When I started this little book club, I did so with the intention of creating a forum in which avid readers could gather to discuss works in the fields of science fiction and fantasy (and, later, horror). Well, to my delight, a goodly number of you took the time to participate, reading one, two, sometimes all three selected books and then joining in on the ensuing discussions. In time, these tri-monthly discussions grew as we welcomed more members and, eventually, several authors and editors who kindly took the time to come by and field reader questions and comments. Our good buddy and Pyr editorial director Lou Anders kicked things off, joining us back in February of this year to discuss the SF anthology Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge. Since then, we’ve welcomed the likes of Kage Baker, F. Paul Wilson, Jeffrey Ford, Jennifer Pelland, Joe Abercrombie, John Scalzi, Justina Robson, K.J. Bishop, Stephen Dobyns, Lois McMaster Bujold, Sarah Langan, and, most recently, John Twelve Hawks. Authors David Anthony Durham and Brian Lumley round out this month’s guest list. In short, this modest online book club has far surpassed my expectations and I’d like to take thank each and every one who has taken part. Whether you dropped by to field reader questions AND invite criticism on a work in progress, or simply posted a quick comment to let us know how much you liked/disliked a book – Thank You!
With the holidays not that far off, I’ve decided to give you all a breather and, more importantly, time to read the next round of BOTMC picks that I’ve scheduled for January of 2009. Hopefully, this will give encourage some of the slower readers out there to pick up a book and finally take part. I’m also hoping that it will give some of the faster readers out there the opportunity to get through all three selections. And speaking of three selections…
In the SF category, we’ll be reading David Weber’s On Basilisk Station. This one has been sitting on my to-read pile for far too long and I‘m pleased to make it a BOTMC pick. It sounds like a lot of fun and the fact that the author watches Stargate: Atlantis is a bonus.
From Amazon.com: “On Basilisk Station (or “HH1” as it’s known to the faithful) is the first installment in David Weber’s cult hit Honor Harrington series, which has charmed the socks off schoolgirls and sailors alike. Honor–the heroine of this fast-paced, addictive space opera–is a polished, plucky bulldog of a naval officer, part Horatio Hornblower, part Miles Vorkosigan, part Captain Janeway, and with a razor-clawed telepathic cat thrown over her shoulder for good measure.
The series’ kickoff puts a giddy Commander Harrington at the helm of her first serious starship, the HMS Fearless. But her excitement quickly fades–political maneuvering by top brass in the Manticoran navy has left her light cruiser outfitted with a half-baked experimental weapons system. Against all odds (just the way Honor likes it), she still manages a clever coup in tactical war games, a feat that earns her accolades–and enemies. The politicians she’s offended banish her to a galactic backwater, Basilisk Station. But that outpost soon proves to be a powder keg, and it’s up to Harrington and the Fearless crew to thwart the aggressive plans of the Haven Republic. A perfect mix of military SF and high adventure.”
Discussion begins the week of January 14, 2009. We’ll be joined by author David Weber.
In the horror category, we’ll be reading The Living Dead, a zombie anthology edited by John Joseph Adams. I’ve exchanged emails with John in his capacity as point man for Nightshade Books (http://www.nightshadebooks.com/), and it gives me great pleasure to make his labor of love – and horror – a Book of the Month Club pick.
From Publisher’s Weekly : “Recently prolific anthologist Adams (Seeds of Change) delivers a superb reprint anthology that runs the gamut of zombie stories. There’s plenty of gore, highlighted by Stephen King’s Home Delivery and David Schow’s classic Blossom. Less traditional but equally satisfying are Lisa Morton’s Sparks Fly Upward, which analyzes abortion politics in a zombified world, and Douglas Winter’s literary pastiche Less than Zombie. Also outstanding, Kelly Link’s Some Zombie Contingency Plans and Hannah Wolf Bowen’s Everything Is Better with Zombies take similar themes in wildly different directions. Neil Gaiman’s impeccably crafted Bitter Grounds offers a change of pace with traditional Caribbean zombies. The sole original contribution, John Langan’s How the Day Runs Down, is a darkly amusing twist on Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. There’s some great storytelling for zombie fans as well as newcomers. “
Discussion begins the week of January 21, 2009. We’ll be joined by editor John Joseph Adams.
In the fantasy category, we’ll be reading Jeff Vandermeer’s City of Saints and Madmen. Actually, I hesitate to use the term “fantasy” to describe Jeff’s work as he and fellow authors China Mieville, Steph Swainston, and M. John Harrison have oft been hailed as pioneers of “New Weird” fiction, a genre that draws from fantasy, SF, and horror to build its own unique voice.
From Publisher’s Weekly: “Set in the haunted city of Ambergris, with its Borges Bookstore, these stories feature bizarre recurring characters and intensely self-referential plots. Among the highlights are the World Fantasy Award¤winning Transformation of Martin Lake, the tale of a talented painter who’s obsessed with a great composer; The Strange Case of X, which concerns an incarcerated lunatic found wandering the streets of Ambergris carrying the very book being discussed in this review; the wonderful new story The Cage, in which an antiques dealer becomes infected with a fungus that’s slowly taking over much of the city; and, oddest of all perhaps, an untitled short story, which fills the entire dust jacket and concerns an unnamed traveler who has a close encounter with a giant squid in the river that runs through Ambergris. Other pieces take many forms, including a history of the city complete with footnotes, psychiatric records from a local hospital, an amazingly funny work of pseudo-biology entitled King Squid and entirely bogus bibliographies and glossaries. This beautifully written, virtually hallucinatory work isn’t for every taste, but connoisseurs of the finest in postmodern fantasy will find it enormously rewarding.”
Discussion begins the week of January 28th, 2009. We’ll be joined by author Jeff Vandermeer.
Well, all quiet on the Halloween front. I wonder if we’ll break last year’s record of a half dozen visits? Damn. And I spent the past hour washing broccoli and cauliflower. Now who am I going to give these veggies away to?
Hey, went in and watched the Day 1 Mix of Identity yesterday. A fun episode. The highlight: Carl Binder’s cameo about seven and a half minutes in. Watch for it!
DasNDanger writes: “This Todd pic, Joe.”
Answer: Oh, THAT look. We were watching the first day of dailies from The Queen when Todd appeared onscreen sporting THAT hairdo. What the hell?! It was a rare continuity hiccup in the hair department. The issue was resolved for the next day’s shooting and the editor took pains to cut around the new-look-do in post.
Tamijb writes: “Is it possible to see Michael or Todd in SGU?”
Answer: It is highly unlikely either Michael or Todd will make an appearance in SGU.
Tamijb also writes: “I know this is an old episode, but I have a couple of questions with Quest 1 SG1 Season 10. Was Adria the old librarian from the first time SG1 met him or was she him later when the Ori soldiers showed up?”
Answer: To be perfectly honest, I don’t recall.
Thornyrose writes: “Just one last question concerning the S.P. Is this a solo effort, or is this something Mr. Mullie will be contributing to?”
Answer: It’s a solo effort.
MysteryMadchen writes: “ Do you think if we can’t get Atlantis un-canceled by fan power alone, could large ratings on the movie possible bring it back?”
Answer: As much as I loved working on the show, I don’t see much hope of it being “un- canceled“. However, fans can look forward to more movies should the first one prove successful.
Rachael writes: “ Joe, can you confirm whether or not Teyla and/or Ronon will be in Vegas?”
Answer: I can confirm that they will not be in Vegas.
Danny writes: “Dont know if you read these but i have a question about Stargate Universe if you could email me that would be great.”
Answer: It’s easier for me to answer questions here on the blog. If you want to take your chances, you can email me at email@example.com. But I may be a while in replying.
Polito writes: “The same poster at Gateworld did a screentime count…”
Answer: The same poster should do a consonant versus vowel count for every character. Now THAT would be very telling!
Sparrow_hawk writes: “Joe, is there any news about the Hazzencockle adoption? Inquiring minds need to know.”
Answer: Alas, still no word from those adorable little ragamufins.