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Reading Recommendation: Railsea by China Miéville

Railsea by China Miéville

I read a lot. It’s one of my personal tenants for staying active with my own projects, the prose of other writers inspires me. I usually have a pile of 4-5 books stacked somewhere on my desk at any given time and it grows and shrinks as I churn through the stack continually ordering more. This year only a few of the books really stood out for me. However there have been a few gems, and unsurprising one of my favorites this year came from one of my favorite authors, Railsea from China Miéville.

Railsea is in part a retelling of Moby Dick, with a smattering of Robinson Crusoe, and a bit of Treasure Island – only in this retelling ships becomes trains and whales become giant moles or moldywarpes. It’s great fun and told through that new weird lens that is common in Miéville fiction.

The book follows Sham Yes ap Soorap (awesome name) as he explores the railsea – a endless tangle of railroad lines that twist and turn for hundreds and hundreds of miles – hunting for giant moles on the moletrain Medes. Strange ports, bandits, salvagers, ancient wrecks, and even a few angels fill the pages and the ride is fun from start to finish.

If you’re looking for a fun read, pick it up and let it take you along for the journey – I don’t think I could recommend it more.

Curiosity

Curiosity on Mars

Last night I watched with bated breath as the Mars rover Curiosity executed a picture perfect landing and sent back it’s first photo of it’s landing spot.  It was a crazy plan and not only did it work, it worked flawlessly.

This is a big deal, a big big deal. Weighing in at a little under a ton Curiosity is enormous beast, and has a lot more capabilities than it’s predecessor the Spirit.  The amount of data we’ll receive is going to be amazing and I cannot wait.

Think about it, we shot a 1 ton robot into space and landed it on Mars with a hover crane. There’s no way to cut it, that’s downright incredible. Good job and congrats to the team at Mars Science Laboratory, good job Nasa, and way to go humanity. I am so proud of you.

UPDATE:  Check out this rad pic take from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Reading Recommendation: flux machine

debris by kevin wier

Sometimes you come across a blog that is visually overwhelming, so much so that it’s hard to describe in words. flux machine by Kevin Wier is exactly that. Dark, mysterious, and sometimes creepy animated gifs subtly (and sometimes no so subtly) paint pictures of worlds that seem to exist beyond our normal comprehension and in doing so they send shivers down your spine. It’s incredible work.

Reading Recommendation: Atlas Obscura

Sailing stones of the Racetrack Playa

It’s late, and I’m struggling. I’m trying to come up with some fantastical (but believable) local and I’m  stumped. I could fall back on the tropes but thats no fun, I want something fresh, something new, and something unique…

To that, I present Atlas Obscura. A blog about the fantastical yet oh-so-real locations that exist all around our own little planet. Smartly written with loads of details and pictures it’s a resource I recommend you add to your RSS reader immediately. How else will you learn about the Twisted Trees of Alticane Canada or the secluded town of Margalef Spain built into the crevices of a mountain?

It’s a good read, you won’t regret it, besides… sometimes the most fantastic just happens to be real.