I want to join my friends Thelma and Louise’s conversation about book club books. Thelma recently said The Help, assigned by her local ladies book club, was one of those books written by white women about black women. She found it strange that people need a novel to tell them about race relations in the South in the 1960s… but if they do, this is a nice novel for it.
Louise recently joined a breakfast book club and a retired ladies book club. She read the same Wall Street Journal article that I did, stating the vast majority of people who read have given up reading serious books. She said, “As the WSJ analyzed it, even people who make time to read are mostly fried from work and family responsibilities, so all they want is something that will distract them with as little thought as possible.” She was not so kind in her assessment of the clubs’ selections, referring to them as dreck. Continue reading
My friend Rebecca and I drove from Birmingham, AL to ConCarolinas: DSC 48 in Charlotte, NC, this past weekend. The occasion was to attend DeepSouthCon 48 to cast our vote for our friends’ bid for DSC 50 to be held in Huntsville AL in 2012. Our “Moon Princess” bid won handily. The Moon Princesses are our friends Linda, Julie and Toni, all Science Fiction fans like Rebecca and me.
The ConCarolina part of the convention was much more varied that just science fiction. There was Star Wars fandom, the Ghostbustermobile and crew on the patio, the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), a Paranormal Society, and even some female authors hawking their Erotic Fantasy books. The dealers’ room included many books by the writer guests, Jerry Pournelle and John Ringo. Media guests included Richard Hatch and Claudia Christian.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and got my camera out. There were so many photo ops!
Above, me and the Ghostbusters; at right two of the Moon Princesses, Linda and Toni.
Below, assorted costumers, from Steam Punk to Star Wars to Furry Fandom.
I chose the SF book club’s May selection: “Doomsday Book” by Connie Willis. The first question of the evening will be directed to me, to defend my choice of books. The more I think about it, the more I have to say in its favor.
Defend your choice: Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
I began reading Science Fiction with the stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs and H. G. Wells and the Groff Conklin anthologies—all that were available in my small hometown library. We were just emerging from the Age of the Machine and approaching the frontiers of micro-miniaturization, electronics, computers, waldos, robots, space travel, deep space telescopes and laser technology. These things, and more, threw open the doors of our imagination and Science Fiction enjoyed its Golden Age. Continue reading
This month’s book was William Gibson’s “Pattern Recognition”. I liked his work 20 or 30 years ago but sometimes when reading an old favorite author or books I used to love I am sorely disappointed in them. The books are the same so it must be me that has changed. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book was just as fascinating to me as his previous ones were.
They are all purported to be SF, and they *seem* to be SF, but they are actually written about the decade in which the author is living at the time. Therefore, some of his early works seem dated. This, a recent publication, felt futuristic because, as Ray Bradbury once said in my presence, “The future is now!” Continue reading
Boneshaker, Cherie Priest
This book, Boneshaker, was chosen for the February meeting of the SF club. One thing I have noticed is a resurgence of mythical beasties in SF. Vampires are wildly popular, this book has zombies, and I’m reading a juvenile about dragons amongst us. Come to think of it, Jerry has just finished reading a series of dragon books set in the Napoleonic era.
Boneshaker was a story of a young son looking for adventure in a dangerous part of the world, and of his mother going to rescue him and the adventures each has. The plague that had destroyed and divided the world had left behind some Undead and that was really a mess. I’m so over vampires, and now I am so over zombies as well. Continue reading
Firefly class spaceship Serenity
This short-lived television series came and went like its namesake, the elusive firefly of summer. Flash Gordon would have been comfortable in this universe, and Buzz Lightyear. It was cancelled with 14 shows in the can, some of which were never aired. Then came a great hue and cry from the fans. Three years later, in 2005, Firefly was born anew in the movie Serenity, with the same cast and same plot lines, now explained more fully and played out to their ends. Continue reading
Overthrowing Heaven by Mark L. Van Name, Baen 2009, is the sequel to One Jump Ahead and Slanted Jack. It’s a road-trip buddy book, the continuing story of a man, Jon, and his machine, a Predator-Class Assault Vehicle (PCAV) named Lobo. Lobo has a really good (and sarcastic) AI program. Jon, though human, is also a nanotech- enhanced experiment, the only one that survived — and escaped from the lab. One Jump Ahead described how Jon found and teamed up with a decommission PCAV that turns out to be smarter than the average PCAV. They stay on the move, taking small-time mercenary jobs, so no one will recognize their uniqueness. A PCAV is like a large, aggressive, tank, mobile through land, sea, air, and space. No FTL flight is required in this Universe: just navigate through local space to the nearest jump-gate. Continue reading