What I'm Reading: September 16, 2017

Published: September 2017

Solaris by Stanislaw Lem

I’ve read this one before and it’s a good one. It’s set on a remote scientific outpost. On a planet that is covered by a sentient ocean. It ends up doing some crazy things to the people on the station. It’s one part psychological thriller and one part hard science fiction. I highly recommend. Lem goes pretty in depth into some of the speculative science and it’s pretty interesting.

Ancillary Mercy by Anne Leckie

The last book in the Radch series. This one was just as good as the first two. I have really liked this series. Once again Leckie heavily invests in characters. It’s just as much about character and why people do what they do as it is about what they do. Since the main character is a former AI it also has a lot to say about the nature of humanity.

Political Order and Political Decay by Francis Fukuyama

This is the second part of Fukuyama’s effort to explain how our human politics work. I’m not too far into it but already there are a few interesting points. For one, some people may look at other well-goverened and stable countries and think being like them is just as simple as adopting their governmental policies and programs. I know I’ve been the victim of this. Why can’t we have digital identities and vote online like Estonia? Why can’t we replicate the stability and financial policies of some of the Scandinavian countries?

This book has helped me realize that you can’t just cherry pick things that are working for others. Political order in the United States has been forged in a very different environment than these other countries. If we tried to enforce some of these policies from the top down they would probably not stick. Or they would fall victim to the malicious or shoddy compliance of bureaucrats enforcing a policy they don’t agree with.

In the end, if Americans want reform then Americans will have to change. We can’t send someone to the White House and expect them to make America great again. Each individual American has to take responsibility to change themselves and that is what will make America great again.

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down by Haemin Sunim

I liked this short book. It was full of little snippets of advice and anecdotes on life and mindfulness. I’ll probably read it again. I feel like a lot of the value of the book is in the fact that it is full of short things that we need to be reminded of often.

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Rob Skidmore writes science fiction stories about being human.

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