Category: Doug

Sep 14 2019

Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson

Ben Franklin's Song

On the second page of his biography of Benjamin Franklin, Walter Isaacson offers a thumbnail sketch of his subject: “He was, during his eighty-four-year-long life, America’s best scientist, inventor, dimplomat, writer, and business strategist, and he was also one of its most practical, though not most profound, political thinkers. He proved by flying a kite …

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Sep 12 2019

How To by Randall Munroe

How To

Randall Munroe, creator of xkcd, asks how to do various things — jump really high, throw things, build a lava moat, and a couple dozen more — and considers approaches that are both sound and absurd. Hilarity ensues. The book begins with an earnest disclaimer, a plea not to take the title as a guide. “Do …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/09/12/how-to-by-randall-munroe/

Sep 10 2019

Planet of Exile by Ursula K. Le Guin

Planet of Exile

Winter is coming. The orbit of the planet Werel gives it winters that last five thousand nights, give or take. Sound familiar? Well, Planet of Exile was published in 1966, four years before George R.R. Martin sold his first professional story. As in Le Guin’s other Hainish stories, humans have been on Werel a very …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/09/10/planet-of-exile-by-ursula-k-le-guin/

Aug 28 2019

Son of Heaven by David Wingrove

I remember seeing David Wingrove’s Chung Kuo books back in the 1980s and 1990s. They looked like a big, pulpish series set in a future dominated by China. A little while back, I picked up Son of Heaven, which says it’s Chung Kuo #1, thinking I would look in on this series and maybe set …

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Aug 24 2019

The Boxer Rebellion by Diana Preston

Boxer Rebellion

Distinguishing a warning that should be heeded from a host of false positives is a famously hard problem. The foreign community in Peking, as it was then generally called in the West, failed that test in the summer of 1900, costing many hundreds of lives. The Boxer Rebellion concentrates on the defense of the Legation …

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Aug 21 2019

Yikes

Son of Heaven

Sometimes speculative fiction is just a little too on the nose: The Republicans, coming to power …, wanted to do away with free trade. In a frenzy of nationalist rhetoric, they sought to replace globalization with protectionist tariffs. They wanted to pull up the economic drawbridge, just as their predecessors had after the Wall Street …

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Aug 17 2019

Barry Hughart, 1934–2019

Bridge of Birds

“I shall clasp my hands together and bow to the corners of the world “My surname is Lu and my personal name is Yu, but I am not to be confused with the eminent author of The Classic of Tea. My family is quite undistinguished, and since I am the tenth of my father’s sons …

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Aug 11 2019

Hexarchate Stories by Yoon Ha Lee

Hexarchate Stories

My review of Revenant Gun, the third in Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire series, ended “In short, I would greatly enjoy reading more stories set within Lee’s hexarchate, or indeed either the heptarchate that preceded it or the successor states that are trying to succeed it… And no more Jedao for a while, please. …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/08/11/hexarchate-stories-by-yoon-ha-lee/

Aug 10 2019

An Informal History of the Hugos by Jo Walton

An Informal History of the Hugos

I remember enjoying these assessments of the Hugo Awards when they first appeared as columns on Tor.com, and I am glad to see them collected in book form with the addition of selected comments that appeared in the discussion that followed each column. The subtitle of this collection — A Personal Look Back at the Hugo …

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Aug 10 2019

Conversations on Writing by Ursula K. Le Guin and David Naimon

Conversations on Writing

Conversations on Writing grew from three sets of discussions between Ursula K. Le Guin and David Naimon for the Oregon radio station KBOO. She completed her introduction to this volume less than four months before her death in January 2018; Naimon wrote his not quite two weeks after her passing, it’s a touching valediction. “I …

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