‘Interesting, Fun, And Short’

Score: 3/5

This is a short book with short chapters on popular philosophical questions. It doesn’t go into great depth in its answers but it tries to bring a flavour of the current state of philosophy to each of them. Interesting and fun.

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‘A Book Of Prologue’

Score: 4/5

Hmm. This book feels kinda like a cross between the Frontlines series (by the same author) and The Expanse. That’s maybe not such a surprise since the authors are all part of some writer club cluster, but it’s a little disappointing.

The slow, plodding aspects of The Expanse have migrated over, and this felt like a long book with entire chapters where little happened. (I had that same feeling reading The Expanse books.) Still, The Expanse has proved hugely popular, so what do I know?

Someone said authors should write a prologue for their books, to set things up and show how things came to be, but then they should discard that prologue before publication. The purpose, that author said, was to get everything straight in the author’s mind, and to get the explanations of how things worked out of the way so they didn’t make it into the actual book. Readers would have to pick up how things worked from the characters doing things rather than have it all explicitly explained, and that (apparently) led to better books.

Well, here’s the opposite. This book felt like it was entirely prologue, never getting to the actual story. To pick one unfair example: this series is called ‘The Palladium Wars’. By the end of the book, war hasn’t started.

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‘Another Stonkingly Good Book’

Score: 5/5

If you enjoyed ‘A Deadly Education’, this follow-up will not disappoint you. It’s also stonkingly good, and I am not looking-forward to the months-long wait before the third in the series comes out.

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‘Internally Consistent, Stonkingly Good’

Score: 5/5

This was thoroughly enjoyable! Superficially it’s easy to make comparisons with Harry Potter - incredibly powerful young magician goes to old school of magic, hijinks ensue - but it’s very different in tone and depth, and ‘hijinks’ is probably a mischaracterisation for both series of books.

What stood out for me was the internal consistency of the setting. With a lot of fantasy books it’s hard to see how some things came about, even if it’s ‘explained’ in backstory. Here though things are a natural consequence of other things, which are a consequence of still other things, and so on. It all fits, in a way that seems rare (to me) for science fiction and fantasy books.

Anyway, this is a stonkingly good book.

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‘Fun, But Not Paradoxes’

Score: 4/5

It’s strange, reading the opening of a book called ‘Paradox’, that the author readily admits what the book discusses won’t be actual paradoxes. They’re really quirks or counterintuitive aspects of physics.

And they’re interesting! And (of course) well explained.

But maybe there’s still space for a book on actual paradoxes...

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‘Nicely Charactered, Beautifully Written’

Score: 5/5

I loved this. It’s maybe the best ‘unreliable narrator’ story I’ve ever read. It’s such fun at the beginning of this book to watch the scenes unfold and have a better understand of what’s going on than the narrator.

But even without that, the writing is just gorgeous. I may seek out more of this author’s works.

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‘Interesting Scenario, Authentic Details’

Score: 5/5

I don’t know what I expected from this. Maybe some idealised picture of space travel with simplified explanations? Maybe the last word in locked-room mysteries, with the locked room being in orbit?

Whatever my low expectations, they were thoroughly exceeded by this novel. It’s a techno-thriller more akin to Clancy than a murder mystery, and it dwells enough on the technical details to describe it well but not enough that it dulls the plot. (Or I may just have a high threshold for these technical details.)

And the technical descriptions are maybe a bit more reliable than other authors, since this author actually is an astronaut.

Much more fun than I expected.

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‘Fascinating Idea Of Anti-Memes’

Score: 5/5

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Memes are hard enough for me to wrap my head around, but anti-memes? The author took the concept and ran with it and came up with a fascinating setting and plot.

I’ve no idea who the author is or why he/she/they go by that name, but I did enjoy the book.

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‘Fun Local Alien Invasion’

Score: 4/5

It’s always good to see a local angle on things, so a post-alien-invasion set in Norn Iron - and bits of it near where I grew up! - is fun to see.

Yeah, I’m still not convinced alien invasions would work like that in practice. But fun nonetheless.

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‘Didn’t Enjoy At All’

Score: 2/5

Nope. Didn’t enjoy this. I finished it, but mostly out of stubbornness. It’s a boring court procedural drama that goes into seemingly-endless backstories of people I just didn’t care about.

Not my kind of thing.

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