Roboteer by Alex Lamb. Old-fashioned adventure science fiction with some modern ideas. In a war between Earth and its Colonies, a roboteer, enhanced to connect his mind to control drones, takes a critical role.
Really enjoyed this: it's one of the most fun books I've read in years. It's action-packed and fast paced, with characters who are eminently cheerable or hissable even if not that well rounded. But as science fiction Lamb manages the difficult trick of keeping the plentiful space battles both exciting and fairly believable, with each ship protected by a fleet of programmable drones.
To be fair, it might be particularly appealing to computer programmers, as one of the critical skills in this combat is programming your drones in real time...
Overall, great fun, heartily recommended for anyone who likes entertaining science fiction.
What I'm Watching
Saw the much acclaimed Birdman on disk. A washed-up actor who played a superhero in the Nineties tries to revive his self-respect and reputation by putting on a play on Broadway. I found it pretty annoying. I suppose primarily because I like both serious theatre and superhero movies, so the idea that there's a huge clash didn't really click. It was also hard to suspend disbelief at the odd depiction of the World of Theatre, where Broadway is somehow a highbrow haven rather than a repository of tourist-friendly musicals; and a critic is furiously astonished at the idea of a Hollywood star trying to boost his cred rather than seeing it as absolutely routine. The movie used the gimmick of being apparently in one take (with digital help). I've liked that in other movies like "Russian Ark", but didn't think it really worked here with a story unfolding over several days rather than tense real time. Overall, didn't much like it, but the critics did so I guess there's something there for people more open minded than me.
A final feature of all three cases is the pivotal moment when the second major power leaves the union. History suggests that unions can survive the loss of a small member state, such as Ireland from the UK in 1921. Conceivably the Baltic republics could have left the USSR, Slovenia could have bailed out of Yugoslavia, and in the EU context Greece could quit without the whole Union collapsing. When the second state quits, however – Ukraine, in the case of the USSR, and Croatia in Yugoslavia – the loss critically destabilises the balance of power within the union.Sci/Tech. Long-Term Exposure to Flat Design: How the Trend Slowly Decreases User Efficiency. How Apple Is Giving Design A Bad Name. Reproducibility Crisis: The Plot Thickens.
At this point, the smaller states are left in a dangerously asymmetrical relationship with the dominant state and must leave to avoid becoming de facto colonies of a single, unrivalled power. With Croatia’s departure, Yugoslavia in effect morphed into Greater Serbia and states such as Bosnia and Macedonia were forced to claim an independence they had not previously sought. Once Ukraine left the Soviet Union, no state would have been able to keep the power of Russia in check.
Politics. Problems with the Trade Union Bill. Peter Hitchens: Really want to beat terror? Then calm down and think. Osborne just gave a gift to his friends in the City which added £135bn to the national debt. UK Polling Report: What the BES poll tells us about why the UK election polls were wrong:
If the problems had been caused by people incorrectly reporting their voting intentions ("shy Tories") or people saying they would when they did not then it is likely that exactly the same problems would have shown up in the British Election Study... The difference... suggests that the error is associated with the thing that makes the BES f2f so different from the pre-election polls – the way it is sampled...Articles. Alastair Reynolds on what it was like when Star Wars came out in the UK. Translating Gender: "Ancillary Justice" in Five Languages. The return of Teletubbies.
I think most people in market research would agree a proper random sample like the BES is the ideal, but the cost is exponentially higher... a completely difference scale of expense, the difference between a couple of thousand and a couple of hundred thousand. No media outlet could ever justify the cost of a full scale random poll...
|< In memoriam | Shit shit shit shit shit >|