According to my Goodreads stats (which I use to track every book I read), I read 95 books in 2020, which is down slightly from last year (114). Though that includes comic books, which are shorter and quicker to read, plus audiobooks, and I read less comics, so more full-books in all. My increased reading was not due to being stuck at home during quarantine as that didn’t affect my lifestyle much—it’s primarily because I severely cut down on reading Twitter and other online news. I previously wrote about the futility of following the daily news closely, but I still clung to Twitter—a little too much—sometimes a lot too much. I will expand upon how I broke my Twitter addiction in a future post, but suffice it to say, these days I check Twitter just once a day (at night after getting my work done) for only a couple minutes—if at all. This immediately reduced my stress levels and gave me much more time to read more valuable things that will stand the test of time, such as the following books.Continue reading
Quantum mechanics has proven that, contrary to human intuition,
matter exists in multiple states at one time, known as superposition.
Santa can simultaneously be in your chimney and at the North Pole.
Until it’s looked in, your stocking contains both merry presents and humbug coal.
The same sleigh of reindeer fly through the sky while sleeping on ice.
This past year, you’ve been equal parts naughty and equal parts nice.
On Christmas morning, when you check under your green tree,
the wave function collapses—an observer you’ll be.
The elves’ algorithm determines on which list you fall,
then you’ll find the gifts you have wished for…or nothing at all.
1. The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil (1998)
Kurzweil is an inventor and futurist famous for his optimistic predictions for technology in the future, particularly the idea of the singularity—when humans will be able to upload their minds to computers and potentially live forever—which he predicts will happen by the year 2045. Kurzweil has his doubters, but it’s hard to dismiss his track record of predictions when you look at how many have already come true in this book written over thirty years ago. Continue reading
It’s ironic that I write science fiction books as an adult considering I didn’t even read science fiction books as a child. Actually, I didn’t read any books at all, other than those assigned in school—which, aside from Fahrenheit 451 and 1984, were never science fiction. I loved sci-fi movies as a child and was captivated by space exploration and future technology, but I struggled with books about those same topics. It wasn’t until later in life, post-college, that I really started to enjoy reading (books in general and science fiction in particular). Continue reading
There are essentially two types of science fiction: hard and soft. Soft science fiction is more like fantasy, not obeying the laws of physics (Star Wars) while hard science fiction aims to be scientifically accurate (2001: A Space Odyssey). I love Star Wars, but my real favorite genre is near-future hard science fiction such as Blade Runner, Interstellar, The Martian, Ex Machina, and Her. I think those kinds of stories—built around accurate science and technological innovations that can conceivably happen in the near future—are perhaps the most important form of fiction. Continue reading
At all times, I am reading at least one fiction book and one nonfiction book. The nonfiction subjects vary: science, history, philosophy, psychology, and writing. There’s so much I want to learn about the world and so little time to do it. The nonfiction books I read often inspire and influence the fiction I write, though really I’m just hoping to learn something new from each book I read, and I learned a lot from those I read this past year. Continue reading
Elon Musk’s appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast will go down in history and be rewatched forever by whatever form of humans/AI exist in the future. I love podcasts and have listened to thousands over the past dozen years, but this one may be my favorite yet. It’s better than the best science fiction movies because it’s not science fiction. High-speed maglev tunnels, self-driving electric cars, solar-powered roofs, AI brain interfaces, space exploration, Mars colonization, and VR simulations are the reality of our present and future. Continue reading
One Strange Rock is a documentary series that aired on National Geographic in the spring of 2018. Hosted by Will Smith and directed/produced by Darren Aronofsky, the show features interviews with eight astronauts, a rare group of humans who have ever seen Earth from off of Earth. With their unique perspective, they can better understand the planet and our place in the universe.
As well as fascinating information, One Strange Rock also includes spectacular visuals: footage of Earth from above (outer space) and below (the strangest far reaches of the planet). It’s a show that every human on Earth should watch to better understand themselves and the planet we all share. It’s certainly a better viewing option than the daily news cycle. Whereas the news aims to invoke fear and outrage and divide people against each other, One Strange Rock is educational and inspiring and aims to bring us all together.