Dienstag, 13. Februar 2018

They're Creeping Up Amongst Us

Inci German reviews Tade Thompson's Rosewater

This review is long overdue. Tade Thompson's Rosewater got first nominated for the Campbell Award as best science fiction novel in 2016, then for the African speculative fiction awards, the Nommo Awards, in 2017 and deservedly won the latter. I have been contemplating Thompson's way up - got curious, got the book, read it, loved it, thought I ought to write something about it, and then, as life goes, forgot about it. A few months later the Meetup Berlin Science Fiction Book Club (no, not our Otherland Book Club, but a friendly fellow book club that I occasionally like to join) announced they would be reading it in February and if that wasn't enough signs from the "Universe" for me to write this review, everybody present at the discussion fancied it! Those of you who attend book clubs surely know what a difficult achievement that is. So here I am finally giving in to the universe!

Mittwoch, 31. Januar 2018

Next OBC Meeting - I Am Legend

Ready for a tragically scary SF-horror mashup?

Richard Matheson's 1954 novel about the last man on Earth didn't only win the "Vampire Novel of the Century Award" (the only award that truly counts!) but has been adapted into not one, not two, but into three films (and none of them does the book justice), one radio-play, one comic AND has massively influenced hundreds of authors, filmmakers and other modern horror storytellers.

Got your attention?

Our meeting is on Friday, February 9th, at 7.30 pm at the Otherland Bookstore as usual. And again, no registration nor fee needed as usual. Just read I Am Legend and come!

Next dates and titles are:

March 9 - More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
April 13 - Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor

Sonntag, 7. Januar 2018

Reminder of...

...the Otherland Speculative Fiction Book Club taking place on Friday January 12th at 7.30 pm at the Otherland Bookshop.

Have you finished reading the eerily predictive and dystopic, yet fascinatingly written Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner yet? I hope you did, because I sure haven't! Hurry up, hurry up - only a few days left!

Was your New Year's resolution to read more books too?
No fee or signing up as usual, just read the book and join us!

Next dates and titles:

February 9 - I am  Legend by Richard Matheson
March 9 - More than Human by Theodore Sturgeon.

Montag, 11. Dezember 2017

Lauren Beukes' "The Shining Girls" - An Epistolary Review

Excerpts of a digital correspondance between Walter Phippeny and Inci German

This review contains spoilers.


When I first started into The Shining Girls, I was ready for the book equivalent of a pop-corn movie: something dumb that you could just enjoy, passing over you without much of demand. Unlike a book like Too Like the Lightening, I could tell right away that this story wasn't going to touch on 18th century philosophers, or throw a bunch of languages at me. This was going to be murder, and thrills. And I was not disappointed. It was very much that. But it also surprised me by being smarter than I had expected. The story gripped me and I read it avidly to the end. It fluctuated back and forth between light fare, and something a little smarter. So, I was pleasantly surprised.

Donnerstag, 30. November 2017

Otherland Speculative Fiction Book Club

Yes Yoda, so are we! Luckily it's next week already.

Our current book is a science fiction-thriller: The Shining Girls by South African writer Lauren Beukes, which follows a time travelling serial killer who chooses his victims amongst young women with a certain "shining". One of his victims, Kirby, survives and starts hunting this murderer who shouldn't even exist. Exciting!

The meeting is on Friday, December 8, at 7.30 pm at the Otherland Bookshop as usual.

And again, as usual you don't need to register or pay entrance, just read the book and drop by, there's snacks and all!

See you there!

Samstag, 11. November 2017

Otherland Speculative Book Club Goes Berlin SciFi Filmfest

The doodle poll is closed now and the winner is "How To Build a Time Machine" at 4 pm.

We'll meet at 3.30 pm in front of Babylon (Rosa-Luxemburg-Str. 30).  Tickets have already been purchased for the doodle participants.

See you there tomorrow!


We're going to the Berlin SciFi Filmfest this Saturday (November 18th)! Enter the doodle to vote for your preferred movie until Friday (when the poll will be closed). Let the voting begin!

And these are the options:

4 pm    How To Build A Time Machine

Canada 2016
The movie follows two men who were inspired by H.G. Wells' The Time Machine to build their own time machine.


6 pm    Occupants

USA 2015
Annie and her husband are working on a documentary which involves setting up cameras throughout their house. Complications arise when the cameras start showing the same couple in an alternate universe.


For more information on the Berlin SciFi Filmfest visit http://www.berlinscifi.com.

Otherland Speculative Fiction Book Club

Not So Maddening

The reaction to Robert W. Chambers' The King in Yellow might be described as lukewarm at best; no one really loved it but no one really disliked it either. Maybe because of the present hype about this evil, mysterious entity (that was presumably instigated by it being mentioned in the first season of the great crime series "True Detective") the expectations were a little higher than they should be - which is fatal for any book.

The King in Yellow consists of ten short stories that focus on mainly decadent, avantgarde characters who either live in Paris or in New York and usually study art - five of the stories involve the sinister presence called the King in Yellow or the play with the same name which drives its readers mad. Although it is a very powerful concept that can in a metaphorical sense show the impact of literature on readers, Chambers just doesn't carry out this theme as effective as he maybe might have. He always merely hints at the uncanny nature of things without elaborating them, which of course can be used to achieve a vigorous impression - but not here. This being said, this book is a whooping 122 years old and in a cultural environment in which the horror genre wasn't as drained and washed-out as in our present day, it must have been received with more enthusiasm than the amount of excitement we in the Otherland book club have experienced. Still, even in our horror engulfed times the yellow king perfectly works in some respects.