Complexity by Michael Llyod
A novel about the internet coming alive.
This book basically looks at what would happen if the internet came alive and it is not the stuff of fantasies as I thought it would be. This book takes artificial intelligence on another level, a more realistic, researched and theoretical take. Michael Llyod comes across as an Alan Turing disciple in this novel, but maybe that is how well he gets into the beliefs, worldview and reality of the characters in the novel.
I personally don’t believe that machines will ever be sentient; the Chinese Room thought experiment has totally convinced me otherwise, but that did not stop me from enjoying this sci-fi thriller. It seems the writer was well aware of some of the philosophical objections to the idea and crafted something even an intelligent reader could believe. Hell, it might as well be happening now, it is that believable.
I applaud this book for how vivid it is, it is HD clear in your head. The writer has a unique skill of turning words on page into real live and breathing images. The descriptions are crisp and accurate. Michael Llyod’s writing strikes the balance of being surgical and rich. In the end you have a book that isn’t fit for only one read but more. A lot can get past you if you rush.
Amazing work. I will be buying getting a paperback for place in the shelves.
Revenge for What is Sacred by FJ Harmon
The book description reads:
“The obsession of Muslims and Jews for religious and political dominance of Palestine is exploited by the mastermind of the 911 attacks to exact revenge. He entangles his nephew of Israeli-Muslim parentage and the Israeli Prime Minister in his plot. This story spans two continents, leaving a scathing scar in Haifa and targeting the sleepy town of Southport, NC.”
And that is pretty much it.
The antagonist, protagonists and those caught in between are given pretty convincing motivation for their actions, these reasons range from political to personal. This results in characters you can understand very well, but it falls a tad beneath sympathizing with them. Instead, what you have are characters you like, not love. You like them in the type of way you like your withdrawn neighbour which isn’t “really liking someone”. This isn’t bad, and it isn’t a blow to the novel. Thrillers aren’t famous for building characters that make you ache with deep sympathy/empathy.
This novel is surgically written, economic, so what you get is a fast paced thriller/suspense novel with action and mind-games and realism. You have the terrorist’s psychology spread out for dissection, you get into their reasoning and sacred motivations or not so sacred ones. That is a thrilling experience in its own right. The politics are rife and credible. It’s a cat and mouse game that will have you engrossed within the pages. The antagonist and the protagonist are equally presented so you end up with a really entertaining show because you know things that the characters don’t know. The book builds and builds until the climax, which is satisfying but it is not the heroes that bring justice they just save the day. And that is good because you rather have something worse happen to people like that, something that the justice departments can’t sentence them to.
I enjoyed this book, there is no unnecessary bullshit, you get what you what you come for and, for the most part, you are left satisfied. I would love to see a sequel and I wish this was part of a series.
Harry Lane is Innocent by J Scaddon
J Scaddon tells a story of Harry Lane, a man with a mind of a child, that gets wrongly convicted of a crime he did not commit and faces execution. The story line is enough to reel you in, because of the horrible fate what awaits an innocent man who doesn’t have the mental or psychological faculties to defend himself or understand the severity of the situation he is in. That is powerful because in a sense this is just a kid they want to hand him. He is a child for God’s sake. As the reader, you know he didn’t do it, you were there with him, wrong place wrong time type of a situation, and what gets to you is that the jackass who committed the crime might never face the wrath of justice.
Ultimately this book highlights the difference between justice and our justice systems, justice can never be flawed as a concept, it is perfect and good no matter what; but institutions charged with carrying out justice are imperfect, vulnerable to flaws and human error so with that in mind shouldn’t we take the power to kill out of the hands of our justice systems because who knows how many Harry’s innocents are out there. Even one innocent is enough to make us question the system.
What you have is thrilling read with a beautiful ending.
I don’t have much to complain about except one thing. This is a moral tale in way, so I’m not unhappy about the length of the book. J Scaddon does a lot of telling as opposed to showing in this book, if it’s not the case it certainly feels like it. There is a lot of passive language as well. So my complaint has to do with the style rather than the story itself, but this doesn’t mean this book it isn’t worth a read. It is worth a read. In fact, I gave it five stars. Story is king and J Scaddon told a magnificent one.
Aurora Sky Vampire Hunter: Book One by Nikki Jefford
Eighteen-year-old Aurora Sky is a senior at Denali High, Alaska. You find her keen to leave Alaska, she has Notre Dame waiting for her after graduation and she has never been happier. When she gets into a car accident her life changes forever, because of her rare blood type she is recruited, pretty much against her will, to be a vampire hunter. This comes with all sorts of conditions attached, like she can never leave Alaska – so goodbye Notre Dame and all future associated with it. Obviously she has to adjust to this new reality, her whole life has changed within one moment, she now has to learn vampires exists and pretty much give up some control over her live or be doomed. It is some devastating stuff for a teenager. And bang we have our first book in the Aurora Sky series.
This book is an NA/YA mature. I have never read much YA, the only other YA I read was Twilight : Breaking Dawn. So I was looking forward to the experience of reading YA again. And for the most part I wasn’t disappointed. This book is well written, nicely paced and not so spelled out that you don’t get to use your intellect. It was fun, pretty much a nostalgia trip to places I have never been before. The cold is real (I love the cold by the way), Alaska. It is written in such a way that makes you fall in love with the place although the main character, Aurora, hates the place. It is beautiful how the author brings and weaves different parts of Aurora Sky’s life together to create a complete feel of her and her world. The bonus for me was that, the book is based in Alaska and the Aurora Sky is pale, I guess everyone is pale in Alaska… hahaha, I don’t know but I like pale. I enjoyed this book, it felt organic and not systematically plotted and that is hard thing for authors to do sometimes.
I don’t know if I will read the second book though… I kind of don’t want to but the book is calling out to me. I guess I have to binge and fulfill the craving.
Economix by Michael Goodwin, Illustrated by Dan E. Burr
Do you find yourself confused when people talk about economics around you. I mean everyone is talking about the economic crisis and the markets and shit. Watching Bloomberg is nothing but confusion and torture to you. You want to know how our global economic system works, the principles driving it and its origins. You have no idea where to start, there is just so much written. Most of it already assumes that you know and understand some concepts. Shit has never been so complicated. You have already contemplated sneaking into Economics 101 courses at your local college.
Well you don’t have to anymore. A funny, informative and accessible comic book can now help you. Never in your life will you laugh, be entertained and learn so much about the major driving forces about our economic system, its origins and some of its principles. This book rocks. After this book,watching Bloomberg won’t be like watching the news in Chinese. This book is just an introduction but you will never understand the world better. It answers even the questions you did not know you wanted answers to, you have questions in you that aren’t realized yet, it is the reason you don’t sleep at night or get baffled when you are constantly told of how poor Africa is. You might be thinking: “Why can’t they ever get it together?” All these questions and more are dealt with, including “class warfare” that you hear about now and then.
The book even refers you to more readings to expand your knowledge and understanding.
Definitely one of the best books I have read last year and none of the other ones I have talked about in this post are part of the best books I have read this last year list (maybe except Harry Lane is Innocent and Complexity, emphasis on maybe). Imagine that.
Thanks for reading
Now I leave you with song lyric that may or may not have anything to do with this post:
“No more tears from me
These rivers run dry
No more fear in me
This heart’s stone inside
And as the shadows give away to light
Grow and thrive
Every day must lose tonight
Fade and die.” – Insomnium ‘Lose Tonight’