Jul

06

Posted by : atcampbell | On : July 6, 2017

All meetings start at 7 PM unless otherwise noted. For the locations of our meetings and more information, see About Our Group. Feel free to contact our organizer for more information.

To be discussed in 2018 (Dates TBA):

Jul

18

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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Nov

16

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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May

06

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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May

05

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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Feb

03

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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Dec

02

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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Nov

04

Posted by : atcampbell | On : November 4, 2013

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

Ten people attended this meeting at the North Village library.  The Long Earth is set in a universe where there are a large number of parallel worlds to our own Earth, each slightly different. The story follows a pair of adventurers who travel between the worlds to explore them. Nine had read at least one of the authors before, and eight people started this book.  Three people read the book electronically. Only two people managed to finish this book, which was explained by the comments of most group members.

Although several people thought the writing was clean, and that the concept and several ideas were interesting, most felt that the execution was lacking.  Many people commented that the book was lacking in plot, that the plot was “vague”

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Oct

21

Posted by : atcampbell | On : October 21, 2013

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Nine people attended this meetings at the Milwood library. Our topic was Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. The book, winner of both Hugo and Nebula Awards, is set in a future Earth under threat of an alien invasion. The story follows Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, a gifted child  sent to military school to train him and other children to fight the aliens. All but one of us had read Orson Scott Card previously. Everyone at the meeting started and finished the book. Six of us had read the book  long ago.

Several of us liked the book a lot.  One person felt it was a fun space adventure for high school boys, and that it still held up well.  Card’s polished prose drew us into the story quickly and kept us reading to the end. Many of us appreciated

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Oct

07

Posted by : atcampbell | On : October 7, 2013

Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin

Eight people gathered at the North Village Library for this meeting. Our topic was the 1982 novel Fevre Dream, published well before its author became famous for writing Epic Fantasy. Fevre Dream is a novel set in the 1800s, about a Mississipi riverboat and its crew encountering vampires. All of us had read Martin before. All of us started the book and finished it.

One reader said the book’s tone fit the locale and story, and she appreciated how the author kept the reader emotionally distant from all characters except the riverboat captain. She appreciated this book’s unique version of vampirism

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