Monday, December 27, 2010

I just finished Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds.

Not set in the same world as his Revelation Space series, Pushing Ice is a strong stand alone novel.  His other novels that I have read have been extreme space opera, set in a far future with humanity already on the verge of becoming, or already having become, strange transhumans.  This novel starts in the near future, and only moves into more familiar space opera territory with the second half.

Highly recommended, and it made me interested in checking out more of his stand alone novels.

Earlier in the week, I finished All the Devils Are Here by Bethany Mclean and Joe Nocera.

This book is one of many current ones on the financial crisis that started sometime around 2007 and is still not completely finished.  It does a good job of laying out the roots and major players of the financial system that led to the crisis, from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to Ameriquest and AIG.  They give lots of details on the rise of subprime mortgages, derivatives (particularly credit default swaps) and the financiers who used/abused them.

Very interesting reading, but it doesn't lend itself well to final conclusions.  The whole situation is too complex to be wrapped up with a simple summation, but this book should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand what happened.