14 November 2017

Review: Artemis

Artemis Artemis by Andy Weir
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Oh, Andy Weir. You rocketed into our hearts with The Martian and now you’re doing your version of a moonbase tale? I was fully on board from the start, but by the time it was over…

Effectively, the story follows our hero on a moon base trying to move her way up in the world. Jazz is struggling to stay on the straight and narrow, but there are other options available to her. One of these options is one that ends up netting her a lot of money, but a lot of trouble in the process.

This is basically a light heist story on the moon, and considering how really robust and strong The Martian was, that this is the follow-up is more than a little disappointing. The book falls quite quickly from its initial heights and never quite recovers, resulting in a thriller crime tale that never truly thrills. I felt like I was going through the motions with this a lot more than I wanted to, and mostly because I believed it would eventually pay off or at least attempt to come to the place The Martian sits and it never got there.

Honestly, there is no reason why someone who is looking for this book shouldn’t reach for The Moon is a Harsh Mistress instead. There’s nothing here of exceptional note, and it just feels like a lot of filler. It’s a fine book, but it fails to meet basic expectations and isn’t going to do much for those who have read a lot of science fiction over the years.

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08 November 2017

Review: Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus

Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus by Laura Kipnis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The issue of Title IX on college campuses in regards to sexual assault has been on my radar for a while. There have been a lot of issues of due process raised, and no amount of articles written about the issue. This book is largely about one specific experience, but is one of the first books to really cover the issue from start to finish with the sort of precision and detail necessary to do it justice.

The book was an upsetting read for me in many ways if only because of the political climate we’re in right now as well as the issues raised by multiple articles involving due process. Reading this during the significant national conversations concerning Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey only magnified the message of this book and the need to get it right, and how much we’re failing. This book is far from perfect even if it’s necessary. Its focus on one story above many diminishes the problems on campus, and it could have used a more persuasive tone. Still, in terms of what it actually offers as a cautionary tale, it’s an important record of an insane time that’s worth having.

This book offers nothing new to those on a certain side of the discussion, and needs to be read by those who are troubled by the alleged problems of sexual assault on college campuses to give some perspective. My one concern is more that I do not think those who need to know this information will get it, or be open to receiving it.

A necessary, sobering read in any regard.

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Review: Black Goat Blues

Black Goat Blues Black Goat Blues by Levi Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Red Right Hand, I felt like it really nailed the feeling of Lovecraftian helplessness and despair. This second book dials that back for a lot of the story, which was unfortunate, but once everything finally lined up and came together about halfway through, I was fully and completely in love yet again.

There’s plenty to like here, and a lot of solid storytelling and desperation throughout. Enough nods and easter eggs for any Lovecraft aficionado to take some time.

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