GeekNights Book Club: Idoru

Tonight on the GeekNights Book Club, we discuss William Gibson's Idoru. It's a product of its time - the 1990s - showcasing both the promise and the dystopia projected from that era. Wildly inconsistent in its treatment of technology (fax machines, disposable cameras, and IR remote controls exist alongside city-building nanotechnology and true AI), steeped in the cyberpunk aesthetic, it is typical of Gibson and of its era. If we had to say what it's truly about, it's fame, information, and adolescence. The Idol herself, as AI, is not the core of this book: don't read it expecting to be blown away with a deep look at at the Sharon Apple story. The side details, the setting, the meta, are what make this book worthwhile.

In the news (related in some way to the book), Max Martin is the man behind the idols, and Google Glass prescription frames are allowing Rym to take one more step toward cyberization.

The Player of Games

Tonight on the GeekNights Book Club, we discuss Iain M Banks' The Player of Games. If ever there was a novel that was in our wheelhouse, it's this one. We also talk briefly about some of our more recent Kickstarter backings, and enjoy the "that guys" we poked on Reddit after one fifth of our Anime Boston performances.

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is a classic novel that, surprisingly, neither Rym nor Scott had ever read. Considering that a fantastic-looking movie is coming in the nearing future, we'll have but one chance to read the novel ahead of seeing it, so what better time than now?

Per Amazon: The Great Gatsby stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

But, before we tackle this, we talk about centaurs, armagnac-soaked bread, shipping things to Australia, Rymblr, an ancient technology called "fax," and the GeekNights Grand Prix. Also, the next book club book is going to be The Player of Games (Culture).

The Name of the Wind

Tonight on the GeekNights Book Club, we review Patrick Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind.

This is the riveting first-person narrative of Kvothe, a young man who grows to be one of the most notorious magicians his world has ever seen. From his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that transports readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

All in all, it's OK. Not great, not terrible, enjoyable enough, but not quite as fun as The Lies of Locke Lamora. Do note that we are at times quite harsh on the work, its merits nonwithstanding. Simply put, the book is not bad, or else we would actually have little to say. It is good enough that we must bring to bear our strongest criticisms, for it falls just short of being excellent. We both look forward to the continued growth of the author, and consider this a wonderful young adult fantasy novel.

We've discussed this book on two other occasions: relating to arrows and knees, and just as we'd finished it.

The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare

Tonight on the GeekNights Book Club, we bring our review and thoughts of G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday, published in 1908. It's an Edwardian thriller following a policeman sent to infiltrate the grand anarchist council only to find that it's full of other policemen with similar intents! It's an amusing and relatively enjoyable work, but it would be greatly served by a loose re-imagining in a modern format.

But first, we discuss Mr. Bubble, a ridiculous real-life sitcom-esqe request on Reddit (and the futility of such a thing in light of modern media), and whether cold or warm water hydrates one's body with greater speed (this becoming merely a vehicle, or dare I say, a pretense, for, shall we say, an argument).

For your reference, Scott's Choice for the next book will be The Name of the Wind.

1Q84: Book Club Review

Tonight on the GeekNights Book Club, we bring you our thoughts on Haruki Murakami's 1Q84. It's the book club, so we'll assume you've read the book. If not, then this won't make a whole lot of sense (though this bingo card might give you a hint of what happens). But before that, briefly, we consider Facebook's continued failure as an IPO, chained as it is to the sinking boulder of Zynga, Google's Fiber initiative in Kansas City, and announce that the next book in the GeekNights Book Club will be The Man Who Was Thursday.

The Hunger Games

Tonight on the GeekNights Book Club, we review Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games. It's catching like wildfire, and dubious as we were, we had to see what all the fuss was about. The verdict? It's pretty good. Not great. Not particularly memorable. But, an enjoyable read well worth its short length and engaging story. Also, Rym hipstered up with some PBRs at Control-Flow.

The next book (Scott's choice) will be 1Q84 by Haruki-Murakami.

Creative Commons License