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 José 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

March

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

April

Humans
Robert Sawyer
WWW : Wake
Robert J Sawyer
The Day of the Triffids
John Wyndham
Brave New World
Aldous Huxley

May

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

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

July

Close  Encounters
Katherine Allred
Methuselah's Children
Robert  A. Heinlein
WWW: Watch
Robert J. Sawyer
The City and The City
China Mi騅ille

August

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

September

The Andromeda Strain
Michael Crichton
The Positronic Man
Isaac Asimov & Robert Silverberg
I Am Legend
Richard Matheson
Gravity
Alfonso & Jon疽 Cuarn

October

The Ghost Brigades
John Scalzi
The Anubis Gates
Tim Powers
The Currents of Space
Isaac Asimov
The Host
Stephanie Meyer

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

December

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

Current reading list

2015

February 11 Starfish Peter Watts In a society that derives most its energy from geothermal plants in the Juan de Fuca Ridge, under the Pacific Ocean, the Grid Authority has staffed its underwater power plants with humans so unfit for life in normal society, that they willingly accept the surgical modifications that allow them to breathe underwater and withstand tremendous pressure. With their boss viewing them as less than human, there is not much joy in the lives of the inhabitants of Beebe Station. Lenie Clarke fights to overcome her childhood abuse and establish herself in a society of violent misfits.
March 11 The Martian Andy Weir Astronaut Mark Watney is a mission specialist who--through a tragic sequence of mishaps--finds himself alone, stranded on Mars, and without the means to even contact Earth. His best hope lies in reaching the site of the next landing: 4 years hence, but he has nowhere near enough air, water, or food to hold out that long, let alone travel 2,000 miles in a rover designed for local scouting.

But Watney is an unstoppable optimist, brilliant engineer (and a likeable smart aleck). He plots his way to survival, one crisis at a time (and Mars has plenty in store for him). The last 50-100 pages reach that sublime literary plateau previously characterized as 'unputdownable.' (You need to allow yourself plenty of time.)

April 8 In War Times Kathleen Ann Goonan After his brother dies at Pearl Harbor, Sam Dance enlists in the Army and starts studying physics, hoping to find a technology that will put an end to war. He is deeply influenced by Hungarian physics professor Eliani Handtz, who entrusts him with a machine that might be the answer to his prayers. Sam keeps working on the device, trying to get it to work--only to discover that it has been working all along: just not the way he had planned.

As in all Goonan works, music (in this case Jazz) plays an important role in the plot.

May 13 The Cusanus Game Wolfgang Jeschke In 2052 much of central Europe has been rendered uninhabitable by some vaguely-described industrial accident. Refugees are streaming out of the disaster area only to be murdered by inhabitants of green regions--afraid of being overwhelmed. Mutated plants and animals make exploration of the "dead zone" even more dangerous.

Domenica Ligrina is a newly graduated botanist and fan of the works of 15th century cardinal, philosopher, and astronomer Nicolaus Cusanus. She cannot find work until she is recruited by a Vatican representative who wants to send her back into the 15th century to collect seed & plant samples to restore the destroyed environment.

But she cannot hide her intelligence and independence in the paranoid middle ages and soon finds herself charged with witchcraft. She decides her greatest hope lies in seeking the help of Cusanus himself.

June 10 The Carpet Makers Andreas Eschbach In a distant time, on a far-away planet, the hair carpet weavers create carpets for the emperor's palace, using only hair from their wives' and daughters' heads. So difficult is the work, and so high the standards, that production of one carpet takes an entire lifetime, but the proceeds from the sale of that one carpet can support a family for a whole generation. Thus each generation provides for the one that follows. It has been this way for as long as anyone can recall, and all other industry on the planet serves only to support the work of the weavers.

Then one day a space ship lands--not to buy and carry away this year's crop of carpets--but to stun the inhabitants with an announcement that will turn their universe upside down.

July 8 Inverted World Christopher Priest An entire city is winched along tracks through a devastated landscape full of hostile tribes. Every day the tracks must be fresh laid in front of the city and carefully picked up behind it, to keep the city out of the pull of an annihilating gravitational field. The population may not go outside or even know where they are going or why.

Halward Mann completes his education and becomes a member of the elite guild responsible for this difficult task, where he learns that the world outside the city is infinitely stranger than was led to believe.

The reader is pulled in from the first sentence: "I had reached the age of six hundred and fifty miles," up to the surprizing (and renown) conclusion of the story.

August 12 Mardock Scramble Tow Ubukata In the original Japanese, this was a 3-volume series. It was later turned into a 7-volume manga (comic book) and in 2010 was made into 3 animated films. When the book was translated to English, it was combined into a single volume.

Rune Ballot is a teenaged prostitute who is first protected by gambler Shell Septinous, only to have him attack and attempt to murder her after she becomes aware of his crimes. She is rescued at the last minute by private eye, Dr. Easter, who gives her cybernetic implants (think 6 Million Dollar Man) to aid in her self-defense and he convinces her to help them go after Septinous. Easter has a sidekick named Oeufcoque, who is some kind of genetically modified mouse with the ability to shapeshift.

The central third of the novel takes place inside a casino, consists of 370 pages of strategies for playing roulette, blackjack, and Texas Hold 'Em, and doesn't contribute that much to the plot.


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 47¢.

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 2015

Copyright © 2015, Gary Lynch. All rights reserved.