Freaking LHC / CERN *STILL* Trying To Destroy The World! One of the most important websites you can check every morning is HasTheLargeHadronColliderDestroyedTheWorldYet.com … and here, in this action-packed continuation of the Delta Devlin series, Matthew Mather gives yet another reason this is true. One I had never even considered – passing data backward through time – … and doing other things that are certain to go into spoiler territory to name (even without a description of this book to judge “spoiler” by) but which are truly, utterly terrifying. Mather attains the best of the creativity of a Jeremy Robinson type of science fiction writer with the “straight out of the headlines” level current/ near-future tech of a more Michael Crichton type science fiction writer – high praise indeed, considering that both of the aforementioned authors are among my all-time favorites – and he uses this skill to create a tale that can stand up against most any action-based science fiction tale out there. I for one can’t wait to see what tech he tackles next in this series! Very much recommended.
Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:
A Different Kind of Christmas Countdown. What happens when you meet a new person 3 weeks before Christmas and you find yourself falling in love… and yet they have told you up front that they are leaving town again on Christmas Day? Well, in this case… you have a plot (and plot device, as the countdown is given at the start of every chapter) for a romance novel. 😀 For the clean/ sweet crowd, know that Snow doesn’t exactly shy away from the sex scenes here, and they are never of the “behind closed doors” (unless inside a freezer counts? :D) nor “fade to black”. Otherwise, this was a fun Christmas novel of the various parties and sweets that flavor the season while also dealing with a couple of distinctly non-Christmas heavier issues as well. Truly an excellent work that shows Snow’s skill of showing off social issues without letting them weigh a story down – and even working them into the overall theme of the given book. Finally, I love the “connective tissue” of the series such that we see the couple from the first book a few times and seem to have an indication of who at least one person in the next couple in the next book will be. Excellent tale no matter the time of year you read it, and very much recommended.
Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:
Solid Military Romance. This is a fairly standard romance / Annabeth Albert romance with one guy in uniform and the other not… and eventually, neither is. 😉 She’s done the virgin thing at least once or twice (I fully cop to not reading her full back catalog, and I seem to remember her covering this even in the books I *have* read from her), and here it works just as well as it did the last time. For those looking for “clean” / “sweet” romance… Albert uses the virgin trope to explore as many successive sex acts as she can squeeze into a book. So this won’t be something that fits those definitions, but will work well within the more general romance/ gay romance reader crowd. The family dynamics are fun, some of the situations border on silly yet work, and the military scenes are accurate enough for someone who is only vaguely aware of US Navy operations. Looking forward to seeing where this new series will go. Very much recommended.
After the jump, an excerpt and the details about the book from the publisher, including the book description, author bio and social media links, and links to buy the book.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: Sailor Proof by Annabeth Albert”
Tonight, On The Conclusion Of The Harbor Hills Saga… This is the final book in this highly interconnected series of much drama and secrets among neighbors on a particular street in small town (fictional) Michigan. As such, you *really* need to start at the beginning of the series and work your way to this point – which you’ll be glad you’ve done by the time you reach this book, as this is absolutely a series that leaves you wanting the next book in your hand the moment the previous book is done. And yet, in this conclusion of the saga… everything *does* get wrapped up. All is revealed. And yet we *also* maintain the fun, intricate, and varied progressions and relationships that have come to define this series. Very much recommended.
Human Hubris Leads To Disaster. This is a creature feature tale combined with a disaster tale, with a unique and fairly inventive creature combining with a massive blizzard in the Arctic Circle to create one hell of a ride. McBride uses a dual timeline approach to show us how the creature came to be and just how one scientist in particular had their noble goals turn out so horrifically, along with showing the “now” of having to rescue any possible survivors once the creature runs on its inevitable (due to the genre) rampage. McBride actually teases some even more horrific creatures, but the focus is completely on the titular Chimera. While not in any way a political book (similar to the greats of the genre in that regard), in showing yet another way that altruism and hubris can in fact lead to disaster, this book actually makes some solid points about caution and even corporate and government interests – and back-room dealings – in the areas at hand. But again, these are more minor points in the tale, more throw-away commentary that fleshes out minor characters than truly central to the actual story. Truly a story that fires on all cylinders and offers much for anyone that is remotely a fan of science fiction in general or creature features in particular. Very much recommended.
Useful, Engaging, And Exceedingly Well Documented. As a software engineering professional who has a mathematics-related degree (Computer Science), very nearly got two others at the same time (Mathematics, Secondary Mathematics Education), spent a year in the middle school/ high school classroom, and who has been engaged in talking about politically-oriented numbers off and on for over a decade now… this is one helluva book. While I would have preferred fewer leftist-leaning number communication examples (attacks on “the 1%” and Jeff Bezos in particular are a common refrain), overall the points raised here are truly so spot-on, to the level that I personally can’t think of any better or any way to really refute them. Further, the writing style here is very engaging and written in a style that can be read straight through, referred to as a common reference guide, or even taught in chapter form via an actual class itself. For those reading straight through, this is a very quick read due to both the book’s overall brevity – barely 250 pages – and because of its exceedingly thorough documentation – clocking in at roughly 42% of the text of this Advanced Reader Copy. Very much recommended.
A Gold Mine Of Technotyrannical Neoarchy. Wow. Where to begin. I suppose I should specify what I mean by “Gold mine”: It is my personal designation for the worst books possible, the ones where you shift through tons of detritus to find even the smallest speck of anything remotely redeemable. Thus, while some might thing that describing a thing as a “gold mine” is a way of denoting massive wealth, for me it is exactly the opposite – something to only be even considered by those with particularly high levels of pain tolerance and masochistic tendencies.
Here, “celebrated futurist” (according to the book’s description) Khanna basically does all he can to trash anything remotely Western (and particularly American) while seeking a society that is technologically tyrannical and ruled by the young. (Thus, “technotyrannical neoarchy”.) His hubris in claiming that technology and skills are all that matters – and not pesky things like basic human rights and physical geographies – is utterly mind blowing. And his lack of documentation – barely 10% of this advanced reader copy edition I read was bibliography – is truly astounding for such major claims. Perhaps he thinks he gets away with this by claiming to be a “futurist”? Your projections are only as good as your source material, bub, and I expect to see it if you want to make such utterly fantastical claims as claiming that Wakanda is a possibly real society (specifically in saying that Black Panther is a “futuristic” film without ever even alluding to the term “science fiction”, as in “Black Panther is a futuristic science fiction film”) or that iFunny is a major Gen Z social media platform. Also, proclaiming the mobile home to be the “ultimate symbol of the new American mobility” is so utterly laughable in and of itself that this book should not be classified in any genre but humor.
If you’re reading this review and want actual looks at how migration works and the various issues world powers will be looking at over the coming decades, you’re *MUCH* better off with Sonia Shah’s The Next Great Migration or Tim Marshall’s The Power Of Geography and Prisoners of Geography – yes, even with Marshall’s own shortsightedness on some issues.
This book is thus not recommended at all, unless you happen to have high tolerances for pain and are particularly masochistic. Which is a major shame, since the title and subtitle were so promising.
This week we’re looking at one of those books I love to find where an author takes a topic usually seen as “other” and shows just how human – and how powerful – it can be. This week we’re looking at Other People’s Things by Kerry Anne King.
Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:
New Wrinkle On Oft-Derided Issue. I don’t suffer from kleptomania myself, but as someone who is Autistic and is interested in unique takes on various issues society deems “mental disorders”, I always appreciate books that can take a topic that is often derided and make it much more “human” and much less “other”. Here, King does just this, and she does it in a whimsical manner that has its share of tragedy as well. An excellent book that rarely takes the “conventional” route, and yet tells the story of how one person’s “mental disorder” can actually work to be a very positive thing when the person learns to truly harness her power.. Very much recommended.
Solid Examination Of The Issues. I’ve read some of the author’s work over the last year in particular on his primary employer’s website (Reason.com), and that is actually how I found out about this book. So I knew roughly what to expect here, and that is pretty well what I got: a fairly solid look at the issues surrounding tech, elections, privacy, free speech, and other related issues from a moderate libertarian (small “L”, to be clear, since these things matter in circles that will likely be most open to reading this book) perspective that is mostly well-reasoned from that particular mindset. As more of an avowed Anarchist (and former Libertarian Party official and candidate, though I myself was more moderate in that era) and software development professional, eh, Soave allows government a bit too much intervention into tech companies than I’m personally comfortable with. Even here, however, most who are more aligned with the left/ right divide in the US are going to be hit fairly equally and largely find various arguments here that they will (and sometimes do) champion and others that they will (and often do) despise. Which in the age of hyperpartisanship and barely-there “reasoning”, is generally a sign of someone who *has* actually seriously and critically thought about the issues he is speaking of. An excellent work that really should be read by anyone trying to urge government action regarding technology companies, and thus one that quite a few should consider as we begin the march into the mid-term elections of 2022 in just a few more months. Very much recommended.
PS: The reason for the star deduction? Light bibliography, at least potentially corrected in a non-Advance Reader Copy version of the book. The ARC, however, had a bibliography that clocked in at just 9% of the text, vs a “more normal” range of 25-33% in my experience across almost 650 books since Jan 1, 2019 alone.
Interesting And Well Documented Read. In this book, Duffy shows that what the media so often (and so lazily) proclaims to be “generational” divides… usually aren’t really. Yes, there is a generational component to at least some things, but time period (specifically for that “coming of age” period but also more generally throughout the individual’s life) and life progression play equally critical roles, and in many cases *more* critical roles, in showing how a particular group of people generally feel about a given issue. One of the things that makes the book a bit interesting is that even while presenting this much more balanced view of this particular field, Duffy exposes himself as a “climate” alarmist/ extremist, either not knowing about or outright denying similar work to his own in that particular field. (Ie, work showing that even though media lazily points to one thing, there are actually several different things at play and in some cases far more critical to the issue at hand. One work here on that topic similar to Duffy’s on this one is Unsettled by Stephen Koonin, released just 6 months or so prior to this book’s publication).
Still, this book is truly a remarkable work in its field (at least to someone who is *not* a fellow academic or in that field at all) and seems to be fairly comprehensive in its focus, even as its primary and secondary national emphases are the UK and the US, respectively. It looks at many, many issues from the social to the political and even to the personal, from housing to gender identity and sexual activity to political leanings and many, many more. This is also a fairly well documented text, with its bibliography clocking in at about 32% of the overall text – while not the *highest* I’ve noted in my work with advanced review copies, easily among the higher echelons there. Very much recommended.