Saturday, September 1, 2018

Pardon the Dust

Tragedy struck this past Monday. After returning home I discovered that my faithful PC gave up the ghost. The PSU had been giving me some problems (not powering on unless you flip the switch on the PSU itself) and now it seems that the hard drive has followed it into digital heaven. Tracking down the problem is difficult and might be futile. Living in the middle of nowhere means that I couldn't just pop into the  shop for various parts which left me without a computer for most of the week. I guess a 6 year lifespan has been a pretty good run.

The good news is that I've squirreled away funds for just such an occurrence and in sheer panic and desperation I ordered a gaming laptop to replace the recently departed desktop PC. I managed to pick up a Lenovo Legion Y520 at a pretty decent price (I think. The price jumped by R4000 after I ordered) and converting to a laptop should hopefully help with the frequent power outages we have here. (The power goes off and on rather frequently, which most likely hastened the HDD's demise.)

So behold my new wondrous piece of technology!

For those interested these are the specs:
Lenovo Legion Y520 15IKM Model 80YY
15.6" FHD IPS Screen
Intel Core i7-7700HQ, 2.8GHz CPU
NVIDIA Geforce GTX1060 6GB GPU
1TB 5400rpm HDD
1 x USB 2.0 port (on left hand side. Somehow they neglect to tell you this)
2 x USB 3.0 ports (on right hand side)
1 x USB C port

I've been out of the PC market for so long that I haven't followed all the latest hardware developments so I'm not sure what constitutes good specs these days, but these seem decent. I might upgrade to an SSD later when my wallet has recovered somewhat.

Now the long process of getting everything up and running and back to my liking begins. Coming from Windows 7 it's quite a learning curve to get used to Windows 10 now. So, this long ramble is just to say that the blog might be quieter than usual for the next couple of weeks while I try to recover things.

One thing I've come to realise is that our digital lives lie scattered in breadcrumbs of forgotten passwords. I've had to do so many password resets...

Onward to more technologically advanced things! Normal programming should resume soon.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Opening Lines: Hidden Empire by Kevin J. Anderson

Some novels have the ability to draw you in from the start. A single line or paragraph can grab your attention in such a way that the novel just demands to be read. Opening Lines is a feature where I'll share some of the best opening lines that hooked me.

Safe in orbit high above the gas giant, Margaret looked through the observation port at continent-sized hurricanes and clouds far below. She wondered how long it would take for the entire planet to catch fire, once the experiment began.

Hidden Empire by Kevin J. Anderson

Having colonized other worlds, humans are certain the galaxy is theirs for the taking. But they soon discover the horrifying price of their arrogance when a scientific experiment awakens the wrath of the previously unknown Hydrogues and begins a war.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

On My Radar: Not One Of Us edited by Neil Clarke

I must confess that this caught my eye based purely on the cover (cover art by Jacques Leyreloup), but the selection of authors and stories included in the anthology also sound pretty darn amazing. This is definitely going on my wishlist!

NOT ONE OF US edited by Neil Clarke
ISBN: 978-1597809573
Release Date: 6 November 2018

They Are Strangers from Far Lands . . .

Science fiction writers have been using aliens as a metaphor for the other for over one hundred years. Superman has otherworldly origins, and his struggles to blend in on our planet are a clear metaphor for immigration. Earth’s adopted son is just one example of this “Alien Among Us” narrative.

There are stories of assimilation, or the failure to do so. Stories of resistance to the forces of naturalization. Stories told from the alien viewpoint. Stories that use aliens as a manifestation of the fears and worries of specific places and eras. Stories that transcend location and time, speaking to universal issues of group identity and its relationship to the Other.

Nearly thirty authors in this reprint anthology grapple both the best and worst aspects of human nature, and they do so in utterly compelling and entertaining ways. Not One of Us is a collection of stories that aren’t afraid to tackle thorny and often controversial issues of race, nationalism, religion, political ideology, and other ways in which humanity divides itself.

Table of Contents
  • Touring with the Alien by Carolyn Ives Gilman
  • Laws of Survival by Nancy Kress
  • At Play in the Fields by Steve Rasnic Tem
  • Ants of Flanders by Robert Reed
  • Taking Care of God by Liu Cixin
  • Water Scorpions by Rich Larson
  • The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill by Kelly Robson
  • Men are Trouble by James Patrick Kelly
  • They Shall Salt the Earth with Seeds of Glass by Alaya Dawn Johnson
  • Bits by Naomi Kritzer
  • And Never Mind the Watching Ones by Keffy R. M. Kehrli
  • Dark Heaven by Gregory Benford
  • Nine-Tenths of the Law by Molly Tanzer
  • Five Stages of Grief After the Alien Invasion by Caroline M. Yoachim
  • Time of the Snake by A.M. Dellamonica
  • The Fear Gun by Judith Berman
  • TendelĂ©o’s Story by Ian McDonald
  • The Choice by Paul McAuley
  • Passage of Earth by Michael Swanwick
  • Reborn by Ken Liu
  • Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang

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