With Covid-19 impacting everything this spring and summer I have decided to read a bit more than usual. I always loved to read but now I am churning through a book a week, sometimes slower, sometimes faster.
Here are some of the books I have read recently and my comments/feedback.
Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky
(Sequel to Children of time)
Currently Reading.. Humanity and the spiders unite and track down a previously terraformed planet that has recently
started to send out radio signals. What new life emerged there?
Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Very interesting insights into the evolution of live and what-ifs.
Basic story is mankind has reached to another star to terraform life. They have engineered a virus to accelerate evolution and want to seed a planet with monkeys to grew a new humanity. Things go wrong and the virus impacts the non-vertebrates and life emerges, just different than expected.
The author does a great job envisioning life/languages and societies of spiders if they became exponentially smarter.
We Are Legion (We Are Bob) & For We Are Many & All These Worlds by
Dennis E. Taylor
The first 3 books in the “Bobverse” series. In the late 90s “Bob” agreed to freeze his head to be restored some point in the future. Bob is an engineer and a sci-fi junkie.
He is restored as a computer, and is heading up spacecraft to the stars.
There are warring faction on Earth he has to deal with in addition to how to create other spaceships and reach other worlds. As he clones his program he finds each clone gains a slightly different personality than “himself” and has different ultimate goals. Can he find other life? Can he resolve the fighting humans and help colonize other worlds?
This series was fun and I am looking forward to the next 2 books in the series to be finished written.
Wrath of the Dragon King, Master of the Phantom Isle by
Books 2 and 3 of the Dragonwatch series, which is set in the Fablehaven world.
Even though geared towards YA audiences I like Brandon Mull’s writing style. I have read much of his work and have enjoyed the new series. He still is world building and introducing new elements to his heavily “jailed” world of fantastical creatures and how they interact with the humans.
Three Bill Williamson Stories by
Harry Turtledove is always a favorite of mine. He is excellent at creating worlds like ours but with minor changes/enhancements. In this series of short stories he imagines what if Big foot is real. And after they
are found they are accepted as parts of society. These follow Bill Williamson, the governor of a new state
that replaces norther CA. The interesting fact is that Bill is a Big Foot.
Many short stories, each has a good write up on the reasoning behind them. Good read if you like alternate history and/or Harry Turtledove.
Orson Scott Card
Short story prequel to Mither Mages. This follows the life of a rural boy that does not know he is able to speak and interact with stones. However he grew up in a society that prays to the Water gods.
Orson Scott Card
Magic comes to the LA area. Good quick read about a boy born of magic and how he sees inside of peoples dreams and can make
their dreams come true, but in the worst ways.
Lost and Found
Orson Scott Card
Think of super heroes and their powers, now take something absurdly small and these are micro powers. Ezekiel Blast has a micro power.. He can find items that others have lost. They call out to him, once he picks them up he can know the owner of the item. Everyone body just assumes he stole them, but it is so much more than that. How to find friends when he is a known thief around school? He finds out that others have these micro-powers. How to use them?
Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds
Excellent story of a man with “split personalities”.. But not really. He becomes an expert just by reading about it, However his expertise becomes a person in his head that only he can interact with. Wants to learn a new language, he reads one book on the language and “hires” a new lingual expert who lives in his brain. This is 3 short stories that builds on his condition and how he makes use of these extra people in his life.
I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream
Very strange short story book. The first story is about a god like computer keeping a few humans alive just to torment. Strange and disturbing yet intriguing.
The Many-Colored Land
People from the future are sent back into time as punishment or to get away from life. They expect to find dinosaurs and instead are greeted by aliens. This story explains how society unfolds as these former prisoners become new prisoners at the hands of an unexpected alien presence.
Superbowl LII Halftime Show
I was lucky enough to get a unique experience with Superbowl LII being in MN, I won two tickets to see the show from the field! This was a “super” contest win.
It started about 3 hours before kick-off. Danith and I boarded a bus from Mystic Lake Casino and headed to the staging area. This turned out to be at the MN fairgrounds, the secret base for the halftime training and practice. All the halftime performers (except Justin Timberlake) where present going over their routines and last minute changes.
From there we boarded our coach buses and began the slow parade down to US Bank stadium. The police closed all roads for our procession. It felt like being part of the President’s motorcade. In record time we pulled up to the stadium just as the jets flew overhead. Unlike all the masses inside we were treated with a view of the precise air maneuvers. I do not know why they still buzz closed stadiums, but for us it was a sight to see.
The bus stopped about 2 blocks from the stadium, at the edge of the “secure” zone. For those unaware a large section around US Bank stadium was cordoned off and secured with military troops similar to a quarantine zone. We had to walk to a near by parking garage that was turned something similar to TSA at the airport. We were screened, metal detected and in some cases patted down before moving to the next step.
After about 30-45 minutes we arrived at the back doors. Slowly we were ushered from the cold into the bowels of the stadium. There is 5 levels of switch backs to get from ground floor to the bottom of the field, we were at the back of a long line of performers and marching band members. Unfortunately there were no monitors to watch the game from the 2nd quarter on as we stood waiting.
Once they gave word that the players left the field we had less than 3 minutes to get all people from the hallways onto the field into the various places we were assigned. Below is the video of the rush onto the field:
Entering the field was amazing. From the darkness into a bright light of cheering fans and camera flashes. With the Eagles Mascot and cheerleaders next to us we assembled onto the field and waited for the stage to be quickly put together during the Pepsi commercial.
Here is the video of the halftime show from the ground perspective.
We were pushed and shoved as camera booms moved and the prop carts shuffled around. During one song I think we were in the absolute wrong spot as the dancers had to change into the pastel shirts and grab the reflective signs behind us, but we had no where else to go.
In 13 short minutes the show was over and we had another 3 minutes to get everybody off the field and up those corridors so the players and crew could get back to the field. Here is the exit video, all the while being yelled at to keep moving.
An amazing experience but ended up seeing almost nothing other than the hustle and bustle. Next year I will stay home to watch it on TV like the rest of America.