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astoriabooks


Astoria, NY Speculative Fiction Book Club


2009 Archive, including the All-Zombie Cycle
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The Historian by Elizabeth KostovaCollapse )

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Tigerheart by Peter DavidCollapse )

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The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott LynchCollapse )

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The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen KingCollapse )

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Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory DoctorowCollapse )

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Trial of Flowers by Jay LakeCollapse )

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The Gods Themselves by Isaac AsimovCollapse )

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The Stress of Her Regard by Tim PowersCollapse )

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The Eyre Affair by Jasper FfordeCollapse )

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Lilith by George MacDonaldCollapse )
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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Graham-SmithCollapse )
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As The World Dies: The First Days by Rhiannon FraterCollapse )

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Never Let Me Go by Kazuo IshiguroCollapse )

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Cluck: Murder Most Fowl by Eric D. KnappCollapse )

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The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie RyanCollapse )

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Monster Island by David WellingtonCollapse )

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Brave New World by Aldous HuxleyCollapse )

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Fablehaven by Brandon Mull and Brandon DormanCollapse )
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Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia A. McKillipCollapse )

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Rapture by David SosnowskiCollapse )

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Gun, with Occasional Music by Jonathan LethemCollapse )

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Boneshaker by Cherie PriestCollapse )

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The Red Tree by Caitlin R. KiernanCollapse )

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Ringworld by Larry NivenCollapse )
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The Book of Time by Guillaume PrevostCollapse )

2008 Archive
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Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert A. HeinleinCollapse )

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Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki MurakamiCollapse )

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The Diamond Age by Neal StephensonCollapse )

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My Soul to Keep by Tananarive DueCollapse )
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At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. LovecraftCollapse )
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Strange Cargo by Jeffrey E. BarloughCollapse )

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Automated Alice by Jeff NoonCollapse )

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I Am Legend by Richard MathesonCollapse )

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Sundiver by David BrinCollapse )
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The Female Man by Joanna RussCollapse )

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Eragon by Christopher PaoliniCollapse )
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Altered Carbon by Richard K. MorganCollapse )

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The Sirens of Titan by Kurt VonnegutCollapse )
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The Good Fairies of New York by Martin MillarCollapse )

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Night Watch by Terry PratchettCollapse )

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Gateway by Frederik PohlCollapse )

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Cloud Atlas by David MitchellCollapse )

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City Come A-Walkin by John ShirleyCollapse )

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Love in the Time of Fridges by Tim ScottCollapse )

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The Crystal Cave by Mary StewartCollapse )
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Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardCollapse )
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A Guide to Folktales in Fragile Dialects by Catherynne M. ValenteCollapse )
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Let the Right One In by John Adjvide LindqvistCollapse )

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The Golden Age by John C. WrightCollapse )
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The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas AdamsCollapse )

October thru December 2007 Archive
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Sebastian by Anne BishopCollapse )



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The Algebraist by Iain M. BanksCollapse )
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The Last Man by Mary ShelleyCollapse )
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A Sound of Thunder by Ray BradburyCollapse )

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Sorcery and Cecelia by Wrede and StevermerCollapse )
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The Etched City by K. J. BishopCollapse )


9/20/07: Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham, chosen by Diana
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Meeting Minutes, 9/20/07

Members Present:  Adam K, Adam L, Amy, Arthur, Diana, Sara
Location:  Lefkos Pyrgos

Discussion:  We spent relatively little time on the book itself, but talked about fairy tales in general (and the Disneyfication thereof), why Peter Pan is usually played by a woman, the history of superheros, the travesty of creators not retaining the rights to their own work, and why women need to be careful when dealing with comic book publishers.  Everyone liked the art, several were left unsatisfied by most of the stories.

Ratings: 

Adam K:  7
Adam L:  7.5
Amy:  6
Arthur:  7.5
Diana:  8.5
Sara:  6.5
(Average:  7.1667)


9/6/07: Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, chosen by Adam K
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Meeting Minutes, 9/6/07
Location:  Beer Garden
Members Present:  Adam K, Adam L, Arthur, Diana, Rachel, Sara

Discussion:  I'm not sure we left any topic unturned.  Creation vs. Evolution for the species in this world (most notably the khepri, who really make no sense), religions/morals (including Insect Aspect and whether you can make any decision in your life that doesn't remove a choice from someone else), the nature of adventuring parties, and whether this book could be shoehorned into any specific publishing category or subgenre (the jury's out on that one).

Ratings: 

Adam K - 9.5
Adam L - 8.5
Arthur (didn't finish, but so far) - 8.75
Diana - 9
Rachel - 7.5
Sara - 8

Tags: ,

8/23/07: Stardust by Neil Gaiman, chosen by Amy
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Meeting Minutes, 8/23/07.
Location:  Beer Garden
Present:  Adam K (called away before discussion began), Adam L, Amy, Danielle, Diana, Sara. 

The discussion was rather brief due to meeting new candidates at the beginning of the meeting.  Diana and Adam L had read a version that contained drawings by Charles Vess, and liked it much better than the plain text.  Comparisons were made to the movie while carefully avoiding spoilers for those who hadn't seen it.  The only major complaints anyone had was the lack of depth and description - Tristran gets very caught up in his own rigid, linear quest and can't appreciate what's going on around him.  In addition, everything wrapped up almost too neatly, with the villain pooping out completely. 

Ratings:
Adam K (via email):  8
Adam L :  8
Amy : 7
Danielle : 7
Diana : 9
Sara : 8

 


8/9/07: The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester, chosen by Adam L
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Meeting Minutes, 8/9/07
Members Present:  Both Adams, Amy, Danielle, Diana, Jen, Sara
Location: Beer Garden 

Criticisms:  Didn't learn enough about the average man in this society.  The cloistering of women seemed a bit silly - jaunteing should have made everyone cloistered and paranoid.  The original title (Tiger! Tiger!) should have been kept.  Foyle's transformation from gutter dummy to man of the world took too little time, even with hypnosis.   

Stuff We Liked:  Descriptions, especially the synesthesia bits.  The anti-hero.  The flavor of the writing.  The cyberpunkiness.  That many things were left to the imagination. 

Ratings:

Adam K. - 9
Adam L. - 9
Amy - 7.5
Danielle - 8
Diana - 8
Jen - 8
Sara - 9


7/26/07: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
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Meeting Minutes, Thurs. July 26, 2007
Members Present:  Adam L., Amy, Danielle, Diana, Jen, and Me (Sara).
Location:  Sara's place.

I regret my laziness in not doing these right away, b/c now I remember little of the finer points of the discussion.  But I guess it's just as well, since we wouldn't want to throw any spoilers at the HP-virgin of the group :).  From what I do remember, we talked about what we had expected, our individual experiences with reading the book, surprises, pacing, and some magical theory.

Anyway, there was good food - Adam and Diana brought muffins, Danielle little candy eyeballs, Jen some amazing treacle fudge, and I made cockroach clusters and butterbeer.


7/5/07: Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne, chosen by Amy
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Meeting Minutes, 7/12/07

Members Present:  Adam K., Adam L., Danielle, Diana, Jen, and Sara.

Caution:  Contains Spoilers

The first thing we discovered was that we had at least 2 different translations.  Most had one in which the narrator was named Axel, while Adam K. and I had him being called Henry.  Everyone had a different name except for Hans and Arne Saknussemm.  We decided that Axel Island was a better name than Henry Island.  Also, the version Adam K. and I had contained a dream sequence shortly after the rock is detonated in which Henry dreams of being fought over by a shark-crocodile and a giant ape (the Ape Gigans).  There also seemed to be pacing differences between the two books, as the one read by most of the group only contained about 70 pages of under-the-earth, whereas the other had closer to 200.

Problems people had with the book ranged from lack of character development to lack of realism.  Those guys really should have burned up in the volcano, and even if they didn't, how did Axel/Henry's notebook survive when his clothing did not?  We know they were on a raft of petrified wood, but how did the ropes holding it together not go up in flames?  Where did these people think lava came from, if not a hot center to the planet?  And if Axel/Henry is telling us this story after the fact, why is he not glossing over his own cowardly whininess?  The ending itself was rather anticlimactic - they never did reach the center of the earth, unless they washed by it on the raft after blowing up the rock, and were so busy hanging on for dear life that they never noticed.  We think the professor would have been stubborn enough to try again.

Danielle and I recalled a miniseries in the mid to late 90s that was based on this book, where they actually found a whole tribe of people under the earth, and not just a gigantic herder of mastodons.  We may try to find it, because we both remember it being fairly fun.

Ratings:

Adam K.:  4
Adam L.:  4
Amy:  ?
Danielle:  5
Diana:  4.75
Jen:  5
Sara:  6


6/21/07 Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, chosen by Jen
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Meeting Minutes:  6/21/07

Members Present:  Adam L., Amy, Danielle, Diana, Jen, and me (Sara).

We met at Jen's place. 

Business discussed: 

1.  To add, or not to add, new members (since Robin left and Jen is leaving in less than 2 months).  We decided to try to recruit people we know, since Danielle has someone interested, following which I will contact the people we lost touch with who were interested before, and failing both of those we will put the ad back up. 

2.  Right now content on the group site is only viewable by members.  Amy is trying to be more selective with this.

3.  We decided to call 7/5 a holiday, so our next meeting will be on 7/12, to discuss Jules Verne.  After that, the next meeting will be 7/26, discussing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  We will pick the following book at the meeting on the 12th.

Book Discussion:

Opinions on the book were mixed.  Most people agreed with the notion that it was James Michener Goes to Mars, but whether or not that was a good thing depended on the person.  Some thought the characterization/character development was well done and realistic, others felt it was weak.  The writing style was an obstacle to some people's enjoyment, as was the lack of coherent plot.  All felt that it was a realistic portrayal of what might happen if our generation made it to Mars, and what would be left back on Earth.  Most liked Nadia the best out of all the characters, and everyone hated Phyllis.  Opinions on John, and in fact most of the rest of the characters, were mixed. 

We segued into other topics of course, one being the rant on how intelligent people are looked on as aliens in American culture, which led to ranting on the general state of the education system.  Comic book movies were in there somewhere.   

Book Ratings (out of 10):

Adam L. : 8
Amy:  6
Diana: 8
Danielle: 7
Jen:  8
Sara:  5


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