Category Archives: Books

Echopraxia

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I was a big fan of Blindsight and really enjoyed discussing it in various places so it’s no surprise that this sequel was one of my most anticipated books. Unfortunately even after I’d gotten my hands on it (I chose to buy it as an ebook from Google Books), I took my time reading it because I ended up being very annoyed by it. After finishing the book, I went around the Internet to read up on various discussions. The regulars at Broken Forum mostly liked it but on Reddit and other places, I find that mine is not an uncommon opinion.

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The Martian

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As the impending release of the movie based on it makes obvious, this is one of the most prominent science-fiction novels in recent years. It started life as a piece of original fiction freely available on the web and was picked up by a publisher only after it gained popularity. Appropriately enough for our time, the print version of the novel is the last version to become available as both the ebook and audio versions preceded it. Personally I became interested in reading this because it shows up often in lists of recommendations in rationalist fiction circles, a sub-genre that is now burgeoning thanks to Eliezer Yudkowsky’s Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.

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The Clockwork Rocket

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As I’ve mentioned many times, I still consider Greg Egan to be my favorite science-fiction author though his best work was published in the 1990s and some of the latest novels can be quite boring (I’m looking at you Incandescence and Zendegi.) Still, I’m likely to read everything Egan writes eventually and so here we are at The Clockwork Rocket, the first book of the Orthogonal trilogy that was first published in 2011.

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Fanfiction recommendations

For the first time in a very long while, I’ve gotten ahead of the curve on writing a post for every movie that I watch. This gives me extra time to write about other miscellaneous stuff. So I thought this would be a good time to make a list of some of the fanfiction I’ve been reading and enjoyed. As always, the list is sorted in no particular order. It’s a long list because I’ve been reading a lot of the stuff over the past two years or so.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (Ongoing)

I’ve posted about this before here and it’s still ongoing. The plan is apparently to finish it this year. I still enjoy a great deal but it’s now much darker and serious than when it started. Oddly enough, it’s also gotten so caught up in its plot that it’s much less of an author tract than it was originally intended to be.

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Halting State

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Embarrassingly for someone who claims to be fan of science-fiction, it’s been a while since I last read a sci-fi novel. Most of my fiction reading these days are on the web, either web-based originals or fanfiction. I picked Charles Stross’s Halting State to read recently both because I’d previously read his Accelerando and thought it interesting and because this particular novel’s tie-in with online gaming worlds seems like a good fit for my own interests.

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Blue Mars

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This last book of the Mars trilogy is the most epic in scope, covering some one hundred years worth of events and extending the saga to the rest of the Solar system and even beyond. At the same time, it feels frustratingly parochial, with its strong focus on the same old set of characters who are forced to deal with new iterations of familiar problems. As much as we readers have grown to love these characters over the course of the previous books, it’s hard to shake off the feeling that this book isn’t just a retread of what has come before with added proviso that many of the characters are now so mature as to leave little room for additional character development.

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