Uncanny Valley: Science Fiction Summer Reading Group

Uncanny Valley: Science Fiction Summer Reading

Tip your axis to the sun, summer’s on! Secure the drive plate as we cast off into Uncanny Valley, with your intrepid hosts, David Gill and Suhail Rafidi.

Where & When? (IRL and Online)
Four Wednesday night discussions, 6:00 PM Pacific (6/26, 7/3, 7/10, 7/17)
If you do the readings you can tune in live via Google Hangout. The link:


As usual, I will post the discussion after the event.

What Are We Reading?
Two novels and five short stories, covering three writers: Philip K. Dick’s The Man In The High Castle, a packet of short stories by Cordwainer Smith, and Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Calculating Stars. You’ll have to find the novels at your local library, bookstore, or friend’s shelf. The Cordwainer Smith stories are available at Gutenberg Canada, and are linked below.

The Meetings
June 26:
The Man In The High Castle (1963) – Philip K. Dick
July 3rd:The Ballad of Lost C’Mell” (1962) and “Scanners Live In Vain“(1950) by Cordwainer Smith
July 10th:Mother Hittons Littul Kittons,” “Western Science Is So Wonderful,” and ultrashort “The Good Friends,” by Cordwainer Smith
July 17th: The Calculating Stars (2018) – Mary Robinette Kowal

As many of you know David is a Philip K. Dick scholar and the Internet’s first and foremost Total Dick-Head. We will be will be operating in his bailiwick this season, and reading PKD’s The Man In The High Castle (winning the Hugo in 1963). We will be lucky to have the insight of a biographical and literary expert on PKD, David Gill.

Cordwainer Smith was one of the pen names of a guy named Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger. His stories are curious and sometimes whimsical explorations of space travel, reality, and human psychology. He was a Sinologist, Army officer, and Near East scholar who worked for the American intelligence community during the Cold War. During that career, Smith wrote the book on psychological warfare, basically the waging of misinformation campaigns on the civilian populations of enemy countries. To give you a glimpse of his wit, he dedicated that book to his wife. He’s also got a thing for cats, which is right up David’s alley.

Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Calculating Stars is a modern day alternate history of post WWII America. It is book one in her Lady Astronaut series. We hope it will compare nicely across from Dick’s alternate history in High Castle. It just won the 2019 Nebula for Best Novel.

Now crack a book, and let’s DO THIS! See you soon.
With The Total Dick Head Himself!

Keep track on our Facebook Page:

Thank you for reading. Reading rules!

About Suhail Rafidi

Suhail Rafidi is a novelist and educator whose works explore the destiny of human values in a technological landscape. You can find him on Twitter, too, @shelldive.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Books, Movies, Science Fiction, Short Stories, summer reading, uncanny valley and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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