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Everything posted by heavyboots

  1. Egads! Well that makes me feel better about buying WRC10 and not playing it yet even though I installed it last Thursday. 😹 Just got Becky Chambers' A Psalm for the Wild-Built and started it last night. So far so good? Apparently all the robots gained sentience and absconded to the wild quite a while ago and that's all I know so far. So far recently, the books I can recommend are: Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick by David Wong Chaos on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine Gamechanger and Dealbreaker by L X Beckett The Koli trilogy by M R Carey Unnatural Magic and The Ruthless Ladies Guide to Wizardry by C M Waggoner Apologies if I went back too far, but those are the recent ones I seem to remember not writing up necessarily.
  2. Fairly impressive custom etched knife!
  3. Been double-jab vaccinated for a couple months at this point. It's weird but life is definitely getting back to "normal" here. Eight hours days back at the office commence tomorrow. Some restaurants now have servers wandering around without face masks, concert and movie places starting to open back up. Personally I am still avoiding eating indoors and not really down to see an indoor concert or movie any time soon either (5% chance of getting a flu-like version of COVID is still 5% higher than I really want), but I do feel pretty safe just stepping into a supermarket or whatever for 10 minutes without a mask if they don't require it. OTOH, there are also places still requiring you to hand sanitize before entering and full face masks inside, so the normality is not quite evenly distributed yet.
  4. Gamechanger by L X Beckett — Excellent example of solarpunk / cli-fi sort of in the same category as Karl Schroeder's Stealing Worlds. The premise is we have a society where we've managed to tame the threats of kleptocracy and toxic social media with app assistants running our lives, monitoring our health and encouraging everyone to be positive and pitch into the still monumental task of saving the world from death by global warming and a crashed biosphere. You can stroke or strike anyone and the higher your social "karma" the less ads and interference you get from the digital sphere. Be too much of a troll and you end up in social media purgatory where you are still afforded the basics but every request brings you ads and social education interruptions first. Enter Rubi Whiting, a high-flying young Bounceback generation woman trying to switch career tracks from game player to social worker/lawyer who gets a very strange client who is trapped on the lowest level of the digital sphere and unable to make himself conform well enough to step up, but who also seems strangely powerful in his ability to crack digital systems… is he a demented senior citizen? An AI? At any rate, well worth a read IMHO. A fun story with great characters to root for and against and lots and lots of fascinating suggestions for how to get out of the current hole we've dug
  5. Very sad news. She was always amazing good fun on Top Gear. https://news.sky.com/story/sabine-schmitz-dead-top-gear-star-and-queen-of-the-nurburgring-racing-driver-dies-aged-51-12248488
  6. Remote Control by Nnedi Okorofor. More short novela stuff! A lot of her usual themes, but this one was a little more enjoyable than most of her stuff recently has been for me. Small girl inherits terrible powers and roams the countryside as something of a living legend while trying to figure out what her origin story actually is. I think she managed to connect this one back to some actual sci-fi elements more strongly than usual, which did help.
  7. I feel like Fleet of Knives was a bit of a poor effort on his part. I managed to read through it without too much trouble, but was much happier with the third book and the first. The Dispatcher by John Scalzi — A novela really, but still pretty enjoyable. This is one of those "If you change one rule about how the world works, what are the consequences" books. In this case, suddenly anyone who is murdered wakes up in their home rolled back whole and intact to a few hours or days before they were killed but with all the memories right up until their death. It was actually quite entertaining in a "let me tell you a story" kind of way. Seven of Infinities by Aliette de Bodard — Another novela, this time set in her weird oriental-feeling Empire with ships-as-people and murders afoot. Unfortunately I didn't like this nearly as much as The Teamaster and the Detective though? But not a terrible book, just not really my cup of tea (as it were).
  8. I personally don't think there's a lot of need to reread REAMDE. It's almost standalone, IMHO. Like it doesn't hurt to remember some of the characters and their past connections but honestly, quite a bit of time passes quite rapidly and the circumstances all change pretty quickly as a result. I just finished The Trials of Koli by M R Carey. Really good but really a cliff-hanger! Lots of crazy stuff happening on a post-apocalyptic Earth where the remaining humans have been reduced to small, primitive tribes gradually succumbing to the much more aggressive plants and animals that were bred during the climate change jackpot or something—it's not very clear. The primary characters are on a quest to reach London where they hope to find tech to fix their ailing machines and possibly a way to unite more people in one place to create a bigger gene pool. Hijinks ensue…
  9. Dead Lies Dreaming by Charles Stross was decently good fun.. Laundry universe but not familiar Laundry characters. And some interesting tricks up his sleeve. London real estate, the Necronomicon, ambitious artists and thieves and personal assistants and a caper. What's not to like?
  10. Persephone Station by Stina Lecht was pretty good in a Melissa Scott kind of way. The planet feels just slightly alien and the characters just slightly foreign but the humanity is in full effect. Last ditch mercenary stand, protecting an alien race from being overrun was central to the plot for what it’s worth. Lotta evil corporations and crime syndicates too.
  11. So hard to stop at only one Crack Company book, haha! And I didn't know Swanwick had released another Dark Faerie book. Will have to look for that!
  12. Damn, mojo to The Girl. That's some sucktacular luck on the parenting spectrum.
  13. Deepest condolences, GR.
  14. Player 2 by Ernest Cline — OK, it's still deep nerdcore 80's retro fantasy, but it was at least reasonably fun. I rolled my eyes here and there, but after how freaking absolutely terrible Armada was, I was pleasantly surprised for the most part. We pick up where book one left off as our hero discovers that being rich and powerful makes being an asshole infinitely easier too. Plus, more also-er, he finds out that the company he inherited has tech squirreled away to make full brain interface possible, but only for 12 hours and that the founder has left it up to him and his buddies to decide if the world is ready for said tech or not. Hijinks ensue…
  15. The Ruthless Young Lady’s Guide to Wizardry by C M Waggoner was excellent! As near as I can tell it involves the daughter of characters from the first book in the series, as well as numerous other unrelated characters, including a necromanced mouse. The specifics of the plot start with a poor young firewitch from the wrong side of the tracks almost accidentally finding employment in a group of body guards and degenerates from there to something of a revenge gang seeking justice. On a somewhat random/interesting note, Waggoner has absolutely no trouble with LGBT characters in either book so a lot of the relationships are non-hetero. At any rate, I’ll be happily reading anything else Waggoner wants to write!
  16. heavyboots


    I need to do another reading too. Yeah this one definitely felt like it lacked a certain "depth" somehow that his other books have. I honestly wonder if the surprise Trump win possibly made him have to concentrate so hard on duct-taping his original idea back into workable form that he didn't have as much time to let the content marinate and gain all those amazing little character and plot wrinkles that he usually has.
  17. Funnily enough I too read The Space Between Worlds recently. It was good but not as amazing as all the press about it had lead me to expect. I do like the main character tho and some of the ideas are pretty interesting even if the final reaolution felt a little too pat to me.
  18. Long time no see, man! And yeah, just living life, hunkered down inside or occasionally outside too.
  19. Argh, think I missed out on this happening thanks to my currently being locked off Twitter while I argue why they need a phone number to validate my humanity after being provably human the last 10 years… If you guys do another one sign me up!
  20. I think if you do it, I would recommend coming up from King Canyon on the back of the Tucsons right across from the Desert Museum. It probably knocks a good 3 miles off the total distance. Also if you want a shorter scramble for a scenic view of Tucson, take the Pontatoc Ridge trail from the too of Alvernon about a mile or so up to this huge flat ledge. You can get amazing sunsets from there too! (Or if you guys want a guide sometime, hit me up!)
  21. Oh man… he was so freaking young! This is very sad news indeed. Deepest condolences to his family. 😿
  22. (Please excuse the last, first author listing, but I'm literally just copying this from my library history since I'm so far behind!) Attack Surface by Doctorow, Cory — Holy shit this was good. Super bleak and depressing in parts, but also really, really good. It's a continuation of the Little Brother series and I think it spins a terrifyingly possible future. And shows what would happen when someone working for the dark side grows a conscience extremely well IMHO. Masha is a hacker who got coopted in high school to work for these black ops guys who ran the lockdown of San Francisco after the terrorist attack in LB. And so she's grown up in the system on the side of the "good guys", gradually becoming more and more disenchanted with what they're doing and gradually providing more and more help to the "rebels" after she goes home from her day job. Eventually something's gotta give and this is the story of what happens when it does. Burning Roses by Huang, S. L. — So this is a novella that basically borders on Little Red Riding-hood territory. S L Huang is an awesome story teller (if you haven't ever ready her Zero Sum Game series, you're definitely missing out on some fun action/math science fiction stuff) and while I started off luke warm, by the end I was totally on board for the story and desperate to see where it went. Pretty good! The Year's Best Science Fiction Vol. 1 — This was kind of back-loaded. I wasn't super excited by about the first 5 stories, but then it started to pick up. Sturdy Lanterns and Ladders by Malka Older was a favorite and Tegan Moore's long story The Work of Wolves was absolutely amazing in a chilling sort of way. anyway, excellent stuff for the most part! Knight Watch by Akers, Tim — OK, finally acquired a copy and read it and… so different from Tim's previous stuff, but also really great! Highly recommended! I laughed a ton while reading it, and any ex or current DnD player will too. The Last Human by Jordan, Zack — This was… ok. It is based on some pretty interesting concepts, starting with the fact that the entire universe is stitched together by The Net and you either choose to become a citizen or face annihilation, but I wasn't a really major fan of his character writing, unfortunately. Still probably worth checking out from the library if you find it there though. The Ministry for the Future by Robinson, Kim Stanley — So very good and so very depressing and so very uplifting all at once! KSR has done it again—attacking the issues the human race is rapidly running headlong into and trying to imagine a recipe to get us out into a better place. His works are always so optimistic, but this can't help but be bleak too, simply because what we face in the coming years is super bleak and there's no way to sugarcoat that. At any rate, he posits the UN creating an agency called The Ministry for the Future to oversee the climate accords and their compliance and walks us through not only how they might try and regulate things, but also the various catastrophes we are heading into in the fairly near future. We get some perspective from people at the Ministry and also refugees fleeing climate change and even a few people who have sort of become climate revolutionaries. Really fascinating, really intense in the complexity of the material it presents, and also very good at actually making it coherent enough to understand and agree with a lot of his solutions. The Book of Koli by Carey, M. R. — Another post-apocalyptic novel by Carey (who brought us The Girl With All The Gifts), but this time it's not zombies but rather people tinkering with the environment that have laid us low. The trees are all much more active now and tend to hunt anything warm-blooded. Likewise, a lot of the animals are on a much more intense level of vicious now. This follows one boy through his trials of love and ambition in a society where the line between death and life depends on a few last pieces of technology that still work. Possibly my favorite book of the year, even though I read it so late. (Although it's tough not to say that about Attack Surface too, so I don't know what exactly is my favorite, lol.) Re-coil by Nicholas, J. T. — In a far future where everyone is constantly backed up on a small device implanted in your spine, a guy doing salvage runs across a ship that apparently has deep dark secrets aboard, because he gets killed almost immediately after entering and starting to salvage. He wakes up using an older backup, someone immediately tries to kill him and he discovers some of his crewmates are already dead and some are on the run. Shenanigans ensue across the solar system as they try and figure out WTF is up. Honestly, I wasn't a huge fan of this book either. He's got some good ideas, but the characters are pretty damn thin and he does quite a bit more "telling" than "showing" at times, which made me roll my eyes a lot more than I wanted. Maybe worth a library checkout, maybe not? Machine by Bear, Elizabeth — Written as an intentional homage to James White's Hospital Station, this was a fun little story about aliens and the treatment of aliens and such. I honestly don't remember much about the last novel written in this universe, but the story didn't suffer for that; seems pretty standalone. It's not one to bump to the top of the pile, but if you need an easy read with low energy threshold, this does fit the bill and deliver the entertainment.
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