It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.
Debate by quoting Authorities (Mainly Biblical or Classical): Not unusual at the time of writing according to the editors. Piers Plowman certainly had an abundance - usually in Latin - at least it's mostly in English here.
House of Flowers: one of the better stories - also appearing in my edition of Breakfast at Tiffany's, which explains why it felt familiar.
The Tale of Melibee: A lengthy prose tale again narrated by Geoffrey himself - a close translation of a French source that in turn is adapted from earlier works.
Chandler In Spaaaaaaaaaaaaace!
OK, it's mostly on Earth but it starts on another planet and it is about 2/3 Raymond Chandler noir detective story and 1/3 William Gibson cyberpunk. There's nothing original here but it is well executed and gripping.
The explanation has been there all along and I was just being dumb: There's a continuous local back-up "cortical stack" in your body. As long as this isn't destroyed when your body dies, you can remember your "death." It still isn't in reality possible to download this into a random body because your brain structure matters - you'd end up a different person. Personal clones might work? But the story is internally consistent, at least.
How does Kovacs remember right up to where he was "killed"? Does he continuously "back-up" somehow? This unexplained possible error is distracting me.
So far another take on: we can upload your mind and download it into a new body if you get killed. Too early to see what any original wrinkles might be.
Rick continues to oscillate wildly between unhinged psycho-killer and alleged Greatest Leader the World has Ever Seen. Negan turns out to just be The Governor dialled up to 11. Far more interesting is the latter parts where we focus more on Carl and we get new antagonists, the Whisperers. They are an intriguing psychological response to the Zombie Apocalypse, which seems to have been going on for a while now.
What a fabulous book!
A mixture of comic strip silliness, delightful anecdote and thorough research (aided by the spiritual successors to Babbage's never realised Analytical Engine) that provides the perfect introduction to the designer of the world's first computer and the author of the world's first computer science article!
This dynamic duo have to face: visits from Royalty! Funding problems! Infestations of monkeys! And more! Meet such supporting characters as Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Marian Evans (better known as George Eliot) and a Leopard!
Enjoy such additional delights as: extensive footnotes that take on a life of their own! Primary sources! An explanation of how the Analytical Engine was supposed to work! And an Epilogue! And more!
Seriously, read this book to laugh while you learn and wonder how history would have gone if Babbage had just completed even one of his designs...
Attack of the Luddite computers! Computers being people who do calculations by hand, obviously. The Difference Engine proves impervious, however.
Babbage pointed out that smashing the machinery would likely cause all remaining jobs to move to less militant areas whilst Ada's father, Lord Byron, wrote a poem in support of the Luddites...
The first woman employed by the Greenwich Observatory was a computer. The second was Caroline Herschel, astonomer.