It's a new year, and we're going to be reading books! January's book club is Retribution Falls, by Elizabeth Moon!
No content warning this month. Contact an organizer if you have concerns about the book's content.
Remnant Population follows Ofelia Falfurrias, an elderly woman on a colony owned by the Sims Bancorp Company. The company has decided that the colony is no longer profitable and pulls up stakes, taking its indentured workers elsewhere. Ofelia, not wanting to leave her home and further burden her son and daughter-in-law, stays behind on a planet abandoned by humanity.
For more information on how to find the group at the park: We meet at Presidio Park at the top of the hill, at whatever picnic tables we can grab in the shade, as close to the bathrooms as we can get without it getting smelly. 32°45'26.1"N 117°11'33.4"W
It is highly recommended you bring a folding chair or a blanket to lay on the ground. We usually sit atop pine needles, but some people are able to sit on the picnic tables or in the grass if any is nearby.
We hope to see you there!
February: The Kiss Quotient - Helen Hoang
March: Warbreaker - Brandon Sanderson
April: Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Book Store - Robin Sloan
May: Circe - Madeline Miller
June: Dreadnought - April Daniels
July: The Forever War - Joe Halderman
August: Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Haruki Murakami
Epic 1: The Wayfarers Trilogy - Becky Chambers (February)
Epic 2: The Codex Alera - Jim Butcher (Probably July or August)
Non-Fiction 1: The Happiness Equation - Neil Pasricha (January)
Non-Fiction 2: The Dictator's Handbook - Bruce Bueno de Mesquita (Probably May-June)
Non-Fiction 3: As You Wish - Cary Elwes (Probably July-August)
Introductions: If you could get rid of one annoying social convention (without shipping everyone else to another planet), what would you choose?
1. What do you think would need to change for Ofelia’s family to respect her? Age? Sex? Education? If they eventually learned her story, would that change their perspective?
2. The classic tale of the undervalued person who becomes a hero usually features a much younger protagonist. How does Ofelia’s age change the formula? How does Remnant Population compare to similar stories?
3. Prolonged solitary confinement is considered torture across many human cultures. Is it believable that Ofelia could stay sane and happy for years on her own? Would the eventual companionship of the People be enough if the other humans never arrived?
4. Is first contact between species more likely to be successful with very small or large numbers? Experts or lay people? Does greater intelligence help or hurt?
5. Advanced societies in science fiction, whether human or alien, often have a non-interference policy in order for other species to develop on their own. Humanity in this book has that intention, but the People disagree. Is non-interference always the moral choice? Does the argument change when it’s different groups of the same species?
6. Why is the People’s singer-to-strangers so much more successful at its job than Vasil Likisi? Does this say something about humans vs. People, or just about these two individuals?
7. Most of the story is told from Ofelia’s perspective, but there are some sections from the view of the People, Kira, and various other humans and official entities. How do these perspectives strengthen or weaken the book? Are there any other perspectives you would have liked to see? How does this execution compare to other multi-perspective novels?
8. What do you think of the People’s social/organizational structure? Do you think that humans could be successful with a similar system of government/self-management?
9. We only see glimpse of the larger human society. How do you picture it? What do you think has changed from our society today?