The Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem was a fun read. A short story, chock-full with humor, fast-pased action, weird hallucinations, odd twists and an interesting utopia-turned-out-to-be-dystopia. The dystopia in itself is like many others in the genre (Brave New World-like, just a little worse), but it's hard to find such a great combination of tropes in such a short novel. Can highly recommend.

Finally finished Chasm City, another 700 page monstrosity by Alastair Reynolds. It's as hard to review as it was to read.

I liked the writing style, the masterful world building and the meticulous approach to hard . But it's not without faults: The story takes 400 pages to get anywhere at all, I had trouble making sense of the motivations of many important characters and the foreshadowing and final story explanations could have used more subtlety. Still, it's a brilliant read (and a brilliant universe!) if you have the patience to make it through.

Finished We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor. It deals with some interesting themes (simulating the human brain, space exploration, a bit of AI), but was utlimately shallow, unchallenging and pretentious. The book relies far too heavily on out of place humor and references to popular American SciFi. The writing is plain and I couldn't identify with the main character at all. Finally, none of the storylines really get anywhere in this book. There's a sequel, but I won't be reading it. :blobshrug:

Finally finished Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. If you're looking for an entertaining, silly, over-the-top, fast-paced, nerdy cyberpunk action story with excellent world-building, then this is a pretty good read.

But if you're looking for something insightful, you'll probably want to look elsewhere. The story is based on a theory tying together the origin of conciousness, language, religion and viruses. Not all of it is bullshit, but enough to make it wholly unconvincing.

This is a mini-review for an actual book consisting entirely of reviews of non-existing books. Just finished reading Stanislaw Lem's "A Perfect Vacuum", and I've no idea how to rate it. It's brilliant, imaginative, extremely creative and at times abstract, bizarre and profoundly philosophical. I think the most amazing feat of all is that, despite all the brilliance, the book manages at the same time to be tedious and dull as well. That was definitely worth reading, but perhaps it was better stick to a single chapter a month to let each, uh, "book review", sink in.

Just finished Startide Rising by David Brin. What a load of bullshit that was. Unexplained technology and magic abound, alien races waging boring wars and all sharing the same baseless superstitions, lazy storytelling with far too many coincidences explained away as "it was fate". Not exactly scientific for . 😞

Just finished Ribofunk by Paul Di Filippo, a collection of 13 short stories set in a biopunk future: There's some AI, drugs, environmentalism, a lot of outrageous body modifications, and filled to the brim with every possible combination of genetically engineerd animal/human splices - either enslaved to humanity or rising up against them. The stories aren't very special on their own, but the world-building is amazing - and it's a crazy fucked up world indeed. :blobcataww:

"Before us reared the tallest building in all of old Nuevo York, what used to be old man Trump's very HQ, before he was elected president and got sliced and diced like he did."

- Ribofunk, Paul Di Filippo, 1996

Finished "A Fire Upon the Deep" by Vernor Vinge. I was worried that this would be pretty soft Sci-Fi. Sure enough, it's chock-full of aliens with cultures and ethics suspiciously close to current humanity, there's faster-than-light-travel and even a complete medieval fantasy world. Yet everything fits together so well and the story more than makes up for the rather implausible setting. I can't imagine a better mix of medieval and epic . A very entertaining read!

Finally finished the two sequels to Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space; Redemption Ark & Absolution Gap. Complex stories, highly imaginative, but rather weaker than the first novel. It was basically more of the same, but with some drawn-out, unnecessary and highly unlikely subplots thrown in. With 650+700 pages it was also rather long-winded. Still had some fun and interesting things to offer here and there, so, overall, it was an okay read.

Finished Eden by Stanislaw Lem. What an... odd book. It suffers from consisting largely of abstract and hard-to-visualize descriptions of an alien planet, and the conclusion is typical of Lem: Humans are too biased to make sense of aliens. Not his best work, but still an excellent and wildly imaginative trip.

Finished The Net Delusion by Evgeny Morozov. I'm not sure what to think. On the one hand, the topic is very interesting: A rational discussion on the impact of the internet on global politics, how it has been used to both aid and harm authoritarian governments, filled to the brim with relevant and scary anecdotes. On the other hand, it's overly repetitive and spent too much time ranting on incompetent politicians. It was a good read, but not an easy one.

Just finished the book. The story was excellent, everything else was... okayish. The jokes and writing style got a tad tiresome after a while, and this book had nothing to offer in the way of interesting new insights or social commentary (which is what makes most SciFi extra enjoyable for me). It would have been a whole lot more interesting if humanity on earth got extinct while saving one man on Mars, but nothing so drastic happened. It still works fine as entertainment, though.

"One thing I have in abundance here are bags. They're not much different from kitchen trash bags, though I'm sure they cost $50,000 because of NASA.
[..]
Also, I have duct tape. Ordinary duct tape, like you buy at a hardware store. Turns out even NASA can't improve on duct tape."

- Andy Weir, The Martian

Just finished the book. That was absolutely brilliant. Fun writing style, realistic physics, intriguing characters, actually alien aliens and an epic (back)story spanning millions of years.

Quite in the same style as Cixin Liu's novels, but a bit less over-the-top. Similar to some of Stanislaw Lem's novels, too, but slightly less grim. I'm definitely going to read more from Alastair Reynolds.

"'I expect,' Volyova said, 'that you're one of those otherwise rational people who pride themselves on not believing in ghosts.'"
- Alastair Reynolds, Revelation Space

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