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Tak!'s books

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Karen Traviss: Crossing the Line (2004, EOS) 4 stars

Shan Frankland forever abandoned the world she knew to come to the rescue of a …

Wine could well be an icon for your species. No wonder you base societies and ritual upon it. It’s the fruit of polluted excess. The yeast colony gorges itself on saccharides until it dies poisoned by its own excretion. It doesn’t know how to stop and it consumes itself to death.

Crossing the Line by 

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reviewed The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Peter Brown: The Wild Robot (2016, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) 4 stars

When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is …

An interesting young reader book about a robot who discovers the wild.

4 stars

A robot gets washed up on the shore of an isolated island and get activated. The robot, known as Roz, is designed to learn and serve humans. But on an island with no humans to serve, Roz does the only thing she can do, learn about the animals, communicate with them and serve them.

It doesn't go well at first, as the animals all avoid Roz. But then an accident lands Roz in the role of a mother to an orphan gosling. Now, Roz asks for advice on how to become a mother, and the animals are more forthcoming and helpful. The gosling thrives and grows up to love Roz.

Roz, in return, has turned into an asset for the island, especially during a very cold winter, where she helps some of the animals survive. But with the return of spring, Roz is finally discovered by humans, and there will …

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Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is an 1818 novel written by English author Mary Shelley. …

An unexpected pleasure

5 stars

I wasn't expecting to like this book anywhere near as much as I ended up doing! The story as told in the book is much more interesting than the limited image of it that's got in to popular culture, and this was my first encounter with the whole thing. It's so much more about deeply flawed Victor Frankenstein (TLDR: our reading group kept using the term "main character syndrome") than about the mad science process. And while the creature is far from likeable, his portrayal has genuine pathos, even though most of what we hear about him is secondhand through the recounting of someone who hates him.

There are several impressively strong resonances to the modern world, between the general lack of ethics in tech and the current wave of "AI" hype. And of course big self-centred men who think that extreme success in one sphere gives them licence to …

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R. F. Kuang: Babel (2022, HarperCollins Publishers) 5 stars

From award-winning author R. F. Kuang comes Babel, a thematic response to The Secret History …

spoiler-free vague review + CWs for this book

5 stars

A long, heavy, beautifully written and very biting book about the ways in which colonialism coopts people and institutions, and the simultaneous difficulty and necessity of resisting that. Deeply and cleverly tied in with real 19th Century history of Britain and its empire, while also being a fantasy story with a very specific magic system that I enjoyed in itself.

I highly recommend this book, but it should also come with some content warnings: * Colonialism * Lots of depictions of racism * Abusive parenting * Abusive academia * Violence * Not afraid to kill important characters