Category: Books

  • It Is Not Your Duty to Lay Down and Die: A Review of Blood in the Machine

    Blood in the Machine by Brian Merchant is an excellent book that everyone should read. Readers of my reviews know that I tend to be picky in my evaluations, highlighting the good and the bad. And this book is not perfect (I will get to its minor flaws), but it is as close to required…

  • The Two Naomis, Liberals, Leftists, and Killing Mockingbirds

    Namoi Klein has had a weird couple of years. She has been constantly confused for Namoi Wolf, a former feminist who has gone, not to put too fine a point on it, cuckoo for coco puffs. There is hardly a right-wing conspiracy theory that Wolf has not embraced, from COVID denialism to Qanon. Klein has…

  • The Classics are Just Books, Meant to Be Read First

    Not going to be a ton of material this week, as I am travelling, but a bit of a kerfuffle on the twitter machines caught my eye. There are people suggesting that they read fan fic instead of classics because fan fic is meant to be enjoyed and classics are meant to be studied. Now,…

  • The Writing Life’s Discontents: A Review of End Credits by Patty Lin

    I really enjoyed this book. Lin, a writer for multiple hit, and not so hit, television shows, has written a book about her life in writing and how largely terrible it was. The book is a blast. Lin, who wrote for Friends and Freaks and Geeks, among other shows you have probably never heard or…

  • Death and Crypto Lies: A Review of Number Go Up

    I keep finding myself writing the wrong kind of book review. Or at least, I keep finding myself writing the kind of book review that I do not think is entirely fair to the author. Because I should be recommending Number Go Up by Zeke Faux (who, by the way, has the single best name…

  • AI and the Avoidance of Accountability

    One of the reasons the creators of imitative AI systems focus so much on theoretical dangers, such as a super intelligent AI deciding we should all be turned into paperclips, rather than immediate harms is that by doing so they can avoid hard questions about the actual purpose of these systems. Because it turns out…

  • In Semi-defense of Tech

    This is going to ramble, so grab a snack. I was listening to the excellent Print Run podcast the other day and they were discussing a couple of trends they felt were interrelated — the purchase of Simon Shuster by a hedge fund known for dismantling companies (they are the ones that destroyed Toys R…

  • No Technological Promised Land: A Review of Progress and Promise

    People who think that technology should never be regulated, that its owners should be allowed to disrupt as much as they like and do whatever damage they like to people and society in the meantime, love to argue that technological progress inevitably means that everyone will eventually benefit from the progress that technology brings. No…

  • A Brief Writing Life Interlude: On Not Getting an Agent

    A while ago I wrote about attempting to get an agent for a novel. It has been a while and so far nothing but rejection and silence. It has been more than three months since the latest round went out, and based on the guidelines for the agents I sent them to, silence means rejections.…

  • Fascism is As American as Apple Pie: A Review of Fever in the Heartland

    Fascism is As American as Apple Pie: A Review of Fever in the Heartland

    There is a scene in Mississippi Burning, the overrated and largely factually inaccurate portrayal of the FBI’s response to the murder of three Civil Right’s workers in Mississippi that is unintentionally telling. The wife of Klansman whom the folksy, Southern FBI investigator has a crush on, is beaten by her Klan husband. After seeing that…