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Joined 2 years, 1 month ago


Curious microbiologist outside of academia working to make it possible to launch biotechnology projects from unlikely spaces (hopefully community driven!). Reading sci-fi since I was little (probably started with Monica Hughes) and I try to mix it up with some non-fiction too.

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danwchan's books

Kate Beaton: Ducks (2022) 5 stars

Before there was Kate Beaton, New York Times bestselling cartoonist of Hark A Vagrant fame, …

Started reading it slowly at first, enjoying the expressive little vignettes that offered glimpses into Kate's life and the decision to move to the oil sands. But as the moments accumulated I began to read faster wondering where all these scenes would lead to. By the end there wasn't so much of a climax but a realization that life has no climax—that every moment is a chance for bravery and tragedy; that with intention memories can be digested into lessons not just for ourselves but for others as well. I think the comment by Alison Bechdel on the dust cover says it well:

“In Ducks, Kate Beaton doesn’t tell us how capitalism extracts, exploits, commodifies, and alienates. Nor does she show us. She recreates life in an oil sands mining operation in granular detail and allows us to make the connections ourselves―as she had to when she showed up to …

Max Liboiron: Pollution Is Colonialism (Paperback, 2021, Duke University Press) 4 stars

In Pollution Is Colonialism Max Liboiron presents a framework for understanding scientific research methods as …

An amazing book that I will need to track down a physical copy of so that I can go back to seek wisdom from it's pages. It's voice feels familiar yet it challenges the reader to see and interrogate their ties to place that we bring to our work. It explains a framework of research that foregrounds maintaining good relations and argues for the values of local and ungeneralizeable knowledge in anti-colonial scientific work. How that might apply to the readers context is a challenge left to the reader but I'm left feeling supporting in engaging with that work and I know the door to reflect on these ideas is always open between the covers.

Matt Kindt: Mind MGMT (Paperback, 2019, Dark Horse Comics) 4 stars

This globe-spanning tale of espionage explores the adventures of a journalist investigating the mystery of …

Fun mystery and cool art, but not particularly resonate

3 stars

Content warning Given how many twists there are perhaps this is minor but nevertheless you have been warned

Margaret Atwood: MaddAddam (Hardcover, 2013, Nan A. Talese) 4 stars

A man-made plague has swept the earth, but a small group survives, along with the …

It's a strange emotion to feel sadness for the mistakes of a "mad" scientist, and yet this is what the trilogy has left with me. The loss of life caused by a specific analysis of the world left to ferment in the special privacy of a hyper-capitalist surveillance state is a tragedy that seems as real as today's mass shootings in a world where genomes are just blueprints for corporate profit-making. And yet there is hope in this story, and it is borne of fighting for survival in solidarity with the other creatures of earth. I can clearly see the influence this had on Borne, but I think this one might do a better job making the parallels to our world more explicit.

Margaret Atwood: The Year of the Flood (Paperback, 2010, Anchor) 4 stars

The long-awaited new novel from Margaret Atwood. The Year of the Flood is a dystopic …

Content warning Minor spoilers

Margaret Atwood: Oryx and Crake (Paperback, 2004, Anchor Books) 4 stars

Oryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of …

In this reread (kicking off my goal to read the trilogy) I was struck but the way in which materials were discussed. The danger of glass when one has no shoes, how an ointment had the thickness of mud, and of course the description of the flesh of a Nubbin.