How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe. Short metafictional science fiction novel, set in a "chronodiagetic" (time-from-a-subjective-point-of-view) universe based around science fiction clichés, where a average-guy protagonist has to confront his problems when caught in a time loop.
Fairly entertaining, though from the reviews it seems pretty baffling to non-science-fiction fans. The implications of this kind of universe aren't really worked through, but there are some nice comic touches and an element of pathos.
What I'm Reading 2
Ancillary Justice Science fiction novel set in the far future. An imperialist power, the Radchaii sp??? has spaceships run by AIs who use "ancillaries": captured human beings operated by the ship via implants, either by direct remote control or local copies of the ship's mind. After a ship is destroyed, the one remaining ancillary searches for answers.
Good book. It's a good concept, and has some impessive worldbuilding and decent action. Has the usual weakness in that it's the first part of a series and so obvious questions are deferred to later books. Is the captured person still in there, a helpless prisoner?.
The book was mentioned on Metafilter, which gives the impression it might be a bit overrated. The protagonist is largely oblivious to gender and refers to everyone as "she" or "her".
What I'm Reading 3
Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross. Loosely linked to his earlier "Saturn's Children", it's set in a future universe populated by robots mostly sticking by tradition to a humanoid single-body.
I liked this a lot, certainly more than the first volume. One of Stross' rare strengths is that he looks at the economics of science fiction scenarios, and this book comes up with some interesting ideas about the finance of subluminal interstellar flight.
Also has a bit of a David Graeber influence in the attitude to debt, and some decent old-school science fiction space colonization ideas.
Well worth a read if you like hard SF and economics, possibly even just one of the two.
What I'm Listening To
Krakatoa: the Day the World Exploded by Simon Winchester. A discursive non-fiction book going all around the subject. It covers the history of the region, the history of plate tectonics, the geology of the eruption, the significance of the newly invented submarine telegraph, the biology of the repopulated islands, and the politics of the response to the eruption, which seems to have encouraged early resistance to colonialism.
Good book, informative and well written.
The audiobook is read by the author, sometimes a mistake but fortunately he's a good reader.
- Baby seems to be getting used to nursery. He enjoys it, but the downside is the endless array of bugs and diseases.
- Wife and son both got sick. Baby had conjunctivitis, which turned into a nasty fever that led us to rush to A&E. Baby recovering now and back at nursery. Wife still sick.
- Work is a struggle. After more changes my team now has a new scrummaster who's trying to make his mark with ambitious goals. So there's a lot of stories to get through, and a certain amount of pressure to get through them quickly, which is tricky for me when I'm not that familiar with the technology or the domain.
- Feeling pretty exhausted.
Socioeconomics. Generational poverty is the exception not the rule. The degradation of middle-class work.
Articles. The Mystery of the Etruscans.
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