Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Galaxy Unknown

I just finished reading A Galaxy Unknown by Thomas DePrima.
This is a classic space adventure novel featuring a cute young Ensign lost in space for ten years, who after being found turns out to be a brilliant warship commander. All the expected elements are there with FTL travel and communications, space stations, hollowed out asteroids, laser weapons, torpedoes, and so on. I don't think there were many new ideas on show, but it was written quite well and had a good pace.
I wasn't completely convinced by some of the main bad guy actions. Why worry about strict controls on  abusing prisoners when they heal easily and you're just going to mind wipe them later? I thought the full court-martial for the heroine when she returned triumphantly home was pretty cool. I've always wanted to see how a rigid big-military society might actually deal with this sort of action in the aftermath.
I think I'll read more of the series, it was a relaxing, enjoyable read.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nymph: The Singularity

I just finished reading Nymph: The Singularity.
Lets get the obvious stuff out of the way first. There were lots of sex scenes, both android on android and android on human, so that was fun for a change.
There weren't really a lot of new, interesting ideas here, and I was hoping that there might be a few more with the part title, 'The Singularity'. I suppose I was hoping the novel would cover how technology driven by development of sex technology (and this has been an historically strong force) causes humanity to spiral into a technology singularity, driven by AI arising from ever better sex robots. That would have been interesting, even if its not a particular novel idea.
No, this was more covering 'the androids are people too' element, with discussion on how humanity is all going to die because of their environmental disasters and selfishness, and the clever immortal robots will inherit the Earth. I'm pretty sure Asimov covered all of that in the 50s, before the Singularity concept was conceived.
Still, even with some editing problems, I enjoyed reading this, it wasn't badly written, paced quite well, and fun to read. The scenes where the main Android-girl was naive with respect to aspects of humanity and getting social things wrong were fun, and the general process of learning through experience was quite well done.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kindle Paperwhite

I've been using a new Kindle Paperwhite recently.
I haven't used a Kindle much before, although my wife has one, so I can do some comparison. What I'm really comparing to is reading on my iPad (1) with the Kindle app.
I wasn't sure that it would be much better than reading on the iPad, which is why I've put this off for this long. Reading on the iPad is just fine.
Reading on the Kindle is better.
The resolution is now quite good, 212ppi, and the page turning action is pretty fast. I thought I might get annoyed with the page turn time, but this is just fine. Almost not noticeable - slightly faster than the previous Kindle model.
I didn't think I would really want to use the Kindle PW light. But you can't actually turn it off. But that's ok because it is actually really good, unobtrusive, and just fills in that bit of contrast when you need it, and is effectively gone when you are in good light. It's perfect in bed with the lights off, and its great in the sun, of course. There is a slight unevenness to the light at the bottom of the screen, as reported in many places, but isn't annoying.
The time left to read the chapter (and book) feature is pretty cool, so when you are thinking about putting the book down, you can see how far away the next chapter is easily.
I haven't used the X-Ray feature yet. It may be more useful after finishing a book, if you wanted to check out the characters further I suppose. And when the book supports it.