Posted by : atcampbell | On : April 17, 2007

A Princess of Roumania by Paul Park

11 people attended the discussion. Everybody had started the book. Only 5 or so finished the book, but the rest were going to finish it. Only 2 people read Paul Park before. One of them had also read two sequels of A Princess of Roumania, and his comments gave an impression that A Princess of Roumania is a lot more enjoyable in retrospective, once you know what happened next, as the events in the sequels explain a lot of things in the first book. Eventually others had to restrain him from revealing plot snippets from the sequels, although he was doing it only to be helpful. 🙂

The majority of the group liked this book. Some of the group members derive a lot of their enjoyment of a book from its literary and political references. One of those people found a treasure trove of such references in A Princess of Roumania. He thought the magic (which was based, he said, on Gypsy tradition), was

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : April 2, 2007

Learning the World by Ken MacLeod

Seven people showed up at the North Village library to discuss this recent Hugo-nominated novel, and another submitted comments by email. The far-future story is about a group of humans who undertake a long space voyage to reach a planet they plan to settle, only to discover that it is already inhabited. The story weaves between the story of the settlers and of the bat-like inhabitants of the planet, who gradually realize something is going on. All of us had read MacLeod before, and all but one had started and finished Learning the World.

The human society on the spaceship is well-developed. There is a complex culture involving three classes: founders, crews, and the ship generation, and there are viewpoint characters from each class to showcase the classes’ differences and interactions. The human settlers had great names: Atomic Discourse, Horrocks

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