My Cultural Diet

Quick reviews of movies, TV shows, books, restaurants, etc., as I enjoy them. My own private Goodreads, Letterboxd, and Yelp all rolled into one (more info here). Ratings are 100% subjective and non-scientific. May contain affiliate links. 

This Expanse novel takes a break from the vast space opera/alien stuff to focus on individual stories for each of the Rocinante’s crew. Amos Burton is one of my favorite Expanse characters and I liked his story the best.
Pretty much what I’ve come to expect from Scalzi: nothing earth-shattering, but light, clever, and very entertaining nevertheless. (I finished it in less than two days.) He likens the novel to a fun pop song, which is pretty accurate.
I liked this better than Black Helicopters, but I still think Agents of Dreamland is the best of the trilogy.
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Black Helicopters by Caitlín R Kiernan
I didn’t enjoy this nearly as much as Agents of Dreamland. Lots of interesting ideas and striking prose, but the disjointed and meandering narrative made it a slog.
Excellent Lovecraft-inspired fiction. Reads like the trippiest X-Files episode never made.
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Inside UFO 54-40 by Edward Packard (Choose Your Own Adventure, #12)
Packard has more fun toying with the CYOA format, though this isn’t as trippy as Hyperspace.
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Cibola Burn by James S. A. Corey (The Expanse, Book Four)
My least favorite Expanse novel to date. But even a “bad” Expanse novel is still pretty good.
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Dark Horse by Gregg Hurwitz (Orphan X, Book Seven)
Read this in under 24 hours. Hurwitz knows how to write a pageturner, but it’s 100% style over substance. I appreciated the effort to make more nuanced and thoughtful bad guys, but I would’ve liked more mindless action and less existential philosophizing re. marriage, parenting, etc.
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Hyperspace by Edward Packard (Choose Your Own Adventure, #21)
For a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book geared towards grade schoolers, Hyperspace is pretty trippy and meta.
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Space Patrol by Julius Goodman (Choose Your Own Adventure, #22)
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Space and Beyond by R. A. Montgomery (Choose Your Own Adventure, #4)
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Your Code Name Is Jonah by Edward Packard (Choose Your Own Adventure, #6)
Loved the Cold War, 007-esque espionage angle on this one.
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The Cave of Time by Edward Packard (Choose Your Own Adventure, #1)
I was a big fan of The Martian, and this feels very much of a piece. One of those sci-fi novels that makes you feel smarter while you read it. And yes, I’ll totally watch the (inevitable) movie.
Reading this, I can’t help but hear the actors’ voices from the TV series. They really did a marvelous job capturing the spirit of this book.
I’m pretty sure this novel about the world’s greatest assassin (and lover) is supposed to be a parody of the genre, but I found it tedious and pretentious. Did not finish.
I thought this would be right up my alley, but it never clicked for me. Didn’t finish it.
A delightful novella about a priest and a robot traveling through a post-apocalyptic society.