Experiencing Technical Difficulties (resonant) wrote,
Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Recent books read

Transference, by Kate Blair. 19th-century experiments, instead of creating Frankenstein's Monster, instead revealed how to transfer diseases from one person to another (curing the disease donor). In the 21st-century UK, a politician's daughter realizes that the poor really don't like getting forced to suffer the colds and pneumonia infections of the rich and powerful. I didn't finish this.

Running On Fumes, by Christian Guay-Poliquin. Translated from the Quebecois. After something knocks out the power grid, and society starts to crumble, a man drives across the country to see his elderly father. Theoretically a retelling of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, but it's rather a thin linkage. Interesting imagery, not much story.

Exit Zero, by Neil A. Cohen. A zombie apocalypse starts in New Jersey. Rave reviews from Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, who apparently stars as a zombie on some reality show. I had to give up after the first few pages, it was so badly written.

Corsair, by James L. Cambias. In the near future, fusion reactors power
society, fueled by lunar He3. Most books using lunar He3 mining to justify space missions are implausible, because it's quite easy to make it on Earth. Just stick lithium hydroxide into a nuclear reactor to make tritium, and let it decay to He3. However, this book acknowledges that, and explains that technological advances make it CHEAPER to harvest it using autonomous robots and tiny robotic spacecraft than to
manufacture it on Earth. The tiny robotic return capsules are compact and high-value, and the characters point out that isotopes don't have serial numbers. Hackers try to override the guidance systems and land the capsules in the territorial waters of their sponsors, while the USAF tries to keep the robotic spacecraft from being remotely pirated.

Underground Airlines, by Ben H. Winters. Hardcover. Alternate history where the Treasonous Slaver's Revolt never happened in the US. Giant food processing plants and textile factories operate with slave labour in four US states. International sanctions limit technology and goods; cars are imported from Pakistan or South Africa instead of Japan, US cellphones don't have cameras, and MP3 players are cutting-edge technology. Constitutional amendments prohibit the other states from
interfering with the slave states. US Federal Marshals are required to actively track down and return any escaped slaves, and severely punish anyone who helps them. An "Underground Airline" exists to help whisk escapees to Canada. A former escaped slave is used by the Federal Marshals to infiltrate this network.

Stiletto, by Daniel O'Malley. Hardcover. Very similar to the Laundry series by autopopeCharles Stross. People with supernatural talents are taken in by a secret UK government agency. The agency is initiating a pre-Brexit merger with an EU group bsed in Belgium, which focuses on biological augmentation. There is some animosity due to an attempted invasion of the UK centuries before by the EU group. Politics and backstabbing ensue.

The City of Mirrors, by Justin Cronin. Hardcover. Centuries ago, experiments with a virus from the Amazon led to a vampire-like plague. More like photophobic fast zombies than traditional vampires, though. Civilization dwindled to a few communities protected by walls and lights. Outlying farms and oil wells had metal boxes where workers could hide until dawn. After a generation without seeing any vampires, everyone assumed they had starved, and left the protected cities. The walls and lights were no longer maintained, and the metal strongboxes were left to rust. Then people start disappearing.
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