1. matthew: karen traviss. matriach.

    1. verdict: none (yet?)
    2. review:

      was recommended, turned out to be the fourth book in a series, which
      was not mentioned ANYWHERE on the cover. the book turned out to be
      incomprehensible without reading the other three, so he gave up
      reading on page 50. seems like it could be good, though, and he might
      consider going back to read the series.

  2. chad: vernor vinge. rainbow's end.

    1. verdict: --
    2. review:

      overview of singularity crap. chad hates this book. guy is cured of
      alzheimer's, which provides the perfect excuse to constantly ask
      everybody to explain everything. guy goes from being mean luddite to
      being nice technophile for no apparent reason. blah blah, flat,
      two-dimensional, unmotivated characters... lots of people love this
      book, chad can't see why and hates it. chad selected a quote to
      summarize the entire book, from near the end: "he is afraid to try new
      things, even as he brags about the future." chad likes style, or
      interesting ideas, and this has neither.

  3. brandon: vernor vinge. a fire upon the deep.

    1. verdict: ++ (corroborated by marko and chris)
    2. review:

      brandon thinks this is just what we were looking for, only from
      1992. (too bad.) way far future, galactic civilization, etc., lots of
      races, blah blah. imaginative cosmology, imaginative races,
      etc. basically brandon really liked it: "awesome book." admittedly the
      characters are flat and two-dimensiona, especially the girls.
      both brandon and chad believe the other's review, and suspect the
      books are just very different.

  4. interlude

    much discussion about near-future sci-fi, and whether it's good or
    bad. a lot of us hate it, a few like it. also discussion about cory
    doctorow and whether he sucks. no consensus.

  5. jeff: karl schroeder. sun of suns.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      discovered the book from a review by cory doctorow (w00t). imaginative
      world, artificial orbital world with artificial sun in the
      center. pretty good story. interesting ideas of human-enacted ai, how
      a low-tech society would function in a zero-gravity environment,
      etc. would recommend it, will read more.
      also read more alastair reynolds books (revelation: space, etc.)
      generally liked them, recommended.

  6. jeff again: john c wright. orphans of chaos.

    1. verdict: none yet
    2. review:

      kids in an orphanage, blah blah, like a mix of harry potter and the
      x-men. mysteries ensue. he's only half done, but would issue
      preliminary recommendation. bad cover. really bad cover.

  7. interlude

    adam only read foundation books. some dicussion about the changes in sf
    since those days, blah blah.

  8. marko: william gibson. spook country.

    1. verdict: + (corroborated by matt)
    2. review:

      thinks it's really good, despite terrible reviews on amazon. gave a
      summary, etc., etc. much discussion ensues, relating gibson to other
      stuff we've read. matt and marko like and highly recommend this book.

  9. matt: charles stross. halting state.

    1. verdict: --
    2. review:

      this was mine, so i won't write everything i'm saying. suffice to say
      i really didn't like it. didn't didn't didn't. marko thinks i should
      have, but i didn't. oh well. some discussion ensues about near-future
      stuff, whether this is a genre, what this is. chad and i, in any case,
      don't like it. anyway i kind of want to read another stross book and
      see whether it's just "this genre" that i dislike. i suspect i might
      like another of his books.

  10. josh: matthew jarpe. radio freefall.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      everything chad and i didn't like about our books was in this book,
      but he really liked it. well, really liked the first part, liked the
      second part fairly well. this is a first novel. josh liked it, but
      he's not sure whether it's different from the stuff chad and i
      dislike. he liked it, it was fun and a little pulpy and
      good. recommended.

  11. interlude

    more long discussion about near-future sf and what the different kinds
    are and whether it's any good, whether it's ok to like it/not like it,

  12. josh again: baltimore. (started last time)

    1. verdict: -
    2. review:

      finished it. it was ok, not great. wouldn't really recommend it.

  13. chris: joe abercrombie. the blade itself and before they are hanged.

    1. verdict: ++
    2. review:

      read the blade itself and has subsequently secured an uncorrected
      advance reading copy of the sequel (strong work, chris!). chris has
      tried to sample the range of the genres, having sampled hard sf and
      "weird" sf, now he's gone straight for sword & sorcery fantasy. this
      is the real deal. powerful wizard, midieval-style stuff, it's "trash"
      for sure, but it's great. it's fast-paced, it's cheesy, characters are
      exaggerated (the hero from the north, unspeakably ugly on account of
      his entirely battle-scarred physique, etc...). these are his first and
      second books. he says "it hits me the way david eddings hit me when i
      was a kid. but i'm grown up now. this is written much better. wait,
      maybe it's not. maybe i shouldn't say that." anyway chris thinks this
      is everything we were looking for in a new fantasy novel. highly

  14. coda: brandon "has some things to say" about philip pullman

    "not bad, but he makes jk rowling look like a freaking genius." she is
    "one of the greatest writers of a detailed outline that we have, or
    maybe have ever had." discussion ensues.

  15. that's all, folks.