Mar 21, 2019

Don‘t let them get organized!

A review of Josiah Bancroft‘s Arm of the Sphinx (The Books of Babel 2)

I know, I know, I‘m one book behind on this series, but this is actually quite a feat, since usually, I only read the first book in a series, ever. Not so with the Books of Babel, the first of which, Senlin Ascends, is one of the most engaging adventure stories I‘ve ever read. The main reason for that was certainly the journey of its protagonist from naive school-teacher to mastermind on a mission; it is actually a kind of „Walter White becomes Heisenberg“ arc, only that Senlin manages to remain a more or less decent human being (something he worries about a lot). Add to this the series of beautifully bizarre places Senlin visits, their even more bizarre social rules and norms and the tentative exploration of matters of exploitation, class struggle and the subtle workings of power, and you get a very pleasant surprise for an occasionally jaded fantasy reader like me.

Mar 19, 2019

Otherland - Miscellaneous

Alas, the impact of the B-word has reached our book club, as it may have come to your attention: the next title for the Speculative Fiction Book Club, The Trees by Ali Shaw, is not stockable right now, because our supplier England is unfortunately not supplying at the moment. We are working on a solution though, so please hang on. We will be able to stock more English books eventually, we just need some time, certainty and stability.

On a completely different note:
Finding fresh impulses, new ways of addressing more people with varying interests is definitely one of the best outcomes of the lively discussions we have on book club evenings. As if reading and exchanging views on geekish books was not awesome enough, discovering new momentum to constantly expand our once small project is all the more exciting and makes me super happy!
So it is with immense joy that I present you the youngest offspring of the Otherland Speculative Fiction Book Club:
The Otherland Mythic Fiction Book Club.

Honestly, I didn't even know it is a thing, until book clubbing editor Clarence Haynes brought it to my attention; mythic fiction is literature inspired by myths and legends. Reason enough to open up a new branch, sink into this wide wide field and start up on Friday April 26 with this year's highly praised Circe by Madeline Miller.

Here is an overview of all upcoming OBC discussions:

Mar 9, 2019

Next OBC Discussion

The Otherland Book Club is unstoppable!!!

After an evening full of sensual horror with Carmen Maria Machado's work and a very ensqualming Dying Earth-discussion on Women's Day, we'll next meet on Friday, March 15, for the Speculative Theory Book Club!

We'll be talking about Samuel R. Delany's "About 5750 Words" (published in Jewel Hinged Jaw) and Steven Brust's "Truth as a Vehicle for Enhancing Fiction, Fiction as a Vehicle for Discovering Truth" (published here).

As usual we start at 7.30 pm at the Bookstore, there will be free snacks and drinks (contributions are welcome), no sign up needed but please read the essays!

Mar 7, 2019

Book Recommendations March 2019

We hope the new book arrangement in the shop - namely the fusing of the English fantasy and science fiction sections - has not confused you too much, but it was time for a change!
Other than that, everything goes on as usual: Today role-playing evening, tomorrow the Otherland Speculative Fiction Book Club (discussing Jack Vance’s Tales of the Dying Earth) and next Friday the Speculative Theory Book Club (discussing Samuel R. Delany’s “About 5750 Words” and Steven Brust’s “Truth as a Vehicle for Enhancing Fiction, Fiction as a Vehicle for Discovering Truth”). There’s no admission fee for any of the events, they all start at 7.30 pm at the Otherland Bookstore, there’s free snacks and drinks as usual, contributions are welcome. You don’t need to sign up for the book clubs (but please read the book/the articles), you do need to sign up for the role playing evening though (just drop Jakob a mail). Please check our website for readings in German.
Enjoy our newsletter recommendations!

Mar 1, 2019

Dying Earth at the Otherland Book Club

"He knew lore of all ages, secrets of fire and light, gravity and countergravity, the knowledge of superphysic numeration, metathasm, corolopsis."

Only a week from today is the day I have been waiting for so long: Next Friday, March 8, 7.30 pm we are finally discussing Jack Vance's Tales of the Dying Earth and I am all excited!

There are few things as uplifting as diving into Vance's gallant, grotesque, comical, absurd world and no one has ever been able to write so richly, so polished, craftily and cunningly...
Tales of Dying Earth did not only create a separate sub-genre and heavily inspire the works of collosal names such as Gene Wolfe, George R. R. Martin, Dan Simmons, Gary Gygax and many more; it is also my favorite book ever. So I will not stop gushing about it.
The warmth, humor, cruelty, heroism, cowardice, humanity in these books never fail to make me happy and to me Vance is the best; he is unique, funny, stylish and he should have had a much greater impact on fantasy and current literature. This is the one book I would take on a deserted island with me.

Starting with...