Next meeting Sat March 16th

The next meeting is on Saturday March 16th. We will be discussing Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn.

Lian Hearn writes deep rich fantasies with complex plots. There is a lot here to get your teeth into!

At this meeting we have to update the shortlist for the next four books. The books currently on the shortlist are:

  • Cat Rambo – Altered America
  • Dacre Stoker – Dracul
  • Kate Mascarenhas – The Psychology of Time Travel
  • Kazuo Ishiguro – Never Let Me Go
  • Marie Brennan – A Natural History of Dragons
  • Robin Hobb – Assassin’s Apprentice
  • Tade Thompson – Rosewater
  • Tom Sweterlitsch – The Gone World

So we need at least four more books, though ideally we want more than that as I suspect some of the books currently on the list have reached their use by date. For example I suspect we’re never going to choose Never Let Me Go because too many of the group have already read it or seen the film adaptation.

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Next meeting Saturday 16th February

The next meeting is on Saturday 16th February in the Storyhouse meeting room. We’ll be discussing Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar.

This is a slightly odd book. I think we chose it mainly out of curiosity to see what it was like. It has been well reviewed and generally described as witty. For example the Guardian described it as Solaris with laughs. Tor described it as funny and moving.

Change to January book

Please note there has been a change to our original choice of book for January. We will now be discussing Vicious by V. E. Schwab at the January 19th meeting.

Our original choice for the January book, Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar, will now be discussed in February.

Apologies for the confusion. I would like to claim that we are not usually this disorganised, but sadly we are usually this disorganised.

Next meeting 19th January

The next meeting is on Saturday 19th January in the Storyhouse meeting room. We’ll be discussing Vicious by V. E. Schwab.

V. E. Schwab is an author who has been on our radar for a while. She is possibly better known for her young adult books that she writes as Victoria Schwab but she also writes adult fiction as V. E. Schwab, and Vicious (published 2013) was her first book for the adult market. We could have chosen any of her adult fiction books – A Darker Shade of Magic has been on my to read list for a while – but Vicious has received some terrific reviews and a followup book Vengeful has just been released. The Guardian said of Vicious:

It’s a brilliant exploration of the superhero mythos and a riveting revenge thriller

At the December meeting we chose the first four books for 2019, and they are:

  • 19th January – Vicious, V. E. Schwab
  • 16th February – Spaceman of Bohemia, Jaroslav Kalfar
  • 16th March – Across the Nightingale Floor, Lian Hearne
  • 20th April – The Hike, Drew Magary

Next meeting 15th December

The next meeting is on Saturday 15th December in the Storyhouse meeting room. We will be discussing John Dies at the End by David Wong. This is an unusual book. Wikipedia describes it as comic horror but it’s not comic in the sense it will make you laugh. It’s more that the two protagonists, Dave and John, are somewhat asinine. Think Bill and Ted’s excellent adventure, though this is a much darker story. I enjoyed it but I suspect it won’t be to everyone’s taste.

At this meeting we have to choose the next four books for Jan to April 2019. The shortlist is given below. There is a PDF with summaries of all the books here.

The shortlist is:

  • Cat Rambo – Altered America
  • Dacre Stoker – Dracul
  • Drew Magary – The Hike
  • Jaroslav Kalfar – Spaceman of Bohemia
  • Kate Mascarenhas – The Psychology of Time Travel
  • Kazuo Ishiguro – Never Let Me Go
  • Lian Hearn – Across the Nightingale Floor
  • Marie Brennan – A Natural History of Dragons
  • Robin Hobb – Assassin’s Apprentice
  • Tade Thompson – Rosewater
  • Tom Sweterlitsch – The Gone World
  • V E Schwab – Vicious

Next meeting Saturday 17th November

Our next meeting will be on Saturday 17th November in the Storyhouse meeting room. We will be discussing Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi.

I think this is a somewhat brave choice. I had never heard of Ahmed Saadawi before and it appears to be a rather strange book. The reviews I’ve read of it use adjectives like hallucinatory and absurdist, but then the Guardian review I’ve linked above also described it as wickedly funny. The novel won the 2014 International Prize for Arab Fiction, so it has been well received by the literary world.

Another task for this meeting is to come up with a shortlist of a dozen books for the first four meetings in 2019. The books currently on the shortlist are:

  • Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Across the Nightingale Floor – Lian Hearn
  • Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb
  • The Thief’s Gamble – Juliet E. McKenna
  • Bridge of Birds – Barry Hughart
  • Altered America – Cat Rambo
  • Ironskin – Tina Connolly

Please come armed with suggestions for future books.

Next meeting Saturday 13th October

Our next meeting will be on Saturday 13th October in the Storyhouse meeting room. We will be discussing Planetfall by Emma Newman.

Emma Newman isn’t an author I had come across before, but she has had some recognition – her short story A Woman’s Place was nominated for best short story in the British Fantasy Awards 2015. The Tor review I’ve linked above says:

Planetfall is a genius novel that is far more than its exterior belies; a distressing, harrowing novel that left a deep mark on me. It isn’t an easy, cheerful read, but it is a captivating story that can be very aptly be described as a must read.