Welcome to the second month of the Achaean Book Club! We got some nice thoughts towards the end of the last thread, though some people seemed to hold off discussing because a) no time to finish book or b) finished early and didn't want to spoil. I'm going to change both the spoiler rules and duration of this one to maybe help with that. It'll also let us line up dates a bit better.
The book for this month is The Goblin Emperor
by Katherine Addison. As usual, Goodreads has a variety of places to buy it from in both physical and ebook format.
- Book club #2 will run from March 15 to April 30th.
- Discuss as much as you want a soon as you want, but use spoiler tags for anything that contains, well, spoilers! If spoilers are specific to a chapter/location in the book, note that outside the spoiler itself.
this thread is active, we'll be voting on next month's book. Feel free
to discuss that, too. The books this time are mostly the same as last time + 1
to replace the winner and +1 to replace To the Lighthouse because I already decided to read that one on my own and it wasn't getting a lot of votes.
Starting questions for discussion
(but feel free to discuss whatever comes to mind, or post quotes you
like, or ask questions if you're lost).
- The book was released at a time where Fantasy book had been getting increasingly darker in themes (grimdark even). Some have hailed this book as an 'anti-grimdark' novel of sorts. Do you agree with that? What makes the book dark, and what makes it light-hearted?
- What's the line between naive and good-hearted? Which side does Maia fall on? How does it compare to the people around him?
- How does the book portray the nature of power, and how does Maia contrast in his view of it with others around him?
- One of the major themes of the book is exploring various sorts of relationships. Which ones are important to Maia, and what effect do they have on his life? How many of these relationships are one-sided?
- What are the basic themes of the book you're picking up on, and how do you feel about them?
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
It was January 2021, and Rick Deckard had a license to kill.The Handmaid's Tale
among the hordes of humans out there, lurked several rogue androids.
Deckard's assignment--find them and then..."retire" them. Trouble was,
the androids all looked exactly like humans, and they didn't want to be
, Margaret Atwood
Offred is a Handmaid in
the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his
wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures
instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must
lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her
pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other
Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can
remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her
husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she
had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that
is gone now...
The Last Unicorn,
Peter S. Beagle
She was magical, beautiful beyond belief -- and completely alone...
unicorn had lived since before memory in a forest where death could
touch nothing. Maidens who caught a glimpse of her glory were blessed by
enchantment they would never forget. But outside her wondrous realm,
dark whispers and rumours carried a message she could not ignore:
"Unicorns are gone from the world."
Aided by a bumbling magician
and an indomitable spinster, she set out to learn the truth. but she
feared even her immortal wisdom meant nothing in a world where a mad
king's curse and terror incarnate lived only to stalk the last unicorn
to her doom...
The Left Hand of Darkness
, Ursula K. Le Guin
A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness
tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world
whose inhabitants can choose -and change - their gender. His goal is to
facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization.
But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of
the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters. Never Let Me Go
Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of intellectual science fiction.
, Kazuo Ishiguro
As a child, Kathy – now
thirty-one years old – lived at Hailsham, a private school in the
scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the
outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that
their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society
they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past
behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her
life, she stops resisting the pull of memory.
And so, as her
friendship with Ruth is rekindled, and as the feelings that long ago
fueled her adolescent crush on Tommy begin to deepen into love, Kathy
recalls their years at Hailsham. She describes happy scenes of boys and
girls growing up together, unperturbed–even comforted–by their
isolation. But she describes other scenes as well: of discord and
misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham’s nurturing
facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are
compelled to face the truth about their childhood–and about their lives
A tale of deceptive simplicity, Never Let Me Go slowly reveals an extraordinary emotional depth and resonance–and takes its place among Kazuo Ishiguro’s finest work.
Parable of the Sower
, Octavia E. Butler
In 2025, with the world descending into madness and anarchy, one woman begins a fateful journey toward a better futureA Wizard of Earthsea,
Olamina and her family live in one of the only safe neighborhoods
remaining on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Behind the walls of their
defended enclave, Lauren’s father, a preacher, and a handful of other
citizens try to salvage what remains of a culture that has been
destroyed by drugs, disease, war, and chronic water shortages. While her
father tries to lead people on the righteous path, Lauren struggles
with hyperempathy, a condition that makes her extraordinarily sensitive
to the pain of others.
When fire destroys their compound,
Lauren’s family is killed and she is forced out into a world that is
fraught with danger. With a handful of other refugees, Lauren must make
her way north to safety, along the way conceiving a revolutionary idea
that may mean salvation for all mankind.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, was called Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth.
for power and knowledge, Sparrowhawk tampered with long-held secrets
and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his
testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient
dragon, and crossed death's threshold to restore the balance.