Posted by : atcampbell | On : November 20, 2001

The Return by Buzz Aldrin and John Barnes

Thirteen people attended this meeting, and one submitted comments by email. This is a near-future thriller about the space program. Former astronaut Scott Blackstone is the CEO of a private space company dedicated to getting normal people into space. For publicity his company gets a famous athlete to go on a shuttle flight, but the flight turns into a disaster. In the aftermath America’s confidence in the space program goes way down, Blackstone loses his job, and he must defend himself in an expensive lawsuit. And then terrorists in the Middle East start messing around with nuclear weapons. This book was written by former astronaut Buzz Aldrin in collaboration with John Barnes, author of several novels including Mother of Storms and One for the Morning Glory. Nine people at the meeting had read the book.

We enjoyed reading a hard SF novel for the first time in a while. The plot started with a bang and kept us interested to the end. We had complete confidence that the technical details of spacecraft and space flight were correct. We liked reading an insider’s view of the politics and inner workings of the corporate aerospace industry. Blackstone and his family were engaging and believable, and we enjoyed the flashbacks that showed them getting interested in space as

Continue Reading



Posted by : atcampbell | On : November 6, 2001

Perdido Street Station by China MiƩville

Six people attended this meeting, and one submitted comments by email. Perdido Street Station is an ambitious novel about a large, decadent city filled with strange and horrible creatures. The book starts with an eccentric but brilliant human scientist being approached by a bird-creature whose wings were removed as punishment for an unspeakable crime, and who wants the scientist to restore his flight. There are several other plot threads including one about the scientist’s lover, a sexy insect creature who’s commissioned to sculpt a statue of a hideously mutated recluse. The author was a British graduate student when he wrote the book, and now he is a Member of Parliament. Four people at the meeting had finished the book, and another person had read about 20% of it.

Two people said they loved this book, and the rest of us found things to admire about it. The detailed worldbuilding and complex plot showed a vivid and detailed imagination. One person described the setting and the author’s vivid descriptions of it as masterful. The worldview was interesting and original. We enjoyed the

Continue Reading