User Profile


[email protected]

Joined 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I read a bit of everything, but mostly sci-fi. Me on Masto:

More reading notes on my personal website:

This link opens in a pop-up window

User Activity

John Dies at the End (Paperback, 2021, St. Martin's Griffin) 1 star

Plot-less, eye-roll inducing and at times offensive (dnf)

1 star

Tries to go for funny and modern/internet-ish language, but ends up just being just a mishmash of mentions of the word "penis", disjointed episodes revolving around cthulhu-esque monsters, and a smattering of slurs (both racial and mental-health related) that maybe are meant to "be in character" but seemed gratuitous to me.

I was amused and entertained at first, but after reading a good third of the book I realized that the only ideas the author had were to keep dialing up the literal shit, dicks and the slurs.

Crying in H Mart (Hardcover, Knopf Publishing Group) 3 stars

A memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity. …

A bittersweet memoir of family, the immigrant / mixed race experience and food

3 stars

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by the author. I always love reading (hearing?) about the mixed heritage and/or immigrant experience, and I always love reading about food, and this book is heavy on both those points.

This is a memoir the author's loss of her mother and the work to integrate and come to terms with her mother's Korean heritage. There is a big emphasis on food as a cultural touchstone and social binding agent. Made me want to eat (more) Korean food.

I enjoyed this a lot, but I'm taking a couple of stars off because at times the writing didn't feel great, and at times it felt repetitive. It is possible that that narrated by a more gifted reader or as a plain old non-audio book it would have landed better for me.

Internet for the People (Paperback, 2021, Verso Books) 5 stars

In Internet for the People, leading tech writer Ben Tarnoff offers an answer. The internet …

A clarifying and inspiring unified history and path towards a better Internet

4 stars

A concise, worthwhile read. The first two thirds summarize the history of the internet from the lens of increased privatization and an intensification of the profit motive, aided by public policy and political climate. The last portion offers some alternative paths towards a more democratic, truly inclusive internet.

I appreciated that Tarnoff emphasizes the need for political and social change, and steers away from mere techno-solutioning. I didn't find anything particularly novel ideas, but the unifying theory of it was clarifying and inspiring.

Taking a star off my rating because I always yearn for a more concrete "go here, plug in this way" call to action in such books. I know it's probably very hard for such a book to have such practical pointers that would work for every reader, but still I hope.

Nightcrawling (2022, Knopf Incorporated, Alfred A.) 5 stars

A raw Oakland story

5 stars

Nightcrawling tells the story of a young woman -- a girl, really -- who is thrust into sex work trying to make rent, and ends up being trafficked by cops. The story is set in Oakland, and inspired by the real-life scandals of sex trafficking by OPD officers.

The story is told from the point of view of Kiara, the victim/heroine. We see how easy it can be to be swept in by bad circumstances when you're living in poverty, with no support systems, always on the edge of homelessness or worse. Kiara is crushed by a broken and cruel system, and by the very people who are supposedly there to "protect and serve", but still she is able to retain her humanity, her soul.

It is astounding that Mottley is only 20 years old herself. Can't wait to see how her writing evolves.

Nona the Ninth (Hardcover, 2022, 5 stars

Her city is under siege.

The zombies are coming back.

And all Nona wants is …

Fun new Ninth character, more Locked Tomb universe backstory

5 stars

Nona, the new Ninth character is different and very amusing. The setting is a planet with "regular" humans, and there is more backstory filled in on John/God and the general shape of the Locked Tomb universe.

reviewed Synners by Pat Cadigan

Synners (2012, Gateway) 3 stars

OG cyberpunk, fun but confusing at times

3 stars

A 1991 cyberpunk novel, with a bunch of familiar early cyberpunk tropes -- "hackers", people connecting brains to computer networks, a computer program becoming sentient.

The story is a fun ride, although I didn't love the many surreal dream-like passages where she tries to convey the experience of brains connected to computers. I found it at times confusing, and the writing wasn't sharp or evocative enough to carry it through.