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December 31 2015


2015 in Books

OK OK, time to join in the book review fun.

All these are from memory and goodreads, so I hope you’ll forgive me if I miss one or two. You’ll notice I didn’t list almost no non-fiction here - that’s because I didn’t manage to finish any except one this year. Whoops. Correcting this is on my list of things to do in 2016.

My favorites

  • Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho - a super fun alternate history story set in England during the Napoleonic wars. I loved many things about this book, but my favorite is the way characters in it use the word “exploded”.

  • The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin - this reads like a post-apocalyptic (or maybe meso-apocalyptic?) fantasy story, but comes with a bunch of sci-fi elements. I don’t know if I can say many more non-spoiler things about this other than that I loved it. Can’t wait for the sequel.

  • The Three-Body Problem and The Dark Forest by Liu Cixin - these were two pretty great hard SF reads. The second one has a super cringe-worthy stretch, but overall, I enjoyed it more than the first - the two books almost feel like they are set in different genres. These are on my (very very short) pile of books to re-read eventually. Do yourself a favor and catch up: I suspect we’ll see winks and nods to the series in other works soon.

  • The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor - I loved Who Fears Death, and Book of Phoenix ends up being a prequel. I got a distinct “Falling out of Cars” feeling from some parts, but Okorafor weaves in and handles a bunch more themes like colonialism, scientific misconduct and white entitlement to black bodies. It’s amazingly written and I loved it all.

  • Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie - I loved this book. It’s the last one in a trilogy, and of course, you should read them all. Especially if you love awkward conversations over tea.

Pretty good books

  • A Key, an Egg, an Unfortunate Remark by Harry Connolly - pacifist Urban Fantasy. Probably my favorite twist on a genre so far (and it works remarkably well).

  • The Internet Of Garbage by Sarah Jeong - OMFG a non-fiction book! On this list! And it’s really great, too. You really should read this if you build systems that let people talk to each other.

  • Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho - short stories featuring monsters and spirits from Malaysia. Some are extremely touching, and some are hilarious and some are both. My favorite was “House of Aunts”.

  • Sunshine Patriots by Bill Campbell - holy carp, this book is a gut punch. Great commentary on the jingoistic american war machine and all the structures supporting it. A lot of repulsive things are going on in this one (TWs for rape and many more war-related atrocities). I couldn’t say any of the themes are out of line with how I’d project the US will be fighting their wars in that future.

  • Elysium by Jennifer Marie Brissett - this read like a weird and not-really pleasant fever dream. The writing was great, and I loved the plot.

  • Nemesis Games (The Expanse, #5) by James S. A. Corey - Spaceships for the spaceship god. Good. I’ll keep reading. (They made this series a TV show recently - it’s not terrible!)

Not for me

  • The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6) by Charles Stross - I read all the books in this series, and starting to show its age. By swapping out the (ridiculously overpowered) protagonist for another (not-quite-as ridiculously overpowered) protagonist, it ended up working out fine… but if I am completely honest, I’m reading this series out of habit, not because I’m particularly enjoying it anymore.

  • Fluency by Jennifer Wells - this was ok, but I’ll skip the sequel.

  • Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi - didn’t really click for me.

  • The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison - reading this book felt like a chore and didn’t come with any pay-off in the end. Try it if you love memorizing names.

  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan - this is what happens if you give San Francisco tech workers a copy of Cryptonomicon to read. Don’t do that. (Seriously though, it’s a fun read, despite being extremely predictable and cringe-y. The author sadly has nothing even close to Stephenson’s exposition compensation field.)

Next up

I am looking forward to a bunch of (partially read and unstarted) books in 2016!

  • Einfach Üben - I am learning how to learn to play an instrument, and this book has a bunch of interesting things to say about how we learn to play music in particular, but also how good practice in general can shape your performance. I’m excited to use the things I learn from it.

  • Venus Siegt - german Sci Fi. All I know is that this book has space stalinists. Intrigued.

  • The Obelisk Gate - the aforementioned sequel to The Fifth Season.

December 30 2015

Mein Lieblingsfilm in den 80er-Jahren war "Brazil" von Terry Gilliam. Von dieser Zukunftsversion ist viel wahr geworden ist: Schönheitsoperationen, vergiftete Umwelt, Terroranschläge, ein Staat, der die Bürger überwacht oder – aufgrund des Terrorismus – überwachen muss. Man sollte sich diesen Film wieder anschauen! Aber ich habe keine Angst vor dem Terrorismus. Man kann nicht vor etwas Angst haben, das einen ständig bedroht. Ich habe auch nicht Angst, einen Herzinfarkt zu erleiden. Obwohl die Wahrscheinlichkeit für einen Herzinfarkt bei mir wahrscheinlich sehr viel höher ist als für einen Terroranschlag. Man kann nur weiterleben wie bisher. Man hat ja keine Alternative. Zu Konzerten gehen, in Cafés herumsitzen. Das ganz normale, jämmerliche Bobo-Dasein wird plötzlich zum gesellschaftspolitischen Statement. Schon allein das wäre Grund genug, jeden Terrorismus aufs Entschiedenste zu bekämpfen.
Josef Hader im Interview: "Man kann nur weiterleben" - KURIER.at
Reposted frome-gruppe e-gruppe viaylem235 ylem235

March 25 2014

Think of a monad as a spacesuit full of nuclear waste in the ocean next to a container of apples. Now, you can't put oranges in the space suite or the nuclear waste falls in the ocean, *but* the apples are carried around anyway, and you just take what you need.
– Dons
Reposted fromtelofy telofy

January 12 2014

Reposted frompracticaljoke practicaljoke viacygenb0ck cygenb0ck
   Make it slow   
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May 20 2013

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Doctor Who LCD Adventure Game Review | Ashens - YouTube

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March 24 2013


February 23 2013

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To This Day Project - Shane Koyczan
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February 17 2013

b3ta: Meteor wrong.
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February 13 2013


February 12 2013

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Vimes had never got on with any game more complex than darts. Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks around, the whole board could’ve been a republic in a dozen moves.
— Terry Pratchett, Thud (via still-intrepid)
Reposted fromzweisatz zweisatz viahairinmy hairinmy
It’s a fact so jaw-dropping it’s unbelievable — people thought it was a crazy Internet rumor until Politifact verified it. But it’s true: More Americans have died just since 1960 from gun incidents — suicides, accidents, and homicides — than died in every war in U.S. history. The deadliest war the U.S. has ever had is the war we waged against ourselves.
via It’s One Of The Craziest Internet Rumors About Guns. And As It Turns Out, It’s True.
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February 08 2013

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Williams Fairey Brass Band - Acid Brass (What Time Is Love?)
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