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Trammell Hudson

Joined 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I like to read about taking things apart. Nonbook posts on mastodon as

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Trammell Hudson's books

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Red Mother (2021, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 4 stars

Wonderful world building in a fractured fairytale

4 stars

Bear creates an interesting alternate world with strange customs and complicated family situations, and drops the reader in media res to figure it out. In this world dragons are powerful, but also intellectually curious and don't need to be fought to "win", for some definition of winning.

Tor has published the full text: and the author is also on mastodon

Ancillary Justice (2013) 5 stars

Ancillary Justice is a science fiction novel by the American writer Ann Leckie, published in …

Amazing exploration of transhuman and alien themes

5 stars

Leckie's novel explores so many different worlds and how the worlds see each other that it provides interesting insights into what makes something alien. The transhumanist space ship AI as a first-person character also asks questions about what it means to be alive. One of the central themes of a society with a genderless pronoun also forces the reader to consider if gender matters in this future world, while also examining why certain characters are expected to have a specified gender.

Uprooted (Hardcover, Tor) 4 stars

"Our Dragon doesn't eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside …

Fractured fairy tale with deep characters

4 stars

It's been many years since I read this book, although I remember really enjoying it and the somewhat fractured fairy tale in which the damsels are not in distress and the evil is not what it seems like.

Even Greater Mistakes (2021) No rating

Plausible and worrying

No rating

No rating since I haven't read the entire book, just the short story The Bookstore at the end of America (available from tor). It's a worrysome thought experiment about what happens when the eventual second civil war splits the US along ideological lines and asks if it is possible to straddle that border. I'm not sure if it will be.

And the author is on mastodon

Annihilation (2014) 4 stars

Annihilation is a 2014 novel by Jeff VanderMeer. It is the first in a series …

Weirder than the movie

3 stars

The movie and the book are both interesting, although they are different enough that I'd say the movie is "based on the back cover of the book". The unreliable narrator and weirdly disorienting story telling makes it a challenge to piece out what (if anything) is real while reading, which is can be an enjoyable experience for some readers.

Also the workplace dynamics of the Southern Reach office is really suboptimal. HR should probably get involved.

Three-Body Problem (2014, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 3 stars

Within the context of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, a military project sends messages to alien …

Interesting but not engaging

2 stars

The book has many cultural revolution analogies that give it an unfamiliar series of allusions for western readers. Overall I didn't find the alien technologies and game theme engaging and struggled to finish it. Haven't read the sequels yet, either.

Because Internet (Paperback, 2020, Riverhead Books) 4 stars

Because Internet is for anyone who's ever puzzled over how to punctuate a text message …

I'm in this and I do like it

4 stars

The chapter on "Old Internet People" is definitely about me. The epic flame wars between Unix and VMS users no longer matter -- we're all from the "Old Internet".

The e-book version I read had a hilarious formatting error in the chapter on emoji where EVERY EMOJI had its own full page presentation. At first funny, but it because hard to read.

Invisible Sun (Paperback, 2022, Tor Books) 4 stars

The alternate timelines of Charles Stross's Empire Games trilogy have never been so entangled as …

Alternate timeline fun

4 stars

Stross' weird alternate timeline series is almost self-contained, although the rest of the series is worth reading too. The number of intertwined plots can be hard to follow without a family tree, which is appropriate for a series that started with "The Family Trade"

And Then There Were (N-One) (2017) 4 stars

"And Then There Were (N-One)" is a 2017 science fiction/murder mystery novella by Sarah Pinsker. …

Who wouldn't want to meet their multiverse selves?

5 stars

If I discovered a wormhole technology to parallel worlds, I hope that I would invite all of my other selves to come visit and see if we can identify all of the points of departure.

The scene at the hotel checkin where they are looking up everyone by name reminded me of many years ago I worked as an election judge in NYC for a precinct that consisted of a single apartment building. We had to ask people when they cam e to vote what their address was - they all started by saying the street number and name, but literally everyone in the book lived at that same address so it wasn't helpful for finding them.

The publisher has the full text online:

A Song for a New Day (2019) 4 stars

A Song for a New Day is a science fiction novel by American writer Sarah …

Scary accurate predictions for a post-pandemic world

4 stars

Pinsker manages to accurately predict so many of the societal changes that occur due to a pandemic. Her descriptions of the discomfort that people feel with personal-space after growing up in isolation and only seeing people in video-chat or VR really capture the (post?) pandemic anxieties about crowds, public transit, restaurants, etc. And her description of the apartment wall of post-it notes with "what used to be normal" reminded me of all the normal things that we, quite sadly, no longer do.

The Martian (Hardcover, 2014, Crown) 4 stars

A mission to Mars.

A freak accident.

One man's struggle to survive.

Six days ago, …

Read entire book in one sitting

5 stars

I started this book on the subway home from work, continued reading over dinner, and finished it that night in bed. It's griping, the science is solid, and it's about as close to "hard sci-fi" as you can get. The movie is also quite enjoyable.