Tech Predictions for 2024

A plasma ball glowing with ethereal light.

Only fools try to predict the future. You can read my predictions for 2023, or dig deep into my archives and rate me on how foolish I am. So here are my five predictions for 2024 AI Genocide It is obvious that Large Language Models are based on stolen material. I suspect that a lawsuit […]

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Book Review: Hokey Pokey - Kate Mascarenhas

Book cover in an art deco style. Two women face each other.

OK. What the actual fuck? This starts off as a rather charming period piece - 1920s hotel will all the guests snowed in - and then gradually descends into horrifying madness. I'm used to the bizarre worlds created by Kate Mascarenhas - but this took the creepiness up to an extreme level. There's an almost […]

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A library of all my book reviews

A grid of books with their titles and star ratings.

One of the things I love about having a database-backed blog like WordPress is that's it opens up a delightful range of possibilities for displaying content. I've read and reviewed around 300 books over the last few years. So I wrote a scrap of code which goes through all my book reviews, grabs their cover […]

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Book Review: Year's Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy - Volume 4

Colourful book cover showing a mythical creature prancing through a forest.

The nice thing about short story collections is that you never waste too much time if one of them is a bit of a dud. This contains some lovely tales of madness and despair. Some are high fantasy and some innovative sci-fi. A particular stand-out is Anuja Mitra's "Plague Year" - it's an almost joyous […]

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Book Review: Alice Diamond and the Forty Elephants - Britain's First Female Crime Syndicate by Brian McDonald

Book cover. A woman with a short bobbed haircut is holding a dagger to her red lips.

Girl Power! Women deserve the vote and the right to a life of crime! This is the potted history of a criminal gang operating out of London. It's full of villainesses, shoplifterixen, and thievettes. A disreputable bunch of complex characters on a crime-spree fuelled by women's lib and abject poverty. Each biography could be its […]

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Book Review: Much Depends on Dinner by Margaret Visser

Book cover featuring Eve reaching for an apple.

Food is transcendental. All cultures venerate it, a shared meal is the universal symbol of hospitality, the business of food shapes our entire planet. This book was originally written in the 1980s and updated in the 1990s - but it is a timeless classic. Visser talks us through how a simple meal came to be, […]

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Electricity That's Too Cheap To Meter

Graph of electricity prices. Some are negative.

Nuclear power was sold to the world as a safe, clean, and economically viable source of electricity. We were told that it would be "too cheap to meter"1. Even the most ardent proponent of nuclear power will have to admit that hasn't come to pass. Construction costs for nuclear power stations are dwarfed only by […]

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Book Review: Sea of Tranquillity by Emily St. John Mandel

Book cover. A person floating in the sea with a large moon behind them.

Is it possible to write a time-travel story which makes sense? Probably not - but this comes close! It's a bit of a slow-burn; not revealing its secrets until it is good and ready. If you've read a lot of time-hopping sci-fi you won't find anything too surprising; nothing can escape the long shadow of […]

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Book Review: Hamlet, Prince of Robots by M. Darusha Wehm

Book cover featuring the neon glow of a circuit in the shape of a human skull. It wears a glowing crown.

The best thing about Shakespeare is that you can endlessly redefine the stories. Romeo & Juliet works as well set in NYC to a musical score as it does set in fair Verona. The Tempest is just as good whether the action takes place on an island or an alien planet. Shakespeare can be set […]

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Book Review: The Man From the Future by Ananyo Bhattacharya

Book cover with a smiling balding man.

Was the polymath John von Neumann an alien? Did he travel back in time to help us invent the future? Or was he just a complex man with a knack for building networks of interesting people? Ananyo Bhattacharya's well-researched book presents a tangled view of the man and his legend. It leaps back and forth […]

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