Shaman is the most Kim Stanley Robinsonest book of all the Kim Stanley Robinson books I've read (which is pretty much all of them except for some of hShaman is the most Kim Stanley Robinsonest book of all the Kim Stanley Robinson books I've read (which is pretty much all of them except for some of his super early releases). That probably makes it simultaneously both his best and worst book. All of the typical criticisms you can make of his work - excessive idealism, excessive liberalism, and excessively elongated passages that do little more than describe the setting - can all validly be made here. At the same time, there is just so much to love about this book. Loon, Thorn, and Heather are all great characters and I enjoyed how their relationships with one another played out in the novel. There's also a lot here to dissect and think about when it comes to life during the last Ice Age and how we came to be the people that we have. That's what I appreciated the most about this book and I think is also where its greatest strengths lie - musings on what it means to be human set in an Ice Age 10,000 years ago as written by a renowned science fiction author. Only Kim Stanley Robinson could pull that off. ...more
I, as my four star rating would suggest, really liked this book. Newsom presents a lot of interesting thoughts about the intersection of government anI, as my four star rating would suggest, really liked this book. Newsom presents a lot of interesting thoughts about the intersection of government and ubiquitous technology, and what that could mean for the future of our country. The ideas and examples discussed throughout the book are empowering and point toward a possible future defined by increased civic engagement, strong sense of community, and a new definition for and appreciation of our commonwealth.
The book is not without its problems. Newsom glosses over privacy issues quickly by dismissing privacy as a relatively recent social construction. The implications of using people's personal data for commercial purposes are illustrated through the rosiest possible lenses. That said, the world that Newsom foresees is an empowering one that puts power in people's hands and views the relationship between government and its constituents as a two-way street instead of the top-down system of government we currently have. At a time when seemingly everyone, myself included, is disenchanted by how they see government operating, Newsom makes a compelling case that it doesn't have to be that way and points to others who have already started to change the system for the better. ...more
I picked up this book sometime earlier this year after borrowing it from the library and only getting through the first few chapters. The length of tiI picked up this book sometime earlier this year after borrowing it from the library and only getting through the first few chapters. The length of time it took me to read Dharma Road is not a fault of the books, but rather my own inability to stick to a book that isn't written by a sci-fi or fantasy author for more than 3 days at a time. But I'm actually really glad I dragged this book out for so long.
In many ways this book reminds me of The Tao of Pooh. The book is extremely readable and the author strikes an easy-going, conversational tone throughout - impressive because of the breadth of content he covers in such a relatively short amount of time. The short chapters are focused, interesting, but above all engaging. I feel like Haycock succeeds thoroughly in illuminating Zen principles through the unlikely lens of a cabdriver, and I very much enjoyed being taken along on the ride.
I initially was drawn to this book after reading Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs and wanting to know more about what Zen was. I walk away from this book completely satiated in that goal and find myself wanting to still explore more. ...more
Meh. I was really excited about this book after reading the first section and then it began to drag... And drag... And drag... It never really got aroMeh. I was really excited about this book after reading the first section and then it began to drag... And drag... And drag... It never really got around to being the book that I thought it had such promise to be. One of the rare times where I think the play is vastly superior to the book. ...more
Every three years or so I rediscover the genre of short stories and find myself amazed by what an impact they can make in such a short amount of time.Every three years or so I rediscover the genre of short stories and find myself amazed by what an impact they can make in such a short amount of time.
I've had The Lucky Strike lying around for a few years and happened to stumble across it again after reading an article on io9 about alternative histories. The story deals with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and how history might be just a little be different had the Enola Gay and its crew crashed on a test flight before her bombing run.
The story is by no means my favorite piece of literature by Kim Stanley Robinson, but I think he does a pretty good job of depicting a realistic alternate history while at the same time bringing up still very real questions about whether the bombing of an actual city at the end of World War II was necessary. It's an important question to at least consider given the ongoing development of nuclear weapons in an increasing amount of countries. ...more
This book is trying just a little too hard to be a little too cool. That said, it was an enjoyable short read. I appreciated the dialogue, as it's proThis book is trying just a little too hard to be a little too cool. That said, it was an enjoyable short read. I appreciated the dialogue, as it's probably one of the more accurate portrayals of how people our age speak to one another. There is so much potential in the ideas that this book explores, but I feel like it never got deep enough to be super-memorable. Overall though, I liked it more than I didn't. ...more