Science Fiction

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Upcoming Topics

The next few meeting topics are shown below.

More meeting topics get chosen at our June and December meetings each year.

Meeting Title Author or Director Medium Presenter
July 7, 2018 Joseph Campbell and Science Fiction N/A Theme Stephanie H., Mark A, and Doug M.
To prepare for this meeting, it is recommended that you read this Wikipedia article on Joseph Campbell's conception of the Hero's Journey. You may also wish to read this Salon article on Campbell's influence on the Star Wars series.
In this theme meeting, we will discuss Joseph Campbell's notion of a Hero's Journey, as it relates to science fiction literature and film. We will also discuss the preponderance of hero figures in SF, as well as the ways in which SF can be considered "mythological".
August 4, 2018 Dolly/**Film** Elizabeth Bear (Writer)/Alex Proyas (Director) Story/Film Mark A.
Dolly: The book is available at the library (in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Ninth Annual Collection), at AbeBooks, and at this URL: An appropriate feature film will be shown at the meeting.
Dolly: Police investigate the nebulous limits of consciousness, as they investigate the murder of Clive Steele, a wealthy industrialist, by his robotic companion, Dolly. Film: Dr. Alfred Lanning, co-founder of US Robots and Mechanical Men, dies under suspicious circumstances, with Del Spooner, a Chicago police detective, suspecting that a robot is to blame. Aided by Dr. Susan Calvin, a robo-psychologist, Spooner uncovers the sinister plot behind Lanning's death.
September 1, 2018 Leviathan Wakes James S. A. Corey (Writer) Story/Film Terry B.
The book is available at the library and from Amazon and Chapters/Indigo.
200 years after migrating into space, mankind is in turmoil. When a reluctant ship's captain and a washed-up detective find themselves involved with the case of a missing girl, what they discover brings the solar system to the brink of war and exposes the greatest conspiracy in human history. This is the first book in the best selling book series "The Expanse" and is the basis for the TV show of the same name. While we will discuss the show as well, the focus will be on the book.
October 6, 2018 Avengers of the Moon Alex M. Steele (Writer) Novel Ron T.
The book is available at the library and at Amazon and Chapters/Indigo.
Curt Newton has spent most of his life hidden from the rest of humankind, being raised by a robot, an android, and the disembodied brain of a renowned scientist. This unlikely trio of guardians has kept his existence a closely guarded secret after the murder of Curt's parents. Curt's innate curiosity and nose for trouble inadvertently lead him into a plot to destabilize the Solar Coalition and assassinate the president. This is a re-imagining /update of the character Captain Future published in pulp magazines in the 1940s.
November 3, 2018 **Film** Alex Garland (Director) Film Mark A.
This film will be shown during the meeting.
A diffident programmer is invited to the isolated home of his eccentric & overbearing CEO to perform a Turing test on an AI. But who is really being tested? Not to be confused with the comic book series of the same name.
December 1, 2018 The Mechanical Ian Tregillis (Writer) Novel James J.
This book is available at the library and at Amazon and Chapters/Indigo.
The Clakker: a mechanical man, endowed with great strength and boundless stamina -- but beholden to the wishes of its human masters. Soon after the Dutch scientist and clockmaker Christiaan Huygens invented the very first Clakker in the 17th Century, the Netherlands built a whole mechanical army and became the world's sole superpower. Only the French still fiercely defend their belief in universal human rights for all men -- flesh and brass alike.
Jan 5, 2019 The Orville (Season 1) Seth MacFarlane (Creator) TV Series Reinhardt C.
Most of us have probably viewed the series already on TV but arrangements will be made to circulate a copy of Season 1 when disks become available. No episodes of the show will be shown during the meeting.
Conceived as an homage - and parody - of Star Trek and Twilight Zone, The Orville is a relatively nondescript exploration vessel named after Orville Wright, one of the two famous Wright Brothers. The Orville travels a Trek-like universe exploring and rendering aid to those in distress.
February 2, 2019 Poison/The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas Henrietta Rose-Innes (Writer)/Ursula K. LeGuin (Writer) Short Story/Short Story Mark A./Stephanie H.
Poison is available to read free here.The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas is available at the library and at Amazon and Chapters/Indigo.
Poison: An explosion at a chemical plant in Cape Town has caused a toxic cloud to form over the city, with residents leaving on congested roads. The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas: The Festival of Summer arrives in Omelas, a utopian city, full of people leading happy and peaceful lives. But the happy, peaceful lives of those in Omelas come at a price -- they depend on the suffering of a single child.

Preparing For Meetings

If you are thinking about attending one of our meetings, it would be a very good idea for you to prepare beforehand. Generally, that means getting and reading the book before the meeting. We know that many people cannot afford expensive hardcover editions. Therefore, it is our practice to choose only meeting topics for which a trade paperback or mass market paperback is available. For information on how to acquire the books mentioned on this page, please see our Availability of Books page. It offers information on how to search the London Public Library online catalog as well as links, phone numbers, and more to help you track down a copy of a book so that you can prepare for one of our meetings.

For film and TV topics, we will show the film or program (or at least an episode or two) at the meeting if the library licenses allow it. If the licenses don't permit us to show the film or program, we will circulate one or more copies of the film or program prior to the meeting. The description of the topic will indicate whether the film will be shown at the meeting or whether members will need to acquire it in advance. The Film/TV Sources page of this website will give you some information on how to determine if the film can be found at the London Public Library as well as how to find it elsewhere if the library doesn't have it.

Past Topics

You can see a more-or-less complete list of past meeting topics as well as a variety of interesting reports about those topics. Those reports list the authors and directors we have examined the most frequently, the members who have presented topics the most often, etc. etc.