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I’ve been working on a used bookstore sci-fi haul.
The Gray Prince by Jack Vance: mentioned this one before. Mostly enjoyable read but becomes aggravatingly strawman-like by the end regarding its political subtext.
Three Herbert books:
Destination: Void: I liked this one a lot, but oh boy is it dense. Large swaths of technobabble that may last pages dealing with semi-fictional tech. Are people meant to understand anything out of those passages? Also very philosophical and technical. The book breaks out into fucking equations at one point. You can practically hear a distant Herbert screaming “look how clever I am” as you read it. Despite all that I still really liked it.
Direct Descent: got this for the novelty factors as it’s an illustrated novel. Gave up on it halfway though. Pretty much garbage unless something amazing happens in the second half. Unlike the previous entry, there was no likeness to his other works. I imagine that this was written with a teenage audience in mind given the illustration and the overly thin and simplistic story, however nothing else about this book could be seen as appealing to a teenage audience. The inner turmoils of a library planet? Can’t get dustier than that.
God Emperor of Dune: best in the lot by far, but I’m not too deep into it yet. Four books in it’s still really nice to return to Dune.
Good catch. I saw the $88 used copies on amazon, didn't check the UK site though. There's some sort of regional restriction on it. really makes me curious about what happened.
So I’ve been trying to find this album. For some reason you can’t buy it anywhere. It’s not apparently streamable anywhere either. I could listen to rips on YouTube... but what happened to the damn thing? What got this album the black mark of commercial annihilation?
I’ve been trying to reduce meat consumption for a while now since it’s gotten more scrutiny over its environmental impact.
I mean, I’ve always known it was bad but something had to kick me into doing something about it. Trying to offset my personal environmental impact hits some hurdles on practicality. Public transport to work is infeasible. I drive a regular old gas car and can’t buy a different one any time soon. Even recycling isn’t collected at our place so we have to stockpile it and take it somewhere.
I’m not vegetarian, but there’s nothing really stopping me from it other than not feeling like it. Even less so if we’re talking about reducing my meat consumption to a third of what is has been.
Still, it’s a tad inconvenient to try and eat vegetarian consistently. Buying meals somewhere means your options are slashed drastically. Cooking at home, it’s also a challenge to come up with a variety of meal-like items when you’re not used to vegetarian life.
The appeal of meat does get reduced, though, if you can stick with it long enough. What we really need are more options like this that bridge the gap. I dig the Beyond burger and it’s the only reason I’ve gone to a Carl’s Jr. in my life probably. I haven’t tried the Impossible burger but I am eagerly awaiting BK to roll it out nationwide. People generally say they’d believe the Beyond Burger was an exotic meat if they were told so. Even if it’s not a perfect imitation it’s close enough to fill the role of meat like no substitute has before.
Also it’s not “health food”. Can you imagine how much frustration there has been from vegetarians over the years when the only thing they can order at restaurants is the healthy option?
I’ve been playing racquetball a decent amount lately. I’d actually play it more often if it were convenient to, it’s been pretty fun.
I’ve also been tearing through some paperbacks I got from a used book store a couple weeks back. Right now I’m on this odd illustrated novel by Frank Herbert: Direct Descent. Every couple pages it has a full page illustration and it is very 80s. I’m not far in yet, so remains to be seen if it’s any good or not.
I’ve also been watching Chernobyl on the tail end of our GoT-mandated HBO online subscription and I’m hooked.
Ok, so the other night I finished The Gray Prince by Jack Vance and have to vent my frustrations with it. The premise of the story is you have a planet colonized by humans ages ago, then more sophisticated, advanced humans conquer some of those “native” humans and establish a semi-legal domain over their lands and people. The whole thing is very much a stand in for colonialism and especially the status of Native Americans and whether they should have the right to regain their seized lands.
Through most of the novel, the narrative seems to approach this with nuance and faults that affect both sides of the debate. On the onset it seems like you are getting into a situation with many shades of gray nopunintended. However, quite steeply in the later part of the book, Vance goes through great lengths to strip the scenario of any nuance and paint the ruling “land barons” as unequivocally right. Really, looking back the whole book was a fraud. It never intended to handle this topic with any complexity, but sneakily wanted to make a might-is-right wet dream scenario. The land barons only look racist, but actually they’re wholly 110% benevolent and actually understand and respect the native cultures far better than the naive and idealistic liberal urbanites. And the natives unconquered by the barons are savage and unredeemable whereas the same people under the land barons are civilized and happy. ... ugh. The narrative itself was enthralling enough but the substance was grotesque and left me with a betrayed feeling upon finishing it.
NPR has been having a series in the mornings where they look into stories of elderly being targeted by financial scams. Even with no signs of dementia, people get more susceptible to these scams as they age and lose their ability to discern trustworthiness.
Not related, but my SO and I were walking by the bust stop one day and a guy came up and said he needed some particular small amount to make the bus. My immediate suspicion was that the story was bunk, but my SO had already given him the few bucks he supposedly needed for the trip. We weren’t even out of earshot before he was asking someone else for the change he just received.