08 May 2014

It's an alien invasion!

Sorry if the title of today's post panicked you, an introduction to sci-fi (more on that later) and I've gone all H.G Wells!

If you haven't guessed this post is about our discussion of Stephanie Meyers 'The Host.'  Anne was leading on last nights discussion and gave an introduction to the author and synopsis of the book...
Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that takes over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.

Wanderer, the invading ‘soul’ who has been given Melanie’s body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too-vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn’t expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves - Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body’s desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she’s never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love. [from Amazon UK]

From Anne's description of the author we found out that Stephanie Meyer is a mormon and the group felt that those beliefs are echoed in her books, although not preachy certainly the same sort of morality applies in her stories.

We had a good discussion around this book with viewpoints split across the board.

Our main debate was around the judgements made throughout the book, were the 'souls' right to judge earth en masse? Did they make it a better place?  How did the humans judge the souls for making it better - or good, should that be?  How do humans judge each other, is it personality, looks, more or a combination? 

We then had a discussion about aspects of the film versus aspects of the book and although views were split on the story overall we felt that the book was better than the film (for those that watched it).  The book, although lengthy at over 600 pages in paperback, has a lot more detail and character development where the film skims over a lot.  Although a lengthy title those that read the book found it easy to read and enjoyed having short chapters.

Interestingly we all found it very difficult to get into and found out from Anne that Stephanie Meyer wrote the beginning last and we did think it was quite noticeable, like she was trying to rush an introduction to the proper story rather than lead us into a tale.

Now, at the start of this post I mentioned an introduction to sci-fi as our discussions last night were also about is this a Young Adult book?  Sci-Fi? Sci-fantasy? Or something else?  Some argued that as it contained aliens then it was sci-fi but our definition of sci-fi is that it has to have a detailed description of the technology used, not just a mentioned of aliens.  This led to a discussion of the genre as a whole and we decided to put it on the Science Fantasy shelf.

If you would like to read more about science fiction (and have a look at other ebooks) Jan has suggested some good sites for short stories and more.

[Science Fiction stories and novellas old and new. Various formats – need to check compatibility with technology used to read]

[short stories: horror/supernatural]

[free books to download]
[free downloads crime and mystery]
[free downloads]
[older books out of copyright free downloads]
[short stories including children’s & non-fiction]
[old to present day]

I feel I should congratulate you for getting to the end of a very long post...well done! Before I go details of our next read. They finally arrived so we have a freebie this month from The Reading Agency which is Sally Beauman 'The Visitors'.  Get reading for our next discussion on Wednesday 4th June, Builth Wells Library, 7pm.

See you then :)

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