Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Including a Reread

1st up, I read "The Consuming Fire", by John Scalzi, 2018, 320 pages, book #2 of "The Interdepencency" series. Pretty standard space opera. An interstellar empire, founded by marketoids and supported by a cynically created state religion, faces challenges as the branches of the interstellar river system they use for FTL start to dry up. Lots of scheming and politics. Scalzi has some, what, refreshingly vulgar/smartass characters, as you would expect. A page turner, as always from Scalzi.

Next, a short story collection by relative newcomer Tobias S. Bucknell "Tides From the New Worlds", 2010, 293 pages. Bucknell is the author who emailed me the ebooks 3 of his novels when I wasn't able to get them on Kobo - man, I love living in the future! These are interesting stories. Bucknell grew up on a yacht in the Caribbean, mostly anchored at St. Thomas. A lot of these stories feature Caribbean settings and culture. It reminded me of some of Lucius Shepherd's stories set in Central America, but mostly not nearly as dark. A good variety of stories.

I was going to read something else, but then the 1st novel in 6 years from Richard K. Morgan came in: "Thin Air", 2018, 544 pages. This is set in the same universe as his 2007 novel "Thirteen", blogged here: around 100 years in the future, with humanity on Mars and Jovian and Saturnian moons, and various new techs. Their AIs aren't very smart. The protagonist is a genetically modified human. In "Thirteen", the modifications were to recreate pre-agricultural humans: antisocial (psychopathic), and very violent. Here the main modifications are for hibernation for long space flights - but they have to wake up quickly in case of a serious problem, and are very violent during this period. Morgan's heros are generally males who are very violent. The books also have more sex in them most current sci-fi does. The plotting and dialogue are great - I watched the Netflix series of "Altered Carbon", his 1st novel, 2x.

This one, like "Thirteen" has 54 chapters with 2 of the chapters in a coda. I wonder if this is a design artifact?

I had thought about doing it a few times, so after finishing "Thin Air" I went on and reread "Thirteen", 2007, 550 pages. Wow, this is so prescient of the current malaise gripping much of white maledom, particularly in the US. This is well before the opioid epidemic and subsequent increasing death rates of recent years.

You got a first world where manhood’s going out of style. Advancing wave of the feminized society, the alpha males culling themselves with suicide and supervirility drugs their hearts can’t stand, which in the end is suicide, just slower and a bit more fucking fun.
I, for one, welcome our new female overlords. I don't think it will take very many decades with women at the helm to get Planet Earth headed in a more survivable direction.

Here's what I said about it when it came out in 2007. Note that the real name of Jesusland is the Confederated Republic of America.

After that read "Thirteen" by Richard K. Morgan, his 5th novel. Aside from some pacing problems in its 550 pages, a very good read. But, very depressing. Morgan is a Scot. The novel is set in ~2105. The northeast states and the west coast have split from the US in the mid 21st century, leaving the rest as a country known popularly as Jesusland. It's main characteristics are its poor education system, legislated morality, and its willingness to do dirty jobs for cheap, and its suspension of the rule of law, habeus corpus, etc. The truth hurts, don't it?
1 thing I realized in passing from this book is that 1 bonus "southern value" from banning abortions would be more drugs to add to the War on Drugs, and hence more prisoners for private prisons, one of the south's great growth industries.

I think the Jesusland scenario was 1st explored by Bruce Sterling in "Distraction" 20 years ago. We seem to be getting closer and closer. Sigh.

No comments: