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

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

EVENT: Reading and Signing from Chris Beckett

A long time ago, before this blog kept a (irregular) chronicle of the book club's opinions and activities we read Turing Test by Chris Beckett. A collection of short stories with a great cover which went on to win the Edge Hill Prize for short fiction. We all loved the book and ate up the stories.

This is what one of the judges of the prize said:

‘I suspect Chris Beckett winning the Edge Hill Prize will be seen as a surprise in the world of books. In fact, though, it was also a bit of surprise to the judges, none of whom knew they were science fiction fans beforehand. Yet, once the judging process started, it soon became clear that The Turing Test was the book that we'd all been impressed by, and enjoyed, the most - and one by one we admitted it.

'This was a very strong shortlist, including one Booker Prize winner in Anne Enright, and two authors who've been Booker shortlisted in Ali Smith and Shena Mackay. Even so, it was Beckett who seemed to us to have written the most imaginative and endlessly inventive stories, fizzing with ideas and complete with strong characters and big contemporary themes. We also appreciated the sheer zest of his story-telling and the obvious pleasure he had taken in creating his fiction.'

Now, I'm happy to announce that Chris Beckett will be coming to Liverpool to promote his newest novel, the dystopian Dark Eden. He will be reading from his work and signing copies of the book which has already received rave reviews in The Guardian and Sunday Telegraph amongst others.

Don't miss this opportunity to meet the author being described as a "latter-day Orwell", and of course get your copy of Turing Test signed. We will also be discussing Chris's The Holy Machine in the bookclub, although not until May, so you might want to buy your copy early and get that signed too - as well as a copy of Dark Eden of course...
(Facebook link for event)

Double Vision by Tricia Sullivan

Bookclub's February 2012 Choice


When shy, psychic bookworm 'Cookie' Orbach watches television, she sees things. But not the things that you or I would see. Cookie sees The Grid - a strange, shifting landscape where human forces battle against an enemy they dare not kill. Her employer, the mysterious Dataplex Corporation, pays her well to watch this war, and asks only that she report her observations but take no direct action, which suits her passive demeanour just fine. But Cookie's quiet life is about to be shattered. Her two very different worlds are threatening to merge in a way that shouldn't really be possible, and everything is about to change. And we do mean everything...

Fated by S. G. Browne

Book Club's January 2012 choice


Over the past few thousand years, Fabio has come to hate his job. As Fate, he's in charge of assigning the fortunes and misfortunes that befall most of the human race - the 83 per cent who keep screwing things up. And with the steady rise in population since the first Neanderthal set himself on fire, he can't exactly take a vacation. Frustrated with his endless parade of drug addicts and career politicians, it doesn't help watching Destiny guide her people to Nobel Peace Prizes. To make matters worse, he has a five-hundred-year-old feud with Death, and his best friends are Sloth and Gluttony. And worst of all? He's just fallen in love with a human. Sara Griffen might be on Destiny's path, but Fabio keeps bumping into her - by accident at first, and then on purpose. Getting involved with her breaks Rule No. 1 - and about ten others - setting off some cosmic-sized repercussions that could strip him of his immortality...or lead to a fate worse than death.

Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov

December 2011's book club choice


The first of Asimov's robot novels, chronicling the unlikely partnership between a New York City detective and a humanoid robot who must learn to work together. Detective Elijah Baley invesitgates the murder of an offworlder in Spacetown. In the opinion of the Spacers, the murder is tied up with recent attempts to sabotage the Spacer-sponsored project of converting Earth to an integrated human/robot society on the model of the Outer Worlds. To search for the killer in the City's vast caves of steel, Elijah is assigned a Spacer partner named R. Daneel. That's Robot Daneel. And notwithstanding the celebrated Three Laws of Robotics, which should make such a murder impossible, R. Daneel is soon Elijah's prime suspect.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Homeward Bounders by Diana Wynne Jones


"You are now a discard. We have no further use for you in play. You are free to walk the Bounds, but it will be against the rules for you to enter play in any world. If you succeed in returning Home, then you may enter play again in the normal manner." When Jamie unwittingly discovers the scary, dark-cloaked Them playing games with human's lives, he is cast out to the boundaries of the worlds. Only then does he discover that there are a vast number of parallel worlds, all linked by the bounds, and these sinister creatures are using them all as a massive gamesboard. Clinging to Their promise that if he can get Home he is free, he becomes the unwilling Random Factor in an endless game of chance.

What Did We Think?

Discussion and vote breakdown to follow.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin


Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky - a palace above the clouds where gods' and mortals' lives are intertwined. There, to her shock, Yeine is named one of the potential heirs to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle with a pair of cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother's death and her family's bloody history. But it's not just mortals who have secrets worth hiding and Yeine will learn how perilous the world can be when love and hate - and gods and mortals - are bound inseparably.

What Did We Think?

  [notes to follow]

 Scores were as follows: 6, 7, 7, 7, 7

Thursday, 8 September 2011

NEW EVENT: Richard (K.) Morgan signing

It's been a while since I've had a science fiction or fantasy specific event which I've been able to bring to your attention and then two come along at once (more on the second one when the details are ironed out - but its a doozy!).

First off is a signing with award winning Richard Morgan, signing in store on October 19th at 12.30pm:

Remember The Steel Remains? We read it wa-ay back in October 2009 so I don't blame you if you're a bit hazy, indeed many of you weren't even with us so long ago. Anyway, go read it if you haven't already - it's a brilliantly dark, gritty fantasy that sits on the boundary between science fiction and fantasy inspired by stuff like Moorcock's Elric and the Howard Conan stories (not the naff film...).

Richard made a name for himself with hard hitting, excitingly dark science fiction such as the Takeshi Kovacs books (Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, and Woken Furies) and his Arthur C. Clarke award winning Black Man, before moving over to Fantasy and writing the utterly superb and gritty The Steel Remains in 2008.

His new novel, The Cold Commands continues the adventures begun in The Steel Remains and is a hotly anticipated addition to the genre. If you're a fan of George R. R. Martin's brand of fantasy, or Joe Abercrombie, then you'll absolutely love these books. 

Richard has also written graphic novels, such as Black Widow: Homecoming, and was lead writer for the blockbuster videogame Crysis 2

So don't miss this opportunity to meet one of the top names in science fiction and fantasy, come along and get some books signed! 

- If you can't make the signing please contact the store and we can arrange for a reservation to be made and your book to be signed in absentia.

Official Facebook event <-- invite your friends!