Showing posts from August, 2021

A Review of Adrian J. Walker’s The Human Son

You and I were born with a purpose; and I’m a little bit unsure what mine is. But Ima, the protagonist of The Human Son , knows hers. “Mine was to save the world,” she says. And as the story begins, she already has. Ima is one of the Erta, a race of superbeings created by humanity to roll back the damage we had done to the planet. The Erta are stronger than us, they live for hundreds of years, and they are far more logical and less swayed by emotion than we are. Or so Ima thinks. The Erta achieved their goal by first conducting a reasoned analysis of the problem and realized that there was one contributing factor to the planet’s degradation that simply couldn’t be fixed. Yep, the humans. So they phased us out. Sounds rough, and yeah maybe so, but they did throw us one tiny bone- they promised to reintroduce the species once the planet had returned to its pristine, pre-human state.  In chapters two and three the “High Council,” the top hundred and ten Erta (comprised of the second and t

A Review of Ernest Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa

I’m not sure how important, in the modern world, killing animals is, when trying to prove your manhood to anyone else. B’wana Hemingway clearly has his own ideas on the subject. Green Hills of Africa , originally published in 1935, is a brutal slog of an oddly defined thought experiment. The author implies, in a brief foreword, that it is a novel, but claims that “Unlike many novels, none of the characters or incidents in this book is imaginary.” This is a good example of the dry and incisive Hemingway sense of humor (clearly he thinks that some novels contain characters and incidents which are, while purporting to be fictional, in fact real. And he seems to disapprove). Hemingway states that he (he refers to himself as “the writer”) has tried “to write an absolutely true book” in order to see if the product can “compete with a work of fiction.” Emphasis on compete .  Because while the ostensible subject of the book (the “story”?) is how Hemingway, his wife, and some friends went on a

A Review of Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells

Fugitive Telemetry is not the best book in the Murderbot Diaries series. Fans of Murderbot will not care; they get to spend more time with Murderbot! Let me say it again- Murderbot! The funnest, murderiest, nicest robot in the universe, even with the anxiety disorder and the aversion to human feelings of all kinds.  When I discovered last week that my public library had a copy of Martha Wells’ newest Murderbot book, I got in my non-robot car and drove over. I looked on the shelf in Science Fiction. It wasn’t there. I looked in General Fiction (because human error, right?). It wasn’t there. I looked in the new books. Nope. Staff Recs? Nuh-uh. I looked on every endcap and display table. Not present. I started to feel more depressed than usual- what to do? Leave the library and deal with my real life? No way, son. So then I did something crazy; I asked the human librarian for help. I said I’m looking for a book called Fugitive Telemetry and it’s not there! She said, “I can’t spell that.

A Review of Moneyball: the art of winning an unfair game by Michael Lewis

I’m an American;  so even though Moneyball was published in 2003, I was totally unaware of it until 2011, when the movie of the same name was released (yes, I read books sometimes, but I’m still pretty ignorant). Moneyball is one of my favorite movies. It’s about math (which isn’t my absolute favorite) and baseball (which I’m not all of that interested in, except as a way to spend time outdoors with friends, beer, and snacks), but I don’t even care. It’s also about one (or two, or a few) smart human trying to do something intelligent while surrounded by dumb humans who desperately want to thwart them.  It doesn’t get any more real or any more dramatic than that. In Moneyball (the book) we learn, of course, many things which were not revealed to us onscreen, but the most interesting facets of Michael Lewis’s book are the revelations about the people involved. Bill James, who was portrayed on the big screen as a caricature- security guard at a pork and beans factory who is also a genius

A Review of The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

The Psychology of Time Travel is a ring of a very strange shape. It’s full of genies and visits from dead people. Characters flit and fly about like stray bullets, from the 1960s to the 24th century. Although the majority of the narration takes place during 2017 and 2018, the action is all over the place, or rather all over the time, and sixty-two chapters assault the readers with titles including thirteen different characters’ names and dates ranging from March 1967 to April 2019. It’s all rather disconcerting and one would do well to stop fretting over details and resign oneself to fate and just read on to enjoy the zaniness of it all as the mystery unravels itself inexorably. Odette is an archaeology student volunteering at a toy museum. At the beginning of her second shift on the job she finds a body in the basement. The corpse has multiple gunshot wounds. Even weirder, the body is in a room that had been bolt-locked from the inside. The door is the only possible means of egress or