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review 2017-07-22 13:02
The Andromeda Strain ★★★☆☆
The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton

Put together the most meticulous plans and bring together several brilliant and creative minds, but still nearly come to disaster through mistaken assumptions and mechanical and human errors, and be likewise saved by random leaps of logic and mechanical and human errors. Perhaps the most fun part of reading this, for me, is how plausible this seems, because all the characters involved behave like real humans do. Plus, having been written in 1968, Crichton is writing about cutting edge/futuristic technology that is now hilariously dated. Imagine a disaster nearly caused by

a communication failure, because an isolated team is relying on alerts that are transmitted to a machine that prints on a continuous roll of paper, but the paper gets jammed and nobody notices because the guy who’s supposed to check it just looks for software failures rather than mechanical and thinks, well, no news is good news.

(spoiler show)

 

Paperback, picked up at a used book sale. Good thing I didn’t try this on audio, as I expect that the frequent displays of lab test results and technical readouts would be horrible on audio. What would they do, just read line after line of figures?

 

I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly challenge, for the square Tomorrowland 33: Read a book set in space or tagged SciFi on GR or a book that includes robots or cyborgs. The SciFi tag applies to this book.

 

Previous Updates:

7/8/17 - BLopoly pick

7/14/17 – 40/288pg

7/18/17 – 107/288pg

 

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text 2017-07-21 13:45
Finished Chapter Ten
Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1) - John Scalzi

I'm still finding this amusing.  I'm not sure if everything I'm finding funny was intended to be.  So far, despite it being a booklikes book club read, I think I'm the only one reading this for the book club.

 

Some random snippets:

 

 

 

 

Feel free to join the booklikes Virtual Speculation Book Club read of Old Man's War at http://booklikes.com/book-clubs/50/virtual-speculation .

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text 2017-07-19 00:24
Reading progress: on to Chapter 7
Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1) - John Scalzi

Well, at least now there is a drill sergeant so presumably starting basic training.  

 

Mentally, I just got myself stuck by hearing the sergeant's voice as being exactly the same as Sergeant Carter's from the Gomer Pyle tv show.  I now cannot unhear that.

 

 

and before that voice:

 

 

Feel free to join the booklikes Virtual Speculation Book Club read of Old Man's War at http://booklikes.com/book-clubs/50/virtual-speculation .

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text 2017-07-18 15:11
The Andromeda Strain: 107/288 pg
The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton

Zing! I didn't see that one coming about the person who gets the key to the nuclear bomb.

 

And I'm curious about how Crichton set up this fictional study of which type of person is most likely to make the "right decision" with the key - the subjects are categorized by gender and marital status. I'd think that having a child/being a parent would have a greater impact on this kind of decision than simply having a spouse. But perhaps, in 1969, it would have just been an assumption that the parenting would be associated with marital status. Married = family & Single = no family. I suppose it just wouldn't be part of the assumption, at that time, that parenthood could be completely independent of marital status. 

 

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text 2017-07-17 20:41
The Invention of Nature - Reading Update: Part 5
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World - Andrea Wulf

I am a little sad.

 

This was a fascinating book, and I loved the chapter that described the last years in Humboldt's life and the political changes that he was surrounded by, even tho for Humboldt the novelty of revolution had worn off because he had seen and been in the midst of so many of them.

 

As for the remaining chapters on Perkins, Haeckel, and John Muir, I am in two minds: We did not really need them to understand Humboldt and his times. But, they do illustrate - again - the far-reaching impact Humboldt and his work have had on a future generation that would lead to the birth of environmentalism. 

 

I appreciate the link that Wulf creates between the extraordinary Humboldt and the subsequent discussions that are still current affairs more than I criticise Wulf for meandering a little in the last three chapters

 

What a book! What a guy!

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