tehkittykat: roll and mega man enjoy some noodles on a hot day (megaman; summer days)
The Wave was pretty much everything Moby-Duck was not, which made for nice reading.

Basically it's about people going after rogue waves. The author primarily follows a bunch of big-wave surfers around, because they're the ones who spend the most time doing the thing, but she also takes the time to interview oceanographers and even some guys from Lloyd's of London (who insure the big container ships) about them. It's still a bit thinner on the science, but that's pretty quickly explained by the fact that really we don't know much of anything about very large waves.

The author's part of the story, but unlike with Moby-Duck she mostly stays out of it instead of trying to make herself the focus. It's the adventure that the book focuses on the most-- the adventure of the surfers chasing the perfect wave and the politics of professional surfing, the mystery of the ocean and how and why these things happen... I might go looking for her other book to see what that's all about.

It was generally just really fun, definitely a good one if you're having a moment of wanting to feel the mystery and romance of the ocean.
tehkittykat: king arthur from monty python's holy grail (python; english is a silly major)
#2 The Particle at the End of the Universe by Sean Carroll

Not too much to say about particle physics for the masses-- the facts are kind of non-negotiable. Carroll brings a nice, spritely quality to the story of the Large Hadron Collider and what the Higgs boson is and why it's a big deal. I read From Eternity to Here a while ago, and this book also has the same laser-like focus. Instead of getting into the entire bloody history of modern physics since Einstein that a lot of popular-science books try to do when they want to talk about contemporary physics problems, Carroll sticks to just the narrative that involves the Higgs and why it's a big deal. (Well, that and the history of particle accelerators, but since it's a book as much about the LHC and the future direction of basic research in science as it is about explaining why the particle is a big deal, it makes sense.)

Book did make me bitter that the Superconducting Supercollider was cancelled. There's actually a Gogol Bordello song that references it. As it is, good primer on WTF the LHC was supposed to be looking for and why it's important.

#3 Maul: Lockdown by Joe Schreiber

And this one was just pure id-candy. Darth Maul ends up in a space prison devoted to putting the inmates through gladatorial contests so that the galaxy can bet on them, trying to find an arms dealer because his master told him to.

It opens with a fight scene and sticks pretty much exclusively to investigation and gory fight scenes, with only just enough cuts to what other characters are doing to keep the plot humming along without making the crap Maul runs into seem random. There's also a lot of Darth Sidious going oh shit oh shit oh shit because his master, who was alive at the time, is also fucking with him.

No boring prequel Jedi here. You do actually root for Maul most of the time-- he's a total amoral super kill guy, but this book stuck with the characterization established in the earlier EU stories about Maul and left his somewhat quixotic sense of honor intact. He still doesn't kill unnecessarily (though naturally the definition of necessary is a little more arbitrary than most) and rather than the stereotypical Sith scheming for power that everyone else gets into, he remains dedicated to the Grand Plan and wants a larger role in it because it's a Cause.

All right, so I am maybe a sucker for ultra-violence and weirdly honorable killing machines looking for meaning in their lives. A++ would read again.
tehkittykat: dryden fassa showing off his huge.. library (esca; dryden's library)
Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhh I'm remembering why I stopped reading EU novels after Darksaber.

I have a personal pet theory that when Lucas threw his "the EU isn't canon anymore gaiz" fit, all the regular EU writers just looked at each other and shrugged and blew it all up and that's where we got the New Jedi Order. (I made the mistake of reading Vector Prime and I am still bitter about the grimdark turn ok.)

I am starting to think that after the prequels, the feud got even more intense. (Makes me wonder what the novelists will do after the sequel trilogy is out...)

I mean, I get it, the EU writers basically had to take what amounts to maybe twenty minutes of lore on the Jedi from the movies and make it go. They did some brilliant stuff... and then the prequels basically pissed all over it. The prequel Jedi are already pretty unlikable in that I am super bland watch me bland kinda way, but in this they're all people I actively dislike aside from Lorana, who may as well be Knight Doormat for all that she actually ever does. It's especially egregious because you can see exactly where ethical and moral principles that are pretty well-established on Earth were taken to an extreme and as a result go off the rails.

Of course, OTOH, I liked the EU writing on Darth Maul, so I'm going to see if the books on the Sith are better. They just might be.

A good quarter of the text, at least on my edition, was previews and shit for something else, so the book is a lot shorter than it looks. Things basically go from bad to punchable to blown up, and there are a lot of loose ends that are annoying given that I know Zahn can write better than this. I was expecting this book to actually show the incident that got Thrawn kicked out of Chiss space... and while it established he had a pattern of troublemaking, we don't get that payoff. His tactical skill also is extremely Gary-Stu-ish in this because of the point on the timeline it hits. You can believe Thrawn is a tactical genius in the trilogy in which he first appeared because he'd clearly done his time. He'd worked his way up the ranks, had a lot of experience, and been tested in pitched space battles, and even then he never saw his final comeuppance coming. In this... he's a savant who seems to have supernatural abilities at interpreting art as it relates to psychology and he's annoyingly right all the time.

All in all.. meh. It was a read and I did finish it just because I wanted to find out just how badly the Outbound Flight expedition would end, but I'm not a huge fan of books where I want to punch most of the people I'm supposed to be rooting for.

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