Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What do you mean by “radical left”?
A: Many things. Ask each member and you’ll probably get different answers. For starters, let’s say “well beyond Liberal or Conservative”. For specifics, Think Galactic has a number of anarchist members, but also socialists, progressives, and others.
Q: Isn’t the old left/right dichotomy rather tired?
A: Yes it is, which is why we tend to think of it as a continuum as well as being only a starting point. Left vs. right wing politics is a spectrum that almost anyone living in the 21st century can grasp, so it’s a good place to begin. However, what that continuum includes is entirely debatable but generates discussion, which is always good.
Q: What if I don’t identify myself as “radical left”, or even “left” at all?
A: Not a problem! Over the years we’ve had members who self-identified as Libertarians or even Republicans. All we ask is that individuals attending meetings are respectful of others and be open to the discussions we are having.
Q: How do you choose books?
A: At the June and December meetings, we each throw out 1-2 book or story suggestions that we think would make for a good discussion and add any online suggestions. We go around the table and each pick one, then flesh out an order for the next 6 months. As for content or other criteria, we always seek to include as many authors who are women and persons of color as we can, as they have been traditionally under-represented in SF. We look to mix up themes and topics but are always interested in stories that deal with race, class, gender, and sexuality. Specific topics of interest, like the environment, population, war, etc., also factor into the mix; Tiptree winners are usually considered and a Wiscon GoH often (though not always) chosen for May. As a rule of thumb, we don’t pick the same author two years in a row. The former process of picking 12 out of a hat near the end of the year is remembered fondly but the current format seems more flexible.
Q: I have a book I think your group would like, how do I let you know about it?
A: See our Contact page for the procedure; we’re always looking for interesting, politically edged fiction.
Q: I’m driving! Where can I park?
A: Free, non-permit, and not terribly distant street parking can usually be found on Le Moyne west of Damen or south on Leavitt, especially after Sabin Magnet closes.
Q: What’s with the vegan snacks?
A: Ah, the vegan snacks! They were a staple of past book group meetings and Think Galacticons but we currently don’t have any snacks with our discussions.