The Accelerando Palm Delusion Closet
If you have a good memory, you may recall I really disliked the last book I read by Charles Stross, Singularity Sky. I thought it was trash. I didn’t like the writing or the plot or the characters. I suffered through it and reached the end and was angry I bothered.
So it was with great trepidation that I came to find myself reading another Stross novel, Accelerando. The only reason I dared pick it up was that (a) it came endorsed by J, a good predictor of books I’ll like, and (b) I was able to download the book for free and read it on my palm pilot.
I still don’t like the writing style much, but the book was good. It follows the mad-house that is the technological singularity (‘Rapture of the Nerds’), and dishes out oodles of future-shocked trans-human identity crisis. My favorite quote: “Up or down, is it turtles all the way, or is there something out there that’s more real than we are?”. Good stuff.
Ok, I realize I give shitty book reviews that are a little sparse on details. I just don’t like spoiling things. I’m more of a thumbs-up/thumbs-down reviewer. So thumbs-up, ok?
I was glad to get it in eBook form for my old palm-pilot. It makes sense to not lug around a suitcase full of paper-backs when moving across the Atlantic. Of course, I love having physical books and have huge shelves full of books back at the house. I get emotionally attached to the good books I’ve read. On the flip-side, the palm is a decent screen for reading books, it slips easily in my pocket, and can carry hundreds of books. The battery life is fine (no complaints here). In fact, I’ve taken my palm on a few backpacking trips to have a book to read at night in the tent. Not only does it reduce the weight I would normally carry, but it’s a backlit display so I don’t even need a flashlight to read in the dark. One of the bigger drawbacks is that there is still a limited selection, and most of the eBooks out there are encumbered with awful DRM.
Sony’s got a new dedicated eBook reader on the market. It’s a little pricey, but I can’t wait to try one out in person. It uses ePaper so instead of being backlit like a PDA, it actually changes the page with eInk that requires no charge once set. You use reflective lighting to read, so it is more like reading a normal book, and is easier on the eyes. Because it only requires a charge to change the page, the battery life is even better than a conventional PDA.
Now I’m back to reading in ink-on-dead-tree-pulp format. I was passing by a book store the other day and picked up Dawkin’s new diatribe The God Delusion. I’m just in the beginning, where he’s provided some evidence that being an Atheist is even more of a cultural taboo than being a Homosexual, and he’s urging Atheists to ‘come-out’ and help make it socially acceptable.
Well folks, surprise! I am a raging Atheist. I know it’s difficult for people to find out this way, but I hope that in time you will all come to accept it. Ahhhh, it feels so good to be out of the closet (it was full of smelly scientists in there).