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Help me remember a book about a poetic floating sphere

I've been reading the Vorkosigan Saga, and I'm really enjoying the political-intrigue aspect. They've reminded me of a book I read at least five years ago, but I can only half-remember it...hoping the bits and pieces are familiar to someone here: - a human male protagonist who is a diplomat or attache or moves or works in that area (at least during the events of the novel) - a politically important event (negotiations?) involving humans and aliens, on earth or another planet (not in space) - a friend/colleague of the protagonist is a non-human who I believe is a floating sphere (which I think was on the cover and looked sort of pokemon-logo-ish) - a poetry contest(?) which the sphere person is interested in, and the poetry was a particularly complex form, possibly (or compared to) haiku or tanka (possibly knowing about or composing this type of poetry was necessary or useful in the diplomatic mission) Any bells?
posted by sarahkeebs on Aug 13, 2011 - 10 answers

 

Last minutes Alcatraz tickets?

Last minutes Alcatraz tickets? [more inside]
posted by macfly on Aug 12, 2011 - 5 answers

Fluffy Bunnies in SPAAAAAAAACE!

Help me remember this SF book I read as a kid. [more inside]
posted by hilaritas on Aug 12, 2011 - 7 answers

Where are all the cute poly people in the SF bay area?

Where are all the cute / hot and adventurous polyamorous people in the SF bay area? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jul 11, 2011 - 16 answers

Help needed for my last minute Cali trip

Going from SF to Pasadena via public transport -- is this possible? [more inside]
posted by peacheater on Jun 29, 2011 - 21 answers

Locals-only SF?

What are some really cool non-touristy/half-touristy things to do in SF? [more inside]
posted by windbox on Jun 14, 2011 - 38 answers

LIBERTARIAN ENGINEER SAVES THE WORLD

Give your best examples of the SF/ Survivalist/ Wish Fullfillment sub-genre "libertarian engineers do everything better" or "objectivist superman saves history". More specifically ones where someone is the last man on earth/sendt back in time and constructs a free market utopia through sheer smarts and rationality ( with himself on the top of it, of course). [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Jun 9, 2011 - 28 answers

RaceWIN! Native American Science Fiction

RaceWIN? Native American-written dystopian/fantasy/science/ speculative fiction. I am looking for the name of the text and author of a contemporary Native American novel that is satirical and dystopian. [more inside]
posted by MidSouthern Mouth on May 31, 2011 - 13 answers

Garden paradise in my apartment?!

Easy PlantIDFilter: Name this tree. [more inside]
posted by nosila on May 22, 2011 - 4 answers

Digital Media in SF

Is there a digital-media/arts-type place in San Francisco that provides access to computers and digital technology - something like The Edge in Brisbane? [more inside]
posted by divabat on Apr 30, 2011 - 3 answers

Non-libertarian SF recommendations, anyone?

Help me find awesome SF books that aren't libertarian screeds, y'all. What are your favourite Science Fiction books that aren't just swimming in libertarian ideology? [more inside]
posted by LMGM on Apr 22, 2011 - 56 answers

Bimonthly San Francisco apartment question: Student Edition

Please help a new grad move to San Francisco. I will probably arrive on June 1 and start working June 10, and I have $1500 for the whole move in process. Where do I stay while I'm apartment hunting? A hotel is very expensive and a hostel is pretty cramped. I could probably stay on a friend's couch but are there any other reasonable options for 1 month stays? [more inside]
posted by yaymukund on Apr 18, 2011 - 17 answers

Need help IDing a sci-fi novel about the building of an interstellar transport network, a mean ship AI, and first contact with an unknowable alien intelligence

Can you help me identify this SF novel? Female protagonist is employed overseeing the construction of a transportation network into deep space. She has to deal with the ship's AI who is trying to turn her son (also a crew member) against her. They run into a very strange intelligent creature and try to figure out how to keep from destroying it with their gateway network, while also carefully monitoring the amount of time that she spends outside of suspended animation. [more inside]
posted by penduluum on Apr 13, 2011 - 6 answers

Kaiser therapist in San Francisco?

Good therapist in San Francisco that takes Kaiser insurance? [more inside]
posted by heliostatic on Apr 7, 2011 - 5 answers

Where to live in the bay area?

Help me decide where to move in SF/east bay that would allow for an easy commute to Cal. [more inside]
posted by special-k on Mar 31, 2011 - 35 answers

I can already smell the bay air...

The wife and I are heading to San Francisco for a conference this weekend taking place at the Embarcadero Hyatt. My question is a two-parter: (a) Where in the vicinity should we go for breakfast, lunch etc. on our relatively-short breaks? and (b) After things wind down for the day, where should we explore? More criteria to follow. [more inside]
posted by supercres on Mar 30, 2011 - 36 answers

Good accountant/CPA in San Francisco with International Freelancers’ experience?

Does anyone know of a good accountant/CPA firm in San Francisco with experience dealing with international freelancing work? I’ve done work from the Netherlands (but now live in SF) as a freelancer for U.S. companies and there’s a lot of things I’m not clear about regarding U.S. Tax law that I’d like to get properly sorted out once and for all. [more inside]
posted by KuraFire on Mar 28, 2011 - 2 answers

I just wanna park my motorsickle.

Bay Area Long-Timers: I'm looking for information about the history of dedicated motorcycle-only parking in San Francisco. Help! [more inside]
posted by swngnmonk on Mar 15, 2011 - 5 answers

Can you name this 1970s sci-fi novel?

BookFilter: Help me find this formative (but possibly terrible) 1970s sci-fi book I read in my youth! [more inside]
posted by rednikki on Mar 5, 2011 - 3 answers

Looking for Star Trek fiction

Looking for Star Trek fiction, pro or fan, including either of two things. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Mar 1, 2011 - 5 answers

Big group in the city

I have a bunch of friends coming to visit me at the bay area. I want to be the perfect host and I've done my research on what fun things to do to make sure they have a good time. I have two remaining doubts though: how to get all of us around in the city using public transportation, and the nightlife. [more inside]
posted by just_another_one on Feb 27, 2011 - 14 answers

Help identify this murder method from a short story

What is this short story (maybe by Asimov?) ... [spoilers] [more inside]
posted by bleary on Feb 25, 2011 - 7 answers

Lapsed sci-fi reader looking for a new literary love in all the wrong places.

I'm getting back into reading for pleasure after years of avoiding it during college. I've found fantasy books easy to get back into, but have no idea where to start with sci-fi! [more inside]
posted by Logic Sheep on Feb 20, 2011 - 40 answers

Help me AskMe, you're my only hope...

What alternatives are there to IO9? What are the cool review and news sites for science fiction and fantasy? For comic books? For sf&f tv and movies? [more inside]
posted by bonehead on Feb 17, 2011 - 17 answers

Help me get tied up in SF!

I'd like to get tied up somewhere in or around SF either tomorow or Monday. This needn't be a sexual encounter, but it need be professional and discreet. [more inside]
posted by 17564 on Feb 12, 2011 - 4 answers

Looking for unpretentious dance spots in SF

What are some awesome, unpretentious places to go out dancing in San Francisco on a Saturday night? [more inside]
posted by emily37 on Feb 5, 2011 - 9 answers

calling math/chem geniuses

When doing mixed-operation arithmetic keeping significant figures, do you round after each operation- according to the rules for that particular step? Or do you keep everything in long-form calculator numbers, then round at the final answer? [more inside]
posted by tremspeed on Jan 25, 2011 - 21 answers

Where can I attain the Ballmer Peak in SF?

Is there such a thing as a laptop-friendly sports bar in SF? [more inside]
posted by knave on Jan 16, 2011 - 4 answers

nerd news needed (audio only)

Looking for a great new science-fiction-flavored or otherwise nerd-centric podcast. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Jan 2, 2011 - 13 answers

Name that podcast

In which I try to recall the name of a SF podcast in which a "freelance librarian" in a totalitarian future broadcasts a radio signal to the past, in an effort to change history. [more inside]
posted by outlier on Jan 2, 2011 - 2 answers

Identify a science fiction/fantasy novel from the 1980s, possibly YA, where they lived in the trees and where talk of killing others was taboo?

Can you identify this book? I read it in the mid-1980s. It may or may not have been a YA (Young Adult) title. The protagonist was a young girl, and her society lived peacefully up in the trees. She was interested in seeing the world down on the surface. There may have been another society down there. At one point she lost her temper with someone (a pet?) and blurted out something like "I would like to dead you!" at which her family was shocked and horrified at her violent thoughts. I particularly remember being struck by that part, that she understood the concept of killing but didn't know the verb. [more inside]
posted by tomboko on Dec 27, 2010 - 2 answers

Fiction writing advice for the advanced amateur.

I seem to be teetering on the edge of getting somewhere with my writing, but I'm not there yet. How can I learn to get a handle on pacing and characterization in my novels and short stories? [more inside]
posted by PhoBWanKenobi on Dec 8, 2010 - 17 answers

your head will collapse but there's nothing in it

I'm suddenly very interested in stories, novels, films, music, poems, and comics/graphic narratives that take insanity, altered states of consciousness, and/or terminal illness as a primary theme. My general preference is for science fiction and speculative fiction, but suggestions from other genres would be very good as well. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Nov 16, 2010 - 41 answers

What's the best High Speed Internet deal for me in San Francisco?

What's the best High Speed Internet deal for me in San Francisco? [more inside]
posted by pantufla on Nov 1, 2010 - 8 answers

Tiptree

Where should I start with James Tiptree, Jr.?
posted by OmieWise on Oct 28, 2010 - 8 answers

I've seen the Bridge.

Get Me Out Of My Travel Rut: My tour takes me to the beatific city of San Fransisco soon and while I visit about once a year, I usually end up going to same places/doing the same things. What's terribly new in SF? What are the fresh must-see shows, restaurants, nightspots, stores, or Things To Do. Ideally I'm looking for things/places that have opened within the year. Will have a car and able to make day trips out into the environs. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Oct 17, 2010 - 16 answers

Revelatory Redemption

Can someone refresh my memory about Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds? I'm reading Redemption Ark and a few things I feel like I should remember aren't coming back. [more inside]
posted by OmieWise on Oct 7, 2010 - 4 answers

Recommendations for hardboiled detective SF or fantasy?

Can you recommend fiction that is a crossover between noir/hardboiled detective stories and sci-fi/fantasy? [more inside]
posted by gritter on Sep 20, 2010 - 64 answers

Destinations within 3-5 hours south of SF, ideally near the coast?

Destinations within 3-5 hours south of SF, ideally near the coast? [more inside]
posted by wooh on Sep 3, 2010 - 11 answers

Fun 1-hr activities around the bay area?

Where are some fun 1-hr activities I could surprise my boyfriend with in the bay area? [more inside]
posted by cranberryskies on Sep 1, 2010 - 18 answers

Generation Ship Novels?

What are your favorite generation ship novels? [more inside]
posted by OmieWise on Aug 31, 2010 - 20 answers

Where to?

I'm 26 and have a gap year before starting grad school. Where should I move to? (Chicago / Seattle / Portland / SF / other) [more inside]
posted by amillionbillion on Aug 27, 2010 - 17 answers

SF for 3 months - doable?

San Francisco for 3 months to be creative and check out awesomeness. Low budget, Bangladesh passport. Possible? [more inside]
posted by divabat on Aug 27, 2010 - 8 answers

The Gravys go to SF!

2 Days in San Francisco for sightseeing, should we rent a car? [more inside]
posted by Secret Life of Gravy on Aug 24, 2010 - 23 answers

Would-be colonists beaten by faster ship

Help me remember a science fiction story: colonists beaten to objective by faster earth ship. [more inside]
posted by snarfois on Aug 18, 2010 - 19 answers

Looking for info on how to venture into San Francisco BDSM community

I am a woman in my mid-20's who has had some kink experience in a previous relationship but now wants to explore it a little on my own. I am moving to SF soon so now is as good a time as any to try. I am both fascinated by and intimidated by it all, and would like to know some general information, advice, and suggestions on directions I could try to check things out slowly and discretely. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jul 20, 2010 - 12 answers

No, please, Don ____. Don't get up. SF story ID

Please help me ID a short science fiction story. Space tragedy, Spanish names, and revenge. [more inside]
posted by wzcx on Jul 16, 2010 - 4 answers

How can I stop the noise coming from the steam pipe (?) in our bedroom?

How can I stop the noise coming from the steam pipe (?) in our bedroom's wall? We just moved into an apartment in a not-so-well maintained 1920s-era building. [more inside]
posted by pantufla on Jul 13, 2010 - 7 answers

Apartment hunt strategy in SF (ideally moving there mid August)?

Apartment hunt strategy in SF (ideally moving there mid August)? [more inside]
posted by wooh on Jul 12, 2010 - 15 answers

Flat, smooth, carless and long bike rides in the Bay?

Bay Area-centric/Bike-centric question: I love to go for bike rides with my 7 year old. She's usually up for about 5 miles, but is interested in going farther and so am I (with breaks). She gets discouraged if there are a lot of hills or if the road is rough. So far the best routes have been on the completed chunks of the Bay Trail because they are flat, paved, pedestrian/bike only (no cars) and have nice views. Can you suggest any other spots for this kind of low-key but long-lasting bike ride in the greater Bay Area? Are there websites or books I should look to for more ideas?
posted by serazin on Jul 10, 2010 - 10 answers

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