I've been reading 'Penguins Stopped Play' by Harry Thompson. It's an account of his old village cricket team that he formed whilst at Oxford University and how they toured various cricket playing countries. It started off pretty promising, with the event that the book gets it name from, a time in which a flock of penguins stopped play whilst on a trip to Antarctica. Unfortunately, it goes downhill when Thompson rewinds to the start and goes through the history of the team and its members, who I find to be all utterly horrible people.
146 pages into Gibson's Neuromancer. It was a bit hard to get into, with so much allegory and invent-a-words, but now that I got into flow of things I'm totally hooked. Definitely see how many cyberpunk games and movies taken inspiration from this!
Dark Pools: The Rise of AI Trading Machines and the Looming Threat to Wall Street by Mr. Scott Patterson.
Pool is the term used to refer to a venue where traders trade commodities, including currencies, securities, commodity futures, etc. Dark Pools are pools where participants are not required to disclose their trading, not like in some public exchange like NYSE where traders' trading details are to be revealed, yet Dark Pools are supposed to be legal. This book introduces the new trading technology by computers which run themselves after being programmed with AI. And to escape regulations they seek refuge in those Dark Pools.
I have begun reading the Colour of Magic, and the only thing I can think of is, 'why didn't I get it before!". The writing is just frigging brilliant:
Some might have taken him for a mere apprentice enchanter who had run away from his master out of defiance, boredom, fear and a lingering taste for heterosexuality.
Rincewind switched to High Borogravian, to Vanglemesht, Sumtri and even Black Oroogu, the language with no nouns and only one adjective, which is obscene.
This morning I felt compelled to skip my usual breakfast to bike to nearby cafe, have a moffin and sip on a coffee while reading 75 pages of Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind. I don't think I can deny I am hooked. Interesting opening, a bit of a lull after (the whole "traveling troupe" was zzz, but I did enjoy his explanation of magic), and things picking up after the something-big-happens (YAY!) and he spends 3 years surviving in the city.
That's how far in I am now, only ~200 pages; while it does feel a little cliche ("growing in a traveling band", "parents killed", "lonely kids learns to steal and beg on streets etc.), it's still keeping me engaged, and I am finding his descriptions of the world/setting more engaging than I normally have patience for (I lauded The Witcher books exactly because of how succinct the descriptions were). Also likes the little allegory of new Testament and Jesus.
At the same time I am some 50 pages into Jetter's Infernal Devices which hasn't quite grabbed me as much as the other one, but I like that it is more action rather than description based. The mystery of the coin continues...
The Name of the Wind does sound interesting, might have to give it a go myself.
Just started reading Blackout by Mira Grant, the final book in the (euurggh) Newsflesh trilogy. I really enjoyed the first two books, finding them to be interesting takes on the old zombie apocalypse trope. The characters are for the most part pretty fun and the set up for the final book sounds suitably grim. Looking forward to getting into it.
The Hydrogen Sonata, by Iain M Banks. Interesting premise, and it's all kicking off very early, which is strange for a culture novel, which tends towards the slow-ish burn. The ensemble cast is perhaps a touch too big, this time however. Besides a few of the show-stealing (as ever) ship minds, none of the characters really stick in my head yet, even as much as just their names.
Crystal Shard aka first book in Icewind Dale Trilogy aka fourth book in Drizzt Saga
Finished The Hydrogen Sonata. Hmmm. The whole thing comes together rather nicely, but is a bit confusing near the start when half the cast have enormous, similar feeling names, and you're struggling to recall who's who and where.
I just re-read Matter. It was actually much better on a second reading. I suspect I went in the first time expecting all the whizz-bangery and Mind-fuck shenanigans of an Excession or a Look To Windward, whereas it's a much smaller, more human story (until the big Sealed Evil in a Can denouement, of course). It still has some of the tropes we expect from the Culture novels, but they're not as front-and-centre as in others of the series.
Planning to pick up Hydrogen Sonata next week. Looking forward to some whizz-bangery!
Recently acquired this interesting book, The Truth of World Resources with Graphical Illustration.
In East Asia we have a lot of such books about knowledge we general public need to be informed, yet those are too sophisticated for us. Those scientists, economists,... etc would try their best to dump it down to us. In Japan, Taiwan, Mainland China, Hongkong,......... There are tons of them. I know that in the west you can get everything from Internet, but in the east, our web is not mature enough to have a comprehensive Wiki -- yes Wikipedia has Chinese version but it doesn't cover as broad as the English one.
So this book covers the distribution of resources: mostly commonly known such as fresh water, oil, coal, natural gas, precious metals, all the like; to some recently hot topics like rare-soil. How they are geographically located, how nations strategically store them, how they are traded, and so on...... and sadly, of course, how they give rise to international conflicts. This is a Japanese book and the version I have is Chinese translated from Taiwan. Of course, you could start collecting tons of related information on web, but every study should have a good start-up, and for me this books seems to be an ideal one.
BTW, just finished Dark Pools: The Rise of A.I. Trading Machines and the Looming Threat to Wall Street by Mr. Scott Patterson, a non-fiction about development of automated financial trading. It is sad to learn that while I am stuck in some stupid office politics to earn some pathetic wages, the world outside has been progressing so fundamentally in just the last two decades and I was just left behind like that. But anyway, life is life.
I am just starting to read Kurt Vonnegut, as in all of them.
I'm about halfway through A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge. I'm enjoying the book plenty but I don't particularly like the core concept of the zones. I like the characters, the writing and most of the ideas presented but the zones seems a bit artificial. It's the first of a few books in the setting so they may be explained more as time goes on but I have some real problems with working out how the slow zone is fundamentally different to the transcend, other then 'because that's how it is.' Still, lots of fun to be had. The pack minds of the Tines are probably my favourite part of it, despite the lack of sci-fi in their story so far.
In general, so much to read and so little time. I just finished off The Forge of Darkness, a new book and time period in the Malazan series and they've already announced another Malazan book for next month. As ever I love the world and I'm not sure on the characters or the occasionally meandering narrative. It is nice to see the origins of lots of characters who were in the main series though and the new one looks to be exploring new parts of the world.
I still have the Hydrogen Sonata waiting to be read, which I'm looking forward to, and I loved China Mieville's Bas Lag books. I recently started on some William Gibson, having never tried cyberpunk books before, and I also decided to give Asimov another go. Maybe I'll appreciate it more than I did 10 years ago. Life is hard with so much to read.
I'm currently reading Notes from Underground by Dostoyevsky. That guy knew how to write.
Got about 200 pages left on Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie... 2nd read through of the First Law trilogy, BSC and The Heroes, in anticipation for Red Country, my copy of which has dispatched from Amazon!! Should arrive before I'm done with The Heroes as well, so there shan't be a break in my Abercrombie binge. And I have next week off work!
Just to point out, if anyone was looking for a copy at a decent price, it's only £7.64 on Amazon.co.uk currently, which is pretty damn good for a Hardback new release. Should ship pretty sharpish as well.
Also still working my way through the Anabasis by Xenophon, at those times when I have my Kindle but not a book.
ARPS unofficial motto - And then we leave. No heroic stands.
Finished Haldeman's The Forever War. Started Forever Free.