Recent Reading - 2014
Winter winds howl, snow piles up everywhere and a thumb in a cooler at the junk yard (Municipal Waste Facility, please) occupy Walt Longmire and his deputies. Some people in the county are not who they seem to be.
Language is at the center of this novel. Long after first encounter with an intelligent species, humans still must deal with the alien nature of their planetary hosts. Ambassadors, in this case, are a special breed of two people whose augmentations allow them to communicate with the hosts. Ordinary humans cannot actually produce Language, just make noise.
When a new ambassador arrives from the regional capital, all sorts of mayhem begins. It certainly looks like the human colony will not survive.
First encounter, but not exactly between humans and aliens. Siri Keeton is one of the "people" who serve as crew on Theseus as it races for the Oort cloud searching for the aliens who seeded Earth with the Fireflies and took a snapshot of the whole planet. Siri isn't quite human. He is enhanced with electronics. So is the rest of the crew, including a vampire. This dark science fiction novel is not an easy read with all its challenging ideas.
Special thanks to Peter Watt for publishing this novel and several others, with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. It doesn't change his copyright and ownership of Blindsight, but in the long run, it will make the process of this work entering the public domain much easier, I hope.
Gradgrind, M'Choakumchild and Bounderby are three of the aptly named characters in this social commentary about the class differences between the haves and the have-nots. Emotion is squeezed to the margins by the "Facts Man" Thomas Gradgrind. Family and kindness are second to toeing the line. Good eventually rears its head and Dickens finishes by asking us to participate in making our world a better place.