Fellowship of the read: It’s a book club for sci-fi fans - Brooklyn Paper

Fellowship of the read: It’s a book club for sci-fi fans

Fully booked: Heather Strickland, organizer of the Readers of the Lost Ark science-fiction book club, holds the graphic novel about time-traveling teens the group read last month.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

These book worms are social animals!

A science-fiction and fantasy book club called “Readers of the Lost Ark” brings nerdy readers to the Way Station bar in Prospect Heights on the last Saturday of every month to socialize and discuss the latest in alt-reality fiction. The founder of the club said that a shared passion for spaceships and sorcery gives the group a focus that most book clubs lack, and keeps the members coming back each month.

“It helps bringing together people that already have something in common, otherwise all readers all have such different tastes,” says Heather Strickland, who lives in Crown Heights. “With us, from the beginning, there was a common ground. Everyone who joins has many interests in the outside world, but at least all are fans of Dr. Who and Marvel movies and the like.”

And while the stereotypical sci-fi fan is known for engaging in passionate and extremely nit-picky arguments over contentious topics like whether the Hulk could beat up Superman [editor’s note: he can], the Readers of the Lost Ark are intellectually engaged and respectful, said Strickland.

“People have their own favorites, but at the end of the day we very much appreciate everyone’s different points of view,” she said. “It’s kind of the point!”

The group gives members an outlet to discuss esoteric topics such as the merits of classical vs. contemporary world-building techniques, and detailed guided questions — often written by Strickland — keep the group from going too far afield.

Each month the group chooses a different theme, and members suggest books to match. An anonymous online vote determines the next month’s selection. The different themes keeps the discussion from getting stale.

“In March we did a graphic novel, which was unique because all of a sudden we had to start taking the visual aspect into account in our discussion,” said Strickland. “In April, because of April Fool’s, we selected our first non sci-fi book [“A Visit From the Goon Squad”].”

In the two years the club has existed, it has attracted about 50 members on Facebook, and a roster of about 15 regulars meeting each month. Strickland, who created the club in hopes of finding like-minded friends, said that her experiment could not be more successful.

“Last year we had a movie-watching party including all the film versions of the books we had read,” she said. “It’s one of my fondest memories.”

The next meeting of Readers of The Lost Ark will discuss “A Visit From the Goon Squad” at the Way Station [683 Washington Ave. between Prospect and St. Marks places in Prospect Heights, (347) 627–4949, www.thewaystationbk.com]. April 29 at 4 pm. Free.

Talking space: The science-fiction and fantasy book club meets at the Doctor Who–themed bar the Way Station on the last Saturday of every month.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

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