1. prelude: "it's working!! it's working!"
  2. chris: reamde. neal stephenson.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      the new neal stephenson. not sci fi, just a straight-up
      thriller. "it's like... who are those guys who just write thrillers?
      yeah, like tom clancy or whatever." somebody said it's his most
      accessible book. it's about a guy with a checkered past who's now the
      ceo of some kind of mmo, designed from the ground up to be friendly to
      chinese gold farmers. hilarity ensues. the ceo's neice works for the
      company and has some kind of shady hacker boyfriend who sells credit
      cards to the russian mob. the mobsters kidnap some people and send
      them to china, where they tangle with al qaeda (wait, what?) and as i
      believe i mentioned, hilarity ensues. however, "it all ties together
      really well." go figure. recommended.

  3. chad: the magician king. lev grossman.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      sequel to the magicians, previously described here as "happy potter
      meets gossip girl." sounds kind of like super hard-boiled young adult
      stuff, but chad says it's not for young adults at all. "... so he gets
      depressed and then he quits being a magician and becomes a management
      consultant." no bullshit, apparently. it's cool, though, his friends
      rescue him. anyway, in this book the hero's high school crush is
      around. she failed the test for magic college and went diy, so she's a
      magic punk or whatever, and she hates all those entitled little
      brats. and so on and so forth. the wes anderson of fantasy. "you
      sometimes feel bad about it when you're reading it."

  4. interlude: chad: "no, i don't really have anything to say about harry potter."
  5. jen: more asoiaf mega-roundup

    1. verdict: +++
    2. review:

      she tore through these books, she's obviously into it. the liked the
      latest one more than the last one... this leads to an interlude on
      fantasy. like, honestly, what qualifies "better" or "worse"
      fantasy. which leads to...

  6. matt and jenny: asoiaf I-IV

    1. verdict: ++
    2. review:

      new members today, and a hearty welcome! neither considers themselves
      a voracious sff reader (and god bless them for that (ed.)). suprised
      by the overall quality. surprised by the ruthlessness of the plotting,
      which is really one of the best things about them.

  7. chris: neal stephenson. the baroque cycle.

    1. verdict: ++
    2. review:

      so this is chris's second (third?) time through these books, this time
      on audio book! some of neal stephenson's idiosyncrasies really don't
      lend themselves to audio book. lists, for instance. there are three
      main storylines... i can't, obviously, even try to produce a capsule
      summary of this nonsense. i'm sure they've been amply discussed
      elsewhere. in any case, these books are probably the quintessentially
      polarizing neal stephenson novels, and chris has always already been
      on board. maybe i should actually read them someday. but god, i'd
      probably love them and then i'd have to eat some serious crow. that
      doesn't sound appealing at all. but i guess now it's probably already
      too late, from a certain point of view.

  8. that's all, folks.