Sonntag, 14. Mai 2017

As full of spirit as the month of May…

by Inci German

How spectacularly May 2017 has begun in Berlin!
No, I’m not talking about the revolutionary May 1 rally nor the inevitable catastrophe that was the Eurovision Song Contest for Germany – These were lousy compared to the spring program of the Otherland bookstore! Two top-class double features (Caitlin Sweet/Peter Watts and Ty Franck/Peter Orullian) in one week, followed by the RPG-evening and one of the most fierce book club discussions ever and yet there’s so much to come! I’m talking Anne Leckie (July 26th), Marko Kloos (July 28th) and Roadside Picnic (at the Gatherland) here! It’s all so exciting!

Mittwoch, 3. Mai 2017

Reading with Ty Franck (James Corey) and Peter Orullian

Attention Expansers and Vault of Heaveners!

On Friday May 5, at 8pm, science fiction author Ty Franck (one of the two constitutents of the virtual author James S.A. Corey, The Expanse Series) and fantasy writer/musician Peter Orullian (Vault of Heaven Series) will visit the Otherland Bookshop! So grab your copy of Leviathan Wakes and Caliban's War and Trial of Intentions and whatnot, and BE THERE!

Mittwoch, 12. April 2017

Reading with Caitlin Sweet and Peter Watts

Hooray we have guests!

Caitlin Sweet (The Pattern Scars, The Door in the Mountain, The Flame in the Maze) and
Peter Watts (Blindsight, Echopaxia) are paying a visit to the Otherland Bookshop for a joint reading event on May 3rd, 8 pm!!! Yes they are! And yes, admission is free as always!

Superb writing, excellent worldbuilding, the guts to bring up the ugly, the uncomfortable, the creepy - Fantasy author Caitlin Sweet has it all. I'm pretty picky when it comes to fantasy, and even I am genuinely enchanted by her writing, surely she'll win all Otherlanders over in a walk!

At our last Gatherland meeting many eyes started to shine when the name "Peter Watts" was mentioned. Yes, there's a bona-fide hard SF-fanbase eagerly waiting to hear more about the disturbingly brilliant first-contact-novel Blindsight and its equally ingenious sidequel Echopraxia.

This will be a great evening and You, dear Otherlander, should definitely be there. So mark your calendar!

Otherland Speculative Fiction Book Club

Hey Book Clubbers!

This one's to remind you that this month we don't meet the day after tomorrow, but exceptionally next Friday, April 21st. So lock yourselves in for the long weekend, lay down on that couch, snuggle under your blanket and read the astounding SF masterpiece that is Gateway. By the way Jakob has written a review on it right here, so you may wanna check that out. And while you're at it - also start reading The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins, because that's what we'll talk about in May (on the 12th to be exact).
Keep calm, read books and have a nice long weekend! See you next Friday.

Dienstag, 28. März 2017

Classics of Science Fiction

Happiness is a Hard Master

by Inci German

Talking about dystopias, it has always bothered me that Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is mentioned in the same breath with books such as 1984, We, Fahrenheit 451 or R.U.R.
First off; I don’t want to undermine these other works. On the contrary,classical dystopian fiction is the main reason I started reading speculative fiction and no matter how old-fashioned, drenched or dated some may have come to be perceived nowadays, dystopian ideas and universes continue to fascinate me in full force.
It’s just that in my opinion Huxley goes beyond depicting a mere dystopia; there’s a very witty twist in Brave New World that distinguishes it from anything else I have read to date. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was, until I read Adam Roberts’ lines in his History of Science Fiction: “The greatest achievement of Brave New World is not portraying dystopia; it is portraying dystopia as utopia.” and I’ll take it from there.

When in the mid 90’s Therapy? sang “Happy people have no stories” they certainly weren’t thinking about Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. This is the story of happy people. And ironically, it is a sad one.

Set in 632 After Ford (Henry Ford’s Model T was the first car to be mass produced), Brave New World depicts a society based on “COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY”. People are genetically engineered, graded into castes and hatched instead of born. After their hatching they continue to be conditioned to be obedient, crafty consumers and sexual promiscuous citizens of the World State. They live healthy, happy lives. And if they happen to have a bad day there is always soma, the happy drug. This happiness and satisfaction is the basis for social stability. Suppression in the conventional sense is completely lacking here, since for the majority of people it is only logical that happiness is a good thing we all should aspire to. And so thought utopian writers until Huxley, who suggested “Well, maybe it’s not…” and confronted these two views.

Otherland Readings: Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the Mars trilogy, 2312, Aurora and the brand-new New York 2140, will be visiting Germany, with stops in Bremerhaven and Berlin! In co-operation with his German publisher Heyne and the Klimahaus Bremerhaven, we have organised two reading and discussion events. One will take place on Tuesday, March 28th, at 6.30pm in the Klimahaus Bremerhaven, the other will be on Thursday, March 30th at 8pm in Berlin at the Wasserturm Kreuzberg.

Mittwoch, 8. März 2017

The Day After Tomorrow... THAT time of the month again!
Otherland Speculative Fiction Book Club
Friday, March 10th, 7.30 pm in Otherland Bookshop