Greetings, Earthlings!

Welcome to the Beam Me Up International Science Fiction Book Club blog!

“Live long and prosper!” Spock bet Sarek bet Skon bet Solkar

“Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible; and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works, or of the kinds of writing that they evidently prefer.” J.R.R. Tolkien

“By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Warvan, you shall be avenged!” Dr. Lazarus of Tev’Meck

All are welcome to join us at our monthly meetings. This is us and this is what we will be reading and discussing.

We’d love to have you at our monthly Zoom meeting. Just contact us via the About the Beamers page and we’ll add you to the Zoom distribution list.

A star will shine on the hour of our meeting.

At the Mountains of Madness: Zoom! Beam! Discuss!

The Beam Me Up Science Fiction Book Club will conduct a Zoom session on At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft.

Please join the Beamers on Friday, October 8th, at 7 PM Eastern.

At the Mountains of Madness is a science-fiction novella written by H. P. Lovecraft in 1931 and published in Astounding Stories in 1936. Like much of Lovecraft’s work, it helped establish the genre of cosmic horror, or what Lovecraft called “weird fiction”: horror that relies on existential anxieties about humanity’s place in the universe to achieve its effects.

I am forced into speech because men of science have refused to follow my advice without knowing why. It is altogether against my will that I tell my reasons for opposing this contemplated invasion of the antarctic—with its vast fossil-hunt and its wholesale boring and melting of the ancient ice-cap—and I am the more reluctant because my warning may be in vain. Doubt of the real facts, as I must reveal them, is inevitable; yet if I suppressed what will seem extravagant and incredible there would be nothing left.

Howard Phillips Lovecraft was an American writer of weird, science, fantasy, and horror fiction. Lovecraft is best known for his creation of a body of work that became known as the Cthulhu Mythos.

If you’d like to participate (or lurk), please contact us through the About the Beamers page, or send us your email address via shortwave radio. We’ll send you all you need to connect to the Zoom meeting.

We look forward to seeing you.

As above, so below

Remember, be respectful of the rats!

From a sudden flood zone, thanks to Ida and her “remnants”, the Beamers moved to similarly dank surroundings in the hidden recesses that lurk beneath the open streets of London Above, taking a long journey across the Night’s Bridge into London Below, the setting for Neil Gaiman’s first solo novel, Neverwhere.  Chased by unscrupulous assassins, charmed by alluring vampires, learning how to properly speak to rats, Richard Mayhew, Gaiman’s jejune hero, finds the courage to be his own person.  Is he someone that the Beamers would buy a pint in the pub, or would we turn our noses up at the weird guy who seems to chat up rodents?

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Neverwhere: Zoom! Beam! Discuss!

The Beam Me Up Science Fiction Book Club will conduct a Zoom session on Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.

Please join the Beamers on Friday, September 10th, at 7 PM Eastern.

Under the streets of London there’s a world most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks. A single act of kindness to a ragged girl he finds injured on the street catapults young businessman Richard Mayhew out of his workaday life into a world that is both familiar and threateningly bizarre.

Neil Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains; the Sandman series of graphic novels; and the story collections Smoke and Mirrors, Fragile Things, and Trigger Warning. He is the winner of numerous literary honors, including the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy awards, and the Newberry and Carnegie Medals. Originally from England, he now lives in the United States. He is Professor in the Arts at Bard College.

If you’d like to participate (or lurk), please contact us through the About the Beamers page, or send us your email address via domestic pigeon. We’ll send you all you need to connect to the Zoom meeting.

We look forward to seeing you.

A borough is not a hole in the ground

Ride quick, as this bridge is not long for this world

On a steamy Friday in the “dog days” of summer, the Beamers left off some of their accumulated steam at the spectacle of New York City being born, an event that starts as the contractions that collapse the Williamsburg Bridge and then gets stranger, in N. K. Jemisin’s The City We Became.  A work that takes in all five boroughs of The City, along with their histories, certainly has a lot of ground to cover.  Would we make our subway and bus transfers seamlessly, or would we get stuck on an un-air-conditioned platform, waiting forlornly for the next available ride?

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Steve Perrin, game designer, fails saving throw

The man who gave us Basic Role Playing that was anything but basic!

Steve Perrin (1946 – 2021), the principal writer of the role-playing game RuneQuest, has died following an atrial fibrillation that took him in his sleep. Mr. Perrin, one of the founding members of the Medieval re-creation Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), became connected with the Oakland/San Francisco Bay area company Chaosium that had published Greg Stafford’s fantasy war game, White Bear and Red Moon, in 1975. Finding a need to add a role-playing aspect to the war game’s world of Glorantha, Mr. Stafford asked Mr. Perrin and his gaming circle if they could find a way to translate his vision into a game that was not a clone of the already popular Dungeons and Dragons.

It is not all fun and games with these fun games.

With a combat system based on his SCA experiences, a lack of restrictions on actions due to class (“Any character can do anything”), a magic system crafted by his friend Ray Turney, and evocative artwork by his wife Luise, the 1st edition of RuneQuest debuted at the national gaming conventions (Origins, GenCon) in 1978 and won life-long fans.

Everything you need in one box. Kryptonite not included!

But Mr. Perrin did not stop there, continuing to write new role-playing games (RPGs) that shared a few simple, central mechanics (known as “the Perrin Conventions”, thanks to an early formulation he shared at the first DunDraCon in 1975). One of his many efforts was a superhero game called (surprisingly!) Superworld, which came out of his long-time love of comics. That game won a set of fans in Albuquerque, a group of sf/f writers-in-training that included George R.R. Martin. Mr. Martin’s experience in running a Superworld campaign inspired him to create a shared-world superhero fiction project known as Wild Cards, a series that includes 21 volumes of short stories and novels (with more to come). Mr. Martin, on his blog, offers a heartfelt tribute to Mr. Perrin and their comic book fan connections, even before they “met” around the gaming table.

Jeff Bezos or Flesh Gordon?

Jeff Bezos or Flesh Gordon? All I can say is that someone has been studying the classics.











I understand that Mr. Bezo’s next project is a remake of Amazon Women on the Moon.

The City We Became: Zoom! Beam! Discuss!

A mishmash of New York City

The Beam Me Up Science Fiction Book Club will conduct a Zoom session on The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin.

Please join the Beamers on Friday, August 13th, at 7 PM Eastern.

The City We Became should be readily available from your favorite new and used book stores and libraries in hard copy, and in paper, e-book and audio formats from your local library.

In Manhattan, a young grad student gets off the train and realizes he doesn’t remember who he is, where he’s from, or even his own name. But he can sense the beating heart of the city, see its history, and feel its power. In the Bronx, a Lenape gallery director discovers strange graffiti scattered throughout the city, so beautiful and powerful it’s as if the paint is literally calling to her. In Brooklyn, a politician and mother finds she can hear the songs of her city, pulsing to the beat of her Louboutin heels. And they’re not the only ones. Every great city has a soul. Some are ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York? She’s got six.

According to the New York Times, Jemisin is “the most celebrated science fiction and fantasy writer of her generation.” She is the first author to win three Best Novel Hugos in a row, and has also won a Nebula Award, two Locus Awards, and is a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.

If you’d like to participate (or just listen in), please contact us through the About the Beamers page, send us your email address via Messenger, Messages or call us at our NYNEX number.

We’ll send you all you need to connect to the Zoom meeting.

We look forward to seeing you.

Murderbot, she wrote

Like Darth Vader, better without seeing the face under the helmet …

For a hot July evening, the Beamers coolly examined the first in a popular series about a sentient security unit who would prefer to sit in its cubicle with its soap operas and not have to put up with its annoying human clients.  Considering how its previous mission went, that desire would not be unappreciated and it would not be tagging itself ‘Murderbot’ as a result.  But would its charms slay the Beamers or would we prove to be too tough to kill (or at least keep coming back rebooted after being killed)?

I

All Systems Red: Beam! Zoom! Discuss!

The Beam Me Up Science Fiction Book Club will conduct a Zoom session on All Systems Red by Martha Wells.

Plus local author David Vun Kannon!

Please join the Beamers on Friday, July 9th, at 7 PM Eastern.

All Systems Red should be readily available from your favorite new and used book stores and libraries in hard copy, and in paper, e-book and audio formats from your local library.

The book was the winner of a Hugo Award for best novella, a Nebula Award for Best Novella, an Alex Award and a Locus Award.

“As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure.”

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied droid a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as Murderbot. Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

BONUS:

The Beamers are pleased to welcome author David Vun Kannon, who will pitch his latest work, Daughter of Therese: The Girl-Shaped Cage, and talk about the process of writing it.

If you’d like to participate (or just listen in), please contact us through the About the Beamers page or send us your email address via Messenger, Messages or via governor module.

We’ll send you all you need to connect to the Zoom meeting.

We look forward to seeing you.

Innocently tripping across the fourth dimension

Leo and Diane Dillon show the Happy Medium giving the children a glimpse of their future

In a month confusticated by a switch to a different video conferencing package, the Beamers persevered to escape from the selfless conformity of pop literature with the help of a book that was passed from publisher to publisher as being too different.  Instead, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle kicked off a quintet of books involving the Murry family and their very much themselves members, particularly the youngest, Charles Wallace (never “Charlie”!).  Woven amid a lot of fantastical speculation on tesseracts, centaurs, good vs. evil, and the life and after-life of stars, there is a simple message of love.  Would the Beamers think that is all they need?  Or would they demand something more, like a delicious turkey dinner?

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