Posted by : atcampbell | On : November 16, 2010

The Shadow Year by Jeffrey Ford

This meeting at the Milwood Library drew seven attendees. Our topic was Jeffrey Ford’s The Shadow Year, a recent winner of the World Fantasy Award. This book follows a group of kids in 1960s Long Island growing up in a neighborhood where strange things are happening. Two of us had read Ford before. All of us started the book, and six finished it.

We liked the book’s strong narrative voice and evocative description of Long Island in the LBJ era. People in the group who remembered that time enjoyed Ford’s

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : November 1, 2010

Implied Spaces by Walter Jon Williams

Twelve people attended this discussion at the North Village Library, and another submited comments by email. Our topic was Implied Spaces by Walter Jon Williams, one of our most frequently discussed authors. This story explores big ideas including immortality, the creation of pocket universes, and the search for the existence of higher intelligence. Nine of us had read Williams before. Nine of us started the book, and eight of us finished it.

The book is a series of episodes of the meanderings of a bored, rich, immortal guy. The book starts out with long passage that seems like something out of a

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : October 19, 2010

The Long Run by Daniel Keys Moran

Fourteen people met at the Milwood Library to discuss The Long Run by Daniel Keys Moran. This novel is a futuristic adventure story with elements of cyberpunk. It was published in 1989 and has long been out of print, but we were able to read it because the author recently released a free electronic version of the book. Four of us had read Moran before. Eleven of us started the book, and nine of us finished it. Five of us read the original 1989 paperback version of the book, four read it eletronically, and two printed it out and read the hardcopy.

Many of us enjoyed the book as a fast-paced adventure story. Trent, the cocky

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : October 4, 2010

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

Nine people attended this discussion at the North Village Library. Our topic was The Windup Girl, the first novel by Paolo Bacigalupi. This novel had recently won the Hugo and Nebula awards, and its author had just been announced as the Guest of Honor for ArmadilloCon in 2011. The book is a near-future story set in a world where fossil fuels are running out and calories are the new currency. Biotechnology has enabled the creation of entirely new species including artificial humanoids who are essentially slaves. Four of us had read the author’s short fiction before. All of us started The Windup Girl, and five finished it.

One reader felt that the author “knocked it out the the park” with this

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : September 21, 2010

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin

The North Reading Group met at the Milwood Library on September 21st to discuss The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N. K. (Nora Keita) Jemisin (Orbit Books, 2010). This was her first novel, #1 of The Inheritance trilogy. The second, The Broken Kingdoms, is due out in November.  The three books are to be related, sequential, but separate stories. She has written several short stories, one of which, “Non-Zero Probabilities,” was nominated for the 2009 Nebula and Hugo awards.  Ten members attended the meeting, and one called in comments.  All had started the book, and all but one finished it.

Comments were mixed. There was some discussion of a “white room” feeling;

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : August 2, 2010

Bitter Angels by C. L. Anderson

On August 2nd, the North Reading Group met at the North Village Branch of the Austin Public Library, located at 2505 Steck Ave, to discuss Bitter Angels.   The author is Sarah Zettel, writing under the name C. L. Anderson.  It won the 2010 Phillip K. Dick award, given for a distinguished SF work issued originally in paperback form in the U.S.  Twelve members attended.  Nine had read Zettel before (this is her first book written as C. L. Anderson).  Eight started the book and six finished it.  Apparently the nom-de-plume was selected because the story was a departure from Zettel’s themes over the past several years and her recent books hadn’t sold well enough.

The central theme is how in a multi-planet colonial empire peace might be

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : July 20, 2010

Anathem by Neal Stephenson

On July 20, the North Reading Group met at the Milwood branch of the Austin Public Library, 12500 Amherst Dr., Austin, TX 78727, to discuss Neal Stephenson’s Anathem. The book was published in 2008 (William Morrow) and a movie-like “trailer” is available on the web.  Eight people attended, and two who were unable to attend sent comments by email.  Nine had read Stephenson before.  All 10 started the 960-page book and 7 finished it.

This book exhibits a remarkable range of pacing.  At the beginning it moves at a glacial pace, in keeping with cloistered life in the “Math.”  Many Maths with various

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : June 21, 2010

Steal Across the Sky by Nancy Kress

The North Reading Group met on June 21, 2010, to discuss Steal Across the Sky by Nancy Kress, published in 2009.  The meeting was held at the Millwood branch of the Austin Public Library.  Eight people attended, and comments were received by three others who were unable to attend.  Of these, 9 had read Kress before, 11 started the book, and 8 finished it.

Everyone who was familiar with Kress’ writing was complimentary of her earlier works, especially the novellas and short stories.  She has won 4 Nebula awards and two Hugos, among others.  Reaction to this book, though, was mixed.  One reader commented that the core concept was implausible.  Aliens arrived

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : June 7, 2010

Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea by Jules Verne

Thirteen people gathered at the North Village library to discuss Jules Verne’s classic undersea adventure. Eleven of us had read Verne before. Eleven attendees started this book, and eight finished.

The book was originally written in French, and several of us read different translations. Overall we read four different versions. The one we most commonly

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : May 18, 2010

The Stormcaller by Tom Lloyd

Twelve people gathered at the organizer’s house to discuss The Stormcaller, Tom Lloyd’s first novel. It’s about a young man, Isak, who rises from humble beginnings to become the heir to the lord of his tribe. All started the book and seven of us finished it.

About half the people at the meeting liked the book and felt that it was a

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