Posted by : atcampbell | On : May 19, 1998

Distress by Greg Egan

Six people attended this discussion. Two other Reading Group members had read the book but weren’t able to attend the meeting, so they relayed their comments via e-mail and word-of-mouth. The subject of this month’s discussion, Distress, is a hard SF novel that follows a journalist covering a physics convention where top scientists are presenting their “Theories of Everything”.

We all liked this book quite a bit. The near-future Earth in which the story takes place was well realized, with a believable amount of “progress” from today’s world. The book is full of expository lumps as the scientists explain their theories, but Egan writes so well that it isn’t hard to digest the material. The realistic portrayal of a scientific conference is a nice change from the stereotypical “lone

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : May 5, 1998

Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett

Six people attended the discussion of Men at Arms, a fairly recent entry in Pratchett’s long-running Discworld series. This humorous fantasy novel is a follow-up to Guards! Guards!, which we discussed last year. To confound those who like to pigeonhole books into single genres, I should mention that despite the presence of wizards and dragons, this book’s plot has strong mystery elements.

Our reactions to this book ranged from “one of my favorite all time books” to “really good — I read it twice” to “enjoyed it, but not a great thrill” to “completely boring — I couldn’t get past page 60”. Those who liked it most had read prior Discworld novels, so we surmised that some of the background gleaned

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