I know Rebecca Front from her work on the UK dark TV comedy Nighty night. I spotted this book of essays at the library and gave it a shot. I very rar I know Rebecca Front from her work on the UK dark TV comedy Nighty night. I spotted this book of essays at the library and gave it a shot. I very rarely read biographies but I enjoyed this collection of anecdotes and observations on her life. I liked reading about the challenges of going on a holiday to a vegetarian inn in Scotland in the 1970s, how to she tries to cope with her phobias and anxieties, and I genuinely laughed out loud several times. Though her observations aren’t startling, they are very real, and I feel like I could get on very well with her if I ever got a chance to meet her. 3 stars....more
A short book with guidelines for writing non-fiction, including essays, reports and emails. The back of the book includes a list of common cliche's t A short book with guidelines for writing non-fiction, including essays, reports and emails. The back of the book includes a list of common cliche's to avoid, and common grammar mistakes. ...more
Tabula rasa is latin for blank slate, originally literally used to describe a slate, it has been used in many different ways since. In this book, tabuTabula rasa is latin for blank slate, originally literally used to describe a slate, it has been used in many different ways since. In this book, tabula rasa is a series of memory wiping treatments that bad or severely traumatized teenagers are given to have a chance to start again. Sarah is undergoing these treatments and the story follows her as she describes what the facility is like, her worry that she wasn't one of the traumatized teens, but maybe she did something truly terrible to be subject to this memory wipe. We learn that everything isn't as begin and it appears. As Sarah continues to recover her skills and memory, we get to learn along-side her what happened and what she do to recover her life. A short thriller, her remembered skills didn't seem that believable, and the baddie was a bit comic book evil, but the audio version had an effective narrator which made up for it. It was a nice change to have a YA book with a Hispanic teenage girl protagonist....more
For anyone who loves the idea of humans being born with special powers this book, despite it's stupid points, is worth a quick read. In Brilliance, arFor anyone who loves the idea of humans being born with special powers this book, despite it's stupid points, is worth a quick read. In Brilliance, around the year 1980 children started being born with special gifts. These children get called many things, twists, abnorms, but also the titular brilliants. No one knows why or how some children are born with these abilities, which is frustrating to me, but at least all the powers seem explainable by science. None seem to break the laws of physics. Rather than x-men level powers (no laser eyes for example) people are born with aptitudes for music, data, or extreme pattern recognition. Nick Cooper, the protagonist, is one of these people and his ability to read patterns and body language means he's very good in a fight. This comes in handy in his role as an agent of DAR, Department of Analysis and Response, a special agency created to manage the brilliants. Cooper's in a division of the DAR that doesn't officially exist. Equitable services has the power to track, detain, and even execute brilliants who are using their powers for evil. Or at least that's how Cooper justifies his work, he believes he's making the world a better place.
Cooper, and seemingly the DAR's main target is a terrorist named John Smith, a brilliant raised in a government run "academy" from the age 8 and brain-washed to hate other brilliants and trust the government and regular humans. His real name, like his humanity, was taken from him when he entered the academy. The more we find out about the academy the more understandable John Smith is, he's probably mentally damaged, but the terrorist shootings he commits never fully make sense to me until the end, when Cooper finally is given enough information to put it all together. I saw the pattern from the beginning of the book and Nick Cooper, the seemingly brilliant who has special ability, didn't, which was the main bit that annoyed me about this book.
The other annoying aspect was the homophobia of the agents, except when it came to lesbianism which only exists in this book for male pleasure. There's even a love interest who had several lesbian relationships, great fodder for Nick Cooper's fantasy's, and even gets into a relationship with Cooper cause she wasn't actually a lesbian! Perfect for any red-blooded het male reader to get off to. The agents (even the fake lesbian) bully each other by saying their male friends are their boyfriends. The fake lesbian is even revealed to have been engaged to a woman, the reason she didn't get married is cause she wasn't a lesbian. What?! What a living male fantasy this woman's sexuality is. Imagine if this was reversed, Nick Cooper was Nicola Cooper, she meets a man who had fooled around with other guys, got engaged to different dude, but didn't marry him cause he wasn't gay. It sounds bizarre cause it is, but I guess I'm not the reader Marcus Sakey was going for.
I'm giving this a 3 star rating cause it kept me entertained to the end....more
Yesterday's Kin by Nancy Kress A decent, if short, story, Yesterday's kin begins when Marianne, an evolutionary geneticist, is taken by the FBI to theYesterday's Kin by Nancy Kress A decent, if short, story, Yesterday's kin begins when Marianne, an evolutionary geneticist, is taken by the FBI to the UN. She doesn't understand why. Even though she's just made a discovery about human evolution - she helped identify a new sub-group of humans who share a common ancestor who lived 150,000 years ago - she knows she's nothing special. She's just a work a day scientist who made a discovery rather than proving an brilliant theory or inventing an elegant equation. She's more worried about her children, who constantly fight with each other when they happen to see each other, or with her when she gets a chance to see them when she's not working. She's most concerned about Noah, her youngest who doesn't fit in anywhere, and is addicted to a new drug that permits you to feel like someone else for a short time. It turns out the Aliens that arrived several months ago want to see Marianne, they are very interested in her genetics research and want her to continue it inside their alien Embassy floating in New York harbour. The aliens are friendly, or so they claim, but no-one has seen them. They eventually do show themselves, and they look a lot like us. They come baring bad news, the earth will soon be moving through a gigantic spore cloud that will kill all humans, they know as some of their colonies have been wiped out from the same cloud. They request humanities best scientists to help them find a cure that can help both the aliens and humanity, but they've only got 10 months to do it. Can the world's top scientists achieve that? Why are the aliens so secretive, why don't they share their own research with the humans? With riots, shootings and terrorists, will humanity even survive long enough to be destroyed by the spore cloud? Kress explores genetics, family politics, and human psychology all in an easy 200 pages....more