Posted by : atcampbell | On : July 1, 1997

Starplex by Robert J. Sawyer

Attendees: Renee Babcock; A. T. Campbell, III; Fred Duarte, Jr.; Matthew Duarte, Cyndi Dunn; Emily Gamboa; Mona Gamboa; Ruben Gamboa; John Gibbons; Debbie Hodgkinson; Karen Meschke, Elaine Powell; Jeff Rupley; Willie Siros; Lori Wolf.

We held the July 1 meeting in an unusual location — Elaine Powell’s pool. Last summer’s pool party was much fun that Elaine had us over again. Elaine provided drinks and munchies, Pizza Hut catered dinner, and John Gibbons made a delicious dessert. Between eating, visiting, and swimming, we actually did talk about the book. The whole discussion was conducted in the pool, so my notes are a little soggy.

The book discussed was Robert J. Sawyer’s Starplex, a space adventure featuring Big Ideas, superscience, intelligent dolphins, and some fascinating alien species. We liked several things about the novel: its Stapledonian scope, a different approach to time travel, the dark matter chemistry, and a sincere attempt to inject actual science into the story. We liked the alien species, especially the dark matter beings and the gestalt species. Several people found many of the ideas derivative from Doc Smith, David Brin, and Star Trek. We thought the quality of the writng was below Sawyer’s usual standards; some of the storytelling constructs were confusing, there was a tendency to overexplain, and none of the characters were interesting. We found the book lent itself to an entertaining discussion. Thanks to Elaine for hosting us!

— A. T. Campbell, III