Next meeting 19th August

Our next meeting is at 14:00 on 19th August in the meeting room in Storyhouse. We finally made it into the meeting room for the July meeting and the meeting room is very nice (though the chairs could be more comfortable!).

We will be discussing Dreamsnake by Vonda McIntyre. This is one of those classic books that everyone should read. It won the 1979 Hugo award, and indeed the novella that it’s derived from, Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand, won the 1973 Nebula award. So it comes with a good pedigree.

At this meeting we have to choose the next four books to discuss. The shortlist is:

  • Andrew Caldecott – Rotherweird
  • Daryl Gregory – Spoonbenders
  • Dave Hutchinson – Europe at Midnight
  • James Brogden – Hekla’s Children
  • Johanna Sinisalo – The Core of the Sun
  • Ken Macleod – Descent
  • Paul McAuley – Something Coming Through
  • Robert Dickenson – The Tourist
  • Sergei Lukyanenko – Night Watch
  • Sheri S. Tepper – Grass
  • Stephen Graham Jones – Mongrels
  • Ted Chiang – The Stories of Your Life (Anthology)

There are summaries of all the books available here.

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Next meeting 15th July

Our next meeting 15th July. As far as I know this will be in the meeting room in the Storyhouse building, though I’ll believe that when it happens! If there are any last minute changes of venue I will update this post accordingly.

Anyhow, we will be discussing The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter. In retrospect it’s a bit surprising we took this long to get round to an Angela Carter book. Hopefully it will have been worth the wait.

At this meeting we have to come up with a shortlist of a dozen or so books for the final four months of 2017. The books that were on the last shortlist are listed below. We don’t have to reselect these so if there’s a book you really want to discuss and it isn’t on the list be sure to mention it.

  • Dave Hutchinson – Europe at Midnight
  • Johanna Sinisalo – The Core of the Sun
  • Ken Macleod – Descent
  • Lawrence M. Schoen – Barsk
  • Paul McAuley – Something Coming Through
  • Sergei Lukyanenko – Night Watch
  • Sheri S. Tepper – Grass
  • Stephen Baxter – The Time Ships
  • Stephen Graham Jones – Mongrels
  • Ted Chiang – The Stories of Your Life (Anthology)

Next meeting 17th June

Update 2: we are now meeting in The Commercial. Same date and time, 17th June at 2 p.m. The somewhat vague instructions I have are: “We’ve got the front room. 1st on the left of the front door.”

Update: it turns out the Storyhouse is unavailable on 17th June. They have some sort of event on and it is taking over the whole building. Right now I’m not sure what we do about this. For now watch this space.


The next meeting is at 2 p.m. on 17th June in The Storyhouse somewhere. Hopefully in the meeting room if the needle wielding Amazons haven’t driven us out again.

The book we are discussing is The Power by Naomi Alderman. Published in 2016, this book has attracted a great del of attention (mostly favourable). See for example this review in the Guardian and this review in the Financial Times.

The book has been nominated for the Orwell Prize and the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Next meeting May 20th

The next meeting is provisionally set for May 20th. I say provisionally because it will be our first meeting in the new Storyhouse building and it’s possible events may trip us up and force us to reschedule. Watch this space for more info.

Assuming everything goes ahead as planned we will be discussing Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. He is probably best known for his Shadows of the Apt fantasy mega-series (10 books!) but he also writes science fiction, and Children of Time won the 2016 Arthur C. Clarke award.

The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age – a world terraformed and prepared for human life.

But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them, pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind’s worst nightmare.

Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth?

The April meeting has been cancelled

Since the library is closed from March 31st until 11th May (for the move to the new site) we’ve decided to postpone the April meeting until May. So we will be meeting to discuss Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky on Saturday May 20th.

There are vague plans to hold a social meeting in April to make up for the cancelled meeting. For news on this keep an eye on our Facebook page.

We’ve chosen the shortlist for the next four books. The list is:

  • Angela Carter – The Magic Toyshop
  • Dave Hutchinson – Europe at Midnight
  • Johanna Sinisalo – The Core of the Sun
  • Ken Macleod – Descent
  • Lawrence M. Schoen – Barsk
  • Naomi Alderman – The Power
  • Paul McAuley – Something Coming Through
  • Sergei Lukyanenko – Night Watch
  • Sheri S. Tepper – Grass
  • Stephen Baxter – The Time Ships
  • Stephen Graham Jones – Mongrels
  • Ted Chiang – The Stories of Your Life (Anthology)
  • Vonda N. McIntyre – Dreamsnake

I’ve written up summaries of all these books and you can read the PDF here.

Chester’s Climate book re-released

For a change I’ve released a non-fiction book. Chester’s Climate first came out in 1985, printed by a local Handbridge printer and sold out within a year. Recently, I have received requests for copies but I only have 3 and they’ve been taken apart. So Mrs N scanned in the pages and I uploaded them to Payhip – related to Paypal. I’d already done most of the research and work in the 1980s so I’m only charging $2 because it is an ebook at present.

This is from the press release:

This 40-page booklet was inspired by extremes of temperature and rain in the 1980s and was first published in 1985 and sold out in the same year. This edition is substantially the same but with a couple of pages at the end updating temperature and air pollution trends.

In this book are answers to:

Did the mid 20th Century have the best summers?

Are we due for the storm of centuries?

How often has the River Dee frozen over?

How is the Chester climate suitable for farming?

Did you know that local weather in Chester:

Uprooted trees in the city centre?

Made the city walls fall down?
Made a church kill a child?

Made a man eat his wife then is eaten himself?

Had colder winters than 1947 and 1963?

Had tornadoes and hurricanes?

Has its own cloud formations?

CHESTER’S CLIMATE: past and present new edition released 4th January 2017