Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee. Book 3 in Machineries of Empire trilogy. Seemed like an improvement on the lacklustre middle volume, had more events and a solid conclusion. Still didn't have the urgency and focus of the first volume. Unfortunately we seem to live in an age where single volumes are much less viable.
I liked the ending. Would have been nice to expand the setting and see a bit more of the universe than just officers on space vessels. The relationships felt a bit implausible to me, especially a sudden and unexpected love scene.
Overall a decent conclusion, but you'd get most of the value of the series if you just read the first volume.
Found it a bit annoying that you never seem to get an explanation for the massacre at Hellspin Fortress, you never seem to get either a logical or an emotional explanation for why this otherwise calculating character would do it.
What I'm Reading 2
What I'm Reading 3
Dreams Before the Start of Time by Anne Charnock. Low-key science fiction novel that recently won the Arthur C. Clarke award. It takes a familiar idea, that of artificial wombs that can gestate babies without pregnancy, but follows it through in detail. It takes several linked families and follows them over three generations, starting from near the present day.
It's an interesting approach and quite daring to apply the usually female-gendered techniques of the Family Saga to science fiction. The characters and relationships are handled with a realism that's rare in science fiction, and it feels utterly believable the way the ideas are applied.
At first considered eccentric, "bottle babies" soon become the norm, with strangers on public transport scolding traditionally pregnant women for not providing the best environment.
I found it a little frustrating that we don't learn much else about how history has developed in this future world, but otherwise an excellent read.
What I'm Reading 4
Real-World Maintainable Software by Abraham Marin-Perez. Another one I'd had sitting in my library for a while. A shorter text, wouldn't really fill a whole book. Has good but pretty standard advice on how to write maintainable code. Nothing particularly new but the advice seems sensible. I liked the general rule of keeping the number of parameters in a function to four or fewer in general, bundling them up into a new class if you need more.
Doesn't really help with big codebases. One of the guidelines is to try to keep the whole size of a codebase to 150k lines or fewer, which isn't that helpful when you're work every day on a codebase of a few million lines.
What I'm Reading 5
Compliance at Speed by Mark Lustig. Similar to the above in that it's a short technical book but very disappointing: turgid, jargon-filled and with nothing that's not pretty standard.
Went to Germany for a week, mostly staying with my MiL out in the countryside. Managed to get a bit of a rest and get some reading done. Was very hot for a few days, up to about 35C, then thankfully cooled down with some rain. Felt a bit trapped by heat/rain/cantankerous kid and there's not a lot to do.
Went to Augsburg for a short trip which was nice for the variety, didn't get the chance to eat or drink much Bavarian food or beer though. Went to the museum of the Augsburger Puppenkiste (puppet theatre) which is kind of a cult thing in Germany but didn't mean much to me. I can see it would be fun in the same way I'd love to wander round a museum of all the Gerry Anderson puppets and models, but if you'd never watched Thunderbirds or Captain Scarlet it wouldn't be so interesting.
There was also a local festival that was interesting, they do a kind of comedy boat race down a small stream.
Took a day off for myself before the family holiday. Was planning on doing some paperwork but felt my sanity demanded a day off. Went swimming in the outdoor pool in the morning: I sometimes go at lunchtime but it was great to just swim as long as I wanted without having to watch the clock for my limited time.
In the afternoon went to Tate Modern to see a couple of exhibitions. Saw the Picasso exhibition which focuses on one year in his life, 1932, though it cheats a little bit by adding some earlier works for comparison. Fantastic exhibition, with an amazing explosion of creativity there. Sculptures and some great paintings.
Also saw the Shape of Light photography exhibition, which has photographs from the last hundred years alongside other artworks related to them. This one was a bit more low-key but very thought-provoking.
Both well worth seeing.
Politics. Why The American Right Never Liked V.S. Naipaul. Britain's Populist Revolt. No-platforming on Twitter can work – and Baked Alaska proves it. Twitter is a powerful publisher. Twitter's Misguided Quest to Become a Forum for Everything:
Unlike a smaller community, to which admission is a choice that reflects your interests or needs or personality, Twitter has no shared identity beyond “people who want to use Twitter to post...Sci/Tech. A Brief Guide to Neuro-Products. Mastodon anti-abuse features. Institutional archaeology.
The platform can’t easily say what smaller intentional forums can: "We don’t want this here; you’re violating the spirit of our community; go away."
Articles. Is Queen’s "Bohemian Rhapsody" Actually About Coming Out? Minimalist Magic: The Star Trek Look. To Boldly Go: the Hurried Evolution of Star Trek's Opening Narration. William Shatner's "Has Been". How Ethiopian runners train. Ancient Greeks, colour and race.
|< No good deed goes unpunished | o hai >|