Tag Archives: Book

Once a king, always a king, but once a knight is enough

With a good dose of August chasing the Beamers into the chilly embrace of Panera’s, the subject of this month’s book, King Arthur Pendragon (or Arthur Penn to his new NYC constituents), brought out some heated discussion, much along the lines of whether we do need a “once and future king” in these unsettled times.  …

Continue reading

The last beach book you will ever read

With typical Beamer bravado, we took to the sandy expanses down by the ocean on a summery day to enjoy the End of The World, as detailed in Nevil Shute’s On the Beach.  A quiet, inexorable submarine ride set in a post-atomic war Australia, this 1957 novel takes a chilling premise about the globe-circling radioactive …

Continue reading

Swing low, sweet cities

Coming in from a warm, Spring day, when the first fruits are starting to be picked, the Beamers instead contemplated the “decline of the West” and its replacement by the entire rest of the Galaxy, as depicted in James Blish’s classic novels of itinerant metropolises, Cities in Flight.  Our schedule only called for the first …

Continue reading

Catch the pearl and ride the dragon’s wings

Clattering through a busy May day, the Beamers met to take a ride on the backs of dragons on the planet Pern.  Like dragons themselves, a curious hybrid of science (as a possible folk memory of dinosaurs) and fantasy, Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey won science fiction awards and helped set off a wave of dragon-focused …

Continue reading

Unto us, a daughter is given

For the first real Spring day of 2018, the Beamers took themselves to the fog and rain of Victorian London, chasing after the Whitechapel murders, in Theodora Goss’s debut novel, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter.  Gathering up a plethora of women from the speculative literature of the 19th Century, Ms. Goss spun the …

Continue reading

All in one place, a generation lost in space

When humans travel to the stars, we expect it to take a long, long time to get there.  One science fiction solution to the problem of the journey outlasting a lifetime is to have the ship’s crew do what humans do so well, be fruitful and multiply.  But how do the expedition members stick with …

Continue reading

What happens in Dallas never stays in Dallas

For the beginning of a new year, the Beamers went back to a very fateful old year, following a Maine English teacher with a nostalgic love for the America of the ’50s and its president of the ’60s as detailed in Stephen King’s 11/22/63.  Did the Beamers discover that root beer really did taste better …

Continue reading

Repent, Englishman!, said the Ticktockman

On a cool evening at the end of a Summer that is, the Beamers came together to step back to a Victorian London that never was but perhaps should have been.  Natasha Pulley’s debut novel, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, unites the fabled capital of the British Empire with Irish revolutionaries, Japanese emigres, the magic …

Continue reading

Taking and talking detours aboard the Wayfarer

For a pleasant August evening, the Beamers spent a pleasant couple of hours going over and under the various elements that Becky Chambers used to create her Wayfarer universe, as seen in her debut novel, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.  While the destination of the crew is, indeed, a small, geologically active …

Continue reading

A long way across a big, mildly upset planet

In the summer swelter of mid-July, the Beamers cooled off with some beverages at Panera’s and with an epic quest across a mammoth planet that kept us distracted from the heat, all the way to Lord Valentine’s Castle.  Robert Silverberg’s planetary romance was a bit radical when published in 1980, marking a major departure from …

Continue reading