Books

Some stuff I've read recently:

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore:

    Predictably hilarious. Christopher Moore has yet to disappoint. This is the story of Jesus's childhood, and answers the important theological question, "What if Jesus knew Kung Fu?"

The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror by Christopher Moore:

    Also awesome. An inept angel tries to grant a child's Christmas wish and ends up unleashing an army of the undead, to be fended off by (among others) a stoner Sheriff and his schizophrenic ex-B-movie scream-queen girlfriend.

Camouflage by Joe Haldeman:

    I liked this book a lot. It's a story about an immortal shape-shifting amnesiac alien who crashed on earth a million years before Humanity existed, who eventually works its way up the food chain and starts trying to be a person. It's a really interesting story, kind of an inside-out take on the Turing Test. It's a pretty short book, and I wish it was longer. The parts where the alien is trying to learn to fit in could have done with a Stephenson level of longwindedness; I wanted to hear a lot more about that. Still, good book.

Guardian by Joe Haldeman:

    Entertaining, but not terribly memorable. It's only barely science fiction at all; mostly it's a very episodic story of a woman travelling across country to join the Gold Rush shortly after the Civil War.

The Coming by Joe Haldeman:

    A story of the politics leading up to a first-contact in a near-future even-more-corrupt and fundamentalist Florida. It's kind of depressing. In the way newspapers are depressing.

Schild's Ladder by Greg Egan:

    This is about an artificially-created black hole (sorta) that starts swallowing the universe, and a bunch of scientists trying to figure it out. It's one of the most boring books I've read in a long time. Mostly it's just exposition from the author about a theory of physics where everything is running on top of a "Life"-like cellular automaton, and we're all made up of glider guns or something. I don't know enough about quantum physics to know which parts of this he just made up, and really, I didn't care.

    There is no characterization to speak of, and all of the players are emotionless, condescending godlike immortals with multiple redundant backups, so it's impossible for any of them to ever be in any kind of danger. It was amazingly boring (but thankfully, wasn't very long).

    I picked this up because I thought I remembered liking Egan's Permutation City, but then I later realized that I had hated Permutation City, and had just confused it with Circuit of Heaven by Dennis Danvers (which I liked a lot).

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dnalounge update

DNA Lounge update, wherein the tagger rant is presented once more.
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