Posted by : atcampbell | On : December 17, 1996

Aggressor Six by Wil McCarthy

The topic for our December 17 discussion was Aggressor Six, Wil McCarthy’s first novel. Five people showed up for the meeting at Adventures at Crime and Space, and four others had read the book but could not attend due to illness, childbirth, or scheduling conflicts. The story, set several hundred years in the future, was about a team of people (plus a dog!) trying to figure out the goals and motivations of the mysterious aliens with whom humanity was at war. We all found the premise engaging and generally enjoyed the book. Several felt that McCarthy had constructed an interesting language for the aliens, and thus they enjoyed the alien poetry included in the book. We generally found the prose style compelling, but the author made a few storytelling choices that we felt weren’t successful: too many viewpoint characters, several loose ends, and a lack of visual descriptions. Overall we felt this was an above average first novel, and most of those who attended the discussion immediately bought McCarthy’s followup book, The Fall of Sirius.

–A. T. Campbell, III



Posted by : atcampbell | On : December 3, 1996

City of Bones by Martha Wells

On December 3, eight of us met at the FACT Office to discuss City of Bones, written by Texas author Martha Wells. We quickly determined that the book’s cover summary had little to do with its content. Here’s an example from the cover: “a beautiful woman and a handsome thief try to … stop a fanatical cult before they unleash an evil that will … destroy all the water in the world.” In actuality the main female character is not beautiful, the main male character is not a thief, there is no cult, and no mention is made of destroying water. We also had trouble identifying the book’s genre — the spine of the book says “fantasy,” but our opinions ranged from “soft science fantasy” to “fantasy/mystery.” Most of us didn’t like the cover painting either.

After criticizing the book’s packaging we got around to discussing Martha’s story, which involves a post-holocaust future, archaeological puzzles, mutants, evil spirits, and martial arts. We all liked the book quite a bit. Several praised the prose style and felt that the plot structure (solving a series of intermediate

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