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The Diamond Age (1995, Bantam Books) 4 stars

The story of an engineer who creates a device to raise a girl capable of …

Simultaneously better and worse than Snow Crash

4 stars

I have to say, this was a fun read. And like the author's book Snow Crash from 3 years prior, it features a young girl protagonist, nation-state world-building, a sometimes awkward treatment of Asia, and sections of excessive violence.

In some ways, the book aged a lot better than Snow Crash. The world has made VR a thing which means a lot of the computer-related predictions from Snow Crash feel laughable, but we're nowhere near the level of nanotechnology in A Diamond Age. Snow Crash is a book of the 90s. The Diamond Age feels good even today.

Where this book let me down, however, was in how the plot was woven together. There are a lot of interesting characters that never get the attention they should. I don't demand that all plot threads get tied up in a nice neat bow (I think Anathem even went a bit too …

Anathem (2008, William Morrow) 4 stars

Anathem, the latest invention by the New York Times bestselling author of Cryptonomicon and The …

Review of 'Anathem' on 'GoodReads'

4 stars

I first tried reading Anathem back when it was relatively new, but couldn't get past the first 100 pages or so. Now, having the benefit of a decade more worldly knowledge (such as the history of the Catholic church, Western philosophy, etc.), I've finally finished it and I can say that it was an incredible read.Is it an collection of philosophy dialogue? Is it an action-adventure novel? Is it actually just Snow Crash presented differently?Yeah, kind of, but it's also a book that gets exponentially more exciting as it goes on and also says some pretty profound things. (The profound things are, unfortunately, fiction, but it would be a high bar for an action-adventure novel to also truly advance philosophy.)So if you're considering reading this, just know that you shouldn't worry too much about the made-up words - you'll understand them in due time - and that the crazy stuff …

Review of 'Ghost Boy. Martin Pistorius with Megan Lloyd Davies' on 'GoodReads'

4 stars

Great book that's worth reading not for the writing (there are a few too many forced metaphors throughout) but for the fascinating story and reminder of things we take for granted.