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Kelson Reads

Joined 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Techie, software developer, hobbyist photographer, sci-fi/fantasy and comics fan in the Los Angeles area. He/him.

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Kelson Reads's books

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Influencer Fraud, Selfies, Anxiety, Ego, and Mass Delusional Behavior

Join photographer Trey Ratcliff, of the …

A fascinating exposé of a side of the network that I’ve mostly ignored

4 stars

I’ve known the high-rolling “influencer” side of Instagram is out there, but for the most part, I’ve tuned it out by following only friends and people whose photos I find interesting (including the author, which was how I found out about this book), rather than following personalities.

The book covers three main topics:

  • How and why people game the system on attention-based social networks, using Instagram as a case study.
  • How attention-based social media games your brain.
  • Ways to keep yourself in control of your social media experience.

I’ve read a lot about the second and third topics, so that part was mostly familiar to me, though I expect it will be more interesting (and helpful) to other readers.

The first topic - which is basically the hook to get people looking at the rest of it - proved to be very eye-opening as it describes the sheer amount of …

Triggers (2013, Brilliance Audio) 3 stars

Interesting take on memory and identity, but not one of Sawyer's best

3 stars

An accident at a hospital gives each person nearby access to someone else's memories...including the US President on the eve of a top-secret mission that may resolve or worsen international tensions. But who has the President's memories?

The thriller part of the plot really didn't stick in my head, and the conclusion was one of those out-of-left-field endings that sometimes work and sometimes don't.

What does work is the exploration of how memories work, how they're triggered, and how we reconstruct them from pieces.

Flashforward (2000, Tor Book) 5 stars

Robert J. Sawyer's award-winning science fiction has garnered both popular and critical acclaim. The New …

What if the whole world knew its future?

5 stars

At the moment a scientific experiment begins, everyone on the planet blacks out for two minutes. For those two minutes, everyone sees through the eyes of their future selves, two decades down the line. The world is transformed: first by the millions of accidents caused as drivers, pilots and surgeons lost control of their vehicles and instruments, and second by the survivors’ knowledge of the future.

What follows is an exploration of the nature of time, destiny and free will. Is this a glimpse of the future as it will be, or as it may be? Did the experiment cause the event, or was it a coincidence? Is foreknowledge a blessing or a curse?

Flashforward is at its best when it focuses on characters’ dilemmas. The novel centers on the personal lives of researchers at CERN, particularly the two scientists who designed the experiment: Lloyd Simcoe, a 45-year-old Canadian who …

Space Opera (Paperback, 2018, Gallery / Saga Press) 4 stars

"Mankind will not get to fight for its destiny. They must sing. A century ago, …

Fun sci-fi social satire: The world is a mess, but we can find the sublime in chaos.

5 stars

Absurdity, social satire, lots of music references, and a fast read that still feels like a wall of words at times. In the same vein as Hitchhiker’s Guide & Year Zero (though in this case humans are the worst musicians in the galaxy). Fun, though it’s got some dark moments. The world isn’t totally awesome or totally awful, it’s both: Everything is messy, and you can find the sublime in chaos.