Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) often catches readers off guard. Centuries of stage and screen adaptations have resulted in a game of interpretative broken telephone that distances us from the original narrative’s poignant reflections on human nature. Our eighteenth reader studied the novel as a high school student and as an undergraduate. We sat down to…

“The Heat Death of the Universe” – Pamela Zoline

Our tenth reader and I sat down on a park bench in the shadow of a private all-boys school to discuss Pamela Zoline’s subversive sci-fi story “The Heat Death of the Universe” (1967). It’s an amazing work of short fiction that deftly portrays a housewife’s nervous breakdown alongside a discussion of physics and cosmology. We…

City – Clifford D. Simak

Our eighth reader selected the 1952 sci-fi novel City by Clifford D. Simak. The novel’s unusual narrative is guided by philosophizing dogs from the distant future who are in the process of reciting the oral history of humankind. The novel suggests the inherent violence of human nature and challenges the endurance of our species. After…

My Grandfather’s Science Fiction

Our fifth reader is my grandfather. He has been an avid science fiction reader since high school and has held a subscription to Analog: Science Fiction and Fact since 1970. Countless copies of the magazine reside upon bowed shelves in his basement, and I am regularly asked if I have any leads on a loving adoptive…