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Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

I know I’m six weeks late with this information, and I know SF fans will already be aware of the Hugo Award winners for 2018. I still haven’t finished reading the complete Broken Earth trilogy, but hearing Nora Jemisin’s acceptance speech certainly upped my motivation to so ASAP! So thank you, Cory Doctorow and BoingBoing, for sharing it!

I’ll also have to take some time to get to know some of the other winners.

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Perhaps there is not enough fiction in it… Just read it, I insist, even if you’re not an SF fan: “Noon in the antilibrary“.

Thank you, MIT Technology Review!

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BoingBoing alerted me to the existence of The Pulp Magazine Archive, stored at archive.org.

What a treasure! I’m not referring to the cheap paper these magazines were printed on. The real treasure for SF fans is, of course, that many SF writers had not many alternatives to these ‘zines in the days when science fiction was still growing up as a literary genre. So in this collection of magazines I immediately spotted the names of many of the SF writers whose books I have been reading since my days at university: Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Sturgeon, Leiber, Niven, Pohl, Van Vogt, and many others.

I won’t be able to read all those stories, but I may well return there from time to time, just to remember the pleasure and amazement I felt when discovering these authors.

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If you read this blog more or less regularly, then I assume that you have at least a bit of nerdiness in you.

So if you need a Christmas stocking filler for yourself or, say, a web developer, you might want to look into Tim O’Reilly’s “WTF?: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us” (here’s a link to the hardcover version on Amazon, but I’m sure you can find your own supplier ). If you don’t believe me, just read what Cory Doctorow has to say on the subject:

Tim O’Reilly’s history with computers and the internet pre-dates the rise of these grotesqueries, the financialization of the tech sector. He writes beautifully about the passion, the excitement, and the tremendous progress that technologists (from every walk of life) have brought to the tech sector, and cleanly cleaves the technology from its economic and political context. He dares to assert that we can love the sin and hate the sinner. That the reason tech went toxic was because unethical people made unethical choices, but those choices weren’t inevitable or irreversible.

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Imagine my surprise when I started up Gnucash in order to update my books:

Do bookkeepers and accountants really need advice such as this?

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I have been a fan of science fiction literature since my youth. It started with a few books in Dutch when I was a teenager, with books from Paul van Herck and Carl Lans. I currently own 300+ titles, almost exclusively in English – going to the source seemed the best way to enjoy the genre.

So after talking about 1984, allow me to introduce another literary classic (which I haven’t yet read in its entirety, alas), commented by Cory Doctorow in a Slate article titled “I’ve Created a Monster! And so can you.“:

Frankenstein warns of a world where technology controls people instead of the other way around. Victor has choices to make about what he does with technology, and he gets those choices wrong again and again. But technology doesn’t control people: People wield technology to control other people.

People wield technology to control other people” – how true. Machines, be they constructued in hard- or software, don’t do anything, unitl guided by people. But is Cory Doctorow talking about the Facebooks and Twitters of this world, or about the NSA and other hackers? Both, probably. It remains remarkable how this insight was captured in a book more than 100 years ago.

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Gods Galore On Netflix?

I have just finished reading Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods‘ – what a great book! Turns out that Netflix has turned the book into a tv series (although one could argue that the term ‘tv series’ does not apply to Netflix). One Sam Machkovech is quite enthousiast about the first episode, as he writes in “American Gods may have finally nailed the modern-fantasy formula on TV“:

Between the solid acting and the incredible cinematography, complete with gorgeously framed interiors and sweeping open-road shots of Moon crossing the United States, this episode puts Starz in an unfamiliar position. The company has an upcoming series that’s genuinely saddled with incredibly high expectations.

I still have the vivid imagery of the book in my mind. Hence, such a raving review makes me wonder: should I get Netflix, even just to see this series? And if I do, do I get an AppleTV or a Google Chromecast, or a Roku, or… ?

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