Waterstone's Liverpool One Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club

Waterstones Liverpool One Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club

"This is space. It's sometimes called the final frontier. (Except that of course you can't have a *final* frontier, because there'd be nothing for it to be a frontier *to*, but as frontiers go, it's pretty penultimate...)"
- Terry Pratchett, Moving Pictures

About Us

This is the official blog for the book club held in the book lounge of Waterstones Liverpool One.

The group meet at 6pm on the first Monday of the month to discuss their thoughts and opinions on the books selected. The books range from classic fantasy to brand new science fiction short story collections.

It's a fun and friendly atmosphere and all are welcome: from those who have never read any science fiction or fantasy before, to those who don't read anything else.

The group, and this blog, are administered by Glyn Morgan, the Bookseller responsible for the Science Fiction section of the store and an avid reader of SF who is currently studying for his PhD at the University of Liverpool.

If you would like to comment on any of the books we've read, this month or in the distant past, please feel free to contribute to the comments section of the relevant posts.

Visit this club's little sister: Coffee and Comics

Monday, 5 October 2009

Eon by Greg Bear

Plot Synopsis

Above our planet hangs a hollow Stone, vast as the imagination of Man. The inner dimensions are at odds with the outer: there are different chambers to be breached, some even containing deserted cities. The furthest chamber contains the greatest mystery ever to confront the Stone's scientists. But tombstone or milestone, the Stone is not an alien structure: it comes from the future of our humanity. And the war that breaks out on Earth seems to bear witness to the Stone's prowess as oracle ...

What did we think?

My first book as "chair" of the Book Club and my initial worried about no one being t
here were dispelled by an impressive turnout.

Whilst the novel seemed to be big on ideas, and good ones at that, it was generally agreed that it fell down on characters. Many of the characters in the novel seems to be little more than cardboard-cutout stereotypes with bland or (in the case of the sex scenes) poorly handled emotions. Much, if not all, of their emotional story was deemed to be superfluous and to distract from the much more interesting concept of the intergalactic, interdimensional asteroid.

As an example of Hard SF, as well as containing an example of a "Big Dumb Object", it drew comparisons with Larry Niven's Ringworld and Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama, both of which were written earlier 1970 and '73 respectively (Eon was '85). The politics of the nove
l, steeped in Cold War pessimism about human co-operation, was found to be interesting if, obviously, dated. I would draw attention to Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars which handles multiple plots and politics better than Eon.

On the whole, the novel was enjoyed but not loved, frustrating but not hated. It was seen as an example of an author's earlier work where the author was big on concept and the scientific propping up of said concept, but let down by the human aspect. It could be said that in Eon, Bear lacks the emotional maturity that comes both with age and experience as a writer (he was 34 when Eon was published).

The average score given to Greg Bear's Eon was 5/10

Votes: 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 5.5, 6, 6

So. Do you agree with my summary of the meeting? Did I miss out a major point or do you just want to continue the discussion on these themes. Either way is fine, this was written largely from memory (next time I'll take better notes). Post your comments below:


  1. Jarts

    I believe that these aliens had a strong threatening feel to them because they are unseen and do not act until the end of the book. In other science fiction the enemy appears far too often and more often than not is always defeated (take a certain collective beginning with B from Trek).

    Maybe an early taster of their power could have been given which would have made them more threatening.

    I don't think this is beyond Bear as he did a fairly good job with action when the Americans and Russians clashed.

    OPEN QUESTION: What makes the ideal science fiction and/or fantasy villain?

  2. not quite threatening enough, even at the end they are not fully utilised or the threat itself identified apart from standard misunderstandings as the main reason for conflict, hence why no earlier protagonist approach from them, i feel that the humans were considered the more dangerous, the confict between american and russian, think of moonraker

    the ideal science fiction / fantasy villain, although many ideals such examples exist, the main concept of vilain is control and pesence, Lord Vetinari

  3. Ahhh Terry Pratchett, the source of so much wisdom!

  4. i know but was in one them moods when entered it

  5. I'll have to admit here that Morgan's villains are better than Bear's.