Posted by : atcampbell | On : February 20, 2007

We the Underpeople by Cordwainer Smith

There were 9 people present at the discussion of We The Underpeople by Cordwainer Smith. Everybody read some portion of the book. A lot of people have read some of the stories that make up We The Underpeople, and other Cordwainer Smith’s stories before, sometimes decades ago. So the discussion revolved not so much around We The Underpeople, as around Cordwainer Smith’s writing in general.

Most people in the group loved it. What they liked about Smith’s stories was their political subtext and his manner of storytelling. The latter, everybody agreed, is unusual. It seems as if Smith wasn’t so much writing novels and stories in the traditional Western sense, as creating a set of myths. People familiar with Paul

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : February 6, 2007

Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear

Our discussion of Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear, held at Charles and Willie’s home, had two attendees, the smallest attendance ever. (At one meeting in the mid-90s, every single attendee apologized for skipping the previous discussion of Bears Discover Fire and Other Stories by Terry Bisson. So it is possible that we had a meeting with zero attendees, but there is no way to prove it.) Only one of us at the meeting had read the book, with the other having been too busy with a crunch situation at work. Two others in the group had read the book, including the person who recommended it, but were prevented from attending due to illness. One of these absentees emailed in comments. Blood and Iron is a contemporary urban fantasy, and the author is a recent winner of the Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

The following impressions of the book are distilled from emailed comments and the spoken words of the one person present at the meeting who had read the book …

“I like that it is set in the present. I like the grittiness. Best of all, NO FUZZY

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