Posts Tagged ‘book review’

SciFi Discussion – Fahrenheit 451

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

On February the 21st 2012, Manchester SciFi book club met at the Madlab to discuss Ray Bradbury’s 1953 dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451.

The novel presents a future American society where reading is outlawed and firemen start fires to burn books. Written in the early years of the Cold War, the novel is a critique of what Bradbury saw as issues in American society of the era.

The novel has been the subject of various interpretations, primarily focusing on the historical role of book burning in suppressing dissenting ideas. Bradbury has stated that the novel is not about censorship, but a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature, which leads to a perception of knowledge as being composed of factoids, partial information devoid of context.


SciFi Discussion – Zoo City

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

It might have been cold the Tuesday before last, but Manchester SciFi book clubbers braved the elements and ventured to the Madlab for a discussion about Zoo City by Lauren Beukes.

“Zoo City is set in an alternate version of the South African city of Johannesburg, in which people who have committed a crime are magically attached to an animal familiar – those who receive such punishment are said to be “animalled”. The novel’s chief protagonist, Zinzi December – who was “animalled” to a sloth after getting her brother killed – is a former journalist and recovering drug addict, and is attempting to repay the financial debt she owes her drug dealer by charging people for her special skill of finding lost objects, as well as making use of her writing abilities by drafting 419 fraud emails. The book’s plot focuses on Zinzi’s attempts to find the missing female member of a brother-and-sister pop duo for a music producer, in return for the money she needs to fully repay her dealer.”


SciFi Discussion – Ender’s Game

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Last Tuesday Manchester SciFi book club got together to discuss Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. The main characters are three particularly intelligent children who shape the world at the time of conflict with insectiod space aliens known as the Buggers. The main protagonist, Ender Wiggin, is sent off to the Battle School space station where he develops his skills as a strategist. While Ender is unknowingly killing the buggers, his brother and sister, Peter and Valentine, use the blogosphere to gain political power and prevent warring factions from destroying each other on Earth.

Did We Like It?

Whilst some of us may have tried to hate it, the majority of us did enjoy Ender’s Game. That’s not to say it was without fault. Criticisms included uncompelling characters, children who were too self-aware, too many descriptions of battles and a quick ending that felt like it had been tacked on at the end.

The author is a playwright and that came across in the writing style. Initially written as a short story, the first edition of the novel was published in 1985, with a second edition printed in 1991. The second edition contains an introduction which helped readers to understand the circumstances of the characters and the plot. Those of us who had not read this introduction felt that they had not understood the book as well as those of us who had read it. One criticism of the book was that if it had been better written, it would not have need the introduction. It was postulated that Ender’s Game is one of the author’s earlier works and that his writing style has probably improved.

At beginning of each paragraph there was a short conversation by two of the characters controlling Ender’s progress through Battle School. We thought this was not really necessary since Ender was mostly aware of what was going on, however it added extra characters into the story which helped break the battle scene monotony. (more…)

SciFi Discussion – Rule 34

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

On Tuesday last week Manchester SciFi Book Club got together at the Madlab to discuss Rule 34 by Charles Stross, which was advocated by Tom. The title is a reference adage “If it exists, there is porn of it.”

Before I start, please accept my apologies for this post being a bit on the short side or if I’ve left out any important points of view. I forgot to bring my notebook to the meeting.

Is it SciFi?

Rule 34 book cover US version

The main technology aspect of Rule 34 is an artificial intelligence that is able to monitor and manipulate people via the internet, largely through social networking, CCTV and mobile phones. The book is set in the near future and because of that we felt the scifi aspect, and the novel in general, could soon become become dated. If you are thinking about reading Rule 34 it would be better to read it sooner rather than later.

SciFi Discussion – Anvil of Stars

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

On Tuesday last week Manchester SciFi Book Club got together at the Madlab to discuss the 1992 Greg Bear novel Anvil of Stars, which was advocated by Mark.

Is it SciFi?

Anvil of Stars book cover

Given that the story is about a group of people setting forth in a futuristic space ship to avenge the destruction of the planet Earth, we thought that, yes, it is SciFi!