Reading / Literature Club


in the last parts of re-reading ‘Three Body Problem’ trilogy again.
And again it has warped and fried my small peanut monkey brain. so fantastically good,
the cross cultural cryptic references just keep on unfurling.
best sci-fi I’ve read since asimov or Dune OG
will read again multiple times methinks


I’m really into sci-if/speculative fiction and just finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale. Funny thing is that I found it randomly over a decade ago and kinda just let it sit. I felt drawn to it towards the end of last year and decided to give it a go. Halfway through, someone asked, “are you reading it cause of the show?” And I was like :flushed: what show??? it’s really quite engaging and so beautifully poetic. I felt like a piece of me was missing when it was all over


I love anything whimsical and fantastical, so I’m reading The Patwork Girl of Oz for like the fifth time in my life. The stories in this series are so rich and in-depth. I really want to get the rest of the series, in as early an edition as possible


really feel like the show lost a lot of the tone. maybe hard to get that sense of scary uncertainty/subjectivity on screen


Kind of think this is the best dystopia that’s ever been written, or at least the most realistic, the one that could feasibly coalesce into a real society. I don’t see 1984 ever actually coming true because there are no cracks in its power structure; there are always cracks in any power structure because governments are run by people, who are inherently messy. It’s more of a thought experiment, and only bits and pieces have made their way into culture and politics (constant surveillance, degradation of language, etc). Gilead, however, you can really tell was made by real people who thought what they were doing was right, by men and women who take all the joy out of life because they’re afraid of sex. I don’t think you even need a fertility disease to make that happen.


I think he informed literally everyone, to their knowledge or not.

It’s insane to think how innovative formally and thematically his fiction is and when it was written. Definitely the GOAT


I love Borges to death. His Garden of Forking Paths and The Library of Babel are some of the most influential stories in the realm of metafiction.

If you love him, you might also dig into Adolfo Bioy-Cortes’ Invention of Morel, which Borges adored. It’s a short novel and it’s very fun.

I also think Pynchon and Barth would appeal to people who dig Borges, personally, at least. Crying of Lot 49 should be a required read. Barth became really big for me right after I got into Borges, particularly The Floating Opera.


Does anyone know the name/author of a text from very early Soviet Russia which effectively laid out a vision for the whole of society to become artists? I came across it a while back but can’t find it anywhere … its prescient in terms of analysing the fact that technology can now allow anyone sitting in their bedroom to effectively become a producer/dj/artist etc and how we might also recognise that the proliferation of the ‘freelancer’ and the creative classes means we must all now be unique and stand out if we are to survive within the current economic terrain…

just can’t find the bloody text that in some ways anticipates all this over a century ago…

Thanks in advance x


If you like surreal books, I can recommend “If on a winter’s night a traveler” by Italo Calvino. Hard to describe what’s going on but the story switches between different levels and incorporate the reader of the book too …


Sounds great whatever it is. Please post if you find out (outside of this thread).


@coldsholda could it have been Nikola Tesla?




It’s five years this week since we lost Iain Banks, so I’m re-reading Against A Dark Background, one of his few non-Culture SF novels. I’ve only read it once, I remembered it being a page-turner, but forgot how balls-to-the-wall it is. Not even a 1/4 through and there’s been a jewel heist, a double-cross, the double-crosser being double-crossed, and a train robbery. Also, the Lazy Guns are a perfectly ridiculous concept and I love it.

I know Amazon are set to work on a Culture TV series, but I wouldn’t be mad at a big-budget movie adaptation of this one.


Reading Perfecting Sound Forever, a history of recording. The introduction already feels like it’s from a bygone era (book’s from 2009, author still pits vinyl against CDs or, at most, ipods, as opposed to streaming), and there’s some boomer eyeroll stuff for sure (loong sequence about what it would be like to listen to the drummer from Led Zeppelin recording), but I’m learning a lot, and it’s philosophically interesting to think how constructed the idea of a recording really is.

Before that I was reading Passing by Nella Larsen, a pretty twisted little novel about a woman meeting an old friend who’s passing as white, and the mix of repulsion and fascination she feels towards her. Larsen needs to be read more.


I love the whole idea and structure of the book, but alas, it becomes way too comical towards the last chapters.

currently I read The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard after proposing it to my book club. it seems to be the perfect book for the summer - it’s a dystopian tale set in post-apocalyptic London that deals with climate change. we follow scientists on their way through the jungles of GB, come across giant insects, flooded cities and tropical temperatures. it’s truly remarkable that this was his second novel written in 1962.


Finishing up Master and Margarita for the 2nd time… what a ride

Also interesting that my edition indicates sections that were edited out by Soviet censors; some of them are perplexing as to why they were disliked…


@Meddle I knew someone who swore up and down that reading two translations of this book was like reading two entirely different books. I read an older mass market edition with a rakish black cat holding a gun on the cover and loved it.

is your edition annotated or were the sections cut from the original Russian just marked with a footnote?


oh, guess I have to read it again because it’s been a while. J.G. Ballard sounds good! Have to put this on the list :slight_smile:


it’s actually a French translation… there’s just indicators where it was censored.

interesting what your friend says about the translation, because mine is a relatively old/flowery French one; maybe staying literally true to the 1930(?)s. I have to reach for the dictionary every other page haha


Ballard’s always a discomforting read, but I read The Drowned World a couple of years ago, and while I appreciate it was the '60s, the level of misogyny and racism made me queasy. Loads of people wrote books in that decade that weren’t gross, so I’m not gonna give him a pass on it.

Shame, because the world-building and the tension were fantastic.