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Science fiction and the law

Schuler Books & Music set to host two writer discussions


In early November, Schuler Books & Music will be hosting two different authors in their Lansing area book stores. On Nov. 9, fantasy/sci fi writer Jim Hines will be visiting the Eastwood Township location to celebrate his new science fiction novel “Terminal Alliance.” But first, On Nov. 8, author and long-time challenger of the death penalty Eugene G. Wanger will be speaking at the Meridian Mall.

Eugene G. Wanger
Courtesy Photo

“Its a question that has been really almost eternal in human history. A public policy question about whether or not we should have the death penalty and my talk will be mainly about the history of it and the argument which have been advanced on both sides of the question,” he said.

Michigan was the first government in the English-speaking world to abolish the death penalty for murder or lesser crimes in 1846, and then, in 1964, a prohibition of the penalty was adopted in the state constitution which still stands today.

“I think it’s important because, except for peace and war there’s no public issue more important than whether or not under what circumstances government should be authorized by its citizens to kill people,” the lawyer said.

Wanger said he think it’s crucial to go to events like this one, because it is the best way people will be able to learn about a topic.

“In order to be informed about the issue, it’s much better to discuss it and learn about it in a more relaxed atmosphere then it is to try and learn about it when there’s a big campaign going on and everybody has to make a deadline in the news media,” Wanger said. “Having discussions and talks of this kind make it possible for people to become better informed about the topic.”

The following night, author Jim Hines will be talking about his latest novel: “Terminal Alliance.”

“I’ve been working with Schulers since my favorite first book came out,” Hines said. “I love that book store they've been an absolute pleasure to work with.”

The book will officially be released on Nov. 7, and the story follows a group of janitors on a starship as they try to navigate their way through a post-apocalyptic galaxy.

“I’ve always had a fondness for the unlikely heroes. The people who dont tend to get the spotlight as much,

Jim C. Hines
Courtesy Photo

they're maybe not who you would traditionally think of as the protagonist, the hero, the star of the story,” the author said. “I mean, a starship that big — somebody’s got to be cleaning it. I decided, well, what happens if we put them in charge.”

This is Hines 13th novel, but it is first in the science fiction genre. He said the most difficult part of writing this project was having to create a huge amount of background for the story.

“I think the biggest thing was that this book felt bigger. With fantasy, you still have to do a lot of world building — you have to design your world, the characters, the culture. And for this book, I had to design an entire galaxy.”

At the reading, the author says he will be reading an excerpt of the book and says seeing how the audience reacts to certain things is one of his favorite parts of book releases.

“Ill do some reading, so I get to see and hear how people react right there in person which is very energizing when it works. Sometimes, you’ll read something and it wont go over as well,” Hines said. “But when you read something that is, ‘Oh, this is funny,and you see people leaning in or hear them laughing, its incredibly energizing.”

Hines says he enjoys these types of events because it allows him to meet with people who are like him, and it reminds him that he’s not writing for just himself.

“Being able to get out and meet readers, meet fans, meet the people that have enjoyed some of my other stuff, its a reminder that its not just me,” Hines said. “They're the people who like science fiction and fantasy, and I like that stuff too. It’s just a gathering of other fans that I can hang out with and have fun with.”

Esteemed Lawyer Eugene

G. Wanger Presents

“Fighting the Death Penalty”

Wednesday, Nov. 8

7 p.m.

Schuler Books & Music

Meridian Mall

1982 W. Grand River Ave.,



(517) 349-8840.

“Terminal Alliance” Launch

with Fantasy/Sci-Fi author

Jim C. Hines

Thursday, Nov. 9

7 p.m.

Schuler Books & Music

2820 Towne Center Blvd.,



(517) 316-7495


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