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« January, 2021 »

The Salvage Crew   book icon  
by Yudhanjaya Wijeratne (2020)

read: 15 January 2021
rating: [+]
category: fiction

With AI-written poetry, and dice roll-determined plot points (and weather?) this book had its formulaic aspects. I mean that stuff was all outlined in the preface so it’s not like I somehow deduced it. I liked the idea of this book but part way through it turned a little more into “How much suffering can these people take?” which is a less-favorite trope of mine. I liked the basic arc of this “gig-workers run into trouble on routine op” tale, but there’s some “pink mist” style hyperviolence that wasn’t my thing

Sourdough   book icon  
by Robin Sloan (2017)

read: 10 January 2021
rating: [+]
category: fiction

This was a fun romp through tech and bread making in places you’ll be familiar with if you’ve ever been to the Bay Area. So much of it rang so true from hipster food “makers” to tech gargoyle vampires. Female protagonist and a lot of funny Loises. Plus, there’s always a librarian in a Robin Sloan book.

Frozen in Time   book icon  
by Owen Beattie (2004)

read: 8 January 2021
rating: [+]
category: non-fiction

The quest to figure out what happened to the doomed Franklin Expedition to find the Northwest Passage where they were never heard from again (spoiler: lead poisoning! cannibalism!). Written by scientists and not professional writers and it shows, but still a pretty interesting look at what can go wrong when you’re far from home in an inhospitable place.

Shaman   book icon  
by Kim Stanley Robinson (2013)

read: 7 January 2021
rating: [+]
category: fiction

A very slow-motion prehistoric story, not his usual thing. You follow a few years in the life of an early homo sapiens clan, at a time and place where they were co-existing with Neanderthals (who they called "the slow ones"). It’s a lot more survival focused than narrative in some ways, but you get little parts of learning more about these people. Felt a lot like someone who had seen some cave paintings and wanted to create a backstory for all of them. Enjoyed it in these chilly dark nights.

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