MadLab Manchester SciFi Book Club – Vote for our next Books!

Manchester SciFi Book Club – Vote for our next Books!

Posted by Daniel Wells, about 1 month ago

Hi Everybody!

Voting is open on our next round of books.

The choices are as follows:

  • The Girl With All the Gifts by by M R Carey (512p)
  • The Star Diaries by Stanislav Lem (352p)
  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by NK Jemisin (448p)
  • The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy (1/5) by Douglas Adams (224p)
  • Roadside Picnic by Boris Strugatsky (224p)
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler (345p)
  • The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin (336p)
  • Year Zero by Rob Reid (368p)
  • Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones (384p)
  • Zendegi by Greg Egan (368p)
  • Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor (336p)
  • The Peripheral by William Gibson (496p)

For a description of each book please scroll down.

Please indicate your choices on our Doodle Poll

Please make up to 5 choices.
In the past we have found low attendence when books are over about 400 pages. If you vote for a book with more than 400 pages please make an extra effort to come along to the discussion. Thank you.

We will finalise the choices at our next meeting on 18th April.

See you next book!

Our Next Books

  • 18th Apr – Central Station by Lavie Tidhar (288 pages)
  • 16th May – A Calculated Life by Ann Charnock (208 pages)

Book Descriptions

The Girl With All the Gifts by by M R Carey (512 p)

NOT EVERY GIFT IS A BLESSING

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.

When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh.

Melanie is a very special girl.

Emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end, THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS is the most powerful and affecting thriller you will read this year.

The Star Diaries by Stanislav Lem (352 p)

Stanislaw Lem’s set of short stories, written over a period of twenty years, all feature the adventures of space traveller Ijon Tichy and recount him spinning in time-warps, spying on robots, encountering bizarre civilizations and creatures in space and being hopelessly lost in a forest of supernovae. This is a philosophical satire on technology, theology, intelligence and human nature from one of the greatest of science fiction writers

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by NK Jemisin (448 p)

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky – a palace above the clouds where gods’ and mortals’ lives are intertwined.

There, to her shock, Yeine is named one of the potential heirs to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle with a pair of cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother’s death and her family’s bloody history.

But it’s not just mortals who have secrets worth hiding and Yeine will learn how perilous the world can be when love and hate – and gods and mortals – are bound inseparably.

The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy (1/5) by Douglas Adams (224p)

The intergalactic adventures of Arthur Dent begin in the first volume of the ‘trilogy of five’, Douglas Adams’ comedy sci-fi classic The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

On 12 October 1979 the most remarkable book ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor (and Earth) was made available to humanity – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

It’s an ordinary Thursday lunchtime for Arthur Dent until his house gets demolished. The Earth follows shortly afterwards to make way for a new hyperspace bypass and his best friend has just announced that he’s an alien. At this moment, they’re hurtling through space with nothing but their towels and an innocuous-looking book inscribed with the big, friendly words: DON’T PANIC.

The weekend has only just begun . . .

Roadside Picnic by Boris Strugatsky (224p)

Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those strange misfits who are compelled by some unknown force to venture illegally into the Zone and, in spite of the extreme danger, collect the mysterious artefacts that the alien visitors left scattered around. His life is dominated by the Zone and the thriving black market in the alien products. Even the nature of his daughter has been determined by the Zone. And it is for her that Red makes his last, tragic foray into the hazardous and hostile depths.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler (345p)

When unattended environmental and economic crises lead to social chaos, not even gated communities are safe. In a night of fire and death Lauren Olamina, a minister’s young daughter, loses her family and home and ventures out into the unprotected American landscape. But what begins as a flight for survival soon leads to something much more: a startling vision of human destiny… and the birth of a new faith.

The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin (336p)

The Principle of Simultaneity is a scientific breakthrough which will revolutionize interstellar civilization by making possible instantaneous communication. It is the life work of Shevek, a brilliant physicist from the arid anarchist world of Anarres.

But Shevek’s work is being stifled by jealous colleagues, so he travels to Anarres’s sister-planet Urras, hoping to find more liberty and tolerance there. But he soon finds himself being used as a pawn in a deadly political game.

Year Zero by Rob Reid (368p)

Low-level entertainment lawyer Nick Carter thinks it’s a prank, not an alien encounter, when a redheaded mullah and a curvaceous nun show up at his office. But Frampton and Carly are highly advanced (if bumbling) extraterrestrials. The entire cosmos, they tell him, has been hopelessly hooked on American pop songs ever since “Year Zero” (1977 to us), resulting in the biggest copyright violation since the Big Bang and bankrupting the whole universe. Nick has just been tapped to clean up this mess before things get ugly. Thankfully, this unlikely galaxy-hopping hero does know a thing or two about copyright law. Now, with Carly and Frampton as his guides, Nick has forty-eight hours to save humanity—while hoping to wow the hot girl who lives down the hall from him.

Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones (384p)

“All I did was ask you for a role-playing game. You never warned me I’d be pitched into it for real! And I asked you for hobbits on a Grail quest, and not one hobbit have I seen!”

Hexwood Farm is a bit like human memory; it doesn’t reveal its secrets in chronological order. Consequently, whenever Ann enters Hexwood, she cannot guarantee on always ending up in the same place or even the same time.

Hexwood Farm is full of machines that should not be tampered with – and when one is, the aftershock is felt throughout the universe. Only Hume, Ann and Mordion can prevent an apocalypse in their struggle with the deadly Reigners – or are they too being altered by the whims of Hexwood?

A complex blend of science fiction and all sorts of fantasy – including fantasy football!!

Zendegi by Greg Egan (368p)

Nasim is a young computer scientist, hoping to work on the Human Connectome Project: a plan to map every neural connection in the human brain. But funding for the project is cancelled, and Nasim ends up devoting her career to Zendegi, a computerised virtual world used by millions of people.

Fifteen years later, a revived Connectome Project has published a map of the brain. Zendegi is facing fierce competition from its rivals, and Nasim decides to exploit the map to fill the virtual world with better Proxies: the bit-players that bring its crowd scenes to life. As controversy rages over the nature and rights of the Proxies, a friend with terminal cancer begs Nasim to make a Proxy of him, so some part of him will survive to help raise his orphaned son. But Zendegi is about to become a battlefield …

Nexus by Ramez Naam (474p)

In the near future, the experimental nano-drug Nexus can link humans together, mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it.

When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, he’s thrust over his head into a world of danger and international espionage – for there is far more at stake than anyone realizes.

From the halls of academe to the halls of power; from the headquarters of an elite agency in Washington DC to a secret lab beneath Shanghai; from the underground parties of San Francisco to the illegal biotech markets of Bangkok; from an international neuroscience conference to a remote monastery in the mountains of Thailand – Nexus is a thrill ride through a future on the brink of explosion.

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor (336p)

So tell me, Dr Maxwell, if the whole of History lay before you … where would you go? What would you like to witness?

When Madeleine Maxwell is recruited by the St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, she discovers the historians there don’t just study the past they revisit it.

But one wrong move and History will fight back to the death. And she soon discovers it’s not just History she’s fighting…

Follow the tea-soaked disaster magnets of St Mary’s as they rattle around History. Because wherever the historians go, chaos is sure to follow.

The Peripheral by William Gibson (496p)

Flynne Fisher lives in rural near-future America where jobs are scarce and veterans from the wars are finding it hard to recover. She scrapes a living doing some freelance online game-playing, participating in some pretty weird stuff. Wilf Netherton lives in London, seventy-some years later, on the far side of decades of slow-motion apocalypse. Things though are good for the haves, and there aren’t many have-nots left.
Flynne and Wilf are about to meet one another. Her world will be altered utterly, and Wilf’s, for all its decadence and power, will learn that some of these third-world types from the distant past can be real badass.

About Manchester Sci-Fi Book Club:

Manchester SciFi Book Club is held every third Tuesday of the month from 7pm until 9pm. For more information, check out our group page.

Contacts:

You can contact us via Twitter at @mcrsf_madlab or by using the hashtag #mcrsf. Keep up to date with Manchester Sci-Fi book club posts at Madlab or take a look at our history on Madlab vintage.

We also have a group on Google which we would encourage you to join, and you can check us out on Google+ at our Manchester SciFi Book Club page.