February 24th, 2009

smirking half-hawk


4. Maelstrom by Peter Watts (ebook)

Book two in Watts' Rifter trilogy. Still dark and doom-laden. Watts seems to get a little caught up in the "oh, and also, $COOLTECH also arrives!" thing that happens in a lot of hard SF. I had similar twinges with some of the later KSR Mars books - too many tech revelations muddies the waters, I think. Then again, I may just be clinging to the idea that hard SF should only deal with one bit of "magic". One could argue that that is a stupid rule that gets in the way of storytelling. In any case, I am still enjoying the hell out of Watts' books.

5. Becoming Batman by E. Paul Zehr

Zehr is a kinesiologist, neurologist, and a long-time martial artist. He examines the physical realities of becoming Batman - which is to say, becoming the world's best, undefeated martial artist, capable of subduing bad guys without killing them. He looks at the kind of training you'd need to go through to aspire to that ideal, and the science behind it. In the end, he looks at how long you'd be able to continue to train at that level of intensity, and how long you could be the best. The end conclusion is that yes, you could be Batman if you had the resources. You could even be really good for decades. But you wouldn't be able to stay a proper Batman - you'd likley only manage to go a couple years before either killing someone by accident or being beaten by another skilled opponent.

6. Fledgling by Octavia Butler

At this point, I'm very surprised when I come across a vampire book that doesn't, er, suck. Fledgling was amazingly well-written - this is the first time I've read any Butler. I'm very sad that she died before writing sequels to Fledgling, and really need to go get more of her work.