Book Descriptions

Thinking about reading a book the discussion group has already read? We recommend you do! Here are some descriptions to help you pick. They are listed in the order in which we read them.

February 2002 - Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

You don't have to be a computer programmer or an expert on encryption to read this book, but it helps. Stephenson's most ambitious work to date takes on the lives of several main characters during WW2 and the modern day, bouncing back and forth between the Phillipines and the crypto center in England, trying to break Enigma, trying to survive on the beach at Guadalcanal, setting up an offshore data haven, and fighting to survive as the empire crumbles and everyone around you goes mad. It works. It has moments of brilliance, moments of beauty... but is probably not accessible enough to be recognized as his best work. An afterword by Bruce Schneier, the world-renowned cryto expert who has often spoken at ConFusion, explains the crypto used in the book. Stephenson takes a lot for granted, and he may just be right.

March 2002 - Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

One of the best of the Discworld books, this introduces the Three Witches (borrowing a bit from Shakespeare), Nanny Ogg with her huge family, Mistress something who wants to be a new age wiccan, and Granny Weatherwax, one of Pratchett's most popular characters, with her theory of "headology".

April 2002 - Glory Road by Robert Heinlein

Heinlein's grand epic of fantasy and adventure, starting in an (at the time) little known war in Southeast Asia, progressing through the south of France to a classic quest to slay a dragon, a mathematical theory, and your basic evil wizard... but it isn't that simple, this is Heinlein.

May 2002 - The Gumshoe, the Witch, and the Virtual Corpse by Keith Hartman

With as many well-developed characters as a Brunner novel: a gay PI with a mystery to solve, Wiccans, near-future SF, and an american indian shaman crossdresser, this is one book that really keeps you guessing!

June 2002 - Time Traders by Andre Norton

A secret research project searches the past for illicit technological innovations, a classic from one of the masters of the genre. Both a recently updated printing, with more female characters, and the original version are available.

September 2002 - Pride of Chanur by C. J. Cherryh

The Chanur series is made up of 5 books. A prologue novel (The Pride of Chanur), a 3-part series (Chanur's Venture, The Kif Strike Back and Chanur's Homecoming), and an epilogue novel (Chanur's Legacy). We'll talk about the wonderful alien contact novel that started off this epic saga and find out why the felinoid aliens (Hani) are so popular.

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This page was last updated by Netmouse on July 26, 2002.