Celestial Matters

Posted by : atcampbell | On : January 20, 1998

Celestial Matters by Richard Garfinkle

Attendees: Renee Babcock, A. T. Campbell III, Shirley Crossland, Fred Duarte, Debbie Hodgkinson, Willie Siros, Lori Wolf

An enthusiastic group discussed Celestial Matters, a first novel set in a world where the ancient Greek scientists were right: Earth is the center of the universe, and the sun and planets revolve around it. The book also has alternate-history aspects, with Greece remaining the world’s dominant power centuries longer than it did in our world. The story involves a group of Greek scientists who travel to the sun to capture a piece of solar matter to be used as a weapon. Most of us liked the book’s concept a lot, and we enjoyed how completely the author thought through all the implications of the science. The fast-paced story proved to be a fun romp, and we appreciated how the author made his characters deeper than they needed to be. Debbie, the lone dissenter, found the premise to be absurd, and she was only able to finish the book by reading it as a farce. The rest of us thought it was a fine first novel and are curious what the author might do next.

— A. T. Campbell, III