SciFiMonth Classic Read-along: The Sparrow

Banner - The Sparrow: A SciFiMonth Read-along

When SETI decode a mysterious signal to hear gorgeous singing, the world’s governments bicker over how to respond. The Jesuits don’t hesitate. They have the means and the will to build a spacecraft and send a team to make contact. After all, surely only children of God could make such beautiful music… right?

What do you mean The Sparrow is over 20 years old? Cool cool, I’m calling it classic SF. It should be: Mary Doria Russell’s debut novel won the Arthur C Clarke, the Tiptree and the British SF Association Award and is (for my money) a must-read in modern SF canon. A haunting exploration of faith and guilt, The Sparrow begins in the aftermath of first contact gone disastrously wrong as a shattered priest recounts how he came to be its sole survivor.

Several SciFiMonth crew have expressed interest in reading The Sparrow, so I’ll be leading a 4-week read-along throughout November to witness Emilio Sandoz’s confession. You’re very welcome to join us!

As usual, the format is a casual buddy read – pace yourself to the weekly discussion, or zoom to the end if you Need To Know Why It Happened.

Discussion Schedule

I’ll post questions each week as prompts for discussion. Feel free to answer them on your blog, tag @SciFiMonth as you tweet or pile into the Goodreads group to share your reactions (just please, no spoilers for future weeks’ chapters).

  • Wednesday 6th November | Beginning through end Chapter Eleven
  • Wednesday 13th November | Chapter Twelve – Nineteen
  • Wednesday 20th November | Chapter Twenty – Twenty-six
  • Wednesday 27th November | Chapter Twenty-seven – end

Consider this the earliest date to start the discussion to allow the crew to all reach a similar point before we share our spoilery rejoicing, reflections and lamentations. This is a casual read-along – so post when you’re ready, especially as that first week is, well, next week!

I’ll aim to post prompts on the Goodreads group each Sunday at the latest – if anyone else fancies setting the questions one week, I’ll happily share.

Joining us? Let me know here or on Goodreads if you’ll be blogging and I’ll make sure to include you in any link-ups!