User Profile


Joined 1 year, 3 months ago

A mix of academic (philosophy, cognitive science, some science and technology studies) and science fiction or fantasy. A bit of pop science for giggles. Just getting started here, and slow to get going...

Academic tastes: Enactive approach, embodied cognitive science, ecological psychology, phenomenology Fiction: Iain M. Banks, Ursula le Guin, William Gibson, Nnedi Okorafor, China Miéville, N.K. Jemisin, Ann Leckie

Love space opera but mostly disappointed by what I read there. Somehow didn't read Pratchett until recently, and now methodically working my through in sequence (I know sequence is not necessary, but ...).

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Marek's books

2024 Reading Goal

22% complete! Marek has read 9 of 40 books.

avatar for wildenstern Marek boosted
Ann Leckie: Translation State (EBook, 2023, Orbit) 5 stars

The mystery of a missing translator sets three lives on a collision course that will …

A Wild Psychological Ride

5 stars

Anne Leckie's world building and psychological insights into the different alien, AI and human races and factions are like no other. Sometimes it's hard to follow if you don't concentrate on the story, but it definitely never gets boring. If you liked the Ancillary books, this one is definitely for you.

reviewed Zen of R2-D2 by Matthew Bortolin

Matthew Bortolin: Zen of R2-D2 (2019, Wisdom Publications) 3 stars

Fun, kind, and brief introduction to some of the principles of zen buddhism through Star Wars

3 stars

This is a somewhat long-form (though still brief) essay in the spirit of the Philosophy and Popular Culture series.

Bortolin does a good job of introducing some of the basic tenets of zen buddhism though discussion of examples and quotations from Star Wars. It's lovingly done both to the zen source material and the Star Wars wrapper. Light, kind, and quick.

For chasers to this shot: If you'd a still-accessible, but richer exploration of the Asian philosophy, Ed Slingerland's "Trying Not to Try" is a nice one.

If it's the philosophy in Star Wars cosplay you're in it for, can recommend at least one particular chapter of "The Ultimate Star Wars and Philosophy: You Must Unlearn What You Have Learned."

Deb Chachra: How Infrastructure Works (2023, Penguin Publishing Group) 5 stars

A new way of seeing the essential systems hidden inside our walls, under our streets, …'s book will change your perspective on the world, connect you to roots, and implications, you weren't aware of.

5 stars

I guess at first blush it might sound a bit strange that a book about utilities, roads, and drainage can change your perspective on the world, but Deb Chachra's does just that.

I have both a personal and professional interest in this stuff, but not huge knowledge in the area. I expected lots of cool technical detail, hooks into the fascinating intricacies of water treatment, electricity generation and distribution, transport. All of that is there, but every sentence is embedded in a fabric of social and cultural awareness. The whole point of infrastructure is social, the technicalities are just...well.. the technicalities. It is the bigger picture that Chachra is interested in here. The result is a not so much a disorientation, as a reorientation. It's a recognition of the ways in which the infrastructure that we take for granted every day (that is designed to be taken for granted), gives …

Joe Abercrombie: The Blade Itself (2007) 4 stars

Solid Act 1, but it's just an Act 1

3 stars

It's a bugbear of mine to have half a story sold as a full book (and don't start me on television series). That's what we have here.

The fundamentals are really good. The characters are solid (if broadly unpleasant). The writing is atmospheric and immersive. The world building is good. I particularly like how magic is described from the perspectives of the non-magical characters.

But it took me a sprint to get through this without getting too frustrated. There are interesting things happening throughout, but no coherence to it, and it is only in the last 50 pages or so we really start to see what the contours of the plot will be. I'd prefer to see better construction than that - some kind of arc within each book not just across the whole series.

Still, I will be going back for seconds...