Neil's Noodlemaps

Some books I've read

1 Currently reading

1.1 On the shelf…

Started them, read a couple of chapters, but now they're lying dormant…

1.1.1 The Shallows

1.1.2 Future Histories // Lizzie O'Shea

1.1.3 Cybernetic Revolutionaries

2 Fiction

2.1 Dune / Frank Herbert

2.3 Autonomous

– Annalee Newitz

This was fun. Easy to read and keeps you turning the pages. Interesting themes of free culture, here focused on open sourcing / reverse engineering pharmaceuticals. And the lengths to which those in control of intellectual property rights will go to enforce them.

Interesting side story of human / robot romance and gender identity.

Finished: December 2019.

2.4 Aurora Rising

– Alistair Reynolds

The precursor to Elysium Fire. I liked this one too. Easy to read, keeps you turning the pages, not too taxing. The kind of book that is perfect for me for reading to help me sleep. I mean that in a positive way. Something I look forward to reading and helps me unwind.

This one explored a bit more some of the idea of the Glitter Band and its varied habitats. Some of them exploring extreme views or lifestyles. I think that's a good idea in the books, but it isn't really explored that much. Maybe that's fine, in that it serves as an intriguing backdrop to the thriller/detective style plot, and it's not a dense exposition of political theories.

For some reason I found the main characters a bit less likeable in this one, even though they're the same set as in Elysium Fire. They felt a bit… sarcastic, righteous, full-of-themselves at times. Also there's not so much in the way of ambiguity. You know exactly who the goodies and the baddies are.

I like the idea of the 100 million wide constant participatory democracy that takes place. Another very interesting idea. Left to your imagine somewhat again, but really interesting.

Finished: November 2019.

2.5 Elysium Fire

– Alistair Reynolds

I liked this. More of a detective story set in the future, than a deep thinking hard sci-fi. A very well-written page turner.

Finished: September 2019.

2.6 Red Mars

– Kim Stanley Robinson

I kind of liked it but not to the degree I thought I might from the hype I'd read. It didn't knock my socks off like say The Dispossessed did. Could have gone for more politics, less description of Martian geology.

There was a bit of politics I guess. Imperialism, colonialism, capitalism and extraction. Arkady and his rebellion. I guess it just didn't draw me in that much, narratively. Also some discusison of whether they should or shouldn't change Mars' geology. I found that a bit less interesting.

Someone online told me that the next two in the trilogy get a bit more into the politics of it. I think I also recall that they said Robinson was a bit centrist, so the politics never get totally radical. But I've got a few articles somewhere saying that he has socialist politics and that you should read him. So. I think I'll continue with the trilogy.

Finished: August 2019 sometime.

2.7 The Dispossessed

  • by Ursula K. Le Guin

I really liked The Dispossessed. Here's what I wrote when I read it.

Finished: November 2017 sometime.

3 Non-fiction

3.1 Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi

– Ajamu Nangwaya, Kali Akuno

I didn't actually read every chapter yet. But the first 4 or 5 were really good. A handbook of activist tactics in pretty adversarial circumstances.

We believe that the participatory, bottom-up democratic route to economic democracy and eco-socialist transformation wil be best secured through the anchor of worker self-organization, the guiding structures of coperatives and systems of mutual aid and communal solidarity, and the democratic ownership, control, and deployment of the ecologically friendly and labor liberating technologies of the fourth industrial revolution.

3.3 Four Futures

– Peter Frase.

I enjoyed this. Looking at four possible socio-economic futures through the lens of science fiction.

They are: communism, socialism, rentism, and exterminism.

Finished: April/May 2017.

4 Backlinks

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