Oct

16

Posted by : atcampbell | On : October 16, 2012

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

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Oct

01

Posted by : atcampbell | On : October 1, 2012

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

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Jul

02

Posted by : atcampbell | On : July 2, 2012

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

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Apr

17

Posted by : atcampbell | On : April 17, 2012

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

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Apr

02

Posted by : atcampbell | On : April 2, 2012

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

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Mar

20

Posted by : atcampbell | On : March 20, 2012

Monster by A. Lee Martinez

Ten people attended this discussion at the Milwood Branch Library. Our topic was Monster, a humorous fantasy novel by Texas author A. Lee Martinez. The story is about a pest control expert who specializes in supernatural creatures like yetis and dragons. Five people at the meeting had read Martinez before. Eight of us started the book, and seven finished it.

One person said that he enjoyed reading a light, quick book with humor but no puns. He liked that the humor seasoned the book but was not the sole reason for it. He wondered in the author consulted a D&D manual in coming up with

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