There was an expression my father always used: “Nihil liberum est.” My dad was big on Latin, and it means, “Nothing Is Free.” But if the attached video does not quite do the job and you need to understand what the cost of data might look like in a dark future, read the Sci-Fi trilogy by Peter Watts: The Rifters Series.
The Rifters series underlines the cost of powering the internet, led by a powerful female protagonist, who, if Sci-Fi has a kick-ass water goddess, it is Lenie Clarke. His character in this series inspired my latest work in progress, Silversides, with an equally strong female protagonist, Nori Matsui, an Exoplanet Marine Biologist.
As an aside: When I was living in NYC, searching the shelves of Sci-Fi in the NY Public Library, looking for my next read and stumbling across a paperback by Peter Wats called, Mealstrom, I later discovered it was the 2nd book of a series. So after reading this page-turner, I went on-line to the NY Public Library system, tracked down books One and Three and had them delivered to my local branch. Oddly, reading books One and Two out of order made no difference to me, so much so that I wrote to Peter Watts to tell him that. However, his response to me was not what I expected–– he was a bit upset that I read book two first. I had explained to him that I was a former Marine Biologist and that reading book One after book TWO was a real treat because book TWO takes place completely under water in the deep see vents of the Pacific. Oh well….. His work is brilliant.
The Hunger Games. What an excellent read these were (Book 1: The Hunger Games; Book 2: Catching Fire & Book 3: MockingJay). The movie was actually pretty good, but I am glad I read all three books before the movie debut. These were well written and kept the reader engaged. Suzanne Collins did an excellent job at imagery.
I feel the reason this series did so well was timing–our anxiousness in today’s society. We are infinitely more connected to each other through social media and cannot shut it off, much like–how I can only imagine, sound, color and texture must bombard the senses of someone who is Autistic. Add to that our Government and Big business feeling they too are loosing control and therefore are working counter productively to tighten the leash of control and decision making, creating more and more idiot buttons for us all. Finally, the perfect storm—our media engine lost a wheel and has skidded across the medium, head-on into a cement truss. The Kardashians are the Media’s Frankenstein—no one else’s. They have convinced themselves we want this information—we don’t. Our media has locked us into a virtual game of King of the Hill. Anyone who is one inch ahead of the others will be dragged down, stepped on, kicked and cast to the rear of the line.
Timing is everything. These books–like a fine wine– should not be drunk past their time. This series needs to be read now.
This is another great read in the ethical SciFi category. What constitutes “Being Human.” Mary Pearson does a wonderful job at building character. When it comes to painting, what makes one artist better than the others? It is color–color that you know is unique to that artist. The same can be said about Mary Pearson. What I liked so much about this read was that I saw the characters, I felt what they were feeling. This is a story about a young girl awakening from a coma, with little to no memory about her life, other than detailed facts about historical fact. She was in an accident and was not suppose to survive, but as her memories and curiosity return, so does the realization about herself.
Silicon Jungle : With Google+ on the verge of release, this is a timely read to rethink how important your privacy is. Shumeet Baluja (Phd. @ Google) writes of a great Sci-Fi that is not so much Sci-Fi as it is foresight–Is Shumeet telling us something about Google’s plans of the future? Can all this data-mining undermine our countries security? A great storyline + great technology make for a quick read and one you will not want to put down. This book gives the tech professional some great ideas for creating those web-based apps with MySQL underneath…. If for nothing else, a little more automation for your corporate office. I really liked this book.
Singularity. I so love near Sci-Fi and it does not get better than this. A great read and pretty accurate for the time frame written. There was one part about a software hack that gave me quite a clever spin on something I needed to do in real-life, and that is exactly why I encourage my mentored students to read near Sci-Fi. A few little tech factoid s out of place, but still a fantastic journey you will take from this. The action is page turning, the character definition is terrific and the underlying plot is quite clever and has you re-reading facts about the original event, people and references the authors bring up, making it even better of a read. . Brush up on your quantum physics and black hole knowledge. This would make such a great movie for today.
I can’t help but think, ‘this is an important piece of work.’ We have all read about teleportation and have seen plenty of Star-Trek episodes of teleportation in action, but not once were we ever exposed to how that actually might come into being and what telephony would be involved. I completely overlooked this and took it for granted–being a Network Engineer, it was like one of those V8 commercials where I open-palm smacked myself on the forehead.
I loved this book. I thought it was brilliant in plot, characters, tech, and suspense. It gets a little Agatha Christie toward the end, but heck–that’s why it’s called fiction. Still, I think this is an important read for any technologist and I rate this up there with Snow Crash, and Starfish.
Wilson is a new read for me. I like his style of writing which move effortlessly and quickly builds great images of his characters that stay vibrant through to the last page. Since I love anything Sci-Fi, anthropology, primatology, scociobiology in one read–this was a great book for me. The pace is a quick start, filled with espionage, genetically spliced creatures, a great cast and plot. Stay with it in the middle where ethics are explored in the real world because the end is a page turner.
Robert Sawyer is my current favorite writer. I love his writing style that flows easily, yet delivers such rich and technical information–I feel more like I am watching a movie than reading. Mindscan is such a good read and raises some very interesting ethical questions on living forever, age is obsolete, death & taxes–we will soon need to deal with. All that and a great sci-fi… what more can you ask for. This was like 2001 A Space Odyssey meets AI. I am hooked and going back to read a few more books….
This was one of the first Bruce Sterling books I read–and I do not remember putting it down until I finished. This hooked me on Near-core Sci-Fi. I describe Near-core as Science Faction–something plausible and not to far from now. In this work, you can see Bruce has a good foundation of Unix. It was accurate and I loved every bit of this read. I loved the characters, the scenes, and the texture of living in the field chasing storms with hi-tech gear. The ending concept was absolutely brilliant.
I think Crichton & Martin (2 years later) may have ripped Bruce off on creating Twister, which sucked more air than the twister itself… and I have read a lot of Crichton books–some I really liked.
First, Sawyer can write like no other and brings to life the images and textures of his stories. This is the first book of a trilogy about a brilliant witty young girl, blind from birth who regains her sight through technology, but the sight she first gains is the raw balls and string topology of the internet and then soon thereafter the ‘Other’ discovers her…. read on and you will not stop. All Three books are terrific and I can’t wait to see how WWW:WONDER ends (reading it now) Book two is WWW:WATCH and finally WWW:WONDER