User Profile

Kelson Reads

Joined 2 years ago

Techie, software developer, hobbyist photographer, sci-fi/fantasy and comics fan in the Los Angeles area. He/him.

Mostly reading science fiction these days, mixing in some fantasy and some non-fiction (mostly tech and science), occasionally other stuff. As far as books go, anyway. (I read more random articles than I probably should.)

Reviews are cross-posted on my website at and I have a blog dedicated to Les Misérables at

Mastodon: Websites: and

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Kelly Weinersmith, Zach Weinersmith: A City on Mars (Hardcover, 2023, Penguin Press, Penguin Publishing Group) 4 stars

Earth is not well. The promise of starting life anew somewhere far, far away - …

Accessible and intricately researched

5 stars

Accessible and intricately researched, with scattered humor to keep the reader's interest.

Getting to space is the easy part. Staying there is going to be a lot more complicated than anyone wants to believe. There are plenty of established tropes in science-fiction and among serious space enthusiasts, but a lot of them have major gaps in them when you start pressing for details. What happens to a fetus in microgravity? Can you scrape together enough soil nutrients to supply agriculture for a whole Mars city, or do you need to constantly import fertilizer from Earth? How do you make sure you have enough medical supplies on-hand?

The authors wanted to write about what we know about space settlement. But it turns out it's a really good primer for what we don't know and need to research before we can get serious.

It's also an interesting companion to Under Alien Skies …

T Kingfisher (duplicate): Illuminations (Paperback, 2022, Argyll Productions) 4 stars

Madcap magical damage control in a family of eccentric artist-magicians.

5 stars

Similar to A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking, but a tighter story, with better-defined secondary characters and internal story logic.

Again there's a young apprentice with small, oddly specific magical abilities, who gets drawn into a caper, blamed for it, and finds herself as the only person who can resolve it, and has to both stretch her magic and convince the adults around to help her (and let her help them).

This time the magic is art. Paintings and drawings, if done the right way with the right details by by someone with the right ability, can become magical objects. Rosa was born into a family of Illuminators. A very eccentric family. Each with their own eccentricity. And that's before she encounters the magical talking crow (who is very taken with shiny objects) and the malicious creature he was guarding.

The stakes are more personal: the Scarling has it …