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Started: 2010-05-16 13:44:04

Submitted: 2010-05-16 14:46:59

Visibility: World-readable

Every month, on the first Monday of the month (excluding holidays, holiday halos, and otherwise conflicting schedules) Kiesa and I host a book club in Erie. We went through a bit of a steampunk binge in April and May, reading The Affinity Bridge by George Mann and Boneshaker by Cherie Priest, in that order. I'm never quite sure how early I ought to start reading the book (if I start too early I fear I may forget everything before the discussion rolls around), so I tend to start late and binge on Sunday night before the Monday evening meeting. I misjudged Boneshaker and didn't quite finish the book in time; I was about a chapter from the end, having read the climax and was missing only the denouement -- and the surprise twist in the last pages. Overall I enjoyed the book, though I had trouble following the motivations and shifting alliances of all of the characters. The world-building gave the sense of a much bigger world than what we could see in a single book, though I couldn't figure out what made the Civil War draw out much longer than its historical counterpart in this particular alternate timeline. (Having Seattle overrun by zombies would make for an interesting new musical genre -- zombie grunge rock. Just shout "brains" over any Nirvana song and you're set.)

I was also amused by The Affinity Bridge, especially the tongue-in-cheek reinterpretation of Victorian London. Despite having its share of foggy mornings, grim zombie attacks, and airship disasters, the book trended towards a light-hearted romp through London than the grim survivalist tone of Boneshaker. While I enjoyed both books, I preferred Boneshaker.

(For next month we're reading River of Gods by Ian McDonald. Given that the book is set in India, in 2047, it should surprise no one that it was my nomination, though I'm not sure how much anyone else will get out of it, being somewhat less obsessed with India than I am. I'm trying to avoid adding too many India-related books to my "to-be-read" stack (I think I have at least as many unread books on my list as read books), as I intend to work through my current backlog before finding a new country to obsess over.)

Last night I finished reading A Mighty Fortress by David Weber, being the fourth book in his relatively-new Safehold series. I continue to be fascinated by the insights about religion he shares in his characters as they try to pick out what to believe when they learn that the Church of God Awaiting is one giant fraud, to varying levels of success. One of my stated goals is to find truth and beauty in all of the world's religions, though I confess I have a bit of a blind spot where Christianity is involved. (There's a long changelog I need to write about that, based on conversations Willy and I had while I was in India.) Of course, the real reason I read David Weber is for the naval combat, and this book does not disappoint.

When aiming for the lowest common denominator,
be prepared for the occasional division by
zero.