Science and Religion in Fiction book club: Iain M. Banks "The Player of Games"

Amazon.com Review:

"In The Player of Games, Iain M. Banks presents a distant future that could almost be called the end of history. Humanity has filled the galaxy, and thanks to ultra-high technology everyone has everything they want, no one gets sick, and no one dies. It's a playground society of sports, stellar cruises, parties, and festivals. Jernau Gurgeh, a famed master game player, is looking for something more and finds it when he's invited to a game tournament at a small alien empire. Abruptly Banks veers into different territory. The Empire of Azad is exotic, sensual, and vibrant. It has space battle cruisers, a glowing court--all the stuff of good old science fiction--which appears old-fashioned in contrast to Gurgeh's home. At first it's a relief, but further exploration reveals the empire to be depraved and terrifically unjust. Its defects are gross exaggerations of our own, yet they indict us all the same. Clearly Banks is interested in the idea of a future where everyone can be mature and happy. Yet it's interesting to note that in order to give us this compelling adventure story, he has to return to a more traditional setting. Thoughtful science fiction readers will appreciate the cultural comparisons, and fans of big ideas and action will also be rewarded."

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  • Deepti Boddapati

    Hey guys! I was going to come today, but I just lost my wallet so I have to now start working on tracking it down. I would love it if you guys went ahead and did this without me. I did have a few questions to ask to help me get an idea of how to improve the group. I'll leave them here and you guys can just comment back or message/email me. 1) What did you like about the group, what don't you want changed?

    2) Why do you think people stopped coming? Location? Book selection/length? Discussion focus? Etc?

    3) Would you mind if the time changed to Saturday nights or Sunday nights? 4) What if the location changed? Would you like it to be more central? Would you mind if it was my house which is on West William Cannon and Brodie ln? 6) Do you think you or other people would be more likely to come for a potluck environment with free wine?

    July 25, 2013

    • Elze H

      4) I don't mind a change in location. Since I won't be coming to the meetings regularly, South Austin (including your house) is fine with me. 6) Potluck / free wine might work, at least at first. Long-term success will probably depend if you can keep attracting new members and keep the old ones interested, and that will depend on how interesting the book are, and on the quality of discussion. But a potluck and/or free wine, might work to jumpstart the club.

      July 27, 2013

    • Deepti Boddapati

      Ok Thats great info thanks :)

      July 31, 2013

  • Robert Atlas

    I'm going to be working in New York Mon-Thurs most weeks, so I won't often be able to attend. But a change of location would be ok and more frequent meetings would suit me.

    July 27, 2013

  • Wendy

    Here on left side of cafe. Can't see anybody from the group.

    July 25, 2013

  • Brad

    I'll be there, heading that way now.

    July 25, 2013

  • Robert Atlas

    I hate to miss this, but I'm a bit ill tonight.

    July 25, 2013

  • Elze H

    I won't be going to this meeting, since I have surrendered the leadership of the club to Deepti, the new organizer. I would just like to note that Barnes & Noble Cafe is a pretty big area, and the book club is usually so small (3-4 people) that it's not easy to identify the book club members if you don't already know them. I used to put a CFI sign on the table so that new members would recognize it, but I don't know what Deepti is planning to do. Perhaps you guys will find a way of finding one another, for example, by having a copy of Player of Games on the table.

    July 23, 2013

  • Wendy

    This is my favorite book by Iain M Banks. Read it for the second time last year but I am sure I remember enough of it to contribute to the conversation. Just reading Surface Detail at the moment.

    July 19, 2013

  • Robert Atlas

    I'll be there if I'm in town

    June 3, 2013

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