Jason (jcreed) wrote,

Struggling to regain productivity today. Very sleepy and alternately too hot and too cold. This feels suspiciously like being sick, and I don't like it, no sir.

Instead I will talk about books I've been reading in the last month or two:

Rainbows End, Vernor Vinge. Pretty good post-singularityish political whodunnit. One of the main conceits is that Alzheimer's and various aging problems are sort of curable, if the constellation of symptoms you have happen to respond to treatment. So you get a lot of old people going back to school trying to learn how to cope with these crazy new toys the kids use and get off my damn lawn. The ending wasn't terrifically satisfying, mostly because I didn't get what was going on. Stereotypically Awkward Science Fiction Dialogue Level: Medium-High. (6/10)

Halting State, Charlie Stross. Very much the same general niche as Rainbows End. More engaging plot, (possibly because there was no irritating Rabbit character like in Rainbows End) and gosh I just liked the characters. Felt like a fictionalized Cuckoo's Egg, in that there's Something Going Deeply Wrong that only becomes gradually realized because of smaller things Going Slightly Weird, except with much shinier gadgets, and the heroes are cops and WoW-addicts instead of scruffy astronomer-hackers. It passes the Bechdel test, and SPOILERS near the end the dude vaguely tries to save the day and the chick has to save his ass, and does so handily. With a fuckin' sword. Other notable features I enjoyed: an independent Scotland, and the second-person gimmick. Stereotypically Awkward Science Fiction Dialogue Level: Scattered, and bearable. (9/10)

Anathem, Neal Stephenson. Just started it. Pretty good. The high density of made-up words feels very genre, but it's stayed below the threshold of annoyance so far, and the periodic dictionary excerpts really help me not get annoyed. I'm not really a huge fan of the Gene Wolfe scrambled-rubik's-cube style of novel, mostly out of bitterness than I am not smart enough to Get them. I mean, I enjoyed Fifth Head of Cerberus as a stream of stunningly beautifully arranged words, but hell if I understand what happened. (8/10) so far.
Tags: books, work

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