Finished Erin K Wagner's An Unnatural Life on my commute today: a novella about an android accused of murder, from the perspective of his defence lawyer. I picked it up because it was in the same Tor.com ebook bundle as the Chambers novella I read last, and while also well-written, this one was not so cozy, definitely a story with sharp edges.
I also met some coworkers, found my cubicle, started background reading on my likely first project, so not a completely pointless day
Followed my last (rather stressful) read up with a more comforting one: Becky Chambers' A Psalm for the Wild-Built - mostly it just follows Sibling Dex the tea monk around for a while (admittedly while they have a slow-burn existential crisis), but the world they live in is this wonderful-sounding place where the factory robots up and left one day and humanity adjusted by figuring out how to live in harmony with nature.
Read Kim Stanley Robinson's Ministry for the Future during the moving process these past couple weeks. Not an escape read, especially in the early parts, and actually rather stressful, but has some interesting ideas. KSR seems to have bought the cr*pt* hype, which is a bit annoying, but all he really uses it for is "central banks push all transactions to a public ledger to kill tax shelters". Worth reading, if you don't read to relax.
I'm so glad that my baby girl, my wife, and I are leaving this God-damned country this week.
There are good people we'll miss here, but the whole country is a cautionary tale of what happens when you turn the "individualism" knob on society up to 11. "We can't have gun control, dead children are just the price of freedom", "we can't have healthcare or a social safety net, the poors need to learn the value of hard work by doing it endlessly for starvation wages", "the proper response to a plauge in our shared air is retreat to your castle and everyone for themselves", "we can't reign in our abusive police services that are better funded than most national militaries, we need them to keep us safe from the malcontents who dare to tell us that we could be an actual society instead of a third of a billion people locked in a death match for the basic necessities of life".
I know Canada has a lot of the same ills and foundational crimes, but it's not quite so fundamentally broken yet, and maybe, just maybe, we can heed the warning of the ghost of individualism future to our south and avoid the worst outcomes.
book reviews, mentions of homophobia, Islamophobia
I also re-read Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land before The Cider House Rules. The Suck Fairy hit this one hard, I'd vaguely remembered the period sexism, but not how everyone called the Muslim doctor "Stinky" (over his objections), or the authorial backflips to explain why there wasn't any gay sex in Valentine Michael's otherwise unlimitedly polyamorous cult. I know it's one of the big works in the field, but the world has moved on, and I for one don't feel like reading it again.
I guess I also read Sanderson & Patterson's Skyward books in between Chambers' Wayfarers books - the Skyward books were enjoyable, but didn't make enough of an impression for me to say anything else three months later.
book reviews, uspol
Next up is John Irving's The Cider House Rules: I started it before the leak of the Alito draft, and am disappointed to see a story about an abortionist suddenly become relevant. Not a whole lot else to say here, but I enjoyed following these characters around for a while.
First up, Becky Chambers' Wayfarer series (starts with The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet): these are charming, homely books. Just small sci-fi stories about good but unexceptional people living their lives in space. Cozy reads, I ripped through them as fast as I could with a newborn back in January/February.
So I already told Windows I didn't want the free upgrade to Windows 11 (the headline feature is Teams, which sucks so bad, the file viewers are so slow it feels like being on dial-up again), so I guess it did the bi-annual maintenance upgrade to Win 10 instead, and the boot screen was first "so, do you want to switch to the Microsoft-recommended browser" and then "you really should buy an Office 365 subscription", and then "can we at least pin a link to web-office to your taskbar?", and I'm just like "fuck off dude, stop hard-selling me on software I already own and messing up my user settings"
PhD in Computer Science, Interested in parsing, (bicycle) pedals, and politics. 🍁 (he/him)
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