Category: Blog round-up

Link round up

Too Like The Lightning – Other People’s Takes

I’m still typing up notes but I thought it was time to look at other people’s reviews and takes on Ada Palmer’s book.

Intellectus Speculativus has strong issues with how gender is portrayed in the book. They make a strong case that it is problematic in a number of ways. Obviously, there is a distinction between the book’s representation versus how Mycroft deals with gender (likewise with religion) but they look at it deeper than that: I’m back to the dilemma of whether this is a *good* book or a cynical one which partly hinges on whether the society here is intended to be (somewhat) utopian, or a disguised dystopia or a future history in which we are forced to draw our own conclusions (although then why has the author chosen this world to build?).

Meanwhile, Crooked Timber has gone full-in Ada Palmer with multiple articles on the book and some broader background by Palmer  This article by Lee Konstantinou offers a positive perspective by focusing on the Utopian faction in Palmer’s world

The Book Smugglers doesn’t have a review but it does have an article by Ada Palmer about why as a historian she writes SF

The book has TV Tropes page

Strange Horizons has a review by Paul Kincaid with a strong opening “Had Too Like the Lightning lived up to its aspirations, it would have been one of the most significant works of contemporary science fiction. That, perhaps inevitably, it fails in this ambition leaves a book that is engaging, entertaining, and interesting, but that contains too many confusions and contradictions to be fully satisfying.”  I wonder if that captures the mix of feelings here – an ambitious work that for some (many?) doesn’t fulfil its ambitions?

The New York Review of Science Fiction takes a different tack and directly compares Mycroft to Alex from A Clockwork Orange

WIRED asks ‘Should this book have an index?’ well it should have a set of footnotes by the time I’m done 🙂

How much of this doubt about the book a reflection of the doubts we have about Mycroft.

Well, it certainly rates 10/10 for ‘capacity to generate conversations’. I can’t doubt ‘ambitious’ as a description and I think ‘significant’ as well. ‘Good’? Aye, there’s the rub.

{ETA, thanks to Mark, Standback and Paul W}

A different take on the gender issues from Yoon Ha Lee This isn’t a reply to Intellectus Speculativus’s piece and doesn’t cover all of their arguments but does address some.

{eta again}
And another: A discussion at on the book as a commentary on utopias without being a utopia
{personal note}
I’m also rewatching Father Ted at the moment. I feel it balances things out nicely. It’s like the exact opposite of Too Like the Lightning – everybody is overtly religious but not remotely interested in religion and never leave one tiny island.

Links round-up

A bunch of stuff that has passed my way:



Blog Round Up

I haven’t done of these for awhile and so some of links have been sitting there for some time and are now a bit old. Sorry.

A review website I haven’t seen before popped up in my like Geekritique and

Alex Acks review of Captain America: Civil War is squee-tastic

A discussion of Bertrand Russell’s classic essay

Is the concept art for Wakanda in the new Black Panther movie too close to the international style? Interesting discussion  and from the same blog a Rogue One review

I’ve been reading Brooke Bolander on Twitter but hadn’t visited her blog before. Here’s a review of the The Last Guardian

At Eruditorum Press, Josh Marsfelder looks back at the Zelda game ‘The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask’

Alexandra Erin has been writing some extraordinary Tweet storms on Trump. Here is some blog commentary for those who prefer to avoid the sink-hole of Twitter

Ann Leckie discusses tea

Some other things:

William Henry Harrison, Beautician




Blog Round Up!

I have been very remiss in doing one of these. A mix of links and places and things I’ve read. Some are old because I forgot to do one of these posts:

Steve J Wright has a review of Ninefox Gambit

I usually end up linking to Cora Buhlert’s Hugo related posts – which is a disservice in so far as she writes about lots of other things. In this case, an announcement of a new series with some unconventionally star-crossed lovers:

Aaron Pound has some coverage of the Retro Hugo’s

S.Schwatrz has thoughts on message fiction and also some ruminations on poking badgers with spoons

A different perspective on the 2016 Hugos from Sami Sundell

Chris Gerrib has a rumination on rules and when to break them it’s a neat example but it illustrates a deeper point. Most rules, procedures, even guiding principles have some sort of purpose (and Aristotelean final cause if you like). Understanding the ‘why’ of them matters.

I know everybody has read, applauded and linked to Ursula Vernon’s ‘This Vote is Legally Binding’ but here it is again because it is worth reading again!

Nicholas Whyte on Watership Down

Natalie Luhrs has a long piece on the issues with the World Fantasy Convention

Abby Howards JSPH is back in action after a hiatus

Plus lots of things I read but can’t find a link too – you know that thing, it was great, you should read it…




Blog and other things Round Up

Alexandra Erin has returned to the fray with a new Puppies review children’s books parody and there is also a blog post on writing it

Ursula Red Wombat Vernon has playing with book covers at her LiveJournal (no Walruses sadly)

‘Ugh’ at Obsidian Wings explains how the US Federal Government ends up regulating school bathrooms against bigotry

Abby Howard’s gloriously oddly spooky The Last Halloween has reached the end of Book 1 and also has kickstarter for physical version

A late Easter cartoon

James Nicoll Reviews…Blake’s 7 Sarcophagus by Tanith Lee, a 1980 3rd Season episode of the infamously clunky-but-interesting BBC show



It’s time for…blog round up

Hemant Mehta talks to atheists who plan to vote Republican in the US presidential election.

Speaking of which Skepchick, Alex Rudewell looks into whether notable skeptic, Michale Shermer is supporting Donald Trump

And while we are in that general space of religion and atheism, Mano Singham has piece about a kind of modern day temple-prostitution.

Moving onto to more SFnal things, Cora Buhlert has her regular Indie Speculative Fiction of the month post

And still at Cora’s a further round up of Nebula Award reactions:

Rachael Acks watched the movie ‘Gods of Egypt’ while drunk and blogged about it for charity. Her write up has a Venn diagram in it which is great but the movie has ‘no wangs’ (as she puts it) which considering this is supposed to be a retelling of the Osiris, Isis, Horus, Set story is a glaring omission. Rather like having a movie of the New Testament and leaving out crosses. Anway, a laugh-out-loud funny review.

Kate Paulk at Mad Genius describes the next steps in Sad Puppy 4 The comments go off on a hilarious tangent about how Mad Genius is so much better because they don’t moderate people much unlike File 770 which does because everybody knows that John Scalzi moderates his comments. I simply said ‘Hmmmmmmm’ because raising one’s eyebrows in a way to suggest ‘have you actually thought about what you are saying?’ doesn’t work over the internet.

Best Movie Space Battles at File770

Thoreau muses on US civil traditions in an essay entitled You can learn a lot from people who sleep with snakes

Joanna Cabot at TeleRead discusses the Kylie versus Kylie intellectual property argument