The Deepest Cut

Come October With Us
Come October With Us

Cetus Finalis: A Gray Whale Odyssey, on sale NOW! Get your copy of the book Ben Loory called “Watership Down for whales.” Come meet author Suhail Rafidi at the book launch celebration on Sunday, October 2nd, 3-6PM, at Finnegan’s Wake (937 Cole Street, 94117)

Last week, Suhail Rafidi fielded questions about the editorial process for Cetus Finalis: A Gray Whale Odyssey. Here, the discussion turns to the specific matter of editorial cuts. We got a story from Suhail that we did not expect…

So you rewrote Cetus Finalis ten times. Does your editor Ryan see every draft?
No, I’m not that pampered. But out of personal interest, he reads about 3 or 4 of the drafts, mostly at the later stages.

Does your editor make a lot of cuts?
It depends on the project. He is true to the art, and cuts deeper than I ever would. He wants to see the vision of the book brought forth as vividly as possible. A good editor makes a great book possible.

cutskiThat’s a half-assed answer…
Yes, I’ve known him to make a lot of cuts. And when it’s time for that, my feelings don’t matter, the art does. My feelings can matter after the edits. The very first time we worked together, he was reading an early draft of TJ & Tosc. The first thing he did was throw away the beginning 15 pages, and say “This part is boring. Start here. Drop us right into the action.” I was stunned, but impressed. He was right and I never would have seen it.

I will tell you the deepest cut he ever made, and it may elucidate one of the reasons Cetus Finalis has been years in the making. Once, I think it was the 6th draft or so, I handed my editor a 170 page manuscript of Cetus Finalis. He gave me back 52 pages, saying, “This is the best part. Start over.”

Why did he cut that much?
He said, “This 50 pages is literature. The whole book has to be like this.”

Cut Chair, by Peter Bristol
Cut Chair, by Peter Bristol

Wow. What was in those 118 cut pages?
It doesn’t matter, ultimately. But since you asked: Cetus Finalis originated as a parallel story, an American Revolution historical fiction style book. Originally, two parallel storylines followed a pod of whales and a village of fisherfolk whose lives intersected at two critical junctures, at the beginning and end of the book. My editor cut out all of the human storyline. He said that he was experiencing his humanity more vividly through the whales than through the human characters, so get rid of the humans. Make it a whale story, a real whale story. Make the humans just one encounter with another species, just like all the other ones in the whale narrative. He was right. It made for a much more beautiful and otherworldly finished novel. But it also gave me a lot more work to do.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard of an editor cutting that much…
tantrumI was pissed, I’ll admit, but he was right. For a couple of days, I could barely talk to him. And he was staying at my house, so it was a little awkward. [Laughs.] In my mind, I was thinking, How could you cut so much? Did you even read it?! He was patient with my artistic moodiness.  He even let me throw a little tantrum a couple of days later. “Oh, that’s what’s bothering you?” The tantrum ended when I said, “I can ignore the changes you make any time I want to, but I trust your judgement.” He came to San Francisco to read the book. It would have been foolish of me to ask for his help then not accept it. Despite everything, the cuts improved the book. He takes personal interest in my work, and reads it thoroughly or not at all, with a keen eye for the story’s vision. Thank you, Ryan Hurtgen! I know you’re out there.

Learn a great deal more about whales, and Cetus Finalis, at the author’s website,

Cetus Finalis: A Gray Whale Odyssey, on sale NOW! Get your copy of the book Ben Loory called “Watership Down for whales.” Please join Suhail Rafidi for the book launch celebration on Sunday, October 2nd, 3-6PM, at Finnegan’s Wake (937 Cole Street, 94117)

The Editorial Skein

Cetus Finalis: A Gray Whale Odyssey. New book by Suhail Rafidi. September 2016.Last week, Suhail Rafidi discussed the significant amount of rewriting entailed in completing Cetus Finalis: A Gray Whale Odyssey. Another essential factor of writing a novel for consumption by a paying audience is a good editor. There comes a time in every large writing project when the writer is in too deep, and needs the wayfinding insight of a good editor. In this week’s installment of Cetus Finalis propaganda, Suhail Rafidi answers more detailed questions about his editorial process, and his editor.

What does an editor do?
An editor pares away the junk of a book so the author’s vision can shine through. The author knows what they want the reader to see, but there so much extra junk in the author’s mind that invariably makes its way onto the page. The editor steers it ever back to the clearest vision of the story.

Why is an editor so important?

One Of The Ways It Works
One Of The Ways It Works
There comes a time in the process of writing a book when the author becomes too close to the work, too embroiled in the minutiae, and can lose perspective of the wholeness of the book, the totality of the story arc. A good editor will look at the work as a discerning outsider, with no sympathy for the invisible desires and motivations that can convolute the manuscript. A good editor can tell you honestly what needs to be cut (usually a lot), or about a character “I need to know what she’s thinking right now,” or about a scene, “This is weak storytelling.” Writers don’t typically like to listen to truths like that, but I feel it makes all the difference.

Learn more at ryanhurtgen.comTell me something about your editor. Who is he? How did you find him?
My editor is Ryan Hurtgen. He is a composer living in Los Angeles, and one of my personal heroes. We met as strangers in Nashville in 2009 and formed our very own two man writing group. We could tell right off that we had compatible aesthetic sensibilities, and that was the magic formula for editing each other’s work. We could look at the work as disinterested and critical audience members, instead of the creator who still has a crush on his work. That was a big deal, and goes a long way to creating a finished product fit for mass consumption.

asleepingreenAt the time Ryan was composing Rene Breton’s debut album, Asleep In Green, which was released with a companion book of short stories. We agreed to exchange labor. He edited TJ & Tosc, and I edited Asleep In Green. When we began working together, we did not know each other, and we only got together to work on writing. After that, a friendship grew, helped considerably by our compatible aesthetic sensibilities. I mention the bit about not choosing a pre-existing friend as an editor because I think it is important to select an editor who does not know you as a person, because they’ll pay more attention to the writing then to you. They are more likely to be honest about the book’s audience and less likely to pull punches about how to improve your work.

Tune in next week when Suhail reveals a flabbergasting story about the deepest cut his editor ever made, and how he dealt with it. Learn a great deal more about whales, and Cetus Finalis, at the author’s website,

The Art Of Rewriting (Or, The Ten Drafts Of Cetus Finalis)

Lots of this...Many readers are writers themselves, and take interest in the creative process of other writers. There is a substantiated rumor that Suhail Rafidi’s upcoming novel, Cetus Finalis: A Gray Whale Odyssey, was written and rewritten ten times. Or in Carl Sagan speak: A one with one zero after it. Ten times sounds like an exaggeration for effect, so we went to the source. We asked Suhail Rafidi if he actually rewrote the same book 10 times:

Yes, I actually wrote Cetus Finalis 10 times; though I don’t think it’s all that surprising. Any writing instructor will tell you that the bulk of writing is rewriting.

draftHow do you know when one draft is over and another begins?
Because I start at the beginning each time. What I consider a “draft” of a novel comes in two layers, or coats. The first draft is just that, a kind of soup stock. Once it’s written, I number it 1 and print it. Once printed, I begin reading the manuscript for rewriting.

What happens next?
For the first coat, I put the manuscript on my workstation with a blank notebook next to it. Then I read the manuscript with a colored pen, one word at a time, and mark it up, change things, delete things, rewrite things, add things. If the edits fit in the margins, I write them there. If I make a larger addendum – a paragraph or some pages – I inscribe a number with a circle around it on the manuscript. Then I write the same number in the adjacent notebook and compose the passage there.

Open notebook with a ballpoint pen in the centerYou still hand write your drafts? Why?
For the first coat, yes. I feel that I maintain considerably more focus when using a pen and paper. Though the power of desktop computing can’t be understated, holding a stylus and marking the page is an ancient human physical practice. I think it will take longer than a century or two to displace the efficacy of that writing process. Dante had no word processor.

writingSo, who types it up?
I do. Once the manuscript is read and marked up, and the notebook filled with new writing, I take the marked up manuscript and the notebook to my computer. I open the original file of the draft and enter in all the changes, now laying the second coat of the same draft. During the second coat, I do not read every word of the manuscript, I just enter the changes. Sometimes while entering the changes, I make a few more. So, the second coat does allow for that.

So every one of your drafts is TWO drafts?!
I don’t see it that way, but I understand what you mean. I don’t consider a draft done until it is ready to be printed out of the computer again. After I finish entering all the hand written changes, I save the file as the next draft, number it 2. Then print and repeat; on to the next draft.

And you got all the way to draft 10 doing it that way?

How much of a change is there between drafts?
Sometimes it is rather drastic; others less. I can’t keep a lot of what I write. The stuff I can’t keep often needs to be rewritten. To give the changes a sense of proportion: the 6th draft of Cetus Finalis contained 42 new numbered passages in the notebook, in addition to the markups I made on the pages. The 7th draft contained 37 addenda. The 8th draft contained 11.

Drafts of Galatea, by Rachel Swirsky
Drafts of Galatea, by Rachel Swirsky

Tune in next time when Suhail Rafidi goes into more detail for aspiring writers about editing Cetus Finalis: A Gray Whale Odyssey, including discarding rewrites, the role of his editor, and the editorial process which refines a novel’s relentless rewriting.

Learn a great deal more about whales, and Cetus Finalis, at the author’s website,

World-Building & Whale Research

Come October With Me
Come October With Me

Party Note: Mark your calendars! Join the celebration at Suhail Rafidi’s Cetus Finalis book launch on Sunday October 2nd, 3:00-6:00 PM, at San Francisco landmark Finnegan’s Wake (937 Cole Street, 94117) Remember, “book launch” is nerdspeak for “party,” so plan on drinks at the cash bar, autographs, and laughs.

This week we’ve got a fascinating tidbit about the world-building in Suhail Rafidi’s latest novel, Cetus Finalis: A Gray Whale Odyssey. Also, why Cetus Finalis is unlike other books about whales or whaling.

Aside from children’s books, most books about whales are about whaling. (For example, there is a good book about whaling called Leviathan, by Eric Jay Dolan. It goes into considerable and engrossing detail about the whaling industry in America, from colonial times to the Gilded Age.) But Cetus Finalis, though it involves an encounter with whaling, is not about whaling. It is about whales.

hope-orca-skeletonMany research and biological texts about whales are about their ecological placement, feeding patterns, and vocalizations. A small but growing body of research exists regarding whale communication, social patterns, and the contents and meanings of their songs. We do have superficial observational knowledge of some of their more conspicuous feeding and mating behaviors. But Cetus Finalis is something more than all of these, a novel which deals with the whales in their world, on their terms.

Gray whale at Anacapa Island, California (Courtesy of

Creating a world for whales on their terms, yet comprehensible to humans, required certain considerations. With an oral history millions of years long, whales may have some brand of cosmology, some stories about where the world, and whales, came from. The trick for Suhail Rafidi with Cetus Finalis was inhabiting whaledom enough to come up with plausible, yet inaccurate (or are they?) stories about the origins of whale reality.

treeFor example, in whale cosmology, the dominant life forms on dry land are the trees. Trees are the largest living things on land, they cover a great deal of it, and they seem to bring life with them. Since ships (at this historical moment) are still all made of wood, the notion that whalers somehow serve trees is reinforced. To say more would give away too much.

Learn a great deal more about whales, and Cetus Finalis, at the author’s website,

The San Francisco book launch is on Sunday, October 2nd, 3-6PM, at Finnegan’s Wake (937 Cole Street, 94117). Mark your calendars and join the fun!


Uncanny Valley Digest: Shadow Of The Torturer

don-maitz_the-shadow-of-the-torturer_ny-pocket-books-1981_82825-8Last night’s Shadow Of The Torturer discussion jingled and jangled! The book itself has lofty goals, and the prose style conveys them allusively. The tone of this book is equal in formality to Canticle For Leibowitz. High praise coming from this group. The women are much more real than in any science book we’ve read this year. As the plot thickens, so does the reader’s interest.


I’ll admit, it took me a while to get warmed up, about 50 or 60 pages. But then once I let go, sank in, and let the prose be what it was, I didn’t want to do anything but read this excellent book.
An orphan raised to Journeyman by the Guild of Torturers (Seekers for Truth and Penitence, some call it), is exiled upon showing mercy to a prisoner.

It’s part of Wolfe’s Solar Cycle: Three four-book series, each set in the New Sun universe. Which reminds me of Dark Sun, and – by the way – this book is a D & D nerd’s dreamscape! Such a powerful, dark, refined, rendering of a role playing vibe from the Gygax halcyon days. A real D & D world, and written with depth and beauty. So nerdy, so many cloaks, swords, lances, pikes, and thieves, giants, exotic mounts, ruffians, guards, warriors, gypsies and magistrates, shopkeepers, innkeepers, pilgrims, and dark arcana.

The Wolfe Man Cometh...
The Wolfe Man Cometh…

Literature? By Wolfe’s definition…
Wolfe said, in a letter to Neil Gaiman: “My definition of good literature is that which can be read by an educated reader, and reread with increased pleasure.”

Very similar verbose, eloquent (and stilted), allusive prose as Miller, Jr. in Canticle. But less of a handle on humor.

Interesting note: Both authors are Catholics and I think they show it in each novel. The order of torturers, the guilds in general, the almost liturgical arcane-flavored style of prose, the tight are treated as churches or monastic orders. The same style of rules.
p.111 dressed as a holy man in a world without religion.

Very deft use of obscure language, most of it as refreshed Latin or ancient Greek. And very efficient use of macabre imagery. Just a few brief atrocities spread wide across the book, but they were all that was needed. The atmosphere of the prose, and the psychedelic descriptions of the world outside the citadel.

Screen shot 2015-07-08 at 6.59.04 PMScreen shot 2015-07-08 at 6.59.13 PMScreen shot 2015-07-08 at 6.59.21 PM Screen shot 2015-07-08 at 6.49.40 PM

Alienated From Their Origins
This theme has come up a few times this summer. The characters are so far removed from any epoch of time with which we are familiar (through our histories) that they have no idea what we “were” like. A medieval recreation of atmosphere, brutal monarch, walled feudal city, obscure punishments. Then we start to learn this is the far future, Jack Vance Dying Earth stuff. The place these people call the citadel was probably a starship, with all of its thick walls and corridors, all metal, and revealed ever so gradually, and most times downright eloquently, over the course of a three hundred pages of gothic prose.

Women Characters
Thank Wolfe-ness these women had some dimension. Distinct personalities and motivations. A little hetero normative, but excellent depth and texture.
Thecla, Agia, Dorcas – what characters!

Party dog want SNACKS!

Great Jack Vance Dying Earth Stuff
Red sun, FAR future.
Monochamy – formalized one-on-one mortal combat meant to resolve serious disputes. It is described as a social custom designed to eliminate murder.
super psychedelic, in a guilt ridden catholic way, not some poly-amorous Heinlein shit
Super bleak, but also adherent to the concept of duty
Like Leibowitz: A conservative religious approach that humans need very strict instructions and restrictions or everything falls apart. (Or  is it that the human solution to everything falling apart is strict social control?)
Looking for ancient earth, Like some Asimov Foundation stuff, and the predicament of the characters in Canticle For Leibowitz.

The Garden
The long road to the weapon he must pluck. Where each terrarium is a kind of holodeck on steroids. An immersive tour of what magic technology may become. A place where people become lost and the dead are stowed.

One of our visitors had to hop off.
Uh, is he Australian…?

Consensus Reality
Strong and weak minds and the porous boundaries of reality (PKD was hooked on this concept, how a more grounded or aggressive mind could actually alter the contours of the reality of a less grounded or less aggressive mind.) He’s making an important distinction between the signifier and the signified.
P.66 “Weak people believe what is forced on them. Strong people what they wish to believe, forching that to be real.”
p.127-9 This whole passage (culminating in “…an object will be brought into existence.”) on light and refraction is beyond me. Help…
The octagonal mirror room of optics. It’s like they are creating material objects by perceiving their reflections first. It also reminds me of interstellar wyrmhole ansible kind of stuff. The mechanics of it are described using writing that’s meant to be misunderstood. Complex esoterica bullshit.
p.195 “unseen is as good as unbeen”
p.110 – a child’s sight of other worlds, and hidden parts of the self

Screen shot 2015-07-08 at 8.04.29 PMScreen shot 2015-07-08 at 8.04.39 PMHow does Wolfe make a torturer character likable?
By making him more compassionate than his compatriots. The narrator professionalizes their order so they are just doing their jobs. Severain developed an emotional bond with one of the prisoners immediately.

Unless Severain is lying, he’s almost unscrupulously honest, but at the most peculiar times. As soon as he gives Thecla the knife, he goes and turns himself in.

p. 182 On Clemency: One less one is more than nothing.

A note from Wikipedia: Wolfe intentionally uses the unreliable narrator perspective and writes in the first person, as the character Severain. He believes any narrator would be unreliable, fallible. It also makes for more interesting literary problem solving for the reader.

Wrap up: LOVED IT! The only other book we’ve enjoyed more this season was Canticle For Leibowitz.

Thanks for reading. See you next week!
Thanks for reading. See you next week!

Uncanny Valley Digest: Starship Troopers

starshiptroopersvintagecoverLast night’s Starship Troopers discussion was the hobbyist’s jetpack! Notes follow. We were pleased to welcome new arrivals to the group from Nebraska and Brazil! Thank you Nate and Eren! Starship Troopers is cannonical sci fi, but it also validates all of the major criticisms of sci fi. Consensus: on par with Flatland.


Heinlein’s Premises
Man lacks a moral compass beyond the will to survive. The rest is taught.
Dan – “An emphasis on the individual heroic act.”
Really simplistic dualistic human condition stuff. Right wing radio style polemics.
Rights are conferred, not innate. What right to life does a father who must protect the lives of his children? All rights must be redeemed with blood every few generations. (He does a lot of this right wing radio stuff.)
“Some B.F. Skinner shit going on here.” The Skinner box. Human beings are as human beings do.
Codified scientific theories will solve all moral and ethical problems. No accounting for intangibles.

His big premise: If we don’t kill them, they’ll kill us. Life is a Hobbsian war of each against all.

It’ ain’t that, Heiny.
Darwinian competition, sure, but there are as many examples of cooperation. Those cooperative interrelationships are more complicated than his world view will admit.
“Just because you have one opinion on one subject, doesn’t mean you’re going to act on it.” – Nate.

“What a book, man. It’s fascinating how many things it influenced.” – Nowell

The protagonist is a Spanish kid named Juan, Johnny Rico, from Buenos Aries. He’s training in Canada and the U.S. Some implicit stuff there about one world government. But Heinlein thinks it’s a great idea. He thinks it’s the farthest mankind’s ever advanced.

Screen shot 2015-07-01 at 8.57.57 PMPublishing History
He wrote the book as a break during Stranger in a Strange Land. Took a break to write a “juvenile book,” for 12 year olds.
The G. I. Joe style of writing. He’s intentionally pandering to 12 year old boys.
Published as teen fiction in a magazine serial by Putnam and Sons. “Let’s let the readers decide who likes it!,” said their PR man. (That sounds like something out of Space Merchants. [I’m glad Space Merchants comes up so often.])

Is This Satire?
It’s definitely some kind of social commentary.
Reminded Nowell of Camus’s the Stranger. Camus is writing as a tool for espousing a philosphical politcal view. Meant to convince you of an ideology.

Contrast with the way this type of alpha voice worked in Space Merchants. Heinlein rants would have been ironic in Space Merchants. He would have been demonstrating it to demonstrate the wrongness of its existence. But not Heinlein, he loves that stuff. He idealizes the militaristic hierarchy. It’s prescriptive polemic, designed to make a point. Here’s what you need to do to be a bad ass.
“Does he buy what he’s saying, or is he saying it to make fun of it?”
“I don’t see how anybody could make the argument that this is satire.” – Gill
“Satire would have to have some element of clever humor. But this is humor-less.” – Nowell
“It could be satire through exaggeration.” – Dan

Detail of Plato and AristotlePlato’s Republic?
Is this book like Plato’s Republic, where he says this is how it ought to be. Or was there a satire in there?
It didn’t smack of satire.
The characters are stamps, icons, taking us on a tour through this military government he’s imagined. Fine, why is it so long? Make it 150 pages.
“I’m going to show them what the perfect military of the future would look like.” – Gill
“I think one reason it’s annoying is that the arguments he makes are compelling, at least logically speaking.” – Rafidi
“Yes, but is it the best possible logic for the situation?”
“Like in war, his arguments are a zero sum game. So you have to completely destroy the other side to say anything against it.” -Dan

Screen shot 2015-07-01 at 7.37.21 PMPolitical Agenda
It is trying to impose a mindset, but’s just one we don’t necessarily agree with.
“Similarities between the militaries. They’re all controlled by this remote brain, and so was Rico.” – Dan
Reference to the brain bug in the movie: “All that macho military stuff and you’re trying to kill a vagina?!” – Dan
The twist of his father. It’s so weird when he sees his dad
“That was cool. But a build up would have been nice. That character arc was interesting.” Nowell.
“That’s what happens in Atlas Shrugged.” -Gill. That’s when it gets Ayn Rand oversimplistic, dualistic, rhetoric designed to get you to think something. Sales. It’s an ad, an advertisement for that viewpoint.
HA! A straw man. Flat characters that exist to prove a point. It is what was passing for a story in this.
Sorry Heiny, maybe next book. You’re just not seeing the politics because you agree with it.

Nowell, “I think the gear lust is a big factor in this. Let me take a minute to talk about the suits!! It influenced the movie Aliens big time. James cameron had all of the actors read Starship Troopers.

20150701_210339“What’s the modern equivalent of this book?”
“Ender’s Game.”
A long diversion into Ender’s Game.

Screen shot 2015-07-01 at 8.38.33 PMHeinlein The Man
He idealized military life.
He had the blue balls of war combat.
Got squeezed out of military service in 1938 after contracting Teberculosis, and never got help to liberate the world from the Axis. [this could be why he so gives such unqualified idealization of military service and combat glory]
Heinlein’s traversal of the political spectrum, ending on conservative to the point of fascist.
He attracted people from both ends of the political spectrum because of his emphasis on personal responsibility.
Heinlein liked The Fountainhead.
Strongly affected by P.D. Ouspensky
Heinlein liked the social credit movement of the 1930s. Interdisciplinary distributive philosophy by C.H. Douglas. Absolute economic security for the individual. “Not that we shall be put into somebody else’s utopia, but that we shall be put in a position to construct a utopia of our own.”
Interesting idea that both Miller, Jr. and Heinlein were writing in a way that was processing their personal military experiences.

Screen shot 2015-07-01 at 7.57.24 PM Screen shot 2015-07-01 at 8.39.18 PMScreen shot 2015-07-01 at 7.57.25 PMScreen shot 2015-07-01 at 8.57.57 PM
What would Zizek say?

Violence is not the expression of power, but the expression of powerlessness. The father who has to hit his kid to make him be quiet has no power over his child. He has more power over a friend or acquaintence.

Heinlein validates all the major criticisms of the science fiction of his era:

  • Clunky writing (He’s got a knack for sentences that prematurely diffuse suspense)
  • Weak to nonexistent story lines
  • Escapist politics
  • No women characters, but women make good pilots. (He’s a mess. THIS is his gender equality?)
  • And he peppers it with indulgent politcal rants
  • Bugs: total colonialist “Othering” of the non-white world.
  • You never see out into the civilian life. It doesn’t exist.
Sad Puppies, Hugo Awards Esoterica 2015
Don’t let them get you down.

Current Events, Sad Puppies, and The Twilight of the Hugo Awards
A group of conservative sci fi writters (Brad Torgerson among them) rigged this year’s hugo awards. The Sad Puppies slate. They stacked the ballot with conservative writers. Because of this, many members are likely to vote No Winner. This could effectively end the Hugo Awards. It’s about time.

Supplementary reading:
Haldeman’s “The Forever War.”
The liberal leftist response to Starship Troopers.

Wrap Up:
Starship Troopers is a canonical book for the time being. We can’t wait to see other books knock it off its smug perch.

Uncanny Valley: Science Fiction Summer Reading Group

spinradIronDreamcoverWednesday Nights Summer 2015
Next meet: July 15th, 7PM (Pacific Time)
Have read: The Iron Dream (1972, Norman Spinrad)
Online and San Francisco

Greetings science fiction aficionados! This summer, descend with us into the uncanny valley! The Total Dick Head’s Science Fiction Summer Reading Group is back!
Many of you were participants last year, and all of you are wholeheartedly invited to join this year’s Sci-Fi Summer Reading Group. As last year, it will be moderated by the Total Dick Head, David Gill, and author Suhail Rafidi.

We convene every Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM Pacific Time, webcasting live from our science fiction laboratory here in San Francisco. Special guests will be announced.

Webcast links! Bookmark away!
Google Hangout []
YouTube Channel []
Facebook Event Page []

Members of the group who are in San Francisco are encouraged to attend live and enrich the discussion, at the sci fi lab, 812 31st Avenue, SF, CA, 94121. All else please tune in to the webcast.

The group will cover 7 books this summer, one per week, beginning Wednesday, June 10th, until Wednesday, July 29th. [You’ll note this is 8 Wednesdays for 7 books, as we will be skipping one hitherto undisclosed Wednesday in late July.]

Check out the reading list below. The last book(s) are tentative entries, subject to change by the moderator, or by group consensus.

Reading List:
The Space Merchants (1953) – Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth
Flatland (1884) – Edwin A. Abbot
A Canticle For Leibowitz (1960) – Walter M. Miller
Starship Troopers (1959) – Robert Heinlein
The Shadow Of The Torturer (Book Of The New Sun, Vol. 1) (1980) – Gene Wolfe
The Iron Dream (1972) – Norman Spinrad
[The Windup Girl – Paolo Bacigalupi]
[Afterparty – Daryl Gregory]