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Books 1-3 - Chronicles of a Hereditary Geek [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Darth Paradox

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Books 1-3 [Jan. 23rd, 2010|09:08 pm]
Darth Paradox
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Since musicalkipper reminded me... here's the start of this year's book list. I'm going to be less verbose this year....

#1: Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett

The witches of Lancre take on the vampires of Uberwald. Seems the king invited them into the country... This book captures well a lot of the tension between the old "vampires as monsters" take and the more recent "vampires as romantic, brooding antiheroes" approach. Naturally, Pratchett runs them right into each other, and the ensuing conflict is a lot of fun.

#2: Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku

Investigating the physics behind force fields, time travel, energy weapons, and the like. He classifies much of science fiction into three classes of "impossibilities": class 1 are those where the laws of physics fully permit it, and the technology is not yet available but seems within reach. Class 2 impossibilities are those which are technically legal under the laws of physics, but the technology needed is so far off as to be functionally impossible at the moment. (Certain technologies which require harnessing galaxy-level sources of energy fall into this class.) Class 3 impossibilities are those which would require major changes in our understanding of the laws of physics before becoming possible. It was a fun read, but it felt a little immature, as if the author felt he needed to be writing towards a bunch of teenaged geeks.

#3: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

World War I is breaking out, between the steam-driven "Clanker" powers (Germany, Austria, and the Ottoman Empire) and the gene-tweaking "Darwinist" powers (Britain, France, and Russia). Ideological tensions are rising, when someone decides to force the issue and kill off an Austro-Hungarian archduke... and his son must be spirited away for his protection.

I'd picked this up a while ago and had forgotten it was a YA novel in the meanwhile, so I tore through it fairly quickly. It's quite an engaging story, though, and the illustrations are pretty amazing.

Next up: John Scalzi's The Android's Dream. Yay, books.

[User Picture]From: wingedelf
2010-01-24 07:58 am (UTC)
I have a slightly different conclusion on Dr. Kaku's book. I think he was writing not to teen geeks (it would have been significantly more technical then, in my opinion, having been one some twenty-five plus years ago), but to the 'common folk' who don't necessarily know enough foundational science to know what they don't know. Otherwise, you're bang on.
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[User Picture]From: darthparadox
2010-01-24 08:06 am (UTC)
I was saying that not as what teenaged geeks are actually looking for so much as what someone might think teenaged geeks are looking for. But I think it probably amounts to the sort of thing you're talking about anyway...
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