Sammath Naur
Mythopoeic Society of Hawaii

Discussing Science Fiction & Fantasy Literature since 1975

Suggestions for 2005

Lee & Katie recommends:

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks for Moolelo

Comments: This was a neat historical novel about the plague (though not the Black Death). It tells the story of Anna, a housemaid whose remote mining village chooses to isolate itself to contain the plague. The reviews at the above link can give you a very good idea about the b0ook.

We found the book deeply discounted at the Exchange, and the public library has an excess of copies.

Additional reviews & links (added by Vanessa)

Melisa Michaels recommends:

World-Walker by Melisa Michaels for Sammath

Comments: Because Melisa is a really good writer and this is a really good book. (But if the library doesn't have copies, be warned that it is expensive.) -- Mostly I just wanted to let you all know it's available. Unlike chopsticks or taro chips in North Dakota....

Additional reviews & links

Brandi, Jeremy & Vanessa recommend:

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede for Sammath

Comments: This chilren's series consists of 4 short novels: Dealing with Dragons, Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons, Talking to Dragons. Absolutely delightful series about a princess named Cimorene who just doesn't fit into the princess mold. She runs away from the castle and ends up volunteering to be a dragon's princess and she just won't tolerate knights trying to rescue her What's the one thing Dragons are allergic to? Wizards. Cimorene uncovers a plot by the wizards to overthrow the King of the Dragons and take over the Enchanted Forest. And that's just the first book. These four quick books are light hearted and fun.

Ed recommends:
The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason for both

Comments: I bought it at Costco 2 days ago and I am already half way through it. Two Princeton seniors are the second generation of scholars obsessed with trying to solve the mystery behind a book written in 1499. Lots of student high jinks, professorial duplicity and gratuitous sex and violence. Like the DaVinci Code there is code in the 1499 book to be figured out and a murder of one of the scholars to be solved.

Vanessa recommends:

The Fall of the Kings by Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman for Sammath Naur

Comments: Okay, I haven't read this one, but I'm recommending this on the basis of previous works by the author and it was a runner up for the 2003 Mythopoeic Society award. This book takes place 50 years after Swordspoint which we read years ago. It's stand alone and not necessary to have read Swordspoint.

Vanessa recommends:

A Dance for Emilia by Peter S. Beagle.for Sammath Naur

Comments: A touching story by Peter Beagle. This book is short, only 87 pages, but has a wonderful depth. A story of dealing with the death of a friend taking in the friend's cat.

Ed & Joy recommend:

Prince of Dogs by Kate Elliott for Sammath Naur

Comments from Ed: I have read it and enjoyed it. It continues the story started in "Kings Dragon" with the major characters learning more about their abilities and some new characters added to the mix.
Comments from Joy: Also read, Prince of Dogs and enjoyed it a lot.

Ken Burtness recommends
The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan Watts for Moolelo

Comments: Cari and I have recently been sharing Alan Watts Insights. She is joyfully working her way through most of his books. Willy and I were introduced to Watts 30 years ago by an enlighted Psych professor, Sam Shapiro. Why should you read this book? Check it out. Here's Alan Watts in his preface to "The Book."
" This BOOK exlores an unrecognized but mighty taboo - our tacit conspiracy to ignore who, or what, we really are. Briefly, the thesis is that the prevalent sensation of oneself as a separate ego enclosed in a bag of skin is a hallucination which accords neither with Western science nor the experimental philosophy-religions of the East...We are therefore in urgent need of a sense of our own existence which is in accord with the physical facts and which overcomes our feeling of lienation from the universe."

Ken Burtness recommends
The Sea Came in at Midnight by Steve Erickson for both
Comments: I was not going to nominate this book for the club convinced that it was too dark for most of you. I was instead going to nominate Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, a book with a similar subject - post apocalypse. Atwood is a fine writer that we've read before (Handmaiden's Tale; Robber Bride) but Erickson's dark images and power kept driving me off track of Atwood's philosophical journey through devastation. Atwood's Oryx and Crake were no match for Kristin, the sole survivor of Milenium Lemming March off a high California Cliff into the sea of two thousand women and girls, and the apocalyptologist known as the Occupant. After her narrow escape, starving and destitute, Kristin answers his personal add promising food and shelter which starts, "I want you at the end of your rope lashed to the mast of my dreams." So I thought, well maybe some of the book club are a little tired of pleasant dragons, honorable knights, and sunny books, maybe they might enjoy a walk on the d!ark side. Let them choose. So here it is The Sea coming in at Midnight...and if it gathers as I suspect only one or two votes that's okay.
We can have a small discussion some day during a walk on the beach - Ken


Ken Burtness recommends:

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire for both

Comments: She was born to an aristocratic mother of leisure and a minister to "The Unnamed God" who was sworn to a life of poverty. She was also Green and Ugly. Her armless and barely able to walk younger sister was beautiful and everyone's favorite. She was shunned in college by all the proper people and fell in love with her uppity roommate, Galinda (Glinda)...

This is OZ like you've never seen it. The Prologue presents us with a familiar scene - the Wicked Witch easedropping on Dorothy and her companions who have come to kill her...
"Of course, to hear them tell it, it is the surviving sister who is the crazy one," said the Lion.

"What a Witch. Psychologically warped; possessed by demons. Insane. Not a pretty picture."

"She was castrated at birth," replied the Tin Woodman calmly. "She was born hermaphroditic, or maybe entirely male."

"Oh you, you see castration everywhere you look," said the Lion.

"She was deprived of a mother's love, is how I've heard it. She was an abused child. She was addicted to medicine for her skin condition."

"She has been unlucky in love," said the Tin Woodman...

"She's a woman who prefers the compnay of other women," said the Scarecrow, sitting up.

"She's the spurned lover of a married man."

"She IS a married man."

Additonal reviews & links

Jeremy & Vanessa recommend:

The Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl, Artemis Fowl & the Artic Incident, Artemis Fowl & the Eternity Code) for Sammath Naur

Comments: Artemis Fowl is one of the richest and smartest people in the world, a criminal master mind, Irish, and only 12 years old. He has lost a large sum of money and comes up with a plot to extort gold from the fairy folk. Holly Short is one of the few female fairy folk in the Lower Element Police and has been assigned to the reconnasance team making her a LEPrecon. She's out to prove herself to her boss with the help of Foaly, a centaur who has invented most of the LEP technology and keeps it running smoothly. Follow the fun adventures that ensue when Artemis and Holly run up against each other. The 3 fast reading books in the series are fun for adults as well as children.

Sunshine by Robin McKinley for Sammath

Comments: 2004 Mythopoeic Society Award winner.


Ed & Joy recommend:

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke for Sammath Naur

Comments from Ed: I have not read it but there is a review in yesterday's Advertiser and a saw another review recently also, both positive. They call it Harry Potter for adults. Two magicians, one old and one young, try to restore magic in England during the time of Napoleon. As their magic grows they struggle with a force much larger than either of them.
Comments from Joy: I haven't read Susanna Clarke's book but my interest has been peaked by each book review I read.

Ken Wilson recommends:

The Knight by Gene Wolfe for Sammath Naur

Comments: If you like Gene Wolfe, you'll like this book. He has his own style that's not like anyone else. It's only half the story, though. (a sequel has just come out)


Ken Burtness recommends
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane for Moolelo

Comments: War is just a sound byte to most Americans. So I thought it might be time for us to read a war book. I nominate this book on Veterans Day because it's probably the best war book I've ever read.

" Here they come ag'in!...The youth turned quick eyes upon the field. He discerned forms begin to swell in masses out of a distant wood. He again saw the tilted flag speeding forward. The shells, which had ceased to trouble the regiment for a time, came swirling again, and exploded in the grass or among the leaves of the trees. They looked to be strange war flowers bursting into fierce bloom. The men groaned. The luster faded from their eyes...They moved their stiffened bodies slowly, and watched in sullen mood the frantic approach of the enemy. The slaves toiling in the temple of this god began to feel rebellion at his hard tasks."

Alis recommends:

The Birthday of the World and Other Stories by Ursula Le Guin (science fiction - Le Guin is an excellent writer, and in these stories she explores human relationships; my favorite is Mountain Ways, a lovely comedy of manners done with her usual subtlety and understanding of human nature)

The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson (alternate history - probably my favorite alt history ever; this is not a light read, but I think few explore the historical process as well as Robinson does)

Daggerspell by Katharine Kerr (fantasy - the first in her Deverry series, possibly the most underrated long fantasy series currently being published; Kerr's grasp of society, culture, magic, and history is superb, and she's not above wallowing in the more lurid aspects of adventure fiction either)

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (ya fantasy, soon to be a major new anime by Miyazaki; good fun, and a great ya writer)