June 30, 2009

Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, June 2009

Walter Jon Williams, This Is Not a Game
Williams has been one of my favorite writers since I read Knight Moves in college, and I keep expecting him to get Discovered. With any luck, this novel — a techno-thriller about alternate reality games, gold-farming, third-world currency crises, social engineering on every possible scale, revenge, the power of story-telling, betrayal, moments of ad hoc solidarity, and generally what it's like to live in the early twenty-first century (only turned up to 10.5) — will do the trick. (But Dread Empire's Fall is remarkable too, to say nothing of the rest of his back-list.)
Update: see also Jo Walton.
Sequels: 1, 2
Friedrich T. Sommer and Andrzej Wichert (eds.), Exploratory Analysis and Data Modeling in Functional Neuroimaging
Solid, if now a little dated. The chapters I found most interesting were those by Tang and Pearlmutter on independent component analysis, and by Tolias, Kourtzi and Logothetis on exploiting adaptation (habituation) to stimuli.
Kat Richardson, Underground
John Kenneth Galbriath, The Great Crash: 1929
I first read this book for a high school history class in October 1987, just before things went ker-splat. It really does hold up exceptionally well: the origins of the bubble, its character, its collapse, and its aftermath, all elegantly laid out.
(One thing I've noticed from re-reading Galbraith is that I've gone from simply enjoying the way he could write to admiring it. Creating a style like that, maintaining it consistently and deploying it flexibly, is hard.)
Laura E. Reeve, Peacekeeper
Mind-candy; about using alcohol to avoid dealing with guilt over having probably committed war crimes, but mind-candy. (Not only does the cover have nothing to do with the contents of the book, the heroine is clearly described in the first chapter and looks nothing like that.) Update: sequel.
Gillian Tett, Fool's Gold: How the Bold Dream of a Small Tribe at J. P. Morgan Was Corrupted by Wall Street Greed and Unleashed a Catastrophe
Full-length review: The Tragedy of Getting What You Want.

Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur; Scientifiction and Fantastica; Enigmas of Chance; The Dismal Science; Minds, Brains, and Neurons

Posted at June 30, 2009 23:59 | permanent link

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