The Kaiju Preservation Society, Scalzi. Yes. I’m nominally in the middle of something like three other books (yes, the Culture re-/read is still happening, and there are reviews of two or so of those waiting for me to commit them to the ether), and I burned through this one more quickly than I’ve read a book in probably literal years. I sometimes resent that Scalzi’s writing doesn’t take my breath away the way Le Guin and Zelazny did, but I realized toward the end of this book that I really like his characters and his stories, and that’s definitely enough to keep me coming back. And now that I’m off Twitter and following him on Mastodon, I might actually find out about new releases sooner than eleven months after publication. As (lately) usual, stuff nobody cares about after the jump.
Consider Phlebas, Banks. Yes. What most struck me about this one after having very recently read a much later installment in the Culture series is how much more complex Banks’s narrative style apparently became as the series went on.
Surface Detail, Banks. Yes. I appear to have developed enough time to do more reading, though that time has not been accompanied by enough executive function to look for new things to read, so I landed on the Banks Culture novels, and this one was immediately available. To mix things up a bit, though, I’m now planning to go through them in order, including re-reading the ones I’ve already read. This one was fine.
The Last Emperox, Scalzi. Yes. I do enjoy these, so was pleased when it occurred to me to wonder whether there was a new Interdependency book and the answer was yes, and pleased me even more that there was no waitlist.
Scalzi does a reasonable job of sliding in the “Previously on…” retro-exposition, which I especially appreciate, having roughly zero memory of the previous installments.
I don’t recall noticing Scalzi getting quite so deep into the nature of consciousness (especially) wrt strong AI. Maybe I’m more sensitized from following Grady Booch on Twitter. More likely I’m just forgetting.
The City We Became, Jemisin. Yes. One of my favorite things about the OverDrive ebook reading application is that it remembers where I was when the book expired, say, a year and a half ago, and puts me back there when I check it out again. I can’t think of a better writer out there right now than Jemisin, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where this trilogy goes.
Galactica 1980, Awful. Unlike its predecessor, much of whose charm (it turns out) lay in playing it completely straight, this hot mess wanted to be cute, with the goofy music stings (à la the worst of Star Trek) and the fish-out-of-water hijinks. At least it’s only ten episodes, but it’s going to be quite a slog.
Edited to add: This history of Galactica 1980 is very helpful in explaining a lot of the oddnesses of this incarnation of the show: early timeslot meant compulsory “educational” content (considered best delivered by children, inexplicably); dramatically reduced budget meant all kinds of things (you can see the cost-savings right up on the screen: lots of lingering shots instead of story, so much recycled footage—especially where any remotely special effects are involved, only Lorne Green returning from the earlier cast).
Battlestar Galactica, Okay. I picked this up in preparation for taking another run at the 2003 series. I don’t know if I didn’t see very much of it or just didn’t remember most of it, but the result is the same: it was almost entirely new. While it was bad, it was not unwatchable; the stories were reasonably good, if the scripts and acting didn’t always measure up.
While the tuner in my new(er) TV is way better than the tuner in the set-top box I was using for OTA back when my 270lb. TV didn’t have a digital tuner, it is apparently not quite as good as the tuner in the OTA-to-streaming appliance I have (so I can watch my local TV wherever I am), so when the signal for the soccer game was iffy last night, I was reduced to streaming the game over my local network to the TV that couldn’t quite get it with its own tuner. Via yet a different set-top box, of course.
This could likely be made brief enough for Twitter, but it’s a little off-brand for there, so it’s here.
With all the sports on hold, many teams are re-running their “greatest hits”; I can imagine a number of reasons for this: stations need to do something with the already-scheduled time slots (hoo, boy, the Olympic-sized hole in the TV schedules this Summer will be interesting), the teams have a clear interest in remaining in mind, and people absolutely need all the diversions they can get. A thing about that last one, though, is that it requires that people enjoy watching games again. And while there are some movies and TV shows I’m happy to revisit repeatedly, and there are even some goals—perhaps even highlight packages—I am unlikely to tire of, the notion of watching an entire game over again does not much appeal. Especially on broadcast. I guess this will be an opportunity for broadcasters to learn how much of the audience draw of live sports is the live and how much is the sports; for me, it’s almost exclusively the former.
The Collapsing Empire, Scalzi. Yes. Perhaps because it was written before November of 2016, but at least as likely because Scalzi is Scalzi, this book has a pleasing amount of fun in it. The introduction of the chief of staff character, in particular, is an early positive delight.
Mechanically/editorially fine, though there are roughly as many incorrect who/whomevers as correct. It’s possible that different characters got it right and wrong, and Scalzi is more subtle than I’m giving him credit for; I’m not willing to go back through and collect evidence one way or the other.
Plot-wise, I was troubled at a far-future human society in which it’s still possible for conception to occur without both partners wanting it to. I guess more depressed by that notion and troubled that—despite at least one organically available option I would have grumblingly bought—no explanation of that sad state of affairs was given (again, unless I missed something). Nevertheless, if you enjoy Scalzi, you will very likely enjoy this.