Dec

18

Posted by : atcampbell | On : December 18, 2007

The Android’s Dream by John Scalzi

13 people attended a discussion of The Android’s Dream by John Scalzi. 5 people have read Scalzi before. About 10 people started the book, almost all of them finished it. Most people liked this book, although they almost unanimously agreed it wasn’t very deep. The characters left some readers wishing for more depth.

The plot of the book can be summed up thus: “An interstellar scandal explodes when a human diplomat assassinates an alien diplomat by farting at him, albeit

Continue Reading

Dec

05

Posted by : atcampbell | On : December 5, 2007

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

This meeting at the North Village Library attracted seven participants, including two first-timers. Our topic was The Lightning Thief, a young adult fantasy by San Antonio author Rick Riordan. The book is a modern-day tale about an adolescent boy, Percy Jackson, raised by his mother and an unpleasant stepfather. Percy discovers that his absent father is a Greek God, and that supernatural creatures are out to get him. This leads him to a summer camp for “half-bloods” and eventually to a big adventure.  Two of us had read Riordan’s prior books, which are mystery novels.  Everyone at the meeting started and finished The Lightning Thief.

We enjoyed how this book revisited classic Greek mythology. It was fun to read about what gods do now vs. what they did in the past. We felt that much of this material might be new to a kid in its target age range.  One person appreciated

Continue Reading

Nov

20

Posted by : atcampbell | On : November 20, 2007

Keeping It Real by Justina Robson

Nine people gathered at A. T.’s house for this meeting. Our topic, Keeping it Real, is a novel about a bionic woman, rock and roll, nuclear power, elves, and motorcycles. Only two of us had read Robson before. Eight of us started this book, with five finishing it.

We liked many things about this book. The story is simply fun.  The narrative hooks the reader quickly and then moves quickly through to the end. The author fills in back story while the story is moving along, without tedious info dumps. The

Continue Reading

Nov

05

Posted by : atcampbell | On : November 5, 2007

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

Eight of us gathered at the North Village Library for this meeting. Our topic was I Am Legend, a classic 50s sf/horror novel by Richard Matheson. A plague has turned most of the people on Earth into vampire/zombie-like creatures, and our story follows the story of Robert Neville, who may well be the last human alive. Four of us had read Matheson before. All of us started I Am Legend, and six finished the book.

We thought this was an entertaining read. One person felt the book was a deliberate refutation of the “mono-man myth” of Heinlein/Campbell/Astounding stories so prevalent in the 50s, which argued that one man can change the world.  It was argued that Matheson’s work is more similar to other California-based

Continue Reading

Oct

16

Posted by : atcampbell | On : October 16, 2007

Seeker by Jack McDevitt

Ten people gathered at A. T.’s home to discuss Seeker, a recent Nebula winner by Jack McDevitt. The book is a far-future tale of archaeologists looking for a lost colony spaceship. All of us had read McDevitt before, which is not surprising since our group had discussed seven of his books previously. Eight of started this book, and all eight finished it.

We enjoyed the classic sf feel of this book. McDevitt’s depiction of future history is interesting, and it is startling how much information gets lost so quickly. The book’s subtext seems to be that history is written by the winners. The task is

Continue Reading

Oct

01

Posted by : atcampbell | On : October 1, 2007

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

11 people attended the discussion of The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin. Most of the group, except 2 people, had read this novel before. Some had read it when it first came out in 1969.

In this book, a human named Genly Ai who is an Envoy from Ecumena, a multi-world union, is sent to a planet Gethen to convince its government to join Ecumena. The most unusual quality of Gethenians is that they don’t have two sexes, at least not permanent ones. Most of the time they are sexless, but for a

Continue Reading

Sep

17

Posted by : atcampbell | On : September 17, 2007

In the Company of Ogres by A. Lee Martinez

Eight of us of us gathered at the North Village library for this meeting. Our topic was In the Company of Ogres, the second novel by new Texas writer A. Lee Martinez. The story is a humorous military fantasy about a problem group of supernatural soldiers (amazons, trolls, ogres, etc.) commanded by a former bookkeeper named Ned, who keeps dying and getting resurrected. None of us had read any of Martinez’s prior work. Seven of us started and finished the book. Our eighth member said it looked like a “silly book” so she did not even try to read it.

We liked many things about this book. Several of us commented that it was fun and stupid. The blind oracle who sees and hears the future was a clever idea. One

Continue Reading

Sep

04

Posted by : atcampbell | On : September 4, 2007

The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction edited by George Mann

This meeting drew ten people to A. T.’s home. Our topic was an anthology of original fantasy stories, the first book from new publisher Solaris. Most of the authors represented in the book are relatively new and seem to have books forthcoming from Solaris. Seven of us had started the book, with only two finishing.

The stories in this anthology do not have a common theme, but we found that many of them were memorable. We enjoyed “C-Rock City” by Jay Lake and Greg

Continue Reading

Aug

21

Posted by : atcampbell | On : August 21, 2007

Hurricane Moon by Alexis Glynn Latner

10 people attended the discussion of Alexis Glynn Latner’s debut novel Hurricane Moon. 4 people have read Latner’s short stories before. 7 people started the book, 4 of them finished. Some others didn’t finish it because they got it too late. This book had not been in stores for long at the time of the discussion. Some of these people were planning to finish it, if for no other reason then because they know Alexis personally (she has been coming to ArmadilloCons for many years).

Hurricane Moon is a story of an interstellar mission to find a habitable planet for humans to colonize. Finding the right planet takes longer than expected, and having spent a thousand years in a stasis, the colonists wake up with significant

Continue Reading

Aug

06

Posted by : atcampbell | On : August 6, 2007

The Last Witchfinder by James Morrow

Everybody started The Last Witchfinder by James Morrow. Half of the people finished it. Everybody but one person read James Morrow before. The novel chronicles the life of Jennet Sterne, a fictional 17th century woman. After her beloved aunt and mentor is accused of witchcraft and executed, the 12-year-old Jennet decides to make it her life mission to put an end to witch trials. For that she needs to come up with an incontrovertible argument that would convince everybody that the notion of witchcraft is absurd and impossible. She devotes her life to this grand task, and it takes her on many interesting, even improbable adventures.

Everybody said the book was beautifully written. The prose was full of archaic turns of phrase, yet it didn’t seem stilted or artificial. I personally was amazed that the characters’ speech consistently sounded like it really could have been spoken

Continue Reading