Recently I decided to try something a little unusual. While reading Look to Windward for the second time, I took notes on every beat of the story. It was such a useful and engaging practice, that I decided to repeat the exercise with my other favorite Banks book, The Player of Games.more
To say this was a complicated book would be to undersell the very notion of complex. Not that it wasn’t comprehensible, far from it, but without the appendix provided at the back, managing the mental gymnastics of all the characters, species, ships, planets, etc. would have been excessively burdensome. It’s still a little shocking to read a piece of fiction which requires an appendix, but there it is.more
One of the things that I’ve missed about Go is the incredibly convenient gofmt tool. Through static analysis of your code (that means it converts it into an AST, an intermediary representation)
gofmt can take your messy code and rewrite it in a standardized format. It completely eliminates a whole category of code “aesthetics” arguments.
Every book I’ve read by Banks has been different from the last. Inversions, is no exception. In many ways, Inversions is the answer to the question, “What would it be like if Banks wrote a political intrigue fantasy novel?” A most unusual addition to the Culture series, this book takes place entirely on one planet, there are no space ships, there are no drones, and it is limited in feature entirely to a medieval planet.more
As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been catching up on short stories and thought it might be nice to look at what the Nebula’s have been awarding in recent years (technically this volume collects the 2013 awards). I’m continually impressed by the power of certain short short stories which, though they have few words, carry more weight than stories ten times their size.more
This book series is loved by millions so it’s difficult to add anything new to the conversation about it. Personally, I’ve had a hard time getting excited about Fantasy, so I kept getting drawn away from this book and over to the space operas I’ve been reading. That’s my own fault though, reading multiple books at once naturally divides the attention.more
I’m really enjoying this series. It is pure fun in space. Quintessential space opera. Heavy on the action, but with really fun character dynamics as well. I could certainly complain about a few things, but when you compose 595 pages of material, you’re bound to create some edge-cases for any audience. The fact that so much of the book comes off so well is a testament to this writing duo’s ability to entertain.
The following Saturday, with the first week of school finally retreating into memory, Milo awoke to a very special day: his birthday. Having a birthday that fell around the start of school, Milo was used to it being overshadowed by one of a countless number of activities that fill the calendars of helpless school children, but this year was different.more
Milo trudged through the doors of Bright Futures #127, knowing that today marked the start of a whole new year of not fitting in. He tried to remind himself that the move was necessary, but he had a hard time processing a big change like this. It was hard enough entering a room with people he didn’t know, let alone a whole school, so he already knew that this was going to be next to impossible.more
Marvin watched the rain slide down the windshield of his vintage VW bus, its gentle patter providing a cadence to his deep thoughts. Absentmindedly he twisted his beard with one hand, while the other gripped the timeworn ring of the steering wheel. It had been almost a week since Milo’s birthday and Marvin still regretted not telling him the truth. It was such a special day that he felt it would have been cruel to interrupt the festivities, but now he felt very alone without Milo by his side.more
A literary work of speculative fiction that falls squarely in the camp of dystopian, similar to 1984 though oriented around gender issues. Highly recommend it, especially in the present dystopia in which we live.