Thursday, February 23, 2012

Center For Inquiry fiction book club selections for the first half of 2012

April 2012

H. G. Wells "The Sleeper Awakes" -- a short novel about a nineteen century Englishman who falls in a deep sleep only to awake over two hundred years later.

May 2012

Nnedi Okorafor "Who Fears Death"

-- "The young sorceress Onyesonwu -- whose name means Who fears death? -- was born Ewu, bearing a mixture of her mother's features and those of the man who raped her mother and left her for dead in the desert. As Onyesonwu grows into her powers, it becomes clear that her fate is mingled with the fate of her people, the oppressed Okeke, and that to achieve her destiny, she must die. Okorafor examines a host of evils in her chillingly realistic tale'gender and racial inequality share top billing, along with female genital mutilation and complacency in the face of destructive tradition -- and winds these disparate concepts together into a fantastical, magical blend of grand storytelling." -- a review from

June 2012

James Blish "A Case of Conscience"

-- "The citizens of the planet Lithia are some of the most ethical sentient beings Father Ramon Ruiz-Sanchez has ever encountered. True, they have no literature, no fine arts, and don't understand the concept of recreation, but neither do they understand the concepts of greed, envy, lust, or any of the sins and vices that plague humankind. Their world seems darned near perfect. And that is just what disturbs the good Father."

-- "A fast-paced, intelligent story that offers plenty of action while at the same time explores complex questions of values and ethics. In this case, Blish has taken on the age-old battle of good vs. evil. Lithia poses a theological question that lies at the heart of this book: is God necessary for a moral society?" -- reviews from

July 2012

Brandon Sanderson "Mistborn"

A description of this novel on calls it a mystico-metallurgical fantasy. I heard it has an unusual and well thought-out magic system. An attempt to create a "scientific" magic system might make this book of interest to CFI readers who like fantasy.

August 2012

Philip K. Dick "VALIS"

-- "When a beam of pink light begins giving a schizophrenic man visions of an alternate Earth where the Roman Empire still reigns, he must decide whether he is crazy, or whether a godlike entity is showing him the true nature of the world."

-- "From the cancer ward of a bay area hospital to the ranch of a fraudulent charismatic religious figure who turns out to have a direct com link with God, Dick leads us down the twisted paths of Gnostic belief, mixed with his own bizarre and compelling philosophy." -- reviews from

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