[SOLD OUT] At Galaxy’s Edge: The Rosenbach’s Speculative Fiction Book Club | Winter 2024: Monsters Among Us

Date / Time

  • January 30, 2024
    6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
  • February 27, 2024
    6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
  • March 26, 2024
    6:30 pm - 8:00 pm


2008-2010 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, United States


  • Admission for In-person At Galaxy’s Edge is $20 per session ($10 for members) or $50 for all three sessions ($25 for members). Admission for Delancey Society members is free. Not a member? Learn more.
  • This is an in-person program at The Rosenbach. Please check your spam folder for your email confirmation. If you have questions, please call (215) 732-1600 or email [email protected].
  • Registration opens for Delancey Society on December 6, for Rosenbach members on December 14, and for the general public on January 3  


Join Waitlist for Flowers for the Sea


Description — Winter 2024: Monsters Among Us

The speculative fiction literary genre encompasses science fiction and fantasy, dystopian fiction and magical realism, and horror. It conjures images of travel through space and time, fantastical realms, advanced technology, supernatural forces, and mythical creatures. But above all else, speculative fiction pushes us to imagine “what if…?” These stories also imagine a world far different from our own, exploring the power structures, social inequalities, and methods of exploitation that structure a society or lead to its collapse. In doing so, speculative fiction asks its readers to consider how our own world is constructed; to question our beliefs about race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and ability; and potentially, to imagine a better world for ourselves. 

Each month, the club will gather in the dining room of the Rosenbach’s historic house, view objects from the collection, and discuss classic and contemporary highlights of the speculative fiction genre. Join us for our first season, “Monsters Among Us,” as we explore what it means to be a monster, who really is the monster, and why we create them. 


[SOLD OUT] Meeting 1: Tuesday, January 30, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

At Galaxy’s Edge book club begins with a science fiction classic: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley. Regarded as the first of its genre, the novel tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a university student whose scientific experiments result in the creation of life and the story of The Creature who adapts to his recently gifted life and learns about humanity. Frankenstein’s Creature looms large in our pop culture imagination and has been interpreted through many different lenses. We’ll discuss some of these potential analogies, as well as the nature of monstrosity and the ostracization of those who are deemed “other,” which will set the stage for our future conversations. 

As part of the book club meeting, participants will view the first edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in the starlit Dining Room.   


[SOLD OUT] Meeting 2: Tuesday, February 27, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Helene Wacker, The Golem & the Jinni

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay by a disgraced rabbi knowledgeable in the ways of dark Kabbalistic magic. She serves as the wife to a Polish merchant who dies at sea on the voyage to America. As the ship arrives in New York in 1899, Chava is unmoored and adrift until a rabbi on the Lower East Side recognizes her for the creature she is and takes her in. 

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert and trapped centuries ago in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard. Released by a Syrian tinsmith in a Manhattan shop, Ahmad appears in human form but is still not free. An iron band around his wrist binds him to the wizard and to the physical world. 

Chava and Ahmad meet accidentally and become friends and soul mates, despite their opposing natures. But when the golem’s violent nature overtakes her one evening, their bond is challenged. An even more powerful threat will emerge, however, and bring Chava and Ahmad together again, challenging their very existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice. 


[SOLD OUT] Meeting 3: Tuesday, March 26, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Zin E. Rocklyn, Flowers for the Sea

Survivors from a flooded kingdom struggle alone on an ark. Resources are scant, and ravenous beasts circle. Their fangs are sharp. Among the refugees is Iraxi: ostracized, despised, and a commoner who refused a prince, she’s pregnant with a child that might be more than human. Her fate may be darker and more powerful than she can imagine. 


Book Club Facilitators

Sally Wiener Grotta is an award-winning writer, speaker, and photographer whose books include The Winter Boy (a Locus Magazine Recommended Read) and Jo Joe (a Jewish Book Council Network Book). Daughters of Eve, a collection of essays on women of the Bible, will be published by Bayit in 2023. Her stories, columns and essays have appeared in scores of publications. As a journalist, she’s traveled to all the continents, plus many remote islands, covering a wide diversity of cultures and traditions. Her far-ranging experiences flavor her stories and presentations with a sense of wonder, respect for human potential and a healthy dose of common sense. Sally is co-chair of The Authors Guild Philadelphia Region Chapter. (SallyWienerGrotta.com)