The Fantasy and Science Fiction/Theory Reading Group

The Fantasy and Science Fiction/Theory Reading Group is a casual, convivial group that meets usually meets on the second Tuesday of each month. We gather to discuss works (partial list of previous readings) that we have chosen collectively and to put those works in some sort of theoretical perspective, the sort, of course, depending on the works and the viewpoints of those assembled. The Group is open on a drop-in basis, because we are always interested in the views of those who are especially interested in a particular work or author, but most participants try to attend regularly. Our currently active members include faculty, graduate students, and staff from the University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and other local residents with strong interests in the field. (We are not open to undergraduates. Interested undergraduates may want to consider joining a local science fiction club such as the Stilyagi Air Corps in Ann Arbor.) The Fantasy and Science Fiction/Theory Reading Group normally meets year round from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. although occasionally our schedule varies, so please consult the calendar below. Our current location is 3154 Angell Hall in the Department of English of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The meeting will be hosted by one of our regular members. Light snacks are sometimes provided; if you would like to bring food of some sort, we only ask that you bring enough to share.

At our meeting of 14 Oct 2014, we agreed to continue meeting generally on the second Tuesday of the month and chose a slate of books for the upcoming year. All of the works listed below were available either new or used when the schedule was set, but some books may require ordering, so it is advisable to begin acquiring texts early. Our schedule 2015 follows:



T 11 Nov
Kim Stanley Robinson, 2312: a sprawling novel using SF themes such as terra-forming, necessary migration from earth, etc., whose action is set in the year 2312, in the great city of Terminator on Mercury, which is built on gigantic tracks in order to constantly stay on the planet's nightside.
T 9 Dec
J.J. Abrams, Super 8 (2011): Our annual pizza-and-viewing meeting, this time featuring a J.J. Abrams homage to Steven Spielbergs' movies like E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This movie features a group of young friends who witness a train crash and deal with the alien presence that is then set loose on their small rural town. Special location: 1180 Duderstadt Center.
T 13 Jan

Marcus Sedgwick, Midwinterblood: Seven stories of passion and love separated by centuries but mysteriously intertwined—these are tales of horror and beauty, tenderness and sacrifice.

T 10 Feb
Ursula Le Guin, Left Hand of Darkness: Le Guin's groundbreaking story of another world in which the individuals who people it can change their gender.
T 10 Mar
Frederik Pohl, Gateway: Pohl's Gateway series; winner of the 1978 Hugo Award for Best Novel, the 1978 Locus Award for Best Novel, and the 1977 Nebula Award for Best Novel.
Room Change: Angell Hall 3154 (in the corridor to the south of our old room, 3184 Angell Hall, on the way to Tisch Hall)
T 14 Apr
Glen Duncan, The Last Werewolf: The title character is Jake Marlowe, a 200-year-old, Kant­reading, chain-smoking aesthete whom one could easily imagine curling up with a bottle of single-malt Scotch and a copy of The New York Review of Books.
T 12 May
Fritz Leiber, Swords & Deviltry: Leiber's tales of Fafrd and the Grey Mouser almost single-handedly created the Swords and Sorcery genre. Featuring larcenous plots, rougish characters, conniving sorcerers and ill-fated loves, this first collection of short stories displays the inventiveness and wit for which Leiber is known.
T 9 Jun
Anne Leckie, Ancillary Justice: Winner of the Hugo, Nebula, British Science Fiction, Locus and Arthur C. Clarke Awards, this story is set on a remote, icy planet, where a soldier known as Breq must deal with an act of treachery that leaves her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance.
T 14 Jul
Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, Y the Last Man (graphic novel): Y: THE LAST MAN, winner of three Eisner Awards and one of the most critically acclaimed, best-selling comic books series of the last decade, is the saga of Yorick Brown—the only human survivor of a planet-wide plague that instantly kills every mammal possessing a Y chromosome. Accompanied by a mysterious government agent, a brilliant young geneticist and his pet monkey, Ampersand, Yorick travels the world in search of his lost love and the answer to why he's the last man on earth.
T 11 Aug
Thomas Ligotti, Teatro Grottesco: Thomas Ligotti is often cited as the most curious and remarkable figure in horror literature since H. P. Lovecraft. The horror stories collected in Teatro Grottesco feature tormented individuals who play out their doom in various odd little towns, as well as in dark sectors frequented by sinister and often blackly comical eccentrics. The cycle of narratives introduce readers to a freakish community of artists who encounter demonic perils that ultimately engulf their lives.
T 8 Sep
Alena Graedon, Word Exchange: In the not-so-distant future, the forecasted “death of print” has become a reality. Bookstores, libraries, newspapers, and magazines are things of the past, and we spend our time glued to handheld devices called Memes that not only keep us in constant communication but also have become so intuitive that they hail us cabs before we leave our offices, order takeout at the first growl of a hungry stomach, and even create and sell language itself in a marketplace called the Word Exchange.
T 13 Oct
Book selection meeting! Please come ready to suggest books for the group to read. If you wish, bring a copy of each suggested book and/or bring reviews. Please check in advance to make sure that the books you suggest are available. In case our selection discussion takes less than our two-hour allotment, anyone who wants to can bring copies of a short-short story for us to read together and chew on. If you can't make the meeting but want to make a recommendation, please send it to our email list (FantasySF@umich.edu).
T 10 Nov
David Mitchell, The Bone Clocks: a new book by the author of Cloud Atlas. This is the story of fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes, who, following a terrible fight with her mother over her boyfriend, slams the door on her family and her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: A sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as “the radio people,” Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life.

If you want to send an electronic message to this Reading Group, please address FantasySF@umich.edu. If you want to see this message on the World Wide Web, please point your browser at http://www-personal.umich.edu/~esrabkin/fsftsched.html. If you want to add your name to the mail group or make suggestions or inquiries, please contact Eric Rabkin by e-mail (esrabkin@umich.edu).

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This page was last updated on Tuesday, 12-Feb-2015 11:12:07 EDT.