User Profile

Kelson Reads

Joined 2 years, 2 months 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

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Maureen Johnson, Jay Cooper: Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village (Hardcover, 2021, Ten Speed Press) 4 stars

Delightful parody of every English countryside murder mystery trope

5 stars

Presented as a guidebook to a village that has them all. Written wonderfully tongue-in-cheek, illustrated like something out of Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies. A short, quick read. Funny if you're slightly familiar with the genre, more so if you've seen every trope in the book. (Cross-posted at my website)

Chuck Wendig: Invasive (Hardcover, 2016) 4 stars

On the isolated Kolohe Atoll in the middle of the Pacific ocean, a charismatic billionaire …

Nightmare fuel, but a compelling read.

4 stars

This isn't the kind of book I'd usually read: I'm not big on thrillers or horror, and it's sort of (but not really) a sequel to another book I haven't read, but it stands on its own, and the characters are intriguing.

I always appreciate characters who suffer from chronic general anxiety but manage to function anyway, and Dr. Hannah Stander does both in spades.

The private Hawaiian island research facility where much of the book takes place is a perfect intersection of James Bond villain, Elon Musk, and Larry Ellison (who actually has bought most of Lānaʻi).

And I know just enough about ant biology and society that the swarms of killer ants are frighteningly plausible. The chapters where they inevitably get loose are...intense.

(Cross-posted from my website.)

H. Beam Piper: Fuzzy sapiens (1964, Ace Books) 4 stars

Interesting sequel exploring how the colony and human/fuzzy relations change

4 stars

When I first heard of Little Fuzzy, long before I read the first book, I had no idea there were any sequels. I think I may have also gotten them mixed up with the Hokas (with perhaps good reason). After reading Piper's original and Scalzi's reboot, I got curious about how Piper continued the original story.

There's a loose plot following a kidnapping investigation, but it's mostly there as a framework to explore the human/fuzzy relationship and how the colony is changing. With the question of sapience established, it gets into the politics of shifting from a company town to an eventual democracy, the ethics of human colonization and native relations with the Fuzzies, and biology, considering where the Fuzzies fit in the planet's food web and why they're so fond of a particular prey animal and a particular brand of human-made emergency rations.

Many of the …

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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 …