Welcome to Syzygy, the premier gathering of sci-fi readers in the Dayton area!

Syzygy logo

Syzygy is a diverse collection of SF lovers from around Dayton who meet monthly to explore a new book selection in the genial, inquisitive company of fellow fans. It started in August of 2005 and has met every month since.

New member FAQ

1.

What does it cost to become a member of Syzygy?

  Absolutely nothing! The only cost to you is the price of the books, if you choose to buy them. If you check them out of a public library, you can read for free.
2. Will you sell my e-mail address to spambots?
  We don’t even want your e-mail address! Just show up at a meeting.
3. Where and when does the group meet? Syzygy meeting
  Our meetings take place in the Books & Co. retail store in "the Greene" shopping center, at the corner of I-675 and Indian Ripple/Dorothy Lane, in Beavercreek. (See map below.) We normally meet at 7:00 pm on the second Wednesday of the month. This can change with holiday closings, or the opportunity for author signings, so it is good to stay in touch with our fearless leader.
4. Who picks the books you read?
  The members themselves pick out future readings in a dignified and egalitarian process, sometimes involving paper airplanes and lots of shouting :-}. Really, if you have a good idea, just bring it to a meeting.
5. Where can I get copies of the books?
  You can:

See our separate list of resources.


In the following reading lists:

 

Past reading list

  2005
  August September October November December
  Magic Street
Orson Scott Card
Timeline
Michael Crichton
The Forever War
Joe Haldeman

The Sparrow
Mary Doria Russell

Beggars in Spain
Nancy Kress

  2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

January

The Left Hand of Darkness
Ursula K. LeGuin
“Paycheck”
Philip K. Dick
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Philip K. Dick
Slaughterhouse Five
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr
"We'll Remember It for You Wholesale"
Philip K. Dick

February

The Time Ships
Stephen Baxter
Red Mars
Kim Stanley Robinson
Hominids
Robert Sawyer
Into the Looking Glass
John Ringo
Coyote
Alan Steele

March

Rendezvous with Rama
Arthur C. Clarke
The Man in the High Castle
Philip K. Dick
Gateway
Fredrick Pohl
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams
Carnival
Elizabeth Bear

April

Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus
Orson Scott Card
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
Robert  A. Heinlein
Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang
Kate Wilhelm
The Lost World
Arthur Conan Doyle
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Jules Verne

May

Neuromancer
William Gibson
Old Man's War
John Scalzi
A Canticle for Liebowitz
Walter Miller
Mammoth
John Varley
The Time Machine
H.G. Wells

June

Startide Rising
David Brin
Ringworld
Larry Niven
Idoru
William Gibson
Out of the Silent Planet
C. S. Lewis
To Say Nothing of the Dog
Connie Willis

July

Darwin's Radio
Greg Bear
Moving Mars
Greg Bear
Dune
Frank  Herbert
Flowers for Algernon
Daniel Keyes
Dies the Fire
S. M. Sterling

August

Replay
Ken Grimwood
Timescape
Greg Benford
The Lathe of Heaven
Ursula K. LeGuin
When Worlds Collide
Phillip Wylie & Edwin Balmer
Ender's Game
Orson Scott Card

September

The Icarus Hunt
Timothy Zahn
The Guns of the South
Harry Turtledove
The Martian Chronicles
Ray Bradbury
Crystal Rain
Tobias Buckell
The Invisible Man
H.G. Wells

October

Foundation
Isaac Asimov
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Ray Bradbury
To Your Scattered Bodies Go
Philip Jos้ Farmer
Halting State
Charles Stross
Trading in Danger
Elizabeth Moon

November

The Speed of Dark
Elizabeth Moon
Deepsix
Jack McDevitt
Hyperion
Dan Simmons
A Fire Upon the Deep
Vernor Vinge
Pebble in the Sky
Isaac Asimov

December

Gravity
Tess Gerritsen
The Caves of Steel
Isaac Asimov
The Quantum Connection
Travis Taylor
Agent to the Stars
John Scalzi
The War of the Worlds
H.G. Wells

 

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

January

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Robert Louis Stevenson
The Postman
David Brin
Solaris
Stanislaw Lem
Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury
The Gate to Women's Country
Sheri Tepper

February

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Mark Twain
Spin
Robert Charles Wilson
Blood Red Road
Moira Young
The Quantum Thief
Hannu Rajaniemi
Starfish
Peter Watts

March

2010, Odyssey Two
Arthur C. Clarke
Dandelion Wine
Ray Bradbury
Ancient Shores
Jack McDevitt
Glasshouse
Charles Stross
The Martian
Andy Weir

April

Humans
Robert Sawyer
WWW : Wake
Robert J Sawyer
The Day of the Triffids
John Wyndham
Brave New World
Aldous Huxley
In War Times
Kathleen Ann Goonan

May

Starship Troopers
Robert  A. Heinlein
The Stars, Like Dust
Isaac Asimov
Diving into the Wreck
Kristine K. Rusch
Wool
Hugh Howey
The Cusanus Game
Wolfgang Jeschke

June

Planet of the Apes
Pierre Boulle
Lucifer's Hammer
Niven/Jerry Pournelle
Lord Valentine's Castle
Robert Silverberg
The Shape of Things to Come
H. G. Wells
The Carpet Makers
Andreas Eschbach

July

Close  Encounters
Katherine Allred
Methuselah's Children
Robert  A. Heinlein
WWW: Watch
Robert J. Sawyer
The City and The City
China Mi้ville
Inverted World
Christopher Priest

August

Eifelheim
Michael Flynn 
The Unincorporated Man
Dani & Eytan Kollin
The Games
Ted Kostmatka
The Handmaid's Tale
Margaret Atwood
Mardock Scramble
Tow Ubukata

September

The Andromeda Strain
Michael Crichton
The Positronic Man
Isaac Asimov & Robert Silverberg
I Am Legend
Richard Matheson
Gravity
Alfonso & Jonแs Cuar๓n
Forbidden Planet
W. J. Stuart/Cyril Hume

October

The Ghost Brigades
John Scalzi
The Anubis Gates
Tim Powers
The Currents of Space
Isaac Asimov
The Host
Stephanie Meyer
The Fifth Head of Cerberus
Gene Wolfe

November

Camouflage
Joe Haldeman
The Doomsday Book
Connie Willis
The Mote in God's Eye
Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
The Fountains of Paradise
Arthur C. Clarke
Zoo City
Lauren Beukes

December

On Basilisk Station
David Weber
A Beautiful Friendship
David Weber
WWW: Wonder
Robert Sawyer
Roadside Picnic
Arkady & Boris Strugatski
Echo
Jack McDevitt

Current reading list

2016

January 13 Leviathan Wakes James S. A. Corey

Jim Holden runs an ice mining colony in the rings of Saturn. He stumbles upon an derelict ship, "The Scopuli," which harbors a secret so powerful that someone is willing to kill for it. Unless he can find out where this ship came from war may break out.

Detective Miller is looking for a girl with rich parents and the trail leads him to the "The Scopuli." Holden & Miller must solve the mystery, making careful tracks between the Earth's government, the outer planet revolutionaries and the secretive corporations that control the mines.

February 10 Blood Music Greg Bear Vergil Ulam has made a revolutionary breakthrough in genetic engineering--an intelligent noocyte that inhabits a host and works at the cellular level to improve it, only to see his project shut down. Rather than destroy his life's work, he injects it into himself, without realizing how his actions will change history.
March 9 The Age of Miracles Karen Thompson Walker

On a seemingly ordinary Saturday morning, the world wakes up to the incredible news that the Earth's rotation is slowing down. A day now lasts 24 hours, 56 minutes. Nobody knows why, but governments set up plans to help their populations cope. As the years tick by, the change alters the sociology of the planet. Societies divide into camps over whether to stick to the 24 hour day, or to follow the cycle of the sun, pushing other controversies like race and religion under the table. Seen through the eyes of 11-year-old protagonist Julie, who is also coping with her own coming of age, fractures in her parents marriage, and loss of lifelong friends. Plant and animal species start to die out, a new sickness afflicts the human population.

This work is deficient in the hard SF department. No scientific explanation of 'the Slowing' is offered, secondary effects of such titanic forces (i.e.: earthquakes) do not figure into the story. This shortcoming is more than compensated, however by the human side of the story, where Thompson Walker excels. She forces us to ask ourselves how we would react to unthinkable adversity, creeping in at a snail's pace.

April 13 Grass Sherri Tepper

Grass is a planet so named because its entire surface is covered with the stuff. It was colonized centuries ago by Earth's lesser nobility, who have lost interest in the universe beyond and devote all their energies to an indigenous form of fox hunting.

Now a plague of outside origin threatens all humanity with extinction. Only the citizens of Grass are immune and the Yrarier family is sent there in search of answers, primarily because they ride horses and have some chance of acceptance by the indifferent Grassians.

Marjorie Westriding Yrarier, the devoted wife of the envoy family proves to be the linchpin who figures out the mystery, but the truth may be worse than ignorance. Religion, the environment, and the role of women are also important parts of the plot.

May 11 A Darkling Sea James Cambias

Ilmatar is a Europa-like moon orbiting a Jupiter-like planet in a distant solar system. It is inhabited by sentient crustaceans who live under a kilometer of ice around thermal vents. Terrans are there to study the planet under a strict non-interferance directive, until a Steve Irwin-like celebrity gets himself killed by the natives. Tensions rise to the point of war in this unusual tale of First Contact.

June 8 The Sirens of Titan Kurt Vonnegut

Astronaut Winston Niles Rumfoord, on a mission to Mars with his dog Kazak, gets caught up in a "chrono-synclastic infundibulum", which causes him to appear randomly on various planets, including Earth, although he has no control over his whereabouts. He can only exist in solid form on Titan, a moon of Saturn. He kidnaps the richest man in the 22nd century, Malachi Constant, offers him a chance to take a space journey to distant worlds with a beautiful woman at his side, and then uses him to head up a Martian invasion of Earth.

Fans of Slaughterhouse Five will find ample portions of the meaninglessness of life as well as Vonnegut's sarcasm and sense of humor.

July 13 Stories of your Life and Others Ted Chiang

Dr. Louise Banks, leading American philologist, gets a phone call and a mysterious offer to work on a secret project for the U.S. military. After arm-wrestling her way past a colonel who wants her to analyze and translate an unknown language without knowing where it came from or who speaks it, she eventually gets to participate in a first encounter with a sentient species who have travelled to Earth to make our acquaintance. The 'heptapods'--so named for their unique physiology--have a spoken and written language which initially appears intractable to the research team. This is because their view of reality is radically non-human, but (eventually) not impossible to understand.

The story unfolds from Dr. Banks' perspective, along with many details from her personal life in a second-person account directed to a mysterious daughter whose tie-in to the story is totally incomprehensible until the very end.

This story is being turned into a movie, with a release date in 2016.

Other worthwhile stories in this anthology include

  • "Tower of Babylon"
  • "Liking What You See: A Documentary"


Our meeting place

Syzygy meets on the second Wednesday of the month at Books & Co., in "The Greene" shopping center in Beavercreek (See map at right). Meeting night and/or location can change with holiday closings or author signings, so it is good to stay in touch with our fearless leader. Meetings start at 7:00 pm and last around an hour.

We meet on the second floor, in front of the fireplace. If you don't see us, ask at the customer service desk.



Readers' resources (How to get the books)

Essentially, you can buy or borrow your books. If you choose to buy them you can shop among assorted on-line booksellers:

Bookseller

   

Comments

Amazon.com

   

Amazon.com now sells used books, too. They offer sample pages you can read on-line.

Amazon (UK)

   

We sometimes find books here, not available domestically.

Barnes & Noble

   

Also offers on-line excerpts.

Powell's City of Books

   

An Oregon-based independent with a strong sci-fi section.

If you live in the Dayton area, you can check the various national chains who have outlets here:

Name     Location     Phone     Comments
Barnes & Noble     2619 Miamisburg-Centerville Rd     433-0750      
    2720 Towne Dr     429-1660      
Halfprice Books     2090 Miamisburg-Centerville Rd     438-0249     These folks are serious about that "half price" bit. We once bought a vintage paperback of the original 2001, A Space Odyssey there for 47ข.

Dayton also has a few independent booksellers:

Name     Location     Phone     Comments
Books & Co. at The Greene     4453 Walnut St     429-2169     This is our meeting site. If you mention at the register that your purchase is on the Syzygy reading list, you will get a 10% discount. This is in addition to the "Millionaire's Club" discount, if you also have a store card.

If you have a library card from any Montgomery county library, you can borrow your book from any library in the county that has it.

  1. Go the the Dayton Metro Library home page .
  2. Click on "Catalog" (top of page).
  3. Fill in as much as you know about the book and click "Go".
  4. If that doesn't work, click "Other Libraries".
  5. Click on "More Ohio". (You will have to enable cookies on your browser, and pull out your library card to use this service.)
  6. Click "Standard Search". Fill in your title & try again. This scans dozens of libraries around the area.
  7. If you get hits, the "Details" link will tell you which library or libraries have it.

If you live in Greene county, you can look up books in the "card catalog" of the Greene County Public Library. They seem to have the newer titles!

There are more public libraries in the area outside both these systems:

Finally, if you live outside the range of any of these, you can still probably locate a library near you at:


Links of interest to SF lovers

Search the world wide web for "science fiction" and you will get lots of hits: primarily about TV shows, movies, gaming, or conventions. All the SF links in this section are targetted at people who like books. Many of the names don't tell you much about the services they offer, so we've tried to arrange them by service.


Contact us

For additional information about the Syzygy group, or provide comments about this web site, write to our fearless leader at the following URL:  .


The Syzygy readers' group home page/Revised February 2016

Copyright ฉ 2016, Gary Lynch. All rights reserved.