I recently read Time Travel: A History by James Gleick.
It’s not a science fiction story by itself. Instead, it’s a wide-ranging analysis of time travel in fiction and popular thought — and well worth a read.
Everfair, by Nisi Shawl, is a steampunk alternate history of how things might have been better.
Specifically, it examines the Belgian Congo (which in the modern day is the Democratic Republic of the Congo). It asks “what if” — what if a group of idealistic colonists, former American slaves, and many groups of indigenous people fought against the brutalities of Belgian King Leopold’s government, and formed their own country? What if there was a little more technology and a little more magic?
The book is a bit closer to an anthology than a novel, with the action spread across continents and decades. The contents are a well-researched alternate history, from the limb-chopping atrocities of the Belgian forces to the wealth of natural resources they came for.
I’ve been playing the video game The Witness recently, and I’m only categorizing it as fantasy because I don’t really know where else to put it.
It’s an atmospheric puzzle game with plenty of soothing music. It doesn’t really have any plot or characters — just an island that you can explore at your leisure.
For those of you looking for a distraction from reality with food for thought but no need for fast reflexes or shooting monsters, this is a great game to try.
Appropriately, the book comes with the subtitle: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics.
It’s a highly plausible analysis of political and other power structures, and what leads them to be more democratic — or more oppressive. It also discusses why it’s difficult to have a dictator who is both benevolent and effective. It’s written by a pair of political science professors, and filled with historical examples.
It was written a couple of years before the most recent US presidential election, but it has some… implications, nevertheless.
Biology is not my thing. I mean, I studied physics because it was basically the not-biology major, so I could avoid all the living, growing, squishy, gooey things.
I recently read Kameron Hurley’s The Stars Are Legion, and the biopunk aspects were fascinating all by themselves. For… multiple definitions of fascinating. A content warning for various flavors of bio-horror is in order.
I will now discuss the book, and also apply cold, hard physics to the scary, squishy stuff. Wish me luck.