There are elements of this book that I really liked. It is really interesting to read about Bond as a former WW2 veteran. The descriptions of the sett...moreThere are elements of this book that I really liked. It is really interesting to read about Bond as a former WW2 veteran. The descriptions of the setting were timely and engaging. It was a bit weird that most of the book is Bond getting his ass kicked and generally not being very heroic. I'm a little surprised that after this first book, Bond became the phenom he is today...(less)
Really liked this book by the Luna Brothers. This is one of the first comic series I read on my iPad. I had been thinking about getting the book for a...moreReally liked this book by the Luna Brothers. This is one of the first comic series I read on my iPad. I had been thinking about getting the book for a long time, but didn't want any more paper comics. The Luna Brothers artwork is beautiful, with a blend of cartoony style and film techniques (blurring the background when the focus of the 'camera' is in the foreground', etc.)
The story follows Ultra, one of the most popular superheroes in a world where superheroes are part of the mainstream pop culture. She has to simultaneously fight crime/supervillains while trying to have a dating life, all without ending up as a trainwreck on the cover of National Enquirer.
Love the concept of having for-profit superheroes and how they would be woven into the fabric of our society.(less)
The second book in the Millenium Trilogy really stepped up its game from the first. Much more of what I was looking for in terms of a grittier crime s...moreThe second book in the Millenium Trilogy really stepped up its game from the first. Much more of what I was looking for in terms of a grittier crime story in Stockholm. Really interesting to have a hero in Lisbeth who is basically just pathological and impossible to get along with. I love that she is just an unstoppable machine. Really enjoyed it!(less)
LOVED this book. How can you not like a book about humans from the year 3,000 coming back to 1,600 to pull Galileo into the future to inform the outco...moreLOVED this book. How can you not like a book about humans from the year 3,000 coming back to 1,600 to pull Galileo into the future to inform the outcome of his life in the past. The best parts of the book were following 30 years of Galileo's career of exploration and battle with the Catholic Church. Makes me really glad that we have as much separation of church and state as we do have today. Beautifully written, and the audiobook was AWESOME. Really worth reading.(less)
Epic in its visionary scale, this book is fantastic (though slow moving.) I loved A Fire Upon the Deep, the seminal novel by Vernor Vinge, and this is...moreEpic in its visionary scale, this book is fantastic (though slow moving.) I loved A Fire Upon the Deep, the seminal novel by Vernor Vinge, and this is its prequel. It tells a story of the human race 8,000 years from now, having become a space-faring colonizing, trading species. I love the notion that as the trading families (called the Qeng Ho) travel between different planets, they have to plan very carefully how/where they go. It is so expensive/time consuming to get anywhere, you have ensure that there is a technologically sophisticated population on the planet you arrive at (50-100 years after you leave) that you can refuel your ship and get enough profit (resources, information, technology, etc.) to make the trip worthwhile. This is made all the more challenging by the very common tendencies of populations on these colonized planets to rise and fall from high technology, back to collapse, feudalism, and back again.
The story takes place with the Qeng Ho making first contact with the first ever discovered non-human race. This is made more complex by a competing branch of humanity that is competing to make first contact and has perfected a form of brain manipulation, called Focus, that allows them to transform any human into a virtual computer by reducing all of their higher brain functions to ignore any processing outside of their specialty (eg. linguistics, geology, whatever.) Other interesting technologies investigated include: time diliation from fractional-lightspeed travel, use of coldsleep and other life extending technologies, augented reality, and galaxy spanning civilization.
It is a fascinating, challenging view of what humanity may have in store in our future. If you don't want to commit to this very long book, Vinge's Rainbow's End is a more accessible 5 star book. (less)
I liked this book but it didn't totally blow me away. I appreciated that the author (Kevin Kelly) doesn't take the unbridled 'technology is the best'...moreI liked this book but it didn't totally blow me away. I appreciated that the author (Kevin Kelly) doesn't take the unbridled 'technology is the best' approach I expected. He discussed upsides and downsides evenly. I also liked the notion that he expanded the definition of technology to include items not usually considered: thought, language, writing, communication in addition to things we normally think of (iphones, etc.)
The most helpful insights for me related to his analysis of humanity and technology as extensions of nature. The notion that certain evolutionary traits (locomotion, vision, gripping, etc.) were so useful, they evolved separately in completely different species again and again. Technology has done the same thing, with new inventions constantly invented simultaneously by multiple folks at the same time. The notion that technological evolution (like some of these useful traits) is inevitable makes a lot of sense to me. We will continue inventing things we need as we move forward (like renewable energy/manufacturing techniques.)
I *was* disappointed in the final chapter that brought God into the equation. His assertion that the more we understand the wonder of technology, the more we'll want a relationship with God. FAIL. The opposite is true for me. Still some good notions in the preceding chapters.(less)
This is MANDATORY READING for everyone who is a human being. Have you ever wondered, 'where do we come from?' Dawkins lays out in wonderful (and never...moreThis is MANDATORY READING for everyone who is a human being. Have you ever wondered, 'where do we come from?' Dawkins lays out in wonderful (and never boring!) detail, the exquisite evidence for the plain truth that species have evolved via natural selection. He does so by establishing the facts for his assertion step by step, including: * Artificial selection. Humans have been breeding plants and animals for hundreds of years. Nobody would dispute that we have bred dramatically different kinds of dogs (or roses, etc.) by selecting ones with traits we want. Natural selection has done the same thing * Fossil evidence. The fossil record is clear and consistent, showing more than enough of the 'missing links' required to clearly establish species transitions * Genetic evidence. Much more accurate than the excellent fossils we have, plant and animal DNA has been carefully compared and documented to show the relationships between different species
As he's laying out this case, he arms the reader with the necessary knowledge to rationally consider and understand his evidence. He offers quick overviews on chemistry, biology, genetics, geology, botany, and more. Just enough that your interest is piqued and you can follow the points, but I found it to be a great survey reminder to things I learned in high school and college.
More than anything, Dawkins lays out the true beauty and wonder of nature in all its' glory. The fact that the life emerged on this planet on its' own and the incredible inter-relations between species in evolutionary harmony is inspiring. LOVED IT! Can't recommend it highly enough.
ps. If you 'read' this book via audiobook (as I did), you get the treat of it being narrated by Dawkins and his wife (actress Lalla Ward). This is a genius technique that worked really well in Dawkins' God Delusion, as it creates the feeling of a dialogue rather than a lecture.(less)
Bought this book because I love everything Greg Rucka writes (especially Queen & Country, which is AMAZING!) This novel is a serialization of a 19...moreBought this book because I love everything Greg Rucka writes (especially Queen & Country, which is AMAZING!) This novel is a serialization of a 1999 comic series when Gotham was wracked by earthquakes and written off by the US Gov't as a No Man's Land.
The most awesome thing about this Batman book is that Batman is barely in it! It is much more focused on the great cast of supporting characters (who will be familiar to Batman readers - especially Rucka/Brubaker's awesome Gotham Central series): Jim Gordon, Sarah Essen (his wife), Det. Montoya, Barbara Gordon aka Oracle (formerly Batgirl until Joker shot her in the spine in Alan Moore's seminal Batman one-shot (ha!) Killing Joke), Alfred, Penguin, Two Face, Joker, Harley Quinn, etc.
Match that with Rucka's hyper-realistic descriptions of military tactics and techniques, and you have a gritty story about what would happen if a city was left decay and only a handful of people stayed behind to protect the innocents who weren't able to escape. Good stuff!
This was a good book, but pretty dry. Not sure that non-comic hardcore fans would be able to wade through the long academic sections. That being said,...moreThis was a good book, but pretty dry. Not sure that non-comic hardcore fans would be able to wade through the long academic sections. That being said, there are moments of staggering genius in there! Some of his analysis, particularly looking at comics related to other art forms (over the last 50,000 years!) were fantastic. So, if you're a huge comic fan, you may want to check it out.(less)
I so wanted to give this book a 4 star review, but I have to land on 3. It is an epic story of a alternate universe in the future that has gone throug...moreI so wanted to give this book a 4 star review, but I have to land on 3. It is an epic story of a alternate universe in the future that has gone through multiple technological and political upheavals, ending with the scientists being put into monasteries (called consents) where they are removed from society and technology and monitored to ensure they don't get into trouble. Also that they're on tap in case they are needed by the 'secular powers' that rule the world.
The coolest idea in the book is that the consents are partitioned into sections that only open at a specific time. One section opens 1/year, others every 10 years, every 100 years, and one that opens only every 1000 years. Each order is separated to prevent thought contamination. The main thrust of the book is interesting analysis of quantum mechanics played across multiple universes (and visitations between them) that is great stuff for thinking.
Unfortunately, this HUGE book drags frequently. Although one of the best elements of the book are the philosophical dialogues figuring out what's going on and how we interpret the world, I found myself wishing that there was a lot more action. 100 pages of dinner conversations can get pretty dry.
So, probably worth reading as an ambitious book, but I wish it had been more focused.(less)
This book just keeps getting better and better. Multiple laugh out loud moments. Continuing to really appreciate the humor and style. Where Lost At Se...moreThis book just keeps getting better and better. Multiple laugh out loud moments. Continuing to really appreciate the humor and style. Where Lost At Sea seemed really overly teen angsty, this book feels very tongue in cheek with the young early-twenty-something hipster doofus existential angst. HIGHLY recommended!(less)