Posted by : atcampbell | On : November 22, 2020

During Stay-At-Home

Until further notice, all meetings will be held online at 7 PM on Mondays.

After Stay-At-Home

The following were on our reading schedule before the confinement started. We will reschedule meetings for these books once in-person meetings resume.

We also have a list of Candidate Books that we are considering discussing in the future.



Posted by : atcampbell | On : July 15, 2019

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Six members attended this meeting at the North Village Library. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic American West. The protagonist, Maggie Hoskie, is a Native American monster hunter who has been tasked with finding a missing girl. The book won the Locus Award for First Novel (2019), was Nebula Award Nominee for Best Novel (2018), and is a Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel (2019).

The book was generally liked by meeting attendees. No one regretted reading it, and most agreed they would recommend it to others. We particularly enjoyed the characters and the world-building, which was unlike what we are used to reading in the SF/F genre. Some of us were bothered by errors in the science and some were bothered by “first-novel problems.” One person found the violence to be a bit much and skimmed those portions of the text.  We are looking forward to seeing Rebecca Roanhorse as the Guest of Honor at ArmadilloCon 41 in a few weeks.

Additional comments from members who were unable to attend the meeting in person…

  • Actually, I’ve been praising Rebecca Roanhorse to everyone who says they like science fiction, hate post-apocalypse, or love post-apocalypse, or are just sort of OK with science fiction!
  • I really liked Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse.  A long time ago I read one of those anthropology-type retellings of the Monster Slayer, so I felt at home in that one.  I have started the next book, Storm of Locusts.  The mythology is totally new to me.  Roanhorse is putting ecology into her novels — what Moriba Jah [ArmadilloCon 41 Science Guest] is asking writers to do.  I like the way she weaves it into the story very naturally. 



Posted by : atcampbell | On : July 15, 2019

Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill

We discussed Sea of Rust in conjunction with our discussion of Trail of Lightning at the July 15, 2019 meeting at North Village Library. Although six members attended, only three started the book and only two finished.

Of the two who read the book, both found some of the characteristics of the AI interesting. First, the unintentional appearance of “conscious” AI stemming from the increased complexity of robots was a new idea to us. Second, the exploration of robot evolutionary paths after humanity has become extinct was not something we had seen before. Nevertheless, we had some problems with the science presented in the novel, and were not particularly impressed by the writing style.

The member who did not finish the book intends to finish, and the two members who finished were split on whether to recommend it to others.



Posted by : atcampbell | On : April 10, 2019

Thanks for your patience. The Reading Group website is back online. The reading schedule is now current, and we have a whole new list of Candidate Books!



Posted by : atcampbell | On : July 18, 2016

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

The club met on July 18th, 2016, to discuss Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. Nine members attended. Eight had read the author previously, eight had started the book and six finished it, three had read the book electronically. The book was released in 2015 and is on this year’s Hugo Ballot for Best Novel.

Every member who had started the book enjoyed the first sentence of  the novel. Neal Stephenson is a favorite of many of the reading group members over the years and the method of reading his books on an electronic device was often easier than carrying around a physical copy of said book due to the size and length of other of his novels.

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : November 16, 2015

The Martian by Andy Weir

The club met on November 16th, 2015, to discuss “The Martian,” by Andy Weir. Nine members attended, all had started the book and 8 finished it. Six had read the book electronically. The book was originally self-published in 2011 and became a hit on Amazon’s Kindle, leading to a hardcover edition published in 2014.

Two members had seen the movie starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain, which was released in late September this year. They agreed that the movie had stunning photography and recommended it to all, including those who had read the book.

All members liked the book although there were several mild criticisms (since this was a purely

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : May 6, 2014

Nexus by Ramez Naam  (followup)

Comments by a reader who was unable to participate in the discussion

I did not get a copy of Nexus until after the discussion. I am about 3/4 through it.  I like Nexus a lot for two reasons. First, Naam does a creditable job of presenting both the good and bad sides of his tech. The human vs. posthuman is an SF idea that goes all the way back to Slan. In the past we have seen stories that supported the poor posthuman fighting against human prejudice and stories supporting the poor human fighting against posthuman prejudice.  But there have been very few that show that each is just as likely as the other.  Naam does have the protagonist take a stand on what the best use of the tech would be and explains why he takes that stand. Much of the novel indicates a broader

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : May 5, 2014

Nexus by Ramez Naam

9 people had started the book. 2 people finished. 7 people planned to finish. Nobody had read anything by Ramez Naam before. 5 people had read Nexus as an ebook.

Several people thought the book started too slow (some even said the opening scene was irrelevant to the plot and made them put them book aside); but those that stuck with it felt rewarded, as the pace picked up significantly later on. Several scenes in the book stood out as especially suspenseful; one of them was the scene where the protagonist races against time to put a backdoor in the

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : February 3, 2014

The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams

The group met on February 3, 2014, to discuss The Dirty Streets of Heaven, by Tad Williams. Ten members attended. All had started the book, and 6 finished. Two members had read the second book in this “Bobby Dollar” trilogy, and three planned to do so. The third book (Sleeping Late on Judgment Day) is due out in 2014. Although Williams is an established and international best-selling author, with 18 novels and two story collections, only one person had read any of his books before. Williams’s first book, Tailchaser’s Song, has become a movie and (causing him to be known as “the cat guy” for a couple of years), it was followed by The “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” classic fantasy series, and his “Otherland” series spawned a computer game. The Bobby Dollar series is a sort of noir hardnosed-detective-fantasy combination, unlike anything he’s done before.

Bobby Dollar is an angel, assigned to Earth to work in human form. When a person dies, the soul is immediately brought before a court to decide its fate. Bobby

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : December 2, 2013

Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

Twelve people attended the meeting tonight at the North Village library. Of those, ten started the book, while seven finished the book. Two people had read the author before, one person had met the author, one had seen the movie made from this book and one had played the video game.  Two people read the book electronically.

In Roadside Picnic alien beings stop by Earth while traveling. They have a long picnic then take off again, but leave behind their trash, which causes extreme complications for earthlings. The trash turns out to be technology that is “advanced enough to be indistinguishable from magic,” one group member

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