Rounding out the "Bigend Trilogy," Zero History is up to the standards you'd expect from William Gibson's "in the present" stories. Reading through itRounding out the "Bigend Trilogy," Zero History is up to the standards you'd expect from William Gibson's "in the present" stories. Reading through it, you can feel the mastery of his own style of that Gibson has: soulless, unsentimental, and over saturated with a sort of frenetic calm. As with most science fiction, the plot is more of a fixture, and characters are almost equally part of the set. The more pleasurable part is the atmosphere created, here, from places like a "private hotel" with ornate-weird interior decoration, fashion-fetishizing, London motorcycle couriers, and even a brief stint in blown-out rural America.
As with the previous books in the series - Pattern Recognition and Spook Country - the plot itself is the mystery of the book: trying to figure out why all these characters are being compelled to hunt down the secret "Gabriel's Hounds" clothing maker. There's some frenetic, tacked on action at the end (as usual) that makes for the major look into characters - what will they do when forced to make a "difficult choice" - but all of that is just background imagery for the more comfortable string of scenes Gibson paints in the rapid chapters....more
As with most pattern books, this is one you flip through in an hour and then save it to refer back to. The strength of software management and developAs with most pattern books, this is one you flip through in an hour and then save it to refer back to. The strength of software management and development pattern books is describing problems that commonly occur, not really telling you how to fix them. Thus, they tend to be frustrating because you're left thinking, "how am I going to get this to work in my organization?" There is a certain level of detail in some of these patterns that's refreshing, but most are just brief outlines of a software management or team-work problem.
Still, they're extremely helpful things to keep in mind which you may be forgetting ("The Empty Chair") or no longer think applies to you ("Young Pups Old Dogs"), helpful advice if you must do it ("Offshore Follies"), to some that can be reduced to a clever quip, as in "War Room" where DeMarco says, "I'm beginning to think that a project not worth a war room may be a project not worth doing."
There's solid advice in here, but the 0th pattern is "Be humble: never assume you have this shit figured out." After that, many of them are extremely good advice....more
It seems like a complete overview if Orwell's place in the intellectual world. It's like a long essay, with all sorts if 20th century, cold war intellIt seems like a complete overview if Orwell's place in the intellectual world. It's like a long essay, with all sorts if 20th century, cold war intellectual name checking - so much so that you get nostalgic for the simpler times if Western US vs. USSR scholar games.
You'll also get an in-depth argument for why (and how) Orwell in a good model of an essayist and thinker, a thought leader for political and moral culture.
Hitchens doesn't shirk from pointing out flaws in Orwell either....more