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[esoterik lucidity]

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G+ [Oct. 13th, 2014|06:27 pm]
L.A.W.
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[Current Audio Input |Sonar - Alien Overdrive]

Just in case there's anyone still checking on here with any regularity I'm mainly a Google+ user these days (url below), feel free to add me if the mood takes you.
That said I may still post some updates on here from time to time for the sake of continuity.
-
google.com/+LukeAWilliamsonZero
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Earth Ascendant [Mar. 8th, 2014|04:47 pm]
L.A.W.
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[Current Audio Input |Qntal - Palastinalied]

By Sean Williams


Like Saturn Returns, Earth Ascendant is both an intricate story and a fairly easy read. It may not have the intriguing opening of Saturn that instantly sucked you in, but there's plenty of unexpected twists and plot turns to make up for that. Once again both the scope of the story and characters' adventures span the galaxy and move easily between epic scale and personal survival.
The locales visited are imaginative, interesting, and more importantly, evocative. Earth Ascendant is as much a story of the main character's self discovery as it is of his attempts to reunite the fractured remnants of human civilization on a galactic scale.
Many of the big questions asked in the fist volume have now either received their answers or get them during the course of the story, but of course yet more mysteries are revealed in the process. How exactly things will play out the in third volume is anyone's guess after this one. The setting has updated considerably by the time Earth Ascendant even begins and by the end of it a different stage yet again is in place for the final act to play itself out on.
In style its still very much classic space opera with elements of cyberpunk, as with much of the current wave of hard SF, but in this one Williams introduces stronger elements of political intrigue and espionage, as befits the main character's current occupation.
With the distances travelled and the limits of technology thousands of years pass over the course of the book, but due to the biological quirks of future humanity and the writing style in general this never really slows down the frenetic pace of the story, almost right to the climactic final scenes.

Over the course of the story Earth Ascendant becomes an enjoyable blend of high concept SF and intricate power politics, easy to read but good food for thought. I'm already about half way through the third part of the Astropolis trilogy, The Grand Conjunction which has so far taken it to some bizarre new places.
After that next on the reading list should be The Greatship, by Robert Reed

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-xOdASJUzdZI/Uu5xQ0OBZDI/AAAAAAAABZM/oR2g36I5JQ4/w426-h703/Earth-Ascendant1.jpg
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Saturn Returns [Jul. 22nd, 2013|03:24 am]
L.A.W.
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[Current Audio Input |Gridlock - Invert]

By Sean Williams


OK first of all I loved Saturn Returns, almost from the outset. The scene is instantly set on a darkly epic scale and presented through the lens of an intriguing mystery within the first couple of pages.
This mystery comes in two forms which together make the central crux of the story. Firstly, the main character, Imre Bergamasc, awakens on the edge of the galaxy after 150,000 years of dormancy with no memory of how or why he got there.
Secondly, though time means little for the diversified humanity of the 879th millennium, a lot of it has passed between Imre's last concrete memory and the present day, indeed so much so that the nigh omnipotent galaxy-spanning human civilization of which he was a part appears to have almost completely vanished.
Thus the character takes it upon himself to discover the answers to these twin mysteries en route back to civilization, though of course the former mercenary discovers more questions than answers along his way through both space and layers of conspiracy.
You might think among all the big questions and epic scale there would be little room for genuinely good characterization and small scale narrative, but the best thing about Saturn Returns is that you'd be wrong. The characters are all unique and with their own motivations, stepping fully formed out from the pages almost as soon as they are encountered, with more than enough time and interaction devoted to establishing the personalities of each. All this means that not only is the story set in a complex and well imagined universe, but our main protagonist and his cohorts are also not just likable, but actually understandable.

Saturn Returns, first volume of the Astropolis Trilogy, lands undeniably smack bang in the middle of the current wave of Hard SF, along side the works of Reynolds, Robert Reed, and Peter F. Hamilton, but there is also a good sized dose of both Military SF, Cyberpunk, and hints of gothic thrown into the mix.
Humanity in the Astropolis setting also possesses several creative biological and technological twists that both add to the narrative and form part of the setting, allowing Williams to take his story in some unexpected and pretty awesome directions as the plot progresses.

Despite the high concept elements this is not the kind of epic SF that gets lost in pages of mind boggling exposition, as at its heart Saturn Returns is an undeniably fast paced adventure story. Just an intricate and somewhat psychological one set against the backdrop of a collapsed galactic civilization.

Basically It's a hell of a good read, easy to get into and cerebral enough to stay interesting, recommend for fans of good, dark, Hard SF. I was going to jump into Alastair Reynold's new trilogy after this but instead I have now found myself half way through the next volume of the Astropolis series - Earth Ascendant.



 photo Saturn-Returns1_zps60176335.jpg
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Easter Island [Feb. 3rd, 2013|12:15 pm]
L.A.W.
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[Current Audio Input |Arcana - The Ascending of A New Dawn]

Polynesian Easter Islanders have issued Chile with the threat of independance; given that they are 2182 miles away, and not Chilean by choice they may just have a point.


RapanuiEasterIsland_zps8e266883


saverapanui.org


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Safety Not Guarenteed [Jan. 27th, 2013|01:20 pm]
L.A.W.
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[Current Audio Input |Random - Micawber's Moan]

We watched Safety Not Guaranteed last night.
Absolutely amazing and surprising film, without reservation instantly in my top 10, probably higher. WATCH IT.



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OK This One I Want To See Succeed... [Jan. 16th, 2013|08:05 pm]
L.A.W.
[Current Audio Input |VNV Nation - Solitude]

Plans to build a real life Enterprise in the next 20 years; http://www.buildtheenterprise.org/


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Gotta Love It... [Jan. 16th, 2013|07:51 pm]
L.A.W.
[Current Audio Input |VNV Nation - Solitary [Signals Version]]

White House response to petition for the construction of a Death Star; "Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?"


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War Tourist [Jan. 7th, 2013|04:45 pm]
L.A.W.
[Current Audio Input |Hekate - Barbarossa]

Personally, total respect for Toshifumi Fujimoto "war tourist"


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Museum Night Out [Dec. 30th, 2012|04:58 pm]
L.A.W.
[Current Audio Input |The March Violets - Dandelion King]



Kind of says it all really.

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TRON 3 Stuff [Dec. 17th, 2012|11:47 pm]
L.A.W.
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[Current Audio Input |Gridlock - Atomontage]

Director Joseph Kosinski discusses what to expect from the next TRON film



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VNV Nation - Streamline [Dec. 16th, 2012|09:03 pm]
L.A.W.
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Probably my favorite track from the latest VNV album, the retro-futuristicly styled Automatic. Though I was unsure at first its actually a pretty great album all round, if their previous work [Of Faith, Power And Glory] was a return to a darker and more martial sound then to my ear automatic almost harks back to future-electro of Futureperfect.


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Saturnalia Update [Dec. 16th, 2012|08:50 pm]
L.A.W.
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[Current Audio Input |Haujobb - Boom Operator]

OK random update time, suppose I should do at least one before Xmas. Recent easily recalled doingses have been as such;
Went to a leaving do for a colleague at the Museum, which also happened to coincide with Oktoberfest at the Lass O' Gowrie, quite cool as I hadn't had chance to go out with those guys for a little while, but obviously always sad to see people leave.
Been to see a couple of good films at the cinema as well, first of which was Dredd Firstly it was a hell of a lot better that the last attempt at a Judge Dredd movie, in that its actually pretty faithful to the comic in style. Its gritty, unpretentious, dark, brutal, and to the point [and yeah, he doesn't take his helmet off once in the entire film]. The whole story is simply that of a single day's work for Dredd as a Judge in Megacity One, but they do manage to cram a a whole lot into that day, kind of a Jughe Dredd does 24, plus it also serves as the introduction for a rookie Judge Anderson. Would definitely like to see a sequel to this one, hopefully it did well enough at the cinema to merit it.
The second was Tim Burton's Frankenweenie. This was largely for Zoe at first as she's a big fan of the original short that came as an extra back on the Nightmare Before Christmas DVD. Obviously this one was animated and did not feature the voice of Vincent Price, but was pretty great all the same. The animation is done in the usual dark quirky style of Burton's other animated films with the exception that this one is entirely in black and white. The story, voice cast, and visuals were all pretty good, so enjoyable film all round really, not to mention it's the first original work the director's done in a while now.
Also worked/attended the opening night of the new Ancient Worlds gallery at the Museum. Very snazy gallery and collection, well worth a visit if you're into ancient history in any way. Kind of makes the rest of the place look poorer by comparison though.
Aside from that notable places we've visited have been the awesome Moroccan and German places in Chorlton, and up to Karen & Joes for Halloween where we spent the evening watching Lost Boys with friends.
On the Xmas front I think we've got most things done, just need one more trip around the Northern Quarter and Manchester's now sprawling Christmas market. Aside from that I've just got a Museum night out this week before the usual nightmarish melange of stress and presents truly begins.
Hope every one has a good one.



And as always, a happy holidays from Great Cthulhu.
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We [Nov. 8th, 2012|08:32 pm]
L.A.W.
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[Current Audio Input |Dismantled - Scrape The Bullets From Your Eyes]

By John Dickinson

We is primarily a novel about being disconnected in an overwhelmingly connected age.
It is set in a not too distant future where everyone on the planet is connected to both each other and the web via an implant in their skulls known as the World Ear. Verbal and face to face communication has been almost completely abandoned and the way people communicate has revolutionized completely with humanity almost possessing a gestalt consciousness via the We.
Mankind has colonized most of the solar system, with only our smallest and most distant colony still outside the reach of the World Ear's network.
We is the story of an Earth-born comms engineer's lonely journey out to one of the icy moons of Neptune to join said colony.
The book is primarily about his experiences in getting his implant removed, being trained in "talking" and other such primitive forms of communication and then learning to fit in and live with the last four real humans in existence, as the other colonists see themselves.
All this of course also has the added caveat that Paul, as the protagonist is named, can never go home again, as the process of adapting his body for long-term life in a low-G environment is irreversible.
As such there's obviously a lot of introspection and psychology in We, but the story is also fairly direct and smooth flowing.
I actually found this book to be fairly easy to get into and an enjoyable read, and the setting's pretty cool too. The author goes into considerable detail when describing their isolated little station and its workings, explaining its self-sufficiency through recycling, ice mining, and hydroponics. I'm guessing a good amount of research went into that angle of things and it shows.
The characters are all interesting and understandable, and once it gets going the story does a good job of sucking you into the main character's perspective and making you wonder just what it would be like to go through what he's doing, especially in such an age.
I said that We is kind of a story about disconnection, and it is, but its also very much a story about adaptation to extremes and acceptance of the inevitable.

Anyway, good and thought-provoking read. Not bad for a pure impulse buy in Waterstones, glad I got it.


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Dismantled - Insecthead [Nov. 4th, 2012|05:49 pm]
L.A.W.
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Insecthead is probably one of the best tracks from the latest Dismantled album The War Inside Me. The album is a pretty good slab of electro-industrial and takes the band back in a more brutal and distorted direction, reminiscent of the excellent Post Nuclear though still retaining the catchier elements of subsequent albums. Either way, as with most of Dismantled's albums its solidly recommended.

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:Wumpscut: - Draussen [Sep. 29th, 2012|08:50 pm]
L.A.W.
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This driving but melancholic instrumental track from :wumpscut: is I think a relatively forgotten industrial gem.
One of my favorite tracks from one of my favorite :wumpscut: albums - Boses Jungles Fleisch.

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