• bookshelf books

    The Books I Read: September – October 2020

    The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal A true sequel to the first–it’s a race against time to keep humanity alive after a meteor has crashed on Earth, giving it a much closer expiration date. The only solution is to travel to space. All of this was all in the first book. Now that the space program’s been established, it’s time to put a colony on Mars. And our hero protagonist is part of the team making the year-long journey to the future with 1960’s technology. It’s not a complicated plot, but it’s still very good. Better than the first. Since the majority of the book takes place on the…

  • bookshelf books

    The Books I Read: July – August 2017

    Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman I expected this to be like Edith Hamilton’s Mythology. And I got what I wanted. It’s a tightly paced retelling of the old Norse creation myths. Problem is, there aren’t many of them. I suspect that’s more to do with lack of surviving source material, given what Neil Gaiman says in the foreword. Maybe a long time ago there were scrolls and scrolls of Loki and Thor stories. Now all we’ve got are comic books. And if you’re any fan of Marvel’s interpretations, this is required reading. The nice thing is that the re-tellings are up to date. I expected something Shakespearean or textbook-dry, like…

  • sex doll couch video games

    The Sliding Scale of Infidelity

    I was talking about this with my wife the other day. Apparently there is some new sex robot that can replicate emotions and give responses. I’m sure it’s not much better than a furby. But it reminded me that we are facing a paradigm shift in technology + sex and it’s going to go common soon. I can’t remember where I read it, but there’s a quote that says “As soon as a new technology is invented, people will figure out a way to use it for sex”. It happened with paintings, the telephone, the video tape, and so on. I don’t know if the same debates occurred back then,…

  • unfinished book question mark

    Guilt Over Unfinished Books

    I stopped reading two books in the past few weeks.  Both were well-liked, critical successes, science fiction award winners.  But they just didn’t appeal to me.  One was Saturn’s Children.  It’s supposed to be about a gynoid sexbot.  It’s got a sexy android on the cover.  But she never has sex — all the humans are dead.  So she’s trying to get by in a roboconomy spread across the solar system.  It’s full of true science with high speed/time dilation and light side/dark side maglev mega-cities.  Very descriptive on the environment, but not so much on the people (especially with no humans). So I end up feeling no attachment to…

  • hugo award logo

    The 2014 Hugos and Where You Can Find Them

    BEST NOVEL • Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Excerpt) WINNER! • Neptune’s Brood by Charles Stross (Excerpt) • Parasite by Mira Grant (Excerpt) • Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles by Larry Correia (Amazon Excerpt) • The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Excerpt) BEST NOVELLA • The Butcher of Khardov by Dan Wells (PDF Excerpt) • “The Chaplain’s Legacy” by Brad Torgersen • “Equoid” by Charles Stross (Full) WINNER! • “Six-Gun Snow White” by Catherynne M. Valente (Excerpt) • “Wakulla Springs” by Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages (Full) BEST NOVELETTE • “The Exchange Officers” by Brad Torgersen • “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary…

  • hugo movie poster

    The 2013 Hugos and Where You Can Find Them

    BEST NOVEL (40,000+ words) • 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (Amazon Excerpt) Skip it • Blackout by Mira Grant (Excerpt) Thumbs Up! • Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold (Excerpt) Either way • Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi (Excerpt) Thumbs Up! WINNER! • Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed (Excerpt) Either way BEST NOVELLA (17,500 – 40,000 words) • “After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall” by Nancy Kress (Amazon Excerpt) Either way • “The Emperor’s Soul” by Brandon Sanderson (Excerpt) Either way WINNER! • “On a Red Station, Drifting” by Aliette de Bodard (Excerpt) Skip it • “San Diego 2014:…

  • 5 star ratings

    My Nebula Ratings

    Each year, I read through the nominations for the Hugos and Nebulas that I can (the ones available in some form, excerpt or full). I give them my “Thumbs Up“, “Skip It” or “Either way” vote. Now these are completely arbitrary ratings, based on my opinion. The opinion of a citizen, a man with a college degree, but not a masters. A man with no real literary background or experience. A lowercase-A author. My main concern is the ones I rate “Skip it”. They’re usually stories that are too complicated or sequels to something. Like this year I gave a “Skip it” to Mary Robinette Kowal’s “Glamour and Glass”. Miss…

  • galaxy nebula

    The 2012 Nebulas And Where To Find Them

    BEST NOVEL (40,000+ words) • Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed (Excerpt) Either way • Ironskin by Tina Connolly (Excerpt) [Book Trailer] Thumbs Up! • The Killing Moon by N. K. Jemisin (Excerpt) Skip it • The Drowning Girl by Caitlín R. Kiernan (Amazon Excerpt) [Book Trailer] Thumbs Up! • Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal (Excerpt) Skip it • 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (Amazon Excerpt) Skip it WINNER! BEST NOVELLA (17,500 – 40,000 words) • “On a Red Station, Drifting” by Aliette de Bodard (Excerpt) Skip it • “After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall” by Nancy Kress (Amazon Excerpt) Either way WINNER!…