A capable engineer treats the world as a machine in order to exact revenge for a personal injustice. The enormous human consequences are regrettable collateral damage but an unavoidable part of the logic, at least to the engineer. Set in a medieval world in which one anomalous city state is a guilds-run bureaucratised industrial power.

Published 2005, Part 1 of a trilogy. K.J. Parker is a pseudonym for Tom Holt.

I had thought there would be no more Murderbot stories, as the last one seemed to come to an end. But this longer book makes an interesting jump, using a side branch from an earlier installment, as well as breaking out of having just the one Murderbot’s internal contemplations towards contemplating how constructs might come to terms with socialisation and group forming. In a sense this one was more about depression and recovering mental health, where the previous stories used the protagonist’s robotic mental health more like a prop or source of irony.

This is a collection of short stories by N.K. Jemisin (I’ve been reading her work in the past weeks, similar to how I read all books by other authors when I encounter something I liked.). The title attracted me, and I didn’t know it was a collection of short stories. Jemisin says she started writing short stories as stepping stones towards novel writing. She didn’t want to at first, did it following advice, but came to enjoy it.
Some of the stories are recognisable from her novels, where elements got re-used, or entire worlds flowed from the short story. There are many other stories in there, which allows one to hope for more novels 🙂

I also read Emergency Skin, a story not in this collection.

E gave me this book for my birthday last May, to nudge me to stay playful now I’ve turned 50 🙂

Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul is from 2009.
I thought the first third had the most useful substance for me. The discussion of play ‘archetypes’ was helpful. What I realised reading it, is that the types of play that generally stand out to me are the ones I dislike (the joker that tells jokes, the director where it gets manipulative, the competitor), and that the things I generally enjoy (the explorer, the creator, the storyteller) I don’t think of as play mostly.
It mentions ‘play history’ but doesn’t really help you explore your own.

A key claim is that staying playful is a way of staying flexible and adaptable in the face of a changing environment. It posits that the opposite of play isn’t serious work, but depression.

Most of the rest was about evolution as well. That is interesting, and some elements did jump out to remember, but I at least didn’t get what point it was meant to make, other than seemingly repeating the claim above multiple times.

Een uiterst leesbaar boek, over wit privilege, systeem zien, ons cultureel verleden en de hedendaagse expressie ervan. Over hoe kleine wijzigingen in taalgebruik en iets meer reflectie een hoop kleine agressie schelen. Over luisteren en horen, over ruimte maken. In complexiteit zijn menselijke ervaringsverhalen, met ieder hun eigen waarheid en duiding, de meetlat voor sturing en verandering. Dat is ook als het om racisme gaat het recept. En dat is wat Nzume hier doet, menselijke ervaringen en systeemdenken uiteenzetten.

Dat het boek door anderen wordt gezien als haat, als individuele aanval, en als ‘het is ook nooit goed’, ondanks dat Nzume dat nadrukkelijk en bij herhaling anders stelt, is exact het soort simplistische karikatuur waartoe het boek oproept nu eindelijk eens overboord te zetten. Om de complexiteit van het menselijk leven te omarmen voor wat het is, zodat we gezamenlijk vooruit kunnen. In plaats van in de opgehouden spiegel te kijken en je boze en vertrokken reflectie voor het gezicht van de ander te houden.