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Books Review

Book Review – The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

I got my latest read, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet as a gift, and had a great time reading it.  The first novel from Becky Chambers, it follows a young woman named Rosemary as she joins the crew of a tunneling ship (basically they make shortcuts through space) as they get a big contract that could very well set them up for bigger and better things in the future.  But with that comes danger, especially in a universe where humanity is NOT at the forefront of the great intergalactic governing body, but a minor cog.

The cast of characters are adorably quirky, with the long-suffering Captain Ashby putting up with all sorts of shenanigans that would feel at home on Farscape or Firefly.  I also love the care that was taken to make the aliens truly alien.  Cold-blooded aliens, aliens with differing numbers of limbs, aliens that are symbiotic with a weird virus, the works.  The story of the tunnel the ship needs to make is the overall driving force of the story, but most of the book is a series of what feels like episodes, with each crewmember having an adventure or getting some backstory in.

If you’ve been overwhelmed by Dark and Gritty™ sci-fi or are in the middle of a 74-book high fantasy slog and need a break, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet works great.  It manages to be light and fun and still have a lot to say about gender, relationships and artificial intelligence.

 

Categories
Gadgets Sci/Tech

Friday Finds – Diamond Weevils, Firefly and the Commodore 64

The holiday lull is over, I’ve actually got a few posts to put in here, woohoo!

And now, the links:

The Diamond Weevil (doesn’t THAT sound like a really lame Clan in the MechWarrior universe) looks really cool, for, you know, a weevil.

Circuits that can self-heal when cracked with liquid metal.  We truly live in the future.

The Commodore 64 turns 30, I loved this machine and spent so many of my young life hacking at programming, playing early Microprose games, and it’s been a system I’ve revisited via emulation ever since.

The BBC’s list of 100 things we didn’t know last year.  Somewhat lame this year, but there are a few good ones.  My highlights:

2. Bald people grow the wrong type of hair – so fine it’s invisible to the naked eye.
More details

Riiiight, Dad, just keep telling yourself that.

29. Dogs watch hownice people are to others to work out whom to approach to beg for food.  More details (Daily Mail)

Cats, of course, simply smother that person in their sleep and take the food.

43. The odds ofscoring two hole-in-ones in the same round of golf are 67 million-to-one.  More details

The odds of a hack golfer claiming to have done it (or seen it done) are two to one.

97. Alcohol tastes sweeter when loud music is playing.
More details (Daily Mail)

Maybe that’s why I don’t like most booze, the music isn’t loud enough.

This is really cool – a ‘Lost World’ discovered under an Antarctic shelf.

And finally, the dead Firefly video game could see new life.  They have the code, but they need permisstion to play in the ‘verse.

Wait, one more thing:  74.77.96.93:28070 is my Jedi Knight II server.  Had to patch it up to 1.04 due to crashes on Vista.  BRING IT.