© 2018 by Dan

  • Dan

What I've Been Reading, February 2020 Edition






Howdy,


Recently, I finished off some excellent sci-fi and a book that falls somewhere between history and current events. Unintentionally, at least on a conscious level, one of the sci-fi books I read is very timely considering all of the headlines regarding election interference and voter suppression, etc., etc. Without further ado, here's the rundown.


Mecha Samurai Empire by Peter Tieryas

I expected to enjoy this book since United States of Japan, the first book in the series, is absolutely awesome. At first, I had a little bit of trouble getting into Mecha Samurai Empire, but after that first 50 pages or so, I was hooked. By the end of the novel, I decided might actually like it better than the first in the series. Good characters, great action, and giant robots. I can hardly wait to read the next installment, which incidentally is coming out next month.


One reason to read this book is that the author mashes up a couple different genres: sci-fi (anime-flavored) and alternate history. Some people don't like this, but I think it makes for a unique take on well-used genre tropes.


Infomocracy by Malka Older

This was another book I had a hard time getting into. I didn't really connect with any of the characters, but the world of micro-democracies where even small cities are sliced up by multiple governments is fascinating. The plotline follows a wide cast of characters as a global election unfolds. There is, of course, tons of intrigue and shenanigans going on, a good portion of it violent. Given the current news headlines this election season, the book feels very timely. Overall, I enjoyed the book, and I'll eventually read more in the series, but, despite its timeliness, I think the book falls short of greatness because the characters just felt a little flat.


Upheaval by Jared Diamond

Fascinating book about how countries deal with national crises. A good deal of interesting history about countries coping with national crises, a fascinating analysis of current challenges facing countries and how those challenges might be overcome, and a discussion of global issues that the entire world needs to tackle. I highly recommend this book, timely and thought-provoking.