01 December 2005

November's Reading

Here goes another month... 8 books read, year's total 138.

See also Make Tea Not War's month.

Recursion by Tony Ballantyne. Strange book. Some awesomely interesting ideas about post-singularity humanity (with advanced artificial intelligence and self-replicating machines) that is let down by strangely missing plot. Ballantyne's characters basically have stuff happen to them and explained to them about the stuff that is going on. The failure of the characters to really do anything means that the book felt totally unsatisfying. The story told should have been the first few chapters of a novel that then had the characters actually step up and deal with the issues posed. Great if you want a bunch of exposition about an imaginary future society. Bad if you would like the characters to explore the consequences of that society. This would be a much more negative review except for the fact that the future he imagines is extremely cool.

Someone Comes To Town, Someone Leaves Town by Cory Doctorow. A very very strange book. Kind of like what you might get if Nail Gaiman and Bruce Sterling collaborated on a novel, but that might be unfair to Doctorow. Let's call it 'bizzaro modern magic stuff'. Cool.

The Next Fifty Years edited by John Brockman. A collection of essays from prominent scientists, each discussing what they expect from their discipline in the next fifty years (from 2002 that is). With a few exceptions they were all interesting and well written. Even the exceptions weren't really bad, just not as good as the others. Worth a read.

The Mists of Everness by John C Wright. Continuing on after The Last Guardian of Everness, we have the main characters trying to recover from pretty much losing the whole world in the first book. Good.

The Oceans by Ellen Prager and Syliva Earle. An excellent layman's overview of the state of the art in ocean science. Also, did you know tuna could grow to three meters long? That's a big fish.

Concrete: Think Like A Mountain by Paul Chadwick. Just as good as the other Concrete stories I have read. Looks at the ethics of direct action to protect the environment. Read this.

Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez-Reverte. Swashbuckling, Dumas-style conspiracy in seventeenth century Madrid. Lots of fun. The main characters are all neat. The only downside is that it's basically just an introduction to the characters. Apparently there are four or five other novels in the series, soon to be translated into English. Huzzah!

Iron Coffins by Herbert Werner. Memoir of a U-boat captain in the second world war. Scary, fascinating stuff.


Luke said...


As a matter of interest, how do you manage to read so much?

The Gamester At Large said...

Actually, I've been reading less than usual this year. Work, parenting and World of Warcraft have been eating into my reading time significantly.

To fail to answer your question in another way, how do other people get by while reading so little?

Luke said...

I am happy that I currently get 2 dedicated hours a day reading on the train each work day. However, that still doesn't add up to your book totals.

The Gamester At Large said...

Hmm, that's probably about how much time I get to read at the moment. Guess I just read faster than you do.

Now, really scary is how fast Make Tea Not War reads...