Alternate Worlds Book Group

We read about characters faced with urgent questions of theology and ethics in the context of alternate worlds: other planets, other galaxies, and other/future timelines on Earth. These stories draw on, and sometimes question, Earth religions, including Christianity, Buddhism, and Taoism.

Everyone is welcome!

Tech Note on How to Join Us

You will need to register in advance on Zoom so we can send you reminders for the following meetings:

Then join us at this same link at 7:30 on the first Tuesday of the month!

Upcoming Readings & Meetings

August 3, 2021, 7:30-8:45

The Parable of the Sower [novel] by Octavia Butler

At our next meeting (September of October) we plan to read Butler’s sequel, The Parable of the Talents [novel].

Then we’re considering reading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.

We’re open to ideas for future selections. There are a lot of worlds out there!

Past Readings

March 2, 2021, 7:30-8:45
We’ll discuss two science fiction stories (and a short TV adaptation of one) that address the nature of God from the perspectives of Catholicism and Buddhism. They are available online at no charge at these links:

“The Nine Billion Names of God” [short story] by Arthur C. Clarke

“The Star” [short story] by Arthur C. Clarke.

The Twilight Zone episode “Star” [14 min, filmed low-budget in 1985]

April 6, 2021, 7:30-8:45

The Sparrow [novel] by Maria Doria Russell–first half

May 4, 2021, 7:30-8:45

The Sparrow [novel] by Maria Doria Russell–second half
Seattle Librarian Nancy Pearl calls this “a philosophical novel about the nature of good and evil and what happens when a man tries to do the right thing, for the right reasons and ends up causing incalculable harm”.

June 1, 2021, 7:30-8:45

The Lathe of Heaven [novel] by Ursula LeGuin

The struggle of two protagonists, one representing positivist desire to control destiny, the other a Taoist equanimity, shuffle 1970s Portland through a series of alternate realities.

July 6, 2021, 7:30-8:45

Wild Seed [novel] by Octavia Butler

A re-creation story inspired by Igbo culture and life in 1970s Los Angeles and the earliest book in the chronology of the Butler’s Patternist world.