Consider Phlebas

Consider Phlebas is the first of two books from Iain M. Banks that I picked up after learning that the SpaceX autonomous spaceport drone ships are named after spaceships in his Culture series. I should have written this little mini review (is that what these are?) months ago, but I'm just now getting back to it in an effort to rekindle a little more consistency with my reading (and writing) in 2018.

Overall, it's a solid book and the Culture universe contains everything you could imagine or want in a science fiction novel. Space travel, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, space pirates, high stakes games and more all make appearances in the book. I enjoyed the world-building, but the plot actually felt thin and the end was ultimately unsatisfying.

Recommend? Eh.


The Two-Ton Robot That Can Leap Over Asteroids

I’m fascinated by the amount of time and energy NASA spends developing robots for missions that are all fundamentally limited by the exorbitant cost of leaving earth’s gravity well. If we could reduce the cost of getting off this rock by a power of 10 or 100, we could alter the commercial space flight ecosystem so dramatically that these kinds of robots would be commonplace. Suddenly, they would all have a purpose and there would be real demand for their capabilities, not just the manufactured demand of NASA research scientists.