Posted by : atcampbell | On : July 6, 2009

Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp

Fifteen people attended this meeting, the first held in the new building for the North Village Library. Our topic was L. Sprague de Camp’s Lest Darkness Fall, a time travel/alternate history story set in historical Rome. Thirteen of us had read de Camp before. Twelve of us started this book, and eight finished.

One person liked it a lot. He felt it convenient that Padway, the time traveler, was

Continue Reading



Posted by : atcampbell | On : June 16, 2009

Territory by Emma Bull

We had thirteen readers at this meeting held at the Milwood Library, including one first-time attendee. Our topic was Territory by Emma Bull, a fantasy Western set in Tombstone, Arizona that features Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp. Five of us had read Emma Bull’s work before. All of us started Territory, ten finished it, and the rest planned to finish.

One reader thoroughly enjoyed the book. She said that she doesn’t normally read Westerns, but she read this book because she likes Emma Bull. She thought the concept of magic in the Old West had not been overdone. She liked the horse

Continue Reading



Posted by : atcampbell | On : June 1, 2009

Soon I Will be Invincible by Austin Grossman

Thirteen people gathered at A. T.’s house for this meeting. Our topic was Soon I Will Be Invincible, a first novel about superheroes and supervillains. Eight of us started the book, and five finished it.

One reader, a big comics fan, loved this book. She felt that Watchmen brought reality into comics, but this book brought comics into reality. She thought the

Continue Reading



Posted by : atcampbell | On : May 19, 2009

The King of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany

Eleven of us gathered at the Milwood Library for this meeting.  Our topic was The King of Elfland’s Daughter, a classic fantasy novel first published in 1924. Five of us had read Lord Dunsany before. Ten of us started the book, and eight finished it.

One reader said that this book starts like a fairy tale but has surprising depth. He

Continue Reading



Posted by : atcampbell | On : April 9, 2009

Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse by Victor Gischler

Nine people attended this discussion at A. T.’s house.  Our topic was Go-Girl Girls of the Apocalypse, the first speculative fiction novel by established mystery writer Victor Gischler. One of us had read Gischler’s work before. All of us started the book, and six finished it.

We thought this book had several clever ideas about what might happen after society falls. One reader felt the lap dances and beer drinking at the end of the

Continue Reading



Posted by : atcampbell | On : March 17, 2009

Gateway by Frederik Pohl

Nine people attended this meeting at the Milwood Library, including one first-time visitor.  Our topic was Gateway, Frederik Pohl’s classic 70s novel about exploring an ancient alien space artifact. All of us had read Pohl before. We all started and finished Gateway.

We liked the exploration story a great deal.  The mysteries of the artifact were

Continue Reading



Posted by : atcampbell | On : March 2, 2009

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

Fifteen people attended this discussion at A. T.’s house, including one first-time attendee.  At this meeting the group discussed its first graphic novel, Watchmen.  The book is a superhero story set in an alternate version of the 1980s, and it served as the basis for the then-forthcoming film of the same name. Six of us had read Alan Moore before, and three read Watchmen when it was new. Thirteen of us started the book, and nine finished it.

One person loved it and would recommend it to lovers of comics. The story was deeper and broader than she expected from comics.  She liked several alternate-world touches, like Robert Redford running for President instead of

Continue Reading



Posted by : atcampbell | On : February 17, 2009

Halting State by Charles Stross

12 people attended the discussion. Everybody but 4 people finished it. 1 of them was planning to finish it. Everybody has read Charles Stross before. Halting State starts out with a bank robbery in a multiplayer online game. Three people set out to investigate the robbery, or rather a security flaw that allowed the game code to be breached: a programmer named Jack, an auditor named Elaine, and a police officer Sue Smith. As their investigation uncovers spooky ways in which real and virtual economies are intertwined, they find out there is much more at stake than a game company’s reputation.

We discussed some aspects of this book that can make it potentially hard to read: gamer jargon, Scottish dialect, and second person point of view. The computer

Continue Reading



Posted by : atcampbell | On : February 2, 2009

Sunshine by Robin McKinley

Ten of us gathered at A. T.’s house to discuss Robin McKinley’s Sunshine. The title character is a young woman who works as a baker. One night she gets kidnapped by vampires, and she discovers unexpected abilities that allow her to free herself.  She also discovers that some vampires are less evil than others.  This kicks off an intriguing story of personal discovery, set in an alternate world startlingly different from our own. None of us had read McKinley before. All of us started the book, and three finished it.

One person commented that Sunshine is an ideal girl: hard-working, conscientious, talented, affectionate, and brave.

We liked the family restaurant where Sunshine works. The place is fully described

Continue Reading



Posted by : atcampbell | On : January 20, 2009

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke

13 people attended a discussion of Arthur Clarke’s Childhood’s End. Everybody has read Clarke before. Everybody but 1 person started the book. Everybody but 2 people finished it.

Almost everyone in the group read this book initially more than 5 years ago, and reread it in time for the discussion. The consensus was that Childhood’s End hasn’t aged since it was written in 1950s, except some phrases in it were a little dated. Clarke’s predictions about future technological changes seemed on track to most readers, especially those who grew up or worked with computers in the 1950s. Others disagreed: Clarke has not even dreamed of all the various gadgets we have

Continue Reading