- Tuesday, November 19, Milwood Library: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
- Monday, December 2, North Village Library: Roadside Picnic by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky
- Tuesday, December 17, Milwood Library: The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson
- Monday, January 6, North Village Library: The Ophiuchi Hotline by John Varley
- Tuesday, January 21, Milwood Library: Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
- Monday, February 3, North Village Library: The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams
- Tuesday, February 18, Milwood Library: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
- Monday, March 3, North Village Library: Dangerous Visions edited by Harlan Ellison
- Tuesday, March 18, Milwood Library: Rite of Passage by Alexei Panshin
- Monday, April 7, North Village Library: Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton
- Tuesday, April 22, Milwood Library: The Reluctant Swordsman by Dave Duncan
- Monday, May 5, North Village Library: Nexus by Ramez Naam
- Tuesday, May 20, Milwood Library: Ariel by Steven R. Boyett
- Monday, June 2, North Village Library: London Falling by Paul Cornell
Posted by : November 15, 2013| On :
Posted by : July 1, 2013| On :
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
We had a weird series of events around this meeting. Several of our regulars read the book, but due to various personal issues (sickness, travel, etc.) many of them missed the scheduled meeting. So only two people attended the meeting but four emailed in comments. Reports on the meeting and the mailed-in reports follow.
From the two who attended the meeting
We had both read the book, and not read anything by that author before. We both liked the book. We were impressed that the main characters all had developed back stories. We agreed that the middle was a little slow. We both thought that the author had left himself a lot of options for sequels or other books
Posted by : June 3, 2013| On :
Redshirts by John Scalzi
We had nine attendees for this meeting. The topic was Redshirts, a humorous space opera. In this book, several members of a starship crew start noticing vast differences in the life expectancies of their shipmates based solely on the colors of their uniforms. This leads to startling realizations about the nature of their reality, and drives them to some surprising actions. Everyone at the meeting had read Scalzi before. All of us started and finished the book. Three read it in e-book form.
A couple of readers simply loved this book. One said the first few pages seemed all seemed a big cliché, but then he realized that was the point of the book. He came to enjoy it a great deal as homage and parody. He thought the main story was good but not great, but the three codas at the end of the
Posted by : February 4, 2013| On :
The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar
Six people attended this meeting at the North Village Branch Library. Our topic was The Bookman, a 2010 steampunk novel set in a 19th Century England ruled by giant lizards where historical characters move amongst literary figures of the era, particularly from the the Sherlock Holmes mythos. In this story, a young poet protagonist encounters a plot involving terrorists, robots, aliens, and a mysterious and deadly figure called “The Bookman.”
None of us at the meeting had read anything by Lavie Tidar before. We all started The Bookman but only one had finished it, although two others said they would probably also finish.
A couple of readers read about 1/4 of the book and gave up, citing “standard and dated steampunk tropes”, “pointless name-dropping”, and “nothing interesting.” One of these said the book “thought it was more clever than it actually was.”
Another reader complained that this book’s prose was so purple that he felt he was reading an entry in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. He felt the prose style
Posted by : January 22, 2013| On :
In War Times by Kathleen Ann Goonan
Seven people gathered at our Organizer’s home for this meeting, and another person submitted comments by e-mail. Our topic, In War Times, is a World War II science fiction novel involving a young American soldier who gets involved in secret physics research projects during the war. The soldier is a big fan of jazz music, which turns out to have a major role in the story. Many of the scenes of military life in the book are based on letters written by the author’s father while he served in the war himself. Three of us had read the author before. All of us started the book, and four finished it.
About half of us thought the book worked best when viewed as a straight historical novel about the war. This group felt the author’s prose style was good, liked the jazz and big band elements, and felt the scenes of military life were well-depicted. The concentration camp scenes were so vivid that they bothered many of us. The
Posted by : October 16, 2012| On :
Wizard’s Bane by Rick Cook
Seven people attended this discussion at the Milwood Library. Our topic was Rick Cook’s first novel, Wizard’s Bane, which was originally published in 1989. The story concerns a computer programmer, nicknamed “The Wiz”, who is magically whisked away from his world into a fantasy world of witches, elves , trolls, and the rest. This new world is decidedly low-tech with nary a computer to be found, but eventually he finds ways to put his expertise to good use in the fantasy land. All of us started the book, and five finished it.
All five who finished the book enjoyed it a great deal. They called it a “fun romp” and “great popcorn.” Several in the group with technical backgrounds appreciated the computer humor that permeated the book. The Wizard’s work
Posted by : October 1, 2012| On :
Among Others by Jo Walton
Ten people attended this discussion at the North Village Library, including three first-time visitors. Our topic was Jo Walton’s 2011 novel Among Others, a recent winner of both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. The book tells a coming-of-age story about a teenage girl attending English boarding school in 1979-1980. Our protagonist is a voracious reader of science fiction and fantasy. Four of us had read the author’s work before. All of us started and finished the book.
We found much to like about this book. We thought it was a good portrayal of how a love of reading can get young people through some difficult times. One
Posted by : July 2, 2012| On :
The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi
The reading group met at the North Village Library on July 3 to discuss Hannu Rajaniemi’s The Quantum Thief. Billed as the first in a trilogy, it was published in 2010 and The Fractal Prince is scheduled for next September. The author is a Finn with a PhD in mathematical physics. This first novel received many laudatory reviews. The comments of the ten members at the meeting, however, were extremely varied.
The tale begins with Jean le Flambeur, a famous “post human” thief and mind manipulator, although there are several viewpoint characters in this extremely complex story. Jean is in a sort of virtual prison where he is condemned to a daily gun duel with himself which he always loses. The goal is to work out a way
Posted by : April 17, 2012| On :
Queen of Shadows by Dianne Sylvan
Eight people attended this discussion at the Milwood Branch Library. Our topic was Queen of Shadows, the first novel by Austin writer Dianne Sylvan. The story is about an Austin musician named Miranda who gets involved with the world of vampires. None of us had read the author before. Five of us started the book, and all five finished it.
Everyone at the meeting commented said that they were not in general fans of the paranormal romance/urban fantasy genre to which this book clearly belongs. Despite that, we found the author’s storytelling kept us interested all the way to
Posted by : April 2, 2012| On :
Bug Jack Barron by Norman Spinrad
Nine people attended this meeting at the Milwood Library. Our topic was Bug Jack Barron, a classic sf novel published in 1970 by Norman Spinrad. Spinrad will be Guest of Honor at the forthcoming 2013 WorldCon in San Antonio.The book is about the powerful host of a national television show who comes across a big story involving cryogenics and immortality. Five people at the meeting had read Spinrad previously. Seven of us started the book, and four finished it.
One member expressed difficulty getting through the first chapter. She commented it was “just about the purplest prose you can write” and said the author’s prose style was a mix of bad beat poetry and lots of double-reflexive