To Be a Machine by Mark O’Connell

To Be a Machine Mark OConnell

Rating: 2 Stars ★★☆☆☆

All stories begin in our endings: we invent them because we die.

About

Once relegated to the fringes of society, transhumanism (the use of technology to enhance human intellectual and physical capability) is now poised to enter our cultural mainstream. It has found adherents in Silicon Valley billionaires Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis. Google has entered the picture, establishing a bio-tech subsidiary aimed at solving the problem of aging.

In To Be a Machine, journalist Mark O’Connell takes a headlong dive into this burgeoning movement. He travels to the laboratories, conferences, and basements of today’s foremost transhumanists, where he’s presented with the staggering possibilities and moral quandaries of new technologies like mind uploading, artificial superintelligence, cryonics, and device implants.

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Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold by Paula Guran

Beyond the Woods Anthology Paula Guran

Overall Rating of the Anthology: 3 Stars ★★★☆☆

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  • Halfway People by Karen Joy Fowler
  • Beyond the Naked Eye by Rachel Swirsky
  • Good Hunting by Ken Liu

An overall very good collection of fairy tale, with each author adding his or her own unique twist to some well-known and some not very known tales. Read on for a more detailed review of each story.

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Disrupted: My Misadventures in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons

Disrupted Adventures in Startup Bubble Dan Lyons

Rating: 2 Stars ★★☆☆☆

If you made a movie about a laid-off, sad-sack, fifty-something guy who is given one big chance to start his career over, the opening scene might begin like this: a Monday morning in April, sunny and cool, with a brisk wind blowing off the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Plot

For twenty-five years Dan Lyons was a magazine writer at the top of his profession–until one Friday morning when he received a phone call: Poof. His job no longer existed. Fifty years old and with a wife and two young kids, Dan was, in a word, screwed. Then an idea hit. Dan had long reported on Silicon Valley and the tech explosion. Why not join it? HubSpot, a Boston start-up, was flush with $100 million in venture capital. They offered Dan a pile of stock options for the vague role of “marketing fellow.” What could go wrong?

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