Saturday, October 29, 2022

Eversion, by Alastair Reynolds

 What a strange book, but not so strange considering the author's education. Reynolds has a PhD in Astronomy and worked in the European Space Agency until quitting for full-time work as author. (Read his Revelation Space series, and you'll see how good he is at hard sci-fi.)


This one, however, weird. I didn't know what I was reading at first. Three masted wooden sailing ships, exploring the fjords of Norway? Steam-ships doing the same, but in the Pacific off Patagonia? Airships a la steampunk? 

But then the sci-fi creeped in. Were these simulations? Holo-deck? What was the reason, though? Reynolds cleverly introduced the conflict(s), without insulting the reader's intelligence by simply telling us what the dealio was. Nicely done, sir. 

I guessed early that Coade was a computer code, or could be, yet the author still didn't confirm till much later, which was nice. Kept me guessing. Ada threw me, so that was nice. And Coronel Ramos was well-done, one of my favorite characters, not just in Eversion

When the reader finally is brought to "reality" s/he can see where the earlier simulations paralleled (that's not the right verb, but I can't find one now) what the crew actually were going through. Spelunking, diving, water, small passages, claustrophobia. And finally: Death.

Spoilers end.

Eversion, btw, despite the squiggly red lines under the word as I write, is an actual word, with many definitions, including scientific ones. And this won't ruin the novel (thus this paragraph outside my spoilers): Eversion is the act of turning inside out, scientifically if you flip your upper eyelid up, that's eversion of the eyelid (and gross). If you want to really get deep into the math of eversion, way down a rabbit hole, go here to discuss sphere eversion with other 50lb-heads. 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson

 What a great read! My SIL picked this for our family book club and I'm so glad she did. Why did I not read this as a youth? What a fantastic, exciting, adventurous novel. The kid was the hero. And so brave...

To be clear, I listened to it, and narrator Richard Williams was wonderful. He did great voices, especially for Long John Silver and Captain Flint /snort/. Audible, oh how I <3 you.

I'm not going to do any spoilers. Most people know this book, have read it or seen some sort of cinematic adaptation of it. (I haven't, but might try to find one. Which movie is best?) 

October's been slow for me, reading-wise. I've been terribly into houseplants lately and have been reading books on that subject. (Which I may or may not review, but I'm not fully reading them; more like poking around in them.) I've also been busy with language study (still Serbian/Croatian) so that's been a drag on my time. I am just about done with an Alastair Reynolds, which I'll review here soon. 

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Mosquito Coast, by Paul Theroux

 This book was the selection for Classics Spin #31. I got it out of the library over two weeks ago! My God, this book took me forever.

The reason is, I've become obsessed with plants lately, and any free time during the day is spent reading up on all the various, and interesting, plants there are and that I want. In my house. Now. Then when my head would hit the pillow, I'd manage maybe 3-5 pages and zonk out. Frankly, I got most of my reading done while working out, between sets. 

But finish I finally did. Not sure how I feel about this book. Again, a character I really grew to loathe (cf Rabbit Run). SPOILERS, possibly: Theroux did a great job of making Allie interesting at the start. An everyman, renaissance man, whatever you want to call him, he could make or fix anything. Sure, he's caustic, point-blank, but didn't that farmer come back to him begging him for help? 

But he had crazy ideas. Even worse, he was horrible to his family. I'd never seen the movie but I have the feeling he isn't so bad on the silver screen. Who would want to see Harrison Ford playing such an awful man? I sure do hope vultures take part in his death though. SPOILERS DONE.

My first Theroux and not my last. I have Dark Star Safari on my 50 Classics List, perhaps I'll read it before or during a trip to Africa? 

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by V.E. Schwab

 Great book. I'm on a roll.  Spoilers : Adeline "Addie" LaRue has a problem. She's being forced to marry. This is 1600s Fr...