Dark Forest spoilers (3/4 through)

Fascinating as the Year 200 setting has been up to this point, the naivete & overconfidence has been maddening.

You *know* the enemy has vastly superior technology & knows way more about physics than you do. You don’t send your entire fleet to intercept one ship that you’ve decided is harmless based on the fact that *your tech* couldn’t be destructive enough based on *your* knowledge of physics.

#books #DarkForest #amReading

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Awakened hibernators seem to be more…paranoid? Cautious? Perceptive?

I guess the idea is that those who grew up in this era figure humanity has already faced the Great Ravine, we can face *anything*, while those who lived earlier don’t have that overconfidence.

Or maybe the Imprinted tech is out there, the polarity fixed, and in wider use than anyone thought.

But it’s still been frustrating pages & pages of “when will the big dummies figure it out?”

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Finished reading Night and Silence, the latest October Daye book by Seanan McGuire. Toby’s family …

Finished reading Night and Silence, the latest October Daye book by Seanan McGuire. Toby’s family keeps getting more and more complicated. And I’m concerned about the consequences of one character’s last-ditch rescue effort.

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Three-Body Problem, final chapters

I’m seriously impressed by the concept of the sophon. It’s one of the most overpowered pieces of impossible tech and yet it’s a simple extrapolation from string theory – and making use of known quantum effects gives it a lot of other abilities that handily explain the mysterious happenings early in the book.

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After listening to the audio version, I re-read Final Crisis…

After listening to the audio version, I re-read Final Crisis, Rogues Revenge & Superman Beyond, plus read some of the tie-ins for the first time.

– Superman Beyond is essential.
– Submit (Black Lightning/Tattooed Man) adds a lot by showing the personal impact of the event, plus fills in plot.
– Resist (Checkmate) broadens the scope but can be skipped. (I do like using the captive villain AIs as a way to get around the ALE’s control of communication channels)

#AmReading #comics #FinalCrisis

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Rogues Revenge was in the works before Final Crisis, and it shows. It still works as Rogues: Rebirth, but now I think the FC connections hurt more than they help.

Revelations is a much tighter story that weaves in and out of issues 2 & 3 (if not seamlessly), picking up the Crime Bible & Vandal Savage and showing the early stages of Darkseid’s takeover. I didn’t read it originally, but I’m glad I finally got around to it.

#comics #FinalCrisis #AmReading

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I didn’t re-read Requiem. I still haven’t picked up Rage of the Red Lanterns. (I’d forgotten the Alpha Lanterns were involved in Final Crisis.)

I also didn’t re-read Legion of Three Worlds, which IIRC has nothing to do with Final Crisis except Superman passes through it between Superman: Beyond and his return to Final Crisis when Braniac 5 shows him the Miracle Machine. (3 versions of the LSH, none of which were the one that I actually followed).

I do want to re-read Multiversity now, though.

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Expanded on Speed Force

Three-Body Problem ch 22

I don’t quite buy the game as a recruiting tool.

They’re supposedly all about replacing human society with the aliens’ (one way or another), but the game doesn’t tell you much about that society except that it’s persistent, can hibernate for eons, and coming for us.

It conveys key facts about their environment and biology, but doesn’t present a culture to emulate. Unless it’s in the chapters Wang misses?

#SFFBookClub #ThreeBodyProblem #AmReading #books

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Or is the vagueness itself part of the appeal? Anyone dissatisfied with the world as it is can project their own ideals onto the aliens?

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I love the idea of using NPCs to simulate a computer in-game. It reminds me …

I love the idea of using NPCs to simulate a computer in-game. It reminds me of the working CPU models made in Minecraft with redstone, except more creative because NPCs aren’t designed for circuitry.

I also like the way the author mixes up the narrative structure, with documents, a personal statement, and of course the game interspersed with the regular narration.

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Finished listening to the Graphic Audio adaptation of FInal Crisis. It actually flows better than …

Finished listening to the Graphic Audio adaptation of FInal Crisis. It actually flows better than the comic, especially toward the end, when the comic starts fragmenting the narrative (which is great metatext, but there’s a lot of “what just happened?”). Scenes are fleshed out, and the multi-flashback structure of the last chapter is made linear instead.

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A lot of that is probably the novelization it was based on (it credits the story only to Greg Cox, with no mention of Grant Morrison or any of the artists, which seems a shame), but I don’t think it would work well as a book.

The voice acting, music and sound make up for a lot of the lost visual punch and visual structure of the story, and it needs more than just the words.

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Now that I’ve gotten through another cycle of the VR game story, it’s become more …

Now that I’ve gotten through another cycle of the VR game story, it’s become more intriguing. Presumably we’re going to work through a bunch of cosmological models as it goes on.

I’m also really curious as to how the trick with the cosmic background radiation is supposed to have been managed.

And of course, is the countdown really leading to something, or is it, as Shi suggests, just a way to mess with Wang’s head?

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One of the weird things about the Final Crisis audio book is that it incorporates …

One of the weird things about the Final Crisis audio book is that it incorporates *some* of the tie-ins, but excludes the one that sets up Mandrakk. Scenes showing what’s happening to Batman in the Evil Factory are included, and all of the Black Lightning/Tattooed Man story from Submit…but nothing from Superman Beyond. It (or the novelization it’s based on) actually replaces the Monitor who recruits Superman with Braniac 5, sending him off to L3W but not including it!

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In Final Crisis, the Anti-Life Equation is able to compel the surrender of free will. …

In Final Crisis, the Anti-Life Equation is able to compel the surrender of free will. Those who have submitted spout slogans about how it justifies anything, how it’s so much easier than the struggles of life and love.

It’s insidious, because in some ways it *is* easier to offload tough decisions to a schedule, a policy, a leader, etc. The brain likes taking shortcuts around cognitive load. But people want to be *able* to make choices when they want to.

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Another interesting thing about Final Crisis is how much damage Darkseid does just by existing. …

Another interesting thing about Final Crisis is how much damage Darkseid does just by existing. He doesn’t do any traditional super villain things in the entire story. No battles, no plotting. He just sits on his throne, yaking advantage of a battle he already won, imposing his will on an entire planet. He spends most of the story sitting on an underground bunker, but his presence presses down on the whole world.

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Three-Body Problem ch5-7

Three-Body Problem ch5-7:

The mystery, the questions about the nature of fundamental laws of physics (i.e. are they actually fundamental?), and the countdown have all been fascinating.

I’m up to the introduction of the VR game that lends its name to the title, and for the first time I feel like the story is getting bogged down.

I know it’s symbolic. I figure it’s a way to get ideas across to the players without discussing them openly. But it’s still dragging.

#sffbookclub #amreading #books

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I find it bizarre that a book that criticized excesses of capitalism would have been …

Three-Body problem ch1-2, Silent Spring:

I find it bizarre that a book that criticized excesses of capitalism would have been characterized as counter-revolutionary, capitalist propaganda.

But of course both capitalism and communism are quite capable of environmental destruction. Rapacious state, corporation, or individual, it’s a universal human failing, like the image of an iceberg in the ocean that Wenjie imagines, independent of ideology.

#sffbookclub #environment #amreading #books

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To clarify: I don’t disbelieve it. I would not at all be surprised if it had actually been portrayed this way, particularly knowing China’s environmental record.

I’m just saying it’s a weird contradiction. One more thing I have to wrap my mind around to read a story set during the cultural revolution.

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Finished re-reading Sparrow Hill Road, by Seanan McGuire. Imagine all the hitchiking ghost stories you’ve …

Finished re-reading Sparrow Hill Road, by Seanan McGuire. Imagine all the hitchiking ghost stories you’ve heard are true, and they travel the ghosts of long-dead highways.

It’s told episodically as a collection of stories about the same ghost, what she does, how she died, and her quest to stop her killer.

It made me think about the difference between a horror story and a ghost story. I don’t like horror much, but I do usually enjoy ghost stories quite a bit.

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I realized why Sparrow Hill Road is taking longer than I expected to read, even …

I realized why Sparrow Hill Road is taking longer than I expected to read, even though it feels like it’s going quickly: because it’s structured as a series of related, but complete ghost stories, I hit a breaking point part way through my lunch hour instead of continuing to read as much as I can until I need to get back to work. I’m probably reading 2/3 as much each session as I would otherwise.

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I’m not big on audiobooks, but I picked up a DC Comics-related Humble Bundle…

I’m not big on audiobooks, but I picked up a DC Comics-related Humble Bundle a few weeks ago and I The Flash: Stop Motion by Mark Schultz. It’s kind of odd listening to a “Graphic Audio” adaptation of a prose novel based on a character who usually appears in visual media, but the full cast, sound effects, and music help to make up for the lack of actual visuals that I’ve found tends to hamper prose stories about superheroes.

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I read the book when it came out in 2004, and I’ve forgotten enough for it to be more-or-less “new.” It’s set during the Wally West/Keystone City era when the Flash’s identify was still public knowledge and he worked with Chyre & Morillo.

There are a few continuity issues that bugged me at the time (a lot of the story hinges on Iris & Wally being blood relatives, for instance) that don’t anymore, though I still have trouble with the opening scene where he’s treading air to “fly” w/the JLA.

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The ideas about the nature of super-speed, the speed force, the metagene, and ties to quantum physics still hold up, and would be fascinating to explore further (though they might overpower the character).

So far the audio adaptation works well, but my car’s sound system doesn’t handle the deliberately confusing battle sequences very well. Headphones might work better. And some of the conversations that work in print go on way too long in audio.

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Expanded on Speed Force

Finished reading #HeadOn by John Scalzi. It’s a fast read with intriguing concepts (10% of …

Finished reading by John Scalzi. It’s a fast read with intriguing concepts (10% of people have been locked into their brains by a pandemic, leading to VR & robot piloting to interact with/the world), that are explored even more than the previous book, from the POV of a locked-in FBI agent investigating the death of a locked-in athlete. (The game uses specially designed battle threeps.)

I’d recommend reading Lock In first, then this one. Both are worth it.

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Hadens spend most of their lives interacting through simulations or mechanical avatars, which changes a lot about identity presentation, travel, location, disability and prejudice. It’s the kind of thing that might be nodded to in another book that wanted to focus on the VR, or the mind transfer, but all these implications are woven throughout the story and key to a lot of it.

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I #amreading an actual *paper* book at lunch for the first time this calendar year. …

I an actual *paper* book at lunch for the first time this calendar year. (Les Mis took about 6 months & then I read a couple of shorter ebooks). Scalzi’s , which is proving to be just as good as the first book. An interesting mystery, fun characters, and a full exploration of the societal impact of both large scale lock-in and the technology used to deal with it.

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