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Offline activities have shown themselves to be more than entertaining enough for the past few days, although I’ve been dipping into Automator, AppleScript and PyObjC to build a few toys that may eventually find their way online (one has already done so, albeit it’s the simplest one).

I’ve also been reading a lot, both on my Sony Reader and otherwise. And it’s been a while since I posted any sort of book review, so I decided to rifle the notes I’ve been taking on my iPod for the last few months and give you a sampling of what I’ve been reading, in no particular order:

Dauntless Prador Moon Matter
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I was a bit taken by surprise by this one, since I expected a different take on things and ended up diving headfirst into an interesting (and solidly written) story. No bug-eyed aliens (yet – it’s a many-part series), not your average space opera, but plenty to chew upon if you like thinking about tactics. Character depth is adequate (even if there are a few recurring plot devices that become boring after a while), but, on the whole, it was a pretty good read, and I look forward to resuming the series. Asher weaves a competent (if violent) plot regarding an inter-species conflict gone seriously bad, fleshing out a portion of the history arc for his Ian Cormac series (but not as an integral part of it). The writing is a but uneven at times and it isn’t the most engrossing of reads (I felt little connection to the characters), but it is nonetheless entertaining, especially if you need something you can dip in and out of depending on real life interruptions. I had been wanting to read this one for some time, and a fortuitous chain of events led to my borrowing a copy and zipping through it in a few evenings. Banks still outshines most current Sci-Fi writers, not because of any shiny technologies (this is a Culture novel, so the stage is set in that regard), but because the plot and characters have wonderful little twists that you savor in tasty morsels as the plot unfolds. Highly recommended.

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