Posted by : March 21, 2000
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Diaspora by Greg Egan
Eight people attended this discussion, and one submitted comments by e-mail. Diaspora is set in the far future when humanity has changed greatly. Few people have traditional human bodies. Most of the rest have downloaded their minds either into giant robots or into computers. The people in the computers have a complex society filled with downloaded personalities, their “offspring,” and artificial intelligences. Early in the story, a cosmological event threatens all life on Earth. The computer societies send explorers throughout the galaxy in search of more information about this event and a way to survive it. Along the way Egan fills the story with a lot of advanced material about mathematics, physics, and artificial intelligence.
This book turned out to be too much of a “hard SF” novel for most of our group. Half of the group didn’t even try to read it, and just showed up to socialize. A
Posted by : March 1, 2000
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Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb
Ten people attended this discussion. Ship of Magic is the first in a fantasy trilogy about a seafaring society where a few rich families have magical “liveships.” Liveships are special because their figureheads are intelligent and can talk, and the ships are made of a special wood that enables them to travel in waters where other ships can’t go. The book begins when a liveship captain dies and his family has to pick a new captain and get the family finances in order. The main characters are the captain’s family, several members of the crew, and a pirate who hopes to capture a liveship. The story features sailing adventure, sea serpents, rebellious teenagers, and slave revolts.
Despite a length of over 800 pages, we all had no trouble finishing the book. We found it to be a gripping yarn. We loved the concept of the liveships. It was obvious that the author knows sailing and has a passion for it. The characters are vividly drawn, and we all found that we liked certain characters and loathed others. The author puts her characters through drastic and irrevocable changes,