By Philip K. Jannert
Alas, my maths just isn’t up to this. I’m horrified at how much my calculus and algebra have declined, and they weren’t exactly my strongest suite to begin with.
I have the eBook thanks to an OReilly deal, and the Library at work bought a copy for me that I can go back to if I need to, so I plan to pick up a few of his suggested remedial reading books on Calculus and see if I can get back up to speed. In the meantime, I’ll release the dead tree version back to the Library to let them lend it to people who can make better use of it!
By Tan Twan Eng
I was given this, rather unexpectedly, for Christmas. The binding is shockingly poor, with pages literally falling out as I read them; as a result, and from the description, I’d written it off as a limited interest book bought based on the martial arts interests of the main characters.
However, as I read it, it definitely grew on me, and I found myself thinking a lot about it during and after reading. Some, for certain, is how much it speaks to me now; Japanese and Chinese culture form a major part of the book, and the interrelation between the two, especially in martial arts, is something I’m thinking a lot about at the moment.
The book deals with the invasion of Malaysia by the Japanese in 1940, and how the mixed race protagonist and his British ex-pat family deal with this, as the main character is taken on as an Aikido student.
In parts uplifting and harrowing, it reminds you of the atrocities of that regime in the second world war, and the central dichotomy of the civilized, yet brutal culture (as one of the characters points out though, this is very similar to Chinese and English past history), as well as the ennobling and empowering effects of embarking on a martial arts ‘way’.
I’ll be thinking about this book for a while to come, and I commend it to anyone interested in this period of time, and the complex interactions between China and Japan.
The full list is at the hugo awards site.
Amusingly, it doesn’t look like my nominations met with much synchronicity with the rest of the voting members. On the plus side, I get a load of fiction from authors I’ve not read before via the Voters Packet (hopefully), which after all, for me, is kinda the point.