Wednesday, June 27, 2007

book clubbing in June

When developing the reading list for my book club, one of my primary concerns was on variety - both to challenge us to read outside of our usual genres and encourage pop-ins who might only come to a meeting because we were reading their favorite genre that month (though now that I think of it, we did manage to miss some pretty big genres like romance and horror). In any case, June turned out to be a science fiction month with us reading Pastwatch: the Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card.

In one of the most powerful and thought-provoking novels of his remarkable career, Orson Scott Card interweaves a compelling portrait of Christopher Columbus with the story of a future scientist who believes she can alter human history from a tragedy of bloodshed and brutality to a world filled with hope and healing.

Even though I was raised on fantasy, I never really got into science fiction. While I do read science fiction occasionally, the operative word there really is "occasionally." Even though I'd heard murmurings about Pastwatch I probably would never have gotten around to reading if it hadn't ended up on our book club reading list. I'm glad that I did though because I did quite like it, particularly its unique combination of historical fiction (one of my favorite genres) and science fiction. I decided that I was going to like Card (who I'd never read before) and Pastwatch, when I read in his acknowledgments: "A complaint to Sid Meier, for the game Civilization, which seriously interfered with my ability to concentrate on productive labor".

Though a number of us found the book to be slow going at the onset, those of us who finished it found that Pastwatch got much better toward the end and that at a certain point we became very invested in the story and needed to find out what happened.


  1. Orson Scott Card's Alvin the Maker series is one you might enjoy. It combines historical fiction, a bit of fantasy, and a whole lot of folk tale elements in it.

    I never finished the series so that gives me an idea of what to look for in the library the next few visits...

  2. That actually sounds great, I'll put that series on my to-read-sometime list.

  3. I've only read his Ender's Game series of books. I'll have to give this one a try. :)

  4. My husband loves Orson Scott Card, so I'll have to put this on my wish list! Thanks!

  5. Thanks for this review, Karen. I've read and enjoyed several of Card's books, but not this one. You've convinced me to add it to my TBR list.

    My favorite that I've read of his is Enchantment.

  6. So I just finished reading this book. I enjoyed it but felt the ending was a little too "perfect" and that things would have not happened so fast or gone so well. But it certainly was a big pay off. :)

    Thanks for the heads up on this book Karen!