Let's talk about something cheerier!
When I was traveling to and in Boston recently, at Boskone, I did not take any books at all with me. Instead I took my iPad. Loaded with ebooks! What a delight this was, I cannot tell you. It is the first time I have traveled for any length of time since I got the iPad, and what a difference -- when I used to travel, half (or probably actually more than half) my luggage was books and their paraphernalia -- notebooks, bookmarks, pens and dictionaries. All contained in the iPad now.
Not to mention email and the internet, so that if I needed to research anything I was reading about, voila!
But the main thing I wanted to write about was one of the books I read on the way to and at Boskone, Joan Slonczewski's Highest Frontier.
You hear a lot (in the SF world at least) about "hard science" SF and "soft science" SF, space opera and fantasy and which is better than what. I've always mostly disliked the hard science boys and their toys, putting hard hard hard ideas at the center (like Wilson's Spin or anything by Neal Stephenson) often at the expense of character. Good SF avoids this. Science is paramount, and cool; but character still drives the story.
This happens in Slonczewski's novel. I disagree entirely with this reviewer, who says that the science drives the characters. The science is definitely shaping the characters -- how not? Doesn't our science shape us? We've entered into a new sort of existence, one that began in 1998 or thereabouts (probably earlier) when the world changed. That change is what Slonczewski writes about.
Her characters live in that changed world. Her POV character, Jenny Ramos Kennedy, is almost never really alone. (I love the bits where, when she's doing other things, strolling with her boyfriend, doing homework, whatever, out of a nowhere a popup appears in her Toybox (another great touch) and she gets a newsflash from the outer world.) Plus she has a therapist who lives in her head and monitors her full-time for any mental transgressions. And (because she is one of those Kennedys) she has ethical and political obligations which means she must be available to the world. I won't give too many spoilers, but she has other obligations, too, dealing with her ability to sift and understand the world-wide net.
The internet science is only part of the very cool science involved here. The science of education aspects I found especially interesting; climate science and the political science are also great. Biological science, which I believe is Slonczewski's area, and the medical aspects, are worth the trip alone.
But the science, as cool as it is, only shape the characters; the characters and how they take charge of the world Slonczewski builds for them are what make this novel work. This is hard SF at its finest.
A much better use of your time than watching the GOP act like tools one more time.