Book Review: 12 Bytes - How Artificial Intelligence Will Change the Way We Live and Love by Jeanette Winterson


Book cover.

Hmmm... I was left a bit unconvinced by this series of essays. They feel like casually written blog posts - or hastily dashed-off Sunday Supplement articles. I was expecting a bit more rigour and investigation. The book treads over well-worn ground - most Silicon Valley companies are trying to recreate Mommy tidying their room via […]

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Book Review: If It's Smart, It's Vulnerable - Mikko Hyppönen


Book cover. The author's photo is distorted by electronic interference.

This is a curious book. It starts out as a look at the security of everyday objects, but quickly becomes a series of after-dinner anecdotes about various security related issues. That's not a bad thing, as such, but a little different from what I was expecting. There's no doubt that Mikko walks the walk as […]

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Book Review: Theory of Bastards - Audrey Schulman


Book cover. A woman with green eyes looks over the shoulder of a man.

They say you should never judge a book by its cover. I picked this book solely because of the title. I didn't even read the blurb. Frankly, I'm delighted to have stumbled onto something so good! It's a near-future sci-fi story with an actual bibliography backing up its science! That's one of the things which […]

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Book Review: Klara and the Sun - Kazuo Ishiguro


Book cover. The sun peeks though a window.

Thoroughly disappointing. It's a rip-off of about a dozen Asimov stories about domestic robots. Robot helps child. Robot gets religion. Robot Misunderstands world. Robot is abused. It baffles me why this was nominated for so many prizes - I guess judges don't read enough old-school sci-fi? It's written in Ishiuro's dreamy, wandering style. I enjoyed […]

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Book Review: Mirrorshades The Cyberpunk Anthology


Collection of book covers features people wearing mirrored sunglasses.

This is a tough little compilation to review. It's a collection of mid-1980s stories all grouped around the loose theme of "Cyberpunk". What is Cyberpunk? Well, I'm not quite sure. And neither is the book. Some of the stories are high-tech tales of people fighting the system and sticking it to the man! Others are... […]

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Book Review: Her Majesty's Royal Coven - Juno Dawson


A garish pink book cover.

This is a delightfully silly magical romp. Without getting too deep into the spoilers, it is the anti-Potter of books. Middle-aged, feminist, modern witches - drinking wine and kicking arse. And they're all out of wine. I don't think it adds much new to the genre - bitchy witches bullying their peers hasn't changed since […]

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Book Review: Empireland - How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain by Sathnam Sanghera


Book cover. A British bulldog sits atop a statue's column.

After reading Shashi Tharoor's Inglorious Empire I was keen to read more about my country's history. It's weird that studying history in the UK consists of the Tudors, Shakespeare, the Industrial Revolution, and the World Wars. Nothing about how modern Britain came to exist, our empire, its global and local consequences, or the path it […]

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Book Review: More Zeros and Ones - Digital Technology, Maintenance and Equity in Aotearoa New Zealand by Anna Pendergrast & Kelly Pendergrast


Book cover.

This is a sequel to Shouting Zeros and Ones - Digital Technology, Ethics and Policy in New Zealand and follows a familiar pattern. It's a series of essays looking at digital issues from a uniquely NZ perspective. There is a fair bit of Te reo Māori (Māori language) in the book. It's great that the […]

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Book Review: There Is Nothing for You Here - Fiona Hill


Book cover featuring an American flag.

This is a profoundly depressing but utterly necessary read. It charts Fiona Hill's journey from the moribund educational opportunities provided in a dying coal city in England, all the way to her testimony in the Trump impeachment hearings. It is part biography and part political manifesto. Both parts work well together, but requires a degree […]

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Book Review: The Really Good Idea Test - Julia Shalet


Book cover.

My mate Julia has written a book! And, as per the title, it is really good. This is a book about helping you discover if that idea you've had - for a product, feature, book, business, whatever - is likely to catch on. It does this through the lens of understanding users. The Really Good […]

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