It has been a fun summer. But I think I took the wrong books on that picnic date. Lets review some of this past summer’s reading:
Breakthrough by Whitley Strieber. (1995) Highly Recommended.
Mr. Strieber’s follow-up to Communion is once again about getting abducted by aliens. Its awesome because he writes it as non-fiction in the first person and makes it extremely vivid. I’m not saying there really are aliens abducting him -the remote New York cabin location seems kind of convenient to avoid witnesses or security seeing the aliens. Yet his paranoia makes a darn good horror story. The last few chapters are an awesome retrospective on the history of the US government, the media, and UFO’s. Another great thing about this book is it left open who the aliens are. Strieber claims they could be time-travelers (inter-dimensional beings) , or that aliens could surrogates of foreign governments, the US government, or private corporations.
Love + Sex with Robots by David Levy (2007) Not Recommended.
I was pretty excited when I started this book, and by the time I had read forty pages I felt like someone should have been paying me to read it. With subject matter like this, the author needs to make it kind of funny and enjoyable to read. This book is very dry and scholastic in its tone. The author does an excellent job of providing information to the reader. He even goes back into the history of sex dolls. All the way to modern Japan, where the top corporations have done these advanced robotics and AI. There’s explanations of why people will want sexbots. Including psychological studies and so forth. And taking into account things such as convenience, locality, attachment etc. However, since it is written in a style which is as though he was turning it in for a college thesis to be graded – it is not as enjoyable to the average reader who is seeking information in a way that is fun. Therefor, I would not recommend this book to a friend. Though, at the same time, I do give props to the author for his vast knowledge of sexbots and for taking on a topic which sometimes results in ridicule.
Nihilism by Brett Stevens (2016) Highly Recommended.
Are you ready to challenge your basic assumptions about humanity? If you answered yes, then I would highly recommend you add this book to the end of summer reading list. Its author keeps the readers turning the pages by strongly challenging basic assumptions about whether modern civilization is on the right track or not. Stevens argues that society is in denial about how bad things are, like in Voltaire’s Candide. His condemnation of society as well as his remedies both challenge the reader to brainstorm with him about how it could be possible to get civilization back on track. He avoids fatalism by not saying everything is doomed. But rather suggests his own solutions, which is refreshing (whether or not you necessarily agree with all of them). The author believes that much less government imposed order would be beneficial to humanity. This is interesting because it evokes some libertarian principles. There is Rousseau/Hobbesian inspired state of nature aspects to this book. At the same time it is ironic. Since it crosses with a form of Jacksonian social Darwinism, which is looked down upon by scholars traditionally (yet has always had populist appeal). A highly provocative book, for deep thinkers. – Steve C.