This short story book club is meant to be a casual but powerful opportunity, primarily for students, to engage with the many themes and ideas presented in science fiction. Short stories were selected instead of full novels to accommodate the busy schedule of students and make it an easy decision to attend on the fly. Sessions include some guided questions for discussion, but will encourage free discussion of the stoies or other posted materials. The club is open to all University of Nebraska students, faculty, and staff.
Meetings held the first Tuesday of every month, listed below, at the "B1G Ten Room" in the City Campus Union at 7:00 PM.
Drop-in attendance is always welcome, but signing up is encouraged for reminders and weather cancellation information. Sign up here.
Tuesday, Sept 7th - “The Machine Stops” Full Text Link; Alternate Full Text Link - E.M. Forster - written in 1909 it describes a world where the human population has lost the ability to live on the surface of the earth and each person has all their bodily and spiritual needs met by an omnipotent global machine. Optional "Further Reading" for this story.
Tuesday, October 5 - “The Dead Past” Full Text Link - Isaac Asimov - This story questions of the ethics of government direction and oversight of the parameters of scientific endeavor.
Tuesday, November 2nd - “Rustys” Full Text Link - Nnedi Okorafor - in a future Kinhasa, we see a dystopian post-colonial tech future filled with urban decay; a portrait not unsimilar to the present central african megacity, with themes of intercultural mob violence and the parameters of “artificial” intelligence.
Thurday, December 7th (tentative) - “Dolly” Full Text Link - Elizabeth Bear - “When a billionaire is killed by his sex robot, police must determine whether the robot was a murder weapon, or the culprit.
February (dates my change): “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” Full Text Link - Harlan Ellison - The story is a satirical look at a dystopian future in which time is strictly regulated and everyone must do everything according to an extremely precise time schedule.