Post-Apocalyptic Book Club Redux

Sharon June 18th, 2008

Well, it does seem like there’s some interest in the book club, no? I got 116 comments and a bunch of fascinating suggestions!

 I love all the suggestions – and I’m already mentally making lists “P-A Book Club – Year 2.”  The downside is that we’re going to have to leave off some favorites – not enough time.  But as mentioned, we can make supplemental lists as we go.

I did make some revisions based on suggestions, and have a few comments about why I chose what I did.  I’ll put together a list of supplemental suggestions for each month as we go along, using a lot of these suggestions.  And thanks – there are some I don’t know about, and I’m going to be reading.

Ok here are my revisions, and I’m going to let y’all vote on a few of them.  Let me know your preferences, post your vote in the comments, (the actual poll is below and numbered), and I’ll let you know the outcome.

July “Classic Guy Doom“ - Heinlein _The Moon is a Harsh Mistress_ and Niven/Pournelle _Lucifer’s Hammer_.  I agree that LH isn’t a great book – there are parts of it that are quite compelling, but it has a lot of serious problems.  But I do really think we should read it, because it is the archetype of a particular kind of world vision.  This one stays as is.  Eliot’s “The Wasteland” is going to be the supplement.

August “The Girl’s Guide to the Apocalypse” – A lot of people suggested _Into the Forest_ by Jean Hegland and we might do this one for some other topic, but the thing is, I think in many ways, structurally, it is very similar to _Life as We Knew It_ by Susan Beth Pfeiffer, in that it offers a female perspective in a very narrow world – both books have some references to community, but ultimately, the survival aspect of both is “family alone” – I think both have things to offer, but I want the other choice we make for a gendered perspective to be more focused on community.  I had proposed _The Gate To Women’s Country_ by Sherri Tepper, in part because I think it is a good parallel to _The World Made by Hand_ by James Kunstler which we discussed here recently – that is, it isn’t just a feminine view, but a totally woman-centered communal one – with some problems.   The other possibility would be _The Fifth Sacred Thing_ by Starhawk, which also has a strong community vision.  So I’ll be letting you pick. Poll down below, please answer in comments (I don’t know how to make a real poll in wordpress, so you’ll have to put up with my low tech model).

September “Energy Crash Month” – I’m going to keep things the same – _Dies the Fire_ by Stirling and Johnston’s _After the Crash_.

October “Reader Choice Month”   Ok, so far the themes that have been suggested (explicitly or by implication) might include “Zombie Month” with (”World War Z” and “Monster Island” as the suggestions - neither of which I’ve read), “Hunter-Gatherer Month” (_The Earth Abides_ and _Into the Forest_), “Apocalyptic Children’s Books (Quite a few suggestions here, I’d need to sort through, although _The Girl Who Owned a City_ Was a Fave of Mine when I was 11 – the perfect pre-teen power trip novel ;-) ).  These seem to be the most popular, so I’ll be letting you vote.

November: “Nuclear Holocaust Month” –  I can’t believe I forgot about _A Canticle for Lebowitz_ by Walter Miller.  Definitely that one and Pat Frank’s _Alas, Babylon_.  Excellent!

December: “Ecological Doom Month” For Ecological Doom, Moran’s _Earth of Ice_ was suggested, and sounds promising (I haven’t read it, but that’s part of the fun!).  And Kim Stanley Robinson’s _Forty Days of Rain_.

January: “High Culture Doom Month“ Cormac McCarthy’s _The Road_ and selections from _The Canterbury Tales_ (”The Pardoner’s Tale” definitely, maybe also “The Cook’s Tale” and _The Decameron_)  And I’m going to need you all to offer me suggestions on what the absolute worst post-apocalyptic novel ever is.  Right now, my vote is for an excresence I picked up at a used book shop called _The EndLight Event” by John Cater.  This makes “Farnham’s Freehold” look like Shakespeare.  But I bet there’s something worse out there.  Help me out!

February: “Horrible Disease Month” – I’m not giving up Saramago, which I just think is a wonderful, beautiful book.  Several people have suggested Atwood’s _Oryx and Crake_ which I have not read.  Would people rather that than Stephen King’s _The Stand_ which, believe it or not, I also have not read?  I realize I’m the only person on the earth who hasn’t read the King book – it was just that that was all anyone in my high school read, it seemed (Kim who commented before and went to high school with me can probably attest to this ;-) ) and I read a couple and got bored and quit.  So I partly put it on there to make myself read it, but if y’all like _Oryx and Crake_ better in the disgusting disease department, I’m fine with it.  The other possibility, although this isn’t a human disease is _No Blade of Grass_ by John Christopher (which I also forgot about and really like)  Poll below.

March: Religion and Apocalypse: I actually did read one of the _Left Behind_ Novels in graduate school, because I felt I ought to – it wasn’t the first one, and it was dreadful. I still feel really strongly that we should read it, because it is culturally important – those books are the most read apocalyptic novels in our culture.  The problem is that I’m torn.  I definitely want us to read _The Parable of the Sower_ but someone mentioned _Good Omens_, and I’m really struggling with my desire to do that one too.  So I’ve decided I’ll run all three – none is that long.  And I won’t ask y’all to read any high culture books at all.  I think the three together will really kick ass!

April: “The Collapse of the State”: David Brin’s *ORIGINAL* (I’m totally with MEA on this one) “The Postman,” and Roth’s _The Plot Against America_ along with Achebe’s _Things Fall Apart_ for those who want more to read.

May: I’m making a slight change here “Internet Fiction and Movie Month” – I’m going to put together a bunch of online fiction and a list of movies, and we’ll take a break from actual books for a month.

June: Population Apocalypse: Thanks, thank, thanks to those who reminded me of Brunner’s _Stand on Zanzibar_ which I read in High School, loved and haven’t seen since.  I think that one, combined with PD James in _The Children of Men_ will be nice juxtaposition.  And, of course, we’ll read Malthus himself.  

Ok, so I need your answers to a poll (please put the numbers in so I don’t completely lose track of what questions are being answered.

1. For August, would you rather read Starhawk’s _The Fifth Sacred Thing_ or Tepper’s _The Gate To Women’s Country_?

2. For October, would you prefer “Zombies” “Apocalyptic Children’s Novels” or “Hunter-Gatherers” as a theme?

3.  For January – Your votes for the worst post-apocalyptic novel ever!!!

4. For February – Should we read _The Stand_, _No Blade of Grass_ or _Oryx and Crake_? 

 Post your votes, and let the doominess begin.  I’ll run the first discussion of Heinlein on Monday, July 6, so get a’readin ;-) .



54 Responses to “Post-Apocalyptic Book Club Redux”

  1. MEAon 18 Jun 2008 at 7:51 am

    Good morning, Professer Astyk.

    1) Gate to Women’s Country
    2) Zombies — because I like the non-fiction companion book to WWZ even better.
    3) Dean Ing’s book –can’t recall title, but will let you know.
    4) No Blade of Grass, because of the assumptions about the role of rape in society.

  2. MEAon 18 Jun 2008 at 7:52 am

    Just realized, that for a bunch of Doomers, we’re assuming the Internet will be around for at least a year!!!

  3. Zach Freyon 18 Jun 2008 at 7:54 am

    I suppose for religion and apocalypse month, I should put a plug in for Michael D. O’Brien’s “Children of the Latter Days” series (as an antidote for Left Behind ;) )

    O’Brien’s work is apocalyptic fiction from a Catholic, rather than an Evangelical, point of view. (100% Rapture-free!). Much meatier stuff than Left Behind… I find O’Brien’s insight into how society can fall into a “soft totalitarianism” very good.

    On the downside, if you think Steve Stirling’s writing is sub-par, you’re really going to be annoyed with O’Brien as a novelist. He’s a much better essayist than a novellist, and he fails to resist the temptation to preach. I don’t mind myself, since I find his preaching interesting too, but I admit it’s a literary flaw.


  4. Sarahon 18 Jun 2008 at 8:10 am

    1. For August, would you rather read Starhawk’s _The Fifth Sacred Thing_ or Tepper’s _The Gate To Women’s Country_?

    The Gate to Women’s Country

    2. For October, would you prefer “Zombies” “Apocalyptic Children’s Novels” or “Hunter-Gatherers” as a theme?

    Apocalyptic Children’s Novels

    4. For February – Should we read _The Stand_, _No Blade of Grass_ or _Oryx and Crake_?

    No Blade of Grass

  5. bryanton 18 Jun 2008 at 8:13 am

    If you decide to in favor of a second semester of the P A Book club, the title I would recommend for “February: “Horrible Disease Month”” would be “The Doomsday Book” by Connie Willis. Granted, it is set in the late middle ages, but I think it presents the enormity of a pandemic and some of its “knock-on” effects very well.

    1) Sheri Tepper

    2) no pref.

    3) not Stephen King…just too long, like the rest of his stuff; doesn’t this guy have an editor?

  6. Sarahon 18 Jun 2008 at 8:23 am

    Ooo, I second Doomsday Book! And the future setting even has references to a flu pandemic that happened presumably sometime about 5-10 years before the plot starts.

  7. Beckyon 18 Jun 2008 at 8:38 am

    1. Tepper, definitely. I’ve read both and I think it’s by far the more thought provoking book.

    2. Hunter-gatherer.

    4. Oryx and Crake. The Stand is a doorstop, and while No Blade of Grass sounds interesting, it seems to be out of print and used copies are selling on Amazon for $60. Checking Worldcat, it doesn’t seem to have wide availability in libraries, at least not near me.

    And agreeing with Bryant on Doomsday Book – yes, part of it is set in the middle ages, but there’s also a substantial part, complete with nasty disease, set in the near future.

  8. rdheatheron 18 Jun 2008 at 8:51 am

    1. I’m going to have to go with Gate to Women’s Country just because it’s a constant re-read book.

    No opinion on the rest of the poll-it’s going to be interesting reading something out of my comfort zone…..

  9. Hummingbirdon 18 Jun 2008 at 8:55 am

    I”m another one who’s never read King–just no interest.

    1. Starhawk

    3. McCarthy

    4. No Blade of Grass!
    (unfortunately oop)

    Never read the Willis because it sounded like nightmare stuff, but it got awards and excellent reviews.

  10. kristineon 18 Jun 2008 at 8:56 am

    1. gate to women’s country
    2. hunter-gatherer
    3 and 4 i have no preference on

  11. Hummingbirdon 18 Jun 2008 at 8:57 am

    I voted for the McCarthy because I thought I was voting for the WORST book. If I am wrong, delete my vote.

  12. MEAon 18 Jun 2008 at 9:03 am

    The Dean Ing is Pulling Through.

    I thought that this middle aged hero getting it off with younger women was a guy thing, until I remembered Parable of the Sower, and the narrator’s thing for Frederick Douglass look alikes.

  13. Besson 18 Jun 2008 at 9:31 am

    Having read both The Stand and Oryx and Crake, I definitely vote for the latter. I haven’t read No Blade of Grass though, so I vote equally for that one — I’m always up for reading something new.

  14. Texicalion 18 Jun 2008 at 9:43 am

    I am inclined to vote against zombies, as yet I have not seen a lot of evidence that the apocalypse will include them. But I am willing to be persuaded. I suggest placing the movie segment in the winter. I wake up early (only sorta, 6am ish) and I am usually outside until dark. Dark comes much sooner in the winter so that provides a larger block of time in which to watch movies. During the winter we might watch one or two a week. During the spring and summer, it is more like one a month.

  15. Terion 18 Jun 2008 at 10:00 am

    1) Let’s do Tepper’s Gate to Women’s Country (I haven’t read this and I have read Starhawk)

    2) I vote we do Hunter-Gatherer

    3) & 4) no opinion here

    Might be a good idea to avoid out-of-print or rare books due to difficulty in finding them and/or the cost if found.

  16. Susan in NJon 18 Jun 2008 at 10:18 am

    1. The Fifth Sacred Thing — never read it and I don’t think I can bring myself to read or re-read any more Tepper. About fifteen years ago, I went through a real phase on her writing and then swore off out of some sort of Tepper fatigue.

    2. I have to vote Zombies with Apocalyptic Children’s book as a second. My favorite for the second around sixth grade was “Catseye” by Andre Norton.

    3. not thinking of anything at the moment

    4. Never read the Stand and not particularly interested in doing so. I’ve read Oryx and Crake and would read it again. (Plus one could watch the first Resident Evil movie for the definitive B movie action flick take on genetic catastrophe for a certain synergy). Paul McAuley’s White Devil also is an interesting but uneven look at a post-genetic catastrophe Africa where genetically branded vegetation/animal life has crashed. I vaguely remember No Blade of Grass in the library when it first came out but for some reason I don’t think I ever read it, which is not a recommendation. Connie Willis’ book would be a great addition.

  17. Susan in NJon 18 Jun 2008 at 10:23 am

    3. Actually, I think I would of said “Children of Men” may be on my worst list except that the movie version rather redeemed the story; I didn’t like P.D. James’ book — it suffered from what I think of as out of genre author syndrome and was a bit heavy on Church of England overtones. But you’ve got that covered elsewhere.

  18. Nettleon 18 Jun 2008 at 10:34 am

    1. Either is OK, though I’m leaning towards Tepper – I haven’t read either one and would be interested in both, but I’m a little Starhawked-out for pretty much the rest of my life.

    2. “Apocalyptic Children’s Novels”

    3. No opinion. I read the first chapter of “Left Behind” and the writing was so awful I couldn’t bear to continue, and I have a pretty high tolerance for awful writing, but we have that book elsewhere on the list.

    4. Of the three, I haven’t read “No Blade of Grass,” so I’m leaning that way, but it looks like it’s hard to find. I could get it through my local library, but that might not be true for everyone. Second choice is “Oryx and Crake,” which I’ve read before and would enjoy reading again, especially in company. I didn’t think “The Stand” was so bad, but I have no desire to reread it.

  19. The Purloined Letteron 18 Jun 2008 at 11:11 am

    1. Either–or both

    2. “Hunter-Gatherers”

    3. ?

    4. Either _No Blade of Grass_ or _Oryx and Crake_?

    One book that might be good in either Children’s or in Nuclear is Robert C. O’Brien’s _Z For Zachariah_.

  20. Rosaon 18 Jun 2008 at 11:13 am

    1. Gate to Women’s Country. As much as I love Starhawk’s work and her essays, i haven’t ever been able to finish 5th Sacred Thing.

    2. Hunter-Gatherer’s (And i’d recommend the nonfiction book Goatwalking, for an argument for modern Western nomadism.) Or zombies, because they’re such a great metaphor and we don’t have to deal so much wiht “but the crash wouldn’t really be like that…”

    4. No Blade of Grass. I hate Oryx & Crake, and while I loved The Stand as a teenager, it is really, really long and there are multiple versions out there, with different endings.

    Sharon, are you compiling all the extra suggestions for the various subjects? If not, I am going to.

  21. Ailsa Ekon 18 Jun 2008 at 11:47 am

    I think The Fifth Sacred Thing would make sense for the religion month.

    I just want to note myself as highly in favor of the Rapture, btw. Seems like a win-win situation to me – they’re happy, we’re happy (to be rid of them), what could be bad?

  22. Green Assassin Brigadeon 18 Jun 2008 at 11:50 am

    1- No opinion

    2 no zombies, despite my love of such movies, zombies just don’t that flare for dialogue I like, ARRRRRGGGGG, gets a bit repetative.

    3. steven King is a hack, the stand was a lame book
    but L R hubbers Battlefield earth was the crappiest book that might quality for P A book I have ever read.

    4.Oryx and Crake, or blade of grass, no King please.

  23. Limnaon 18 Jun 2008 at 12:00 pm

    I don’t think the Starhawk book fits best into the “girls guide” category (which seems to be getting a bit simplistic and separatist, anyway). What about, for future themes, a “Community Building” month, or perhaps a “Positive Outcomes” month? The Starhawk book would fit into either, and the Butler books would also be good for a “communities” theme.

  24. Sharonon 18 Jun 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Y’know, there is zippo chance I’m going to make everyone happy here ;-) . Frankly, I think the Starhawk book is a very good parallel to Niven/Pournelle book, simply because it is, IMHO, and like Niven/Pournell, utterly dreadful, (sorry, I know some people really like it – this should be a warning that I’m going to be the opinionated sort of reading group leader ;-) ) but offers up a good example of another set of weak assumptions that end up getting played out in discussions of the future. That is, the kind of assumptions at play in Starhawk are also something that gets discussed throughout the culture. That’s why I’m willing to consider it at all – to read it in conjunction with the “guy” novels and to talk about why certain assumptions function in certain subcultures. Tepper has some of the same problems, but she’s a better writer, IMHO.

    But no, we’re not having Happy Endings month – that’s a different book club ;-) . And again, no one is going to be perfectly satisfied.


  25. bunnygirlon 18 Jun 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Sharon, I have an internet fiction project in progress, of the post-pandemic variety. I’m doing cleanup on it and it’s at about 98K words. (Most novels are 80-100K) So far I only have preview content (and I’m adding more weekly) as I edit my draft. I expect to start posting the story later this summer, but if you want to use it in your book club next spring, go right ahead. There will be accompanying print and pdf versions available for anyone who prefers not to read the blog (although the blog is where all the pictures will be). In the meantime, I’ve got info, pictures, and excerpts here:

    I also have a much longer web serial with an accompanying pdf download and print version available from Lulu. The story is about a young woman’s journey from New Mexico to Kentucky in a post-peak oil world. Diana is from a generation for whom oil and electricity shortages are the norm and the United States has broken up due to wars and secession. On her journey she meets a wide variety of people, including refugees, gang members, farmers, commune-dwellers, hermits, shopkeepers, and religious folk (both good and bad). The “second diary” portion is incomplete and on hiatus, but the “first diary” portion is the one that’s done and that I cleaned up for Lulu.

    I also have a collection of flash fiction (1000 words or less) pieces available, but the stories are more focused on surviving the secession and war phase of post-peak oil rather than the energy issues themselves.

    Here’s my blogger profile:

    Anything you like on any of my blogs, feel free to share. Just do me a favor and if you do decide to share, do so by link with a kind reminder that stealing is bad. ;-) And no worries if my style of fiction isn’t your cup of tea. I take pride in my work, but I’m not egotistical. :-)

  26. Kation 18 Jun 2008 at 1:54 pm

    1) Tepper’s book
    2) Hunter-Gatherers
    3) The Stand

    WORST Post-Apocolyptic novel that I’ve read thus-far would be _Quake_ by Richard Laymon. RL has a anti-hero (one of many “main” characters in this book, but THAT isn’t part of the draw-back on this book) that he seems almost to delight in. The character is a sadistic, murdering, rapist who thrills in cutting women up while he violates them, and the author seems to get a kick out of this. It was much too gory and extremely disturbing. (The down-side of this as a post-apocolyptic is that it focuses solely on the area around LA in Calif. that this quake occurs. Therefore, it’s only post-apocolyptic for an area, but not a whole country or world. Then again, I guess _Alas, Babylon_ also focuses primarily on one small area, but even IT goes into some mention of the effects on the rest of the world.)

  27. Leila Abu-Sabaon 18 Jun 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Not even a mention of Defoe’s Journal of a Plague Year for Disease month?

    Maybe for year 2?

    I love the Saramago. No opinion on the others (I’m not going to do this book club anyway, I am not in the mood for apocalypse! Sorry! Chemo and everything…) Just putting in my whiny $.02 about the Defoe.

  28. kasaon 18 Jun 2008 at 2:10 pm

    1) Tepper, since that book has been on my TBR list for ages.
    2) Zombies! Though, as someone suggested Z for Zachariah up there and I loooooved that book in middle school, I could roll with that. In general, zombie lit is lacking. Zombie cinema, however, is generally excellent. Save it for movie month?
    3) Not a clue…
    4) The Stand is the only one I recognize here…

    Speaking of zombies/monsters though, might I recommend the Matheson’s I am Legend? I never saw the film, mostly because the book/novella/whatever is excellent.

  29. lisaon 18 Jun 2008 at 2:18 pm

    2.Hunter-Gatherer — suggestion: “Always Coming Home” by LeGuin – so beautiful!
    3. still thinking
    4. Oryx and Crake

  30. Ailsa Ekon 18 Jun 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Oops, another vote for hunter-gatherers as well.

  31. Susan in NJon 18 Jun 2008 at 3:29 pm

    I was going to suggest Matheson’s I Am Legend but isn’t that vampires? I’m all for vampire month but except for IAL, most of it’s not really within the EOTWAWKI concept. Maybe in year 2, I suggest alien invasion month.
    Susan in NJ

  32. Philon 18 Jun 2008 at 4:07 pm

    What a surprise to see “Stand on Zanzibar” mentioned. John Brunner’s later eco-catastrophe novel, “The Sheep Look Up” is another dystopian view well worth a read.

  33. greentangleon 18 Jun 2008 at 4:11 pm

    1) Tepper, because I just got it from the library, and because I twice tried Starhawk’s without getting far.

    2) Hunter-gatherers seem a more likely future than zombies, and I don’t like children much more than zombies. I liked both of the h-g novels suggested.

    3) No idea, but if it’s really that bad, it seems unlikely we’d all be able to find a copy. Then again, considering the best-sellers lists…

    4) Completely enjoyed both the King and Atwood novels.

  34. Kimon 18 Jun 2008 at 4:23 pm

    First Sharon, let me say that although I was ON the Steven King bandwagon, I got off before “The Stand” stop and have never actually read the whole thing through.

    Also, I am a huge fan of zombie movies (which is why my friends never let me pick the movie..) and Monster Island was great. I really liked it.

    And as for the above questions:

    1. For August, -The Gate To Women’s Country

    2. For October, -Zombies

    3. For January – Children of men!

    4. For February – Oryx and Crake (i am a big fan of The Handmaid’s Tale and would love to read more from her)


  35. Meganon 18 Jun 2008 at 5:26 pm

    If we pick Zombies, can we watch Shaun of the Dead for a mid-doom laugh? That movie cracks me up. Actually, I’m going to go and netflix it right now.

    I haven’t read The Stand in a long time, but the first half, the gathering of survivors, is really fantastic. I wasn’t so into where it went, but loved how it got going.

  36. villaboloon 18 Jun 2008 at 5:35 pm

    1. Gate to Women’s Country. 2. Earth Abides. Quiet, sleepy, one of my favorites in spite of the fact that the Author isn’t too good with female characters. But also, on the Zombie theme I would highly recommend Among Madmen. Fantastic character development, male and female-the book was written by a husband and wife team-and excellent social dynamics. The story involves a survivalist town in upstate New York, with Zombies of the quick kind sporadically appearing amongst the townspeople. A definite must read for anyone even if they don’t care at all for zombies. 3. Worst ever? I’ve got two: a) After the Rain, by John Bowen. This pathetic 1958 “b moviesque” style book starts out with the old childrens nursery rhyme: “Inky pinky spider, climbing up the spout, Down came the rain, and washed the poor spider out.” It’s basicaly about a global flood where everything is inundated in Biblical proportions with a handful of survivors in, you guessed it, an ark. What makes this book horrid is not so much the characters who understandably get a bit psycho but the author who’s try to make some psycho-social analytical commentary on his pathetic characters. b) The Black Death by Gwyneth Cravens and John Marr. Manhattan gets zonked by bubonic plague. Very realistic hard science premise and research thanks only to J Marr the coauthor who’s an epidemiologist but Cravens the books main author just ruins the story. 4. Oryx and Crake. As a final note, Brian Aldiss profoundly sad, geriatric apocalypse Grey beard. Must read!

  37. Rebeccaon 18 Jun 2008 at 5:52 pm

    Hard choice between Tepper and Starhawk. I’ve never read the Tepper book, but I picked it up recently in a friend’s used book store and wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry when I read the plot outline on the back. As for the Starhawk book, I got it as a birthday gift last year and still haven’t been able to get through it. Among many other things, I can’t figure out why there’s so much sex in it; not that I have a problem with some, but it was excessive imho.

  38. Rebeccaon 18 Jun 2008 at 5:53 pm

    P.S. If you decide to do the post-apocalyptic children’s book theme, I think I read everyone ever written before and by the time I was fifteen. I can make some suggestions.

  39. RedStateGreenon 18 Jun 2008 at 7:24 pm

    For the movie one, you have got to include Threads. It’s a 1984 BBC docudrama that makes our American ‘The Day After’ look like a Disney film. The most horrifying movie I have ever watched. Ever.

  40. freelearneron 18 Jun 2008 at 8:33 pm

    I would suggest “City of Ember” for the apocalyptic children’s books option, if you go with that. (And I just found out they’re making it into a movie with Tim Robbins– woot!)

  41. Brad K.on 18 Jun 2008 at 10:05 pm

    1. It must be Starhawk’s _The Fifth Sacred Thing_ , I found Tepper’s _The Gate To Women’s Country_ weird and morbidly brutal to it’s characters.

    2. “Apocalyptic Children’s Novels”. Would that include Palmer’s _Emergence_, or is that an adult novel?

    3. For January – _The Greater Los Angeles Blizzard_ gets a strong vote from me. Or maybe the H.A.B. Theory (about the earth wobbling when the rotation axis shifts).

    4. _No Blade of Grass_

    Has Maureen McHugh’s _China Mountain Zhang_ been considered? Or _The General’s President_? Or Busby’s _Rissa Kerguelen_ series?

    Doranna Durgin’s _A Feral Darkness_ entails a catastrophic new strain of rabies – averted.

    Then there was the _Andromeda Strain_, one of the early ‘illness’ scenarios.

    Orson Scott Card’s _Ender’s Game_ takes place as the world attempts to build an answer to an alien attack.

  42. Studenton 19 Jun 2008 at 8:53 am

    1. Either
    2. Hunter-Gatherer – ideas will be more useful
    3. If they are bad, I don’t finish them, so can’t think of any.
    4. I’ll stand up for The Stand – it’s long, true, but it’s a classic. This is not like King’s horror books, any more than the Shawshank Redemption or the Green Mile (two great prison stories by King) The mini-series they made from The Stand was excellent-perhaps an idea for movies…

    I couldn’t read two pages of Oryx and Crake – I dislike books with pidgin English, weird punctuation, etc. (With the exception of The Road by McCarthy – awesome even without punctuation, but I listened to the book on CD).

  43. Hummingbirdon 19 Jun 2008 at 9:10 am

    I agree that the Starhawk book is terrible, but I voted for it because the Tepper I have read makes my skin crawl. She has a really creepy imagination. (That disease where peoples flesh dissolves because of a contagious wrongly oriented protein .)

  44. Susan in NJon 19 Jun 2008 at 9:11 am

    Re apocalyptic children books, I meant Andre Norton’s 2010 A.D. not Catseye.

  45. Hummingbirdon 19 Jun 2008 at 2:10 pm

    I am surprised that so many of us who frequent this blog have been reading apocalyptic fiction our whole lives! I wonder if that makes us more able to imagine the reality of the trouble that confronts us?

  46. lisavarkon 19 Jun 2008 at 8:14 pm

    Just voting for children’s apocalyptic novels! No opinion on the other questions. But no matter what we end up with for reader’s choice month, can you post some titles in the other categories? I would really like to read the children’s stuff even if that doesn’t win…and I’d like to read the hunter-gatherer stuff too.

  47. wasteweardailyon 19 Jun 2008 at 8:25 pm

    2. I vote hunter gatherer.

    That is all I can contribute.

    Cindy in FL

  48. Aprilon 19 Jun 2008 at 10:58 pm

    A friend gave me The Parable of the Sower as a going-away present to our “new life”…I’ve been reading a little each night and loving it.

  49. Colleenon 19 Jun 2008 at 11:48 pm

    1. Starhawk’s -The Fifth Sacred Thing- but I agree with Limna that it belongs more in ‘Community Building’ themed month.
    I admit I am biased… I was spiral dancing with her a couple of hours ago. She is in town for the Ashevillage Building Convergence – which is inspired by The City Repair Project of Portland, Oregon. She is ‘talking the talk and walking the walk’…working to bring forth a positive vision through action.
    Please, checkout the website

  50. Colleenon 19 Jun 2008 at 11:59 pm

    Sorry, computer is acting wacky.

    The website is and there will be live blogging, photos and videos under the live updates.
    Tonight was the opening ceremony. Tomorrow is the ‘Ashevillage Town Meeting’ and Saturday is ‘Ashevillage in Action’.

    2. Gatherer/Hunter
    3. -World Made by Hand-
    4. -No Blade of Grass-

  51. Anion 20 Jun 2008 at 5:02 am

    I’m easy- whatever is ok with me. But I LIKE Stirling’s books btw and 5th Sacred Thing too! We do share the same opinion of WMBH though….:-)

  52. lisaon 20 Jun 2008 at 11:23 am

    Must second “Battlefield Earth” as worst P.A. book, ever. Possibly Worst Book Ever.

  53. Kerron 01 Jul 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Hey, who’s read “Alongside Night”? Did you like it? Hate it?

  54. Hankon 02 Jul 2008 at 1:41 pm

    1. Well, I’m just commenting, not playing along, but neither one. Tepper is way too fond of eugenics for me.

    2. “Apocalyptic Children’s Novels”! Teach ‘em young that nothing stays the same.

    3. Well, the worst ever dystopian novel is called America: 2014.

    4. I like King. He ain’t great lit, but the man can tell a story. And The Stand is one of his better works. That being said, I also really enjoyed Oryx and Crake. But I wouldn’t want to compare the two – too different.

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