brandonazz on March 03, 2013, 11:11:27 am
Sgore hasn't posted in this thread in almost a day.

DOWN WITH SGORE.

DOWN WITH SGORE.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on March 03, 2013, 11:38:34 am
Yeah, screw that guy! He's been sitting pretty in his ivory tower way too long. I'll admonish him the minute I see him.

In the meantime, it looks like there are some natural breaks in the sections of the book itself (though I can't find a table of contents.)
The second section ends on page 114 and the third section ends on page 246 (this is true of my edition at least, it may be different in yours). Maybe set ourselves an initial deadline of two weeks to reach one of those points?

If we go with the first checkpoint option and keep that rate, we should be done with the book in about two months. If we go with the latter option, we'll be done in about one.

What do you guys think?
(And I do apologize for the delay)
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: PatMan33 on March 03, 2013, 11:42:10 am
I think I can manage that. So basically read about a quarter of the book in two weeks?
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on March 03, 2013, 12:02:25 pm
That's the option I'd like to go with, certainly. It'll keep things low pressure and allow us to give different sections more focus. I wanted to leave it open for a bit in case there were any solid objections. Otherwise, yeah.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Oviraptor on March 03, 2013, 01:41:25 pm
There are six sections. So two sections in two weeks? (For a total of six week to finish the book)?

Table of contents reads:

Quote
First Iteration: The Angel of Goliad
Second Iteration: Derby Day
Third Iteration: Dark-Lanterns
Fourth Iteration: Seven Curses
Fifth Iteration: The All-Seeing Eye
Modus: The Images Tabled

I don't have a physical book, so page numbers are useless to me. :P
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on March 03, 2013, 01:44:30 pm
That's probably the easiest way of doing things, actually.

Anyone have any objections?
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: eropS on March 03, 2013, 05:46:05 pm
No, you can just make a schedule and we'll follow it haha
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on March 03, 2013, 10:45:29 pm
Then, I suppose, let's have the first two sections read by the 18th. That'll be our first checkpoint at least, and we can see how things go from there.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: LadyM on March 04, 2013, 09:46:48 am
Sounds good. Can we read Twilight next? :P
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: PatMan33 on March 04, 2013, 09:48:09 am
*evaporates*
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Brandonazz on March 04, 2013, 11:39:28 am
*sparkles*
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: emmet on March 04, 2013, 03:48:18 pm
I'm reading this too. It's good!
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Rysworld on March 04, 2013, 04:08:31 pm
Started reading it a bit ago. Page 18 so far.

I like the language in this book, and the descriptions.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Slinky on March 04, 2013, 06:03:34 pm
Ooh, dangit. I came in a little too late. I would, however, like to suggest Dune as the next book. This sounds fun.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Oviraptor on March 04, 2013, 06:08:35 pm
You're not too late, we literally just started. If you think you could acquire the book and read the first two sections before the deadline (3/18), then you can certainly join us.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on March 05, 2013, 09:20:27 am
My copy arrived today!

But I won't be able to start reading until tomorrow. >_>
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Slinky on March 05, 2013, 02:09:46 pm
You're not too late, we literally just started. If you think you could acquire the book and read the first two sections before the deadline (3/18), then you can certainly join us.

Oh, cool! EPUB downloaded, starting now.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: LadyM on March 15, 2013, 06:05:19 am
Three days left and I haven't touched the book... hmm.. this is not a good start.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Inkling on March 15, 2013, 07:37:12 am
Feel like you're back in high school, putting off your summer reading?
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: eropS on March 15, 2013, 08:11:09 am
Yes. I'll make the time one of these few days!
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on March 15, 2013, 10:19:00 am
Oh I don't feel so bad then. I've been reading it, just haven't made much progress :Y
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Slinky on March 15, 2013, 02:22:34 pm
I finished the first two iterations this morning. Very cool so far, especially the whole kinotrope thing.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Oviraptor on March 15, 2013, 02:46:47 pm
Hey, shush! Not all of us are there yet! Also, spoiler tags should probably be used, just in case!
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on March 15, 2013, 05:36:56 pm
Don't worry what Slinky said isn't a spoiler :P

But the Kinotrope is a pretty cool idea.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on March 17, 2013, 10:40:56 pm
Just an update, today is the deadline!

I'll make it the lenient kind of deadline that gives people until the end of the day (11:59 PM) to catch up, and we can begin discussion tomorrow. (Unless people are especially interested in starting today, then I just ask that you use spoiler tags until tomorrow.)

(...in the interest of full disclosure, I'm admittedly behind as well, but I should be caught up quite soon.)
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on March 18, 2013, 12:49:13 am
Well Sgore that is TOO BAD.

I'm only done with the First Iteration and partway through the second and I'm playing Rogue Trader tonight so I won't be able to read any more.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on March 18, 2013, 01:02:45 am
Take your time, certainly! This is for pleasure, not homework. I'd still like to stay on task as much as possible, but if most people are having trouble fitting it in, we can always push the deadline back a couple days (or use spoiler tags a bit more).
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: LadyM on March 18, 2013, 06:54:34 am
Sounds good.. says she who still has not read anything... but plans to do so today.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Slinky on March 18, 2013, 08:55:23 am
Just putting everything in spoiler tags, just in case:
So I was wondering: is the reason for this alternate universe existing Charles Babbage not dying? Or is it something else? I wasn't really clear on this.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on March 18, 2013, 10:16:15 am
Just putting everything in spoiler tags, just in case:
So I was wondering: is the reason for this alternate universe existing Charles Babbage not dying? Or is it something else? I wasn't really clear on this.

I'm getting the impression that its less to do with the machines himself and more to do with this weird political revolution where the hereditary nobility were replaced by scientists and engineers (a Technocracy, essentially). That had a trickle-down effect which changed technology, politics and society. Could well be that the catalyst was Babbage not dying but I get the impression that the 'divergence point' is more nebulous than that.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: emmet on March 18, 2013, 03:55:17 pm
In this universe, Babbage invents the Analytical Engine in 1824, and beats the Tories in the 1830 General Election, leading to a defeated rebellion. However, in reality, Lord Byron actually died in 1824, and since he supposedly didn't die in the fictional 1824, there are two possibilites - either Babbage's Engine made some really fast changes to history, or, more likely, there was an earlier undefined point of divergence.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Oviraptor on March 18, 2013, 07:07:01 pm
Did anyone else cringe when that guy pulled the card out from the middle of the case?
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on March 19, 2013, 01:25:50 am
I'm only done with the First Iteration and partway through the second and I'm playing Rogue Trader tonight so I won't be able to read any more.

SO as it turns out 2nd Iteration was much shorter than expected and I was literally one page from finishing it when I wrote that post.

So I'm done within the deadline.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: LadyM on March 19, 2013, 01:50:31 pm
Did anyone else cringe when that guy pulled the card out from the middle of the case?

No, I would have pulled from the middle.

So I finished the 2nd Iteration. I don't understand anything you guys have said so far. (except Ovi) It seems the common thing between one and two are the cards. The story was a bit more interesting than I thought, sex, lies and mystery. I can tell that I look at things from the relationship aspect and you guys from the technical aspect.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Oviraptor on March 19, 2013, 02:24:38 pm
You forgot to put spoiler tags on!

Did anyone else cringe when that guy pulled the card out from the middle of the case?

No, I would have pulled from the middle.

But they were in numerical order! And now they might not be! D:
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Slinky on March 19, 2013, 02:29:15 pm
Warning - while you were typing a new reply has been posted. You may wish to review your post.

Whatever.

Okay so here's the deal:
Now, it seems that none of us are really sure *why* there's an alternate universe, but we can all agree that there is. In my opinion, this is how it happened:
In the real world timeline, Babbage created the Engine but never actually built it, mainly because he died. In this timeline, however, he did build it, which brought in a new computer era. Great Britain became a Technocracy (as Sam said) because those who could operate a Difference Engine (scientists, engineers) rose to power as the ones with the skills and know-how. Because of Britain's new technology, they were able to have more of an influence on the development of the Americas, but I'm not sure how. So Sam and Tesla may also be right in assuming that the divergence point may be different, or at least not as specific, so I'm not really sure.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: LadyM on March 19, 2013, 02:40:07 pm
@Ovi it said he put it back in the same place.

@Slinky: I only read Iteration one and two, nowhere in those two sections did it talk about alternate universes so no, I can't agree there is one until I read it. There is however an interesting set of cards that seem to bring good luck to people. Sam Houston wasn't killed just injured and Mallory won the race. There is also a woman who gets a chance on a new life with a bunch of diamonds.

If you read the whole book then we aren't discussing the whole thing, just one and two. Of course I'm familiar with all the Texas/Alamo/Houston references but not Babbage, I don't know who he was or that he was real. It was cool to see the name Nacogdoches in there and know how to pronounce it. :)

Do we really need spoiler tags now? It's tomorrow.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Slinky on March 19, 2013, 02:49:51 pm
I guess you're right about spoiler tags, and this isn't really a spoiler...

I didn't read the whole book. You do have a point that it never said anything about alternate universes, but the kinotrope never existed, and the difference engine was never so widely used. So we at least know we are dealing with a fictional universe, if not alternate, right?
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: LadyM on March 19, 2013, 03:08:35 pm
It is a work of fiction, right? So it seems he is using real names but making up a story to go with it. It seemed that one and two were two different stories with a common thread. I'm hoping three will tie it together somehow.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Oviraptor on March 19, 2013, 03:10:16 pm
Alternate history (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternate_history) is what this essential is. Or, how things could have happened if things had been a bit different.

Also, apparently the French have a really advanced engine, if the guy from the first story is to be believed.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: emmet on March 19, 2013, 03:36:20 pm
LadyM, this is definitely set in an alternate reality. All the background characters mentioned are real. (Byron, Babbage, Wellington, Ada Lovelace...) Babbage did design an Analytical Engine, a working steam powered computer, but it was never built. There actually are Difference Engines, built as early as 1855, and you can see replicas in museums.

A Difference Engine was not a fully functional computer. It could solve polynomials. An Analytical Engine (those in the books) was.

Slinky, Babbage didn't not build his Engine because he died. He just never got around to it.

Also, you're not quite right about how Britain became a technocracy - it wasn't quite as simple as the people capable of operating us rising to power.

Britain is in greater control of America because with its greater economic power, it is able to subtly influence it to prevent unification.


These aren't really spoilers. This has all been gathered from reading the book. :P
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: LadyM on March 19, 2013, 03:42:54 pm
Thank you Tesla. I didn't know that any of those people were real except for Sam Houston. I didn't know what a difference engine was. Guess that makes a difference. Anyway, I'm enjoying the story.

Now once we read Twilight, I'll blow you guys out of the water ... hehe.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on March 19, 2013, 05:19:17 pm
@Slinky: I only read Iteration one and two, nowhere in those two sections did it talk about alternate universes so no, I can't agree there is one until I read it.

Its an alternate universe in the sense that its set in a divergent version of our own world. Its an Alternate History book and it uses real events and people as a jumping off point to tell a what if story. I've only read up to the end of 2nd Iteration so we have as much information as each other.

Some other people you will kick yourself for not realising were real are Lord Darwin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_darwin) and Lord Byron (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_byron), important Rads in the world of the book, but no less important in our real history.

I find the world the book creates really interesting. It certainly seems like the people in government are competent and have their hearts in the right places, advancing industry and technology to try and better the world, but at the same time they've managed to create a society which is more restrictive than our own. Everything someone does seems to require they provide their citizen number, even sending a message or placing a bet. If you treat the difference engines as a magical plot device that lets you do whatever you want with information (usually how computers are portrayed in fiction) then its pretty clear that the Radical industrialist government can track the movements and activities of every citizen in the country. Unlike most of its successors, the first steampunk novel is a lot closer to its cyberpunk roots than the silly guilt-free high adventure that steampunk has come to represent.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: emmet on March 19, 2013, 05:40:41 pm
Wait, this was the first steampunk novel?
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Oviraptor on March 19, 2013, 05:57:06 pm
No: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk)

However, Steampunk as a thing, was fairly new at the time it was written.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on March 20, 2013, 05:36:50 am
Also as far as I can tell this is the first steampunk book to actually emphasise the punk aspects and the connection to cyberpunk instead of just riffing on Jules Verne and HG Wells.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Slinky on March 21, 2013, 02:55:13 pm
So what's the new deadline?
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: LadyM on March 21, 2013, 03:57:16 pm
 Sgore and Pat hasn't posted about the book yet.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on March 21, 2013, 05:47:08 pm
Ah yes, sorry. I was discussing it in chat while the forum was down. I am all caught up and I'm enjoying it thus far. There's an interesting aesthetic to the book, and I admittedly didn't know it would be steampunk when we decided on it, but I'm curious to see where it goes. I feel like we're going to get a better sense of why Ada was apparently nearly kidnapped in the second iteration.

Any predictions on who we might see again in later chapters?

(In terms of a new deadline, I'm thinking two weeks from this Saturday, April 6th, for the third iteration? I believe it's a bit longer than the first two.)
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on March 24, 2013, 11:09:33 pm
Just so we're clear, people can keep discussion going in the meantime if they'd like, just remember to use spoiler tags if it involves events in the coming sections.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on April 06, 2013, 12:17:30 pm
This is technically the due date, but school work is picking up and I'm a bit behind. (Due to the lack of activity in the thread, I imagine most other people are as well?) We can push the deadline back another week or two if people would like. Just let me know so we can keep things organized!
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on April 06, 2013, 01:19:21 pm
I started on fourth iteration already.

I hope you all like really long sex scenes.  ;)
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: PatMan33 on April 07, 2013, 02:39:28 pm
I did. :o
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: LadyM on April 09, 2013, 06:54:35 am
I'm behind on my reading. No excuse for it but upcoming sex scenes might inspire me to delve back into it.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on April 10, 2013, 04:25:36 am
Well, I finished it.

Anyone who would like to discuss any part of the story please do so here or hit me up on steam!
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: PatMan33 on April 10, 2013, 07:11:36 am
Same time as last week? :O
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: LadyM on April 18, 2013, 01:55:06 pm
I read some while getting a pedicure today. That's progress :) How's everyone else doing?
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Oviraptor on April 18, 2013, 03:16:24 pm
What's the next deadline?
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on April 18, 2013, 03:27:43 pm
Sgore is too soft with deadlines. I'm staging a coup!

The new deadline is, the entire book finished in a week! The deadline will be Friday 26th April.

(http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n125/Krakowsam/Macros/1352744629281.gif)


Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Oviraptor on April 18, 2013, 03:30:51 pm
Mutiny! Mutiny!
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on April 18, 2013, 03:32:15 pm
(http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n125/Krakowsam/Macros/kIlBI.gif)
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: PatMan33 on April 18, 2013, 03:40:49 pm
ALL HAIL THE GLORIOUS EMPIRE OF SAM!

(http://i.imgur.com/JAMGoy0.png)
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on April 19, 2013, 02:06:01 pm
I got cast in a play! Which is eating up most of my time...

But that is no excuse and Krakow is right. Readings must indeed occur. Let's see if we can all be done by the 26th.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Oviraptor on April 19, 2013, 02:54:08 pm
To the bibliotorium!
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: LadyM on April 23, 2013, 12:16:26 pm
I'm trying to finish this, I read on the train and it was kind of boring until someone bought a clock and there was some violence. Hopefully it gets better from here.

Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on April 26, 2013, 04:51:26 am
Deadline is today!

Hope you're all nearly finished.

(http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n125/Krakowsam/Macros/guyincognito.gif)

Ok, time's up!

Time to start discussing the book. If you haven't finished, shame on you! You've had the best part of two months!
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: PatMan33 on April 27, 2013, 07:34:37 am
Yeah! Woo!

Well, just speaking thematically, I was surprised that the book was a lot less... uh... adventury? Like, I was expecting a jolly romp through the adventure-filled world of Difference. But instead it was a more thoughtful kind of story.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on April 27, 2013, 08:02:44 am
Yeah its more of a conspiracy/political thriller.

Though I think it does still have plenty of adventure in the meat of the book when Mallory is the protagonist. I really liked the whole sequence where he was trying to get home through the fog and society seemed to be falling apart without him, and then later the siege against the anarchists in that warehouse on the river.

I was impressed by how cinematic the whole book was. I found the descriptions extremely vivid even though Gibson used language quite sparingly, and I always had a very clear mental picture of how people and places looked, and what was going on.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Slinky on April 30, 2013, 11:19:42 am
I really expected this to be a book that didn't have much of a plot at all and instead one that would focus on explaining all the steam powered computery stuff and why it's all there. So it was kind of a pleasant surprise to find out there was an interesting story as well.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on April 30, 2013, 11:26:52 am
Well that's where steampunk seriously went awry at some point. It became fixated on silly gimmicks and totally overlooked the fact that it had roots in cyberpunk which is generally about conspiracies, information control and class struggles.

Steampunk now is just pulp adventure stories with sillier names and gears on everything. As for people who try to be steampunk as a fashion thing, don't even get me started. Yeah that watch you glued to your hat really serves the useful function of warning me not to make eye contact with you, thanks champ.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Oviraptor on May 04, 2013, 07:24:55 am
Finally finished reading. I did enjoy the book, however it didn't seem to go anywhere. All these characters did all these things, but none of it seemed to mean anything in the end. :-\
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on May 04, 2013, 09:59:55 am
C'est la vie!

The character's actions were ultimately pretty important to the outcome of THEIR lives so I guess that's the important thing.

Those punch cards ultimately proved to be a MacGuffin since their use was related to proving some theorem or other which had absolutely no relevance to the goals or ambitions of any of the protagonists.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Slinky on May 04, 2013, 10:28:14 am
Yeah, the whole thing felt kind of anticlimactic.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on May 04, 2013, 11:45:12 am
I find a lot of the scifi I've read is like that.

The themes the story deals with are so huge that the protagonists rarely have any impact on how things unfold, except of course for how it affects them personally.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: LadyM on May 06, 2013, 07:38:18 am
I finally got to the sex part  8) and I'm still working on it. At the part where the Mallory brothers are looking for Capt Swing. I've noticed the woman in the first iteration is never mentioned again.

Twilight is looking pretty good now isn't it? It has a plot.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on May 06, 2013, 10:14:35 am
I finally got to the sex part  8)
I've noticed the woman in the first iteration is never mentioned again.

The prostitute Mallory sleeps with is the housemate of Sybil Gerard.

Twilight is looking pretty good now isn't it? It has a plot.

You think the Difference Engine doesn't have a plot? ???
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: LadyM on May 06, 2013, 04:24:12 pm
I totally missed that reference about Sybil. I'll have to go back and reread it. Man you remember every detail.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Slinky on May 07, 2013, 06:27:00 am
There's clearly a plot right over there, where nobody is interacting with it.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on May 07, 2013, 09:50:11 am
The plot is about a man trying to save his reputation, which is at risk because of a selfless act he performed for Lady Ada at the races the day he made his fortune.

Seems pretty straightforward to me.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Oviraptor on May 07, 2013, 04:19:11 pm
Soo... time to pick the next book?
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: LadyM on May 08, 2013, 07:35:35 am
Enders Game!! Since the movie is coming out.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on May 08, 2013, 10:11:25 am
Soo... time to pick the next book?

But we hardly even discussed this one :(

Nobody seems to want to talk about it properly.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: LadyM on May 08, 2013, 12:25:34 pm
I do want to talk about it, I just haven't finished.

Maybe you should lead the discussion. Ask what we think or bring up the parts you want to discuss.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on May 08, 2013, 02:10:43 pm
All right, I will!

Since the story is mostly told with Mallory as the protagonist, I often get the feeling that the establishment of the British Empire (the Industrial Radical party, or Rads) and their policies were viewed through rose-tinted glasses a little.

So my talking point is. Do you think the Rads were actually as good for the country as everyone seems to think?
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Oviraptor on May 08, 2013, 03:16:06 pm
I'm left wondering how they moved on after all that pollution. Surely their life expectancy plummeted?
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on May 08, 2013, 03:32:58 pm
The one in the book is pretty dramatic but London had a history of appallingly bad smogs which didn't really stop until after the 1950s when people stopped burning coal for absolutely everything.

I guess in this case the cleansing rainstorm was a dramatic device, symbolising the physical and metaphorical corruption being washed out of the city. As for the life expectancies, all the rich people left town, and poor people in Victorian London already had a pretty alarming mortality rate so i doubt anyone really noticed, sadly.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Slinky on May 08, 2013, 05:17:04 pm
I think the Rads certainly advanced the country's development and kept it a world power, but I feel that after all the political reform happened, the Rads really didn't have anything to do and ended up forming a corrupt government and a huge separation between the right and the poor, as well as producing way much more pollution than anyone else would have.

So, to answer your question, yes and no.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: PatMan33 on May 08, 2013, 07:43:00 pm
(book suggestion)

The Great Gatsby. It is being made into a movie sooner and Stephen Colbert is also doing this on his show as a book club segment! Two birds one nut.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: emmet on May 10, 2013, 08:32:04 am
Sure, I'd totally read the Great Gatsby.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: LadyM on May 29, 2013, 07:58:21 am
I FINALLY finished the book!!!! Made myself read on the airplane, the last chapter was a blur but I'm done.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on May 29, 2013, 09:16:24 am
Yaaaaaay!

Thoughts?
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: LadyM on May 29, 2013, 03:51:57 pm
Honestly? The only part I really enjoyed was the sex part. It's not a book that interested me much but that doesn't mean it's not a good book. I'm sure not knowing much about the real people didn't help me with the story.

The events in it reminded me of Occupy Wall Street recently. The 99% vs the 1%. Interesting that this was written way before but still has relevance today.

What did those mysterious punch cards actually do? Everyone wanted them.
Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: Krakow Sam on May 30, 2013, 12:17:31 am
I didn't actually really get what the punch cards did until I looked it up.

Near the end Lady Ada is giving a lecture in France. The lecture is about what the punch cards do. Basically they run a program which proves a mathematical theorem which shows that you can't use one unified theory of mathematics to solve any given maths problem.

Basically its some computer science thing, which in the world of the book is discovered decades earlier than it was on our world.

Title: Re: Gaming Steve Book Club! A thing we could do.
Post by: sgore on June 23, 2015, 08:17:20 pm
SO...
This fell apart a couple years ago, and I apologize for that, but it really did seem like a fun idea at the time.

I wanted to gauge interest in people's willingness to start back up again. Maybe with a more rigid reading schedule? Start with a smaller work as a test and see what we can do from there?

I'm in the middle of reading Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash right now, but when I finish it up, it might be fun to put some work into reviving this subforum, and a book club might be a good way to do it. (We still have posts on page 1 from 2007 for goodness sakes.)