Category Archives: Reviews
By Jeremy K Brown
Inadequate soapy knock-off of Deep Impact, with random numbers!
This is billed as “Artemis meets Gravity“, but it would be more accurate to say “Deep Impact meets Eastenders“. The main plot element is that a rogue asteroid mining operation accidentally puts the rock on a direct impact course for Earth, and thereafter it is basically a straight clone of Deep Impact, but with a Trumpian, dim demagogue president rather than an Obama-esque one, and a level of soapiness which would shame Eastenders.
The author seems to have a very poor grasp of mechanics, and the course of the asteroid is such that early on it’s “a little closer than the moon”, because the author doesn’t want something as prosaic as the speed of light getting in the way of chatty dialogue between the two central female characters, yet rather later on it’s “about four times further away”. Hang on, doesn’t that mean it’s moving away from Earth?
Other numbers and concepts seem to be equally confused. There’s a good thread about “moonborn” characters being demonised on Earth, similar to current Hispanic and Muslim immigrants to the US, but no explanation of how these amount to any significant numbers, especially given the acknowledged challenges of making the journey back if you were born in 1/6 g. There’s a comparison between the projected impact and the largest H Bomb, but a factor of 1000 goes missing somewhere, and you can’t help thinking that real scientists would use terms like “Giga” and “Tera”, and SI units, which have a well-defined, internationally-invariant value.
I finished the book because I wanted to write a review, but this is really one that wasn’t worth completing.
While this is an enjoyable read, it prompts one big question. Why did the author feel that a heavily fictionalised re-telling of this utterly thrilling true story was needed? In the preface Gross says that he wants to tell “the Continue reading
I like a good techno-thriller, but since the death of Michael Crichton and with Phillip Kerr moving onto German detectives and unpleasant tales of first-person murdering pickings have been thin. I have enjoyed the works of Daniel Suarez, and the Continue reading
This is a delightful little book on the perennial topic of how a software architect should think and behave. While that subject seems to attract shorter books, this one is very concise – the main content is just 66 two-page Continue reading
I’ve always wondered about the phrase "a catholic taste", meaning "broad". Surely the way in which the Catholic religion (like most others) prescribes and proscribes certain behaviours and materials acts to limit rather than broaden an individual’s tastes? Apparently the Continue reading
Overall this is a cracking WWII thriller, set around the concept of an Allies break in into Auschwitz to rescue a specific prisoner who holds information vital to the Manhattan Project. Andrew Gross has done a great job of capturing Continue reading
Like it’s predecessor, Man Up!, this is a knock-about farce based around the capable but somewhat cursed sports agent, Patrick Flynn. This time the key protegé is a nymphomaniac Russian tennis player, but otherwise the cast of gangsters, hit-men (& Continue reading
This book is a review, at the 50 year point, of the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI), and a consideration of how it may evolve in the future, by the scientist who heads several of its key committees. It’s a Continue reading
Daniel Suarez is billed as the new Michael Crichton. While a few of his novels have come onto my radar, this is the first I have read. Based on this showing there’s a great deal of promise, but the fairly Continue reading
Amusing exploration of the English Languge, but needs a refresh Continue reading
The 1988 Winter Olympics brought us not only one, but two heart-warming stories of sporting heroism by unconventional outsiders. The story of the Jamaican Bobsleigh Team was told promptly in the wonderful 1993 Disney picture Cool Runnings, but we’ve had Continue reading
I’m frustrated. I’ve just read a couple of good, if somewhat repetitive, design pattern books: one on SOA design with a resolutely platform-neutral stance, and another on architecting for the cloud, with a Microsoft Azure bent but which struck an Continue reading