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Rocket Girls - Housuke Nojiri [Novel]


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Moonsaber



Joined: 16 Jan 2007
Posts: 233
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2010 1:20 pm Reply with quote
I just read Rocket Girls and I have to say that I was quite taken away, the writing style and pacing made me not want to put it down, I was enjoying myself so much. This makes the second novel I have read by the author, Housuke Nojiri, and he continues to impress me. The science fiction in this one, while seeming a little contrived for the story, is actually very well thought out. I have not seen the anime that was based off this series of novels, but now I want to.

Less serious than his novel Usurper of the Sun it is still very well thought out. For anyone that has not read Usurper I recommend it, but don't go into it expecting something cute, or engaging. It is a harder sci-fi, and more serious, book. I like Rocket Girls partially due to it's juvenile nature, it reminds me of the youth novels by Robert A. Heinlein, with even better thought out science fiction. I caught myself smiling several times while I was reading it, because it was just that much fun!

Recommended by me... anyone else looked at this title yet?
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einhorn303



Joined: 20 Nov 2006
Posts: 1140

PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:44 am Reply with quote
I'm reading the 2nd book in the series now ("Rocket Girls: The Lost Planet") and loving it. It's the ultimate combination: a well-plotted story, cute girls, and darn good real SF.

I think Akane is my favorite character so far. She's a good complement to the 1st book's cast; it needed a serious, science-nerd type character. Her idealism is inspiring too; I actually teared up a bit at the part where they talk about spoiler[saving the Orpheus probe, and she says, "But it's more than that. It's a dream...it's science! And I think it's worth risking my life for. I truly believe that."]

Compared to other light novels I've read, it feels a lot more like an SF novel. Its little things: 3rd person perspective, longer paragraphs, a different sense of scene cuts. But it's in a nice place between the two styles. The quick pacing, especially, makes it read well.

I've been turned off many times by altered manga/light novel covers, but Rocket Girls is the first time where I actually like the new US covers more. The new US covers are actually illustrated by a Japanese artist, Katsuya Terada. The one thing I dislike is the vol. 2 cover's inaccuracy of showing large fold-lines in Matsuri's space suit; they're engineered to be 100% skin tight.

It's funny how the book keeps on saying "Although soon they won't even consider Pluto a planet...," and now it's come true too early. I think it's take on low-cost, low-weight space flights is pretty interesting. Although realistically, I think sensitive repairs in orbit will be done more by telemetry-controlled robots than high-schoolgirls.

I hope Haikasoru solicits the third and final book in the series soon!
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Vracer111



Joined: 28 Jan 2010
Posts: 192

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:11 am Reply with quote
I'm not a big reader, but I really enjoyed the two Rocket Girls novels. Takes a very interesting look at low-earth orbit space program and is a fun read. The novels and anime follow each other very closely with just a few minor differences...if you like the novel you will enjoy the anime as well. Hard sci-fi done in a fun, enjoyable manner, love it! Very Happy

I have Usurper of the Sun and started it a while back, but coming off Rocket Girls it wasn't a fun read and I stopped. I guess I can try it again now...
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Moonsaber



Joined: 16 Jan 2007
Posts: 233
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:45 pm Reply with quote
I hadn't read the 2nd book when I had done this first post, but now that I have I can say it was very fun, but I found the first one more engrossing. Maybe it was because I hadn't seen the anime yet. The anime was fun, but I wasn't too fond of the character design (There was an extra that showed the original proposed character design, that was less... uhhh.. kiddified or something, I liked that)

Ursuper is a hard novel to get into, the Rocket Girls novels are light and fun, while still having good sci fi, where as Ursuper is much more adult and VERY hard core sci fi. I promise that it does have a good story, but sometimes it really hurts to read it.
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vashna



Joined: 19 Feb 2010
Posts: 1313

PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:39 am Reply with quote
This makes me think of the whole division between what could be called soft science fiction and hard science fiction. While I don't like labels in general, I do think that those labels are really rather fitting.
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Moonsaber



Joined: 16 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:13 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, I know what you mean. Rocket Girls reads like a Heinlein novel, what they called "Juvenile" fiction or youth fiction. The difference I see here is that Rocket Girls actually has some interesting science in it, but if is very readable and fun.

Now, on the other hand, Ursurper of the Sun is much.. heavier, and has bigger science elements. I liked both, but more likely to reread Rocket Girls, I think.
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vashna



Joined: 19 Feb 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:56 pm Reply with quote
Heinlein is actually a pretty strong comparison, since he wasn't the sort to really go into too much detail about the scientific behalf of things, but wrote at length what happened as a result of the scientific aspects of his fiction. A sort of assumption that things work if you will.
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Moonsaber



Joined: 16 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:07 pm Reply with quote
vashna wrote:
Heinlein is actually a pretty strong comparison, since he wasn't the sort to really go into too much detail about the scientific behalf of things, but wrote at length what happened as a result of the scientific aspects of his fiction. A sort of assumption that things work if you will.


I always thought of Heinlein as strong on people and political concept, and with reasonable science. I, by the way, love Heinlein.
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vashna



Joined: 19 Feb 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 1:34 pm Reply with quote
I'm a big lover of Heinlen myself. I actually wonder if there was some element of Heinlen's influence to truly be felt in Rocket Girls. Are you familiar with Alien Nine at all? The creator of that series, Hitoshi Tomizawa, fully admitted that there were touches of Heinlen in his work.
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Moonsaber



Joined: 16 Jan 2007
Posts: 233
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:59 am Reply with quote
Yes, I have the manga and the anime for Alien 9. Now I need to watch it again and think about it. And maybe reread the novel "Star Beast" by Heinlein. I hadn't felt the connection, but I think it might make sense.

I think being compared to Heinlein is pretty high praise, by the way, for any modern fiction. And that the fiction we are talking about is a light novel series probably means a lot too. Few Japanese 'Light Novels' are all that impressive, from what I gather.

Any other light novel recommendations?
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vashna



Joined: 19 Feb 2010
Posts: 1313

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:46 pm Reply with quote
To be totally fair, these Housuke Nojiri novels are some of the only Light Novels I've yet had the pleasure of reading. However, I have read the .//hack Light Novels as well. Nevertheless, these would be more geared towards a fan of that series as a whole than a fan of science fiction in general. Have you ever read them, or is it not really your sort of thing? Like I said, they're excellent for the fan who wants to explore the back-story of the BlackRose character (again if you're familiar), but I'm not sure they're exactly the best introduction to light novels as a whole.

By the way, being compared to Heinlein is high praise in my book as well.
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Moonsaber



Joined: 16 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:31 pm Reply with quote
We agree on Heinlein, I see =)

I am almost a virgin on the whole .Hack franchise, I dabbled a little and it didn't appeal to me.

The only other light novels I have read are the first two of the Spice and Wolf novels, which are not bad, but are not much more than the anime, or exceptionally good, to me.
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einhorn303



Joined: 20 Nov 2006
Posts: 1140

PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:59 am Reply with quote
Moonsaber wrote:
We agree on Heinlein, I see =)

I am almost a virgin on the whole .Hack franchise, I dabbled a little and it didn't appeal to me.

The only other light novels I have read are the first two of the Spice and Wolf novels, which are not bad, but are not much more than the anime, or exceptionally good, to me.


The 4th volume of the light novels, btw, was skipped by the anime adaption. The 2nd season of the anime has the 3rd novel's story, then goes right to the 5th novel's story. Which is too bad, since I really liked the 4th volume.
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vashna



Joined: 19 Feb 2010
Posts: 1313

PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:19 pm Reply with quote
I had seriously wondered about that; the continuity seemed to be rather off between those various points.
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Moonsaber



Joined: 16 Jan 2007
Posts: 233
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:04 am Reply with quote
That is interesting, and would kinda make it worth reading the novels. I've heard the Strawberry Panic light novels are good, but I am unsure I want to deal with the genre.
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