Book Club Discussion - Looking ahead to 2019

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Its been a little quiet around here lately, so I thought I'd start a thread to talk about what we're going to do as a club this year.

Reading for the January pick, Dark Orbit by Caroline Ives Gilman is well underway. I'll post some questions up at the end of the month. Maybe you can help me with that, @RichardAbbott ?

In February @Michael_S_Miller is going to lead us in Ursula K. Leguin's The Tombs of Atuan. I really enjoyed our discussion of A Wizard of Earthsea so I'm looking forward to this a great deal.

@rossum has proposed Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement which is available in Kindle and print formats, so I thought we'd give it a go in March if that's OK with everyone. It's one of the titles in the SF Masterworks series, so bound to be good, and noted particularly for it's worldbuilding.

@RichardAbbott proposed Stirling Lanier's Hiero's Journey a few years ago and that suggestion received quite a few plusses, so how about we do this one in April? It's a post-apocalyptic fantasy, more of the Gamma World type than the Road Warrior type, and one of the books on Gary Gygax's Appendix N list.

Nothing has been planned for the rest of the year, so if you have a book you'd like to suggest please feel free - especially if you haven't led a book discussion in a while or have never done so, but would like to. Consider this an open invitation to @night_arrant @BarnerCobblewood @Charlie_X @xiombarg @PresGas @WildCard @Feral_Ink @Loz @RtG @Bill_White @Akrasia @hasaph @MARCC to suggest a book and lead a monthly discussion if you feel up to it. To our regulars, please feel free as always.

Apart from new suggestions, there are a number of books already proposed in the nominations category, so even if you have no specific ideas, please go through and upvote or comment on any of those that you'd like to read.

Thanks,
Chris

Comments

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    Sounds good to me
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    I'm reading Dark Orbit now and enjoying it!

    I'm down with Mission of Gravity, and particularly to hear from folks who haven't had a pick. There's no shortage of good books! I personally like not packing the calendar full.

    Also, is it worth talking about another Slow Read? Maybe something non-Tolkien? Or a book of short stories?

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    Sounds good. My reading has been virtually non-existent since we finished LotR, so getting back between the pages will be good for me. Thanks!

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    @Michael_S_Miller Do you want to call dibs on a month?

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    Hmm. May and June are usually pretty busy for me at work. I guess I could take July. Don't want to commit to a book just yet, though.

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    Oh hey @Apocryphal, be advised that Mardi Gras is March 5th this year, so do not expect to hear from me the first week of March and don't panic if I'm radio silence.

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    I thought @Michael_S_Miller was set for February with Tombs and @rossum for March - meaning the discussion of Mission of Gravity would be at the end of march, so party on. Are you guys talking about other months for other books? Or for the Slow Read (whatever that might be)?

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    I'd happily host something later in the year, but nobody has liked the last couple I made everyone read!

    But some ideas in case you might learn to trust me again:
    The Caves of Steel (Isaac Asimov). An ancient classic Asimov novel. We've not done Asimov in the club as far as I'm aware, and it's ages since I've read him. I could also put together a poll with different Asimov options.

    The Fifth Season (N.K. Jemisin). First of a trilogy, but basically self-contained. I read it and enjoyed it, and it actually gave me something fresh in the alternative world fantasy genre. It would also be super interesting for me to discuss with people.

    Player of Games (Iain M. Banks). Classic Culture novel, fairly short and still good. Probably the best introduction. Use of Weapons is a more challenging "in" to the series.

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    @dr_mitch Big yes to any of those from me. I haven't read any. But if we decide to do Asimov's foundation trilogy for the slow read, let's not double up on Asimov. Who (if anyone) is going to champion a slow read this year?

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    What about Stranger in a Strange Land, or Dune?

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    @dr_mitch said:
    I'd happily host something later in the year, but nobody has liked the last couple I made everyone read!

    But some ideas in case you might learn to trust me again:
    The Caves of Steel (Isaac Asimov). An ancient classic Asimov novel. We've not done Asimov in the club as far as I'm aware, and it's ages since I've read him. I could also put together a poll with different Asimov options.

    The Fifth Season (N.K. Jemisin). First of a trilogy, but basically self-contained. I read it and enjoyed it, and it actually gave me something fresh in the alternative world fantasy genre. It would also be super interesting for me to discuss with people.

    Player of Games (Iain M. Banks). Classic Culture novel, fairly short and still good. Probably the best introduction. Use of Weapons is a more challenging "in" to the series.

    Speaking personally, some of the books I haven't liked so much over the months have triggered some of the best discussions :) I'd certainly trust your choices for another book.

    Asimov would be fun, and Caves of Steel is a very short book by modern standards - or even by Asimov's own standards in his later writing, such as Robots of Dawn, or the later add-ons to the Foundation series.

    I don't know Jemisin at all.

    Player of Games would be great, and IMHO is one of his best. When I was slimming down my collection of dead-tree Banks into smaller bookshelves, this was definitely a keeper. Not as grim as some of his (Against a Dark Background was, I thought, superbly crafted, but not a book to read if you're in a dark space yourself).

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    @Apocryphal said:
    @dr_mitch ...if we decide to do Asimov's foundation trilogy for the slow read, let's not double up on Asimov.

    Would you stop with the trilogy? Or include his later add-ons (I can see reasons for both choices). Also, has anyone persevered with the second trilogy contributed by other authors
    I tried but struggled with them, but that was years ago.

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    @rossum said:
    What about Stranger in a Strange Land, or Dune?

    Sounds a good idea. There's also Leviathan Wakes and its successors (televised as The Expanse) - I have a fondness for near-future sf, and I'm sure @clash_bowley might dip in as well

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    Hells yeah!

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    The Expanse books are great fun. Dune would be fun to revisit as a regular read if we don't do the slow read with it.

    I remember absolutely *hating* Stranger in a Strange Land when I read it, but can't now remember why, so I'm willing.

    I agree about not doubling up.
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    I quite liked Stranger, myself.

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    edited January 29

    Whether or not you like Stranger In A Strange Land depends on when you think Heinlein jumped the shark. What is interesting is that most everyone thinks The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress (1966) is Heinlein at the height of his powers, but Stranger is an earlier book (1961).

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    When we first started this club we literally rolled initiative and each person nominated a book on their turn. That morphed into voting on a theme for a while, which was more like a bidding system. Then people seemed to prefer just being told what to read so we dropped the voting, and now were sort of using something like 'popcorn initiative' with me kind of nudging the bowl toward people. I'd be willing to go back to the original method, though. I kind of liked that.

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    Is the upcoming schedule of reads pinned somewhere?

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    No, I normally only pin two at a time - the current month and the next. The schedule, such as we have it, is in the first post of this thread to April. After that it's up in the air. I made a G+ post that kind of summarizes the current discussion and adds the most popular picks remaining from the big list (along with the nominator).

    I'll repost here:
    Here's some of what we're looking toward in 2019:
    February - The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. LeGuin @Michael_S_Miller
    March - Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement @rossum
    April - Hiero's Journey by Stirling Lanier @RichardAbbott

    And after that who knows, but the following authors have all been suggested, but nothing has been decided:
    Isaac Asimov (Caves of Steel), @dr_mitch
    Robert Heinlein (Stranger in a Strange Land), @rossum
    N.K. Jemison (The Fifth Season), @dr_mitch (or maybe @rossum suggested it)
    Iain M. Banks (The Player of Games), @dr_mitch and @RichardAbbott
    Rudyard Kipling (The Jungle Book), @Apocryphal
    Harold Lamb (maybe The Wolf of the Steppes, and maybe with a special guest), @Apocryphal
    James S.A. Corey (Leviathan Wakes), @RichardAbbott
    Richard Abbott (Far From the Spaceports), @clash_bowley
    Various Authors (The Future is Female), @Ray_Otus
    Philip Pullman (The Amber Spyglass) @dr_mitch
    Oh, and forgot to add George Macdonald (Phantastes) @RichardAbbott

    One thing you may notice in the list above is the Harold Lamb book with as special guest. That would be the series editor, Howard Andrew Jones, who said he would be willing to join us to answer questions about the book (or Lamb in general). According to Howard:

    "As to Lamb, perhaps the best place to start would be with the first volume, Wolf of the Steppes, starring Lamb's great Cossack hero. It's a series of novelletes following closely in sequence, like a miniseries, each building upon the next. The first short one is only so-so, but they get better very, very fast, and by the third or forth he was writing tales that could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with great sword-and-sorcery/adventure classics like Robert E. Howard's or Fritz Leiber's best."

    However, at about 660 pages it's longer than what we usually like. We could spread it out over 2 months. Or pick another book. Swords From The Desert is the shortest, I think. All the others are 550+ pages, so not much shorter. Still, it would be a unique opportunity if people are willing to go for it, and many of us - Ray, Clash, Richard, Neil, Paul - quite like the genre. Michael might be tempted as inspiration for S&S. Not sure about others, but I think six people is a much of a quorum as we usually get.

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    I've read the Wolf of the Steppes. It's great stuff!

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    Lots to look forward to. I thought I hadn't read any Harold Lamb, but the other day I remembered I had read Hannibal.

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    I read a LOT of Lamb back in the day, but recently, only Wolf of the Steppes. :smile:

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    Wolf of the Steppes is one I look forward to!

    The Amber Spyglass would be a good bet for a Christmas book.

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