1. josh: iain m banks. consider phlebas.

    1. verdict: -
    2. review:

      not really a book club pick, but we recommended banks, so he wanted to
      try it. this was probably his least favorite of the books he's read so
      far. too bad. might read another one of his books someday, but it'll
      be awhile.

  2. brandon: geoffrey a landis. mars crossing.

    1. verdict: (+)
    2. review:

      sort of hard sci-fi by a nasa scientist. about a trip to mars that
      sort of goes badly. it's realistic and believable, which is relatively
      good. the downside is that the main plot only has 90 or 100 pages of
      content, and it's padded with lots of flashbacks and back-story, which
      isn't much good. brandon didn't care at all about any of the
      characters, literally can't even remember which few survived.

  3. brandon: donald kingsbury. psychohistorical crisis.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      set in the foundation universe, but doesn't refer to any foundation
      characters by name. set far in the future, so much has happened that
      basically people don't really know what has happened. psychohistory
      helps them understand and guide the future, but effectively both past
      and future have become equally statistical. in fact, this is one of
      his main points. the writer is a mathematician, so he has some
      mathematical as well as some historiographical points to make. the
      problem is a lot of things happen, its loose and the plot isn't very
      sharp, meandering around a lot. all in all, though, it's pretty
      sweet. recommended.

  4. jen and adam: joe abercrombie. last argument of kings.

    1. verdict: +++
    2. review:

      what can they say that hasn't been said? "if you are in any doubt
      about whether to read these, if you are still on the fence at all, get
      off the fence. read these books." they love everything about this
      entire series, completely concurring with chris and chad. SO VERY

  5. chris: stephenie meyer. twilight / new moon.

    1. verdict: (-)
    2. review:

      very popular with teenage girls, all over every airport and
      everywhere, soon to be a major motion picture, yadda yadda. there's
      this girl, parents are divorced, blah blah, turns out there are some
      very beautiful students in her school, they turn out to be
      vampires. they're moral vampires (the writer is mormon as it turns
      out, and which explains a great many things about the books), so they
      don't feed on humans and so on. (brandon wonders whether this is
      related to the lds church's doctrine on homosexuality. good question.)
      anyway, lots of things happen. the writing isn't particularly good,
      very flat. "maybe i'm not that in touch with what middle school girls
      like, but this seems like when adults make kids movies: they think the
      kids aren't that sophisticated. i like to have more faith in middle
      school girls than to think that this is the ideal book for them."
      there are four books altogether, chris may or may not read the rest
      (he's currently just about a quarter of the way through the second
      book). counterpoint: brandon knows several grown women with
      post-graduate degrees who think these are just amazing. they agree
      that the writing and characterization are very flat, but they think it
      bottles something essential and exciting.

  6. jen: portia da costa. the stranger.

    1. verdict: -
    2. review:

      technically read this for "romantica," but it's a cross-over. read
      this because it was recommended on "one of my dr who blogs." the male
      lead is based on the 8th doctor, but actually in no way is the book
      really connected with doctor who. the plot was as preposterous as any
      other porno, you can imagine where it goes. lots of sex, best friends
      turned lesbian lovers, blah blah blah. "i thought it sucked, and i've
      read better erotic fan fiction."

  7. wisest wizard

    adam has submitted that the lords of lore may wish to try playing the
    game "wisest wizard." the proposition is noted and tabled for further

  8. that's all, folks.