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!

Zoom Link

Join us at this link at 7:30 on the second Tuesday of the month!

Join us at this link at 7:30 on the second Tuesday of the month!

Upcoming Readings & Meetings

November 9, 2021, 7:30-8:45
The Parable of the Talents [novel] by Octavia Butler, sequel to The Parable of the Sower

December, 2021 and/or January 2022 7:30-8:45
Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements [anthology of short stories] edited by Anrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha

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.

August 3 & September 14, 2021, 7:30-8:45
The Parable of the Sower [novel] by Octavia Butler

October 12, 2021, 7:30-8:45
Good Omens [novel] by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Good Omens has also been adapted in a mini-series, available on Amazon Prime and from the Seattle Public Library.