by Charles Stross
2006, 415 pg
“There is an intrinsic unknowability about the technological singularity. Most writers leave it safely offstage or invent reasons why it doesn’t happen. Not Charles Stross. Accelerando lives up to its name, and is the most unflinching look into radical optimism I’ve seen.” – Vernor Vinge
During winter break I finally read Accelerando. I say “finally” because this book was first recommended to me in 2009 at the (now defunct) Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute transhumanism club. Accelerando is notable as being perhaps the first novel to have a storyline which traverses directly through a technological singularity.
Recently I read a book about ADD called Attention Deficit Disorder : A Different Perception, by Thom Hartmann.
by David Mitchell
2004, 509 pgs
Cloud Altas was a very fun read over Christmas break. This book was originally recommended to me in 2010. It is, in fact, six books in one. In 2012, I went to see the movie, which is directed by the Wachowskis, the same filmaking duo responsible for The Matrix and V for Vendetta. Making a movie of Cloud Atlas was a difficult task, since one must create six different movies, each taking place in vastly different settings, without going way over the standard budget for a single film. To keep the production value high required spending a lot of money, which makes it one of the most expensive independent films ever produced. It was also very difficult to mold the six separate plots together in under three hours — I found the six separate story arcs easy to keep track of. It turned out to be the sort of movie that people either loved or hated. Personally, I was very impressed by the movie and consider it the best scifi movie that’s come out in quite a while, possibly since The Matrix (2003).
by Charles Stross
2007, 336 pgs
I originally learned about Charles Stross at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute transhumanism club, where his books Singularity Sky and Accelerando where highly lauded. Shamefully, I have not yet read either of these yet. As it turned out I picked up some different books by Stross when the Borders Books in Smithtown closed down. Continue reading
The Moon is Harsh Mistress
by Robert A. Heinlein
1966, 382 pages
A few months ago I finished reading The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein. I was shamefully unaware that this was one of the greatest works of science fiction ever written. Previously the only other work by Heinlein I had read was A Stranger in a Strange Land. What drew my attention to The Moon is a Harsh Mistress was the fact that it was recommended by Elon Musk as one of his favourite books.
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
Peter Thiel with Blake Masters
This is my first book review/discussion on this blog — hopefully the first of many!
Recently I became interested in Peter Thiel after watching one of the many interviews he has done in recent weeks. For those of you who don’t know, Thiel is a leading figure in the high-tech and libertarian communities. He is a co-founder and former CEO of PayPal, the first outside investor in Facebook, co-founder of Palantir Technologies, co-founder of Mithril capital, president of Clarium Capital and a managing partner at Founder’s Fund. Through his philanthropic work he has contributed substantially to the Seasteading Institute, Singularity Challenge, Singularity University, Machine Intelligence Research Institute, Methuselah Foundation, and the SENS Research Foundation. He also founded the Thiel Fellowship Program and Breakout Labs.