๐Ÿ“š 2023


Terms of Enlistment, by Marko Kloos

Like the movie version of Starship Troopers, but missing the satire.

Illuminations, by Alan Moore

I'm a huge fan of Alan Moore's graphic novels and this is the first novel of his that I've read. He has not lost any of his strangeness and this short story collection is quite nice.

The weakest link, I felt, was the longest of them, centred around a fictional comic industry and the messed up executives who built it. I got the feeling that, from the many axes he had to grind from his own experiences in the industry, he set about to make as insulting a portrait as he could. So some of the usual charm and imagination of his stories was lacking in this one.


Pirateology, by Dugald A Steer

I got this purely because of the lovely art style. A very short read but beautifully made.

Dogs of War, by Adrian Tchaikovsky

A short and entertaining read on bio-engineered animals used in wars. The protagonist is a fearsome dog that is fighting its programming. The other members of the squad are interesting as well. This would be pretty awesome to play as a video game!

Dune, by Frank Herbert

This is a re-read, and I also saw the new remake recently, so it was nice to compare the story with the movie's casting and other choices. Dr Kynes is probably the one who has changed the most. The inner monologues, training, and perception of Paul and his mother are other aspects that are lost in the move to the big screen.

This is one of the classics so is an easy recommend. The parallels with imperialist wars in the middle east are a bit obvious (melange == oil).


All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of The Wire, by Jonathan Abrams

A lovely collection of trivia and behind-the-scenes looks at the people behind The Wire. This is the greatest show made in TV history, so these interviews are quite fascinating.


Far From The Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy

I have read Tess of the d'Ubervilles and liked it. This one is quite good too. Recommended.


Rationality, by Steven Pinker

A dissapointing book. I expected a lot more from the author of How the mind works. Most of the chapters here will be familiar to people who've read about game theory, statistics, the replication crisis and so on... there are dozens of general science books that cover this quite well. What could have been a really interesting chapter on irrationality today (anti vaxxers, tribalist politics) did not unearth any compelling insights.

The author's primary argument against irrationality is that anyone who argues in favour of it is doing so on a rational basis, so it is ultimately rational. Quite unsatisfying.

The Time Traveler's Almanac, by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer

The book's aim is to be comprehensive collection of time travel short stories. I would have preferred if it had been half the size with a selection of the best ones. Nevertheless this is obviously a good collection.