Thursday, November 19, 2009

Meeting for Saturn's Children

On November 19 2009 we met at the Bloomington Barnes & Noble to discuss Saturn's Children by Charles Stross. The book had been suggested by Gregory, Abe, and Raja.

Here are the votes in the order they were given:
Abe 7
Emily 8
Chris 7
Dru 8--no, 2--no, 5
Lisa 4
Jeff 4 (though the discussion made him suggest lowering to 3)
Raja 4

(Raja insisted on giving his vote last.)

The book was not terribly popular. Gregory and Raja loved the astronautics, though they had concerns about whether shipping bulky bodies around the Solar System was the best way to do things. Raja liked the planetary science as well; it reminded him of John Varley's work. Unfortunately, the characters weren't as good as Varley's, and Raja resented the time spent with the characters.

Gregory apologized; he'd complained in the past about other members' seeming obsession with books consisting of vampires and sex ... and this book seemed to mostly consist of robots and sex.

Several people said that the book started out reasonably well but got too confusing by about halfway.

(One other complaint of Raja's is that the book, like the middle section of Accelerando, presents people with incredible computational riches frittering them away simulating low-computational lifestyles (i.e., ours). Raja compared it to aristocrats playing at being peasants and found it insulting.)

After the meeting, Jeff suggested Heinlein's Friday--the putative model for this novel, and promised Chris he would be good if she would ;-). Rather to Raja's surprise, Friday will be the book for our February (25th) 2010 meeting.