Posted by : atcampbell | On : February 20, 2001

Half Life by Hal Clement

This discussion had fourteen participants. Only six had read the book, and the others were present to vote on books at the end of the meeting. This meeting’s topic, Half Life, is the most recent novel by SFWA Grandmaster Hal Clement. It involves an expedition of scientists in the near future to Saturn’s moon Titan, where they hope to find clues about the origins of life.

We liked getting to read a traditional hard SF novel, where people solve “problems in space.” This book is full of interesting facts about chemistry, biology, and physics, and none of us found any technical errors. The level of detail presented as the scientists explore Titan gave us almost the feel of a travelogue. The extreme discipline of the scientists and their rigid set of rules for

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : February 6, 2001

The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

Eighteen people showed up for this discussion, which made it our largest crowd ever. One person was a first-time participant. The book discussed, The Anubis Gates, is a complicated fantasy featuring time travel, classical poets, ancient Egypt, werewolves, body swapping, and Beatles music. Although it was originally published in 1983, this novel had been out of print for several years until recently, making it a new book to many of us. Our attendees included several folks who read the book when it first came out, and we also had a person who was born the year the book was published.

Every one of us finished the book, and we found a lot of different things to like about it. Many people liked the complex, involving story with its many plot threads. One person empathized with the protagonist, a college English professor, so much that she reported jumping up and down and yelling at him to “watch out” at particularly tense moments. Many of us liked the cool Medieval and

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