Sunday, August 20, 2017

3 Books

Over the last week and a half I have read 3 new books

Monster Hunter: Siege by Larry Correia - The latest in the Monster Hunter International series.  This volume finds Owen Pitt (the main protagonist of the series) helping to prepare an invasion of an alternate dimension to recover comrades lost during the events of Monster Hunter: Legion. Management the Dragon and Melvin the Computer Troll are present, but Franks, my overall favorite character in the series is not.

Overall, while I liked this book, I did not like it as much as most of the entries in the main series.  Too much time was spent on the antagonist (Asag / Jason).  On the other hand the on-going world building is good. Correia is building an actual believable world where magic and monsters exist and it's actually pretty cool.  If you haven't read the series, do and of course read this entry in it.

After On: A Novel of Silicon Valley by Rob Reid - One of the best examinations of our technological drift that I have read in a long time (maybe ever).

After On looks at things like Privacy, the Gig Economy, Quantum Computing, AI and the Singularity in a way that is both entertaining and though provoking.  I am a bit of a Luddite - I don't believe in change just for change's sake (I am not opposed to change, I just think there should be an articulatable reason to upend complex systems), I don't believe that most new technology makes things better, maybe just more convenient, which is not the same thing, and I don't think Silicon Valley Technocrats should be running the world - so this book struck home pretty well with me.

Beyond the above though, it's humorous, well written and engaging.  I highly recommend this book.

The Illusion of Due Diligence by Jeffery S. Bardin - I'm just going to say it - Don't read this book.  From what I gather online the author is pretty well-respected in the infosec community, but you wouldn't know it from the writing here.

There are a number of problems:

First - Notes from the CISO Underground makes it sound like he is going to be sharing stories from multiple CISOs as cautionary tales.  Instead it is just the author and none of the stories strike me as particularly remarkable.

Second - The author comes off as a bit of a prude / blowhard.  This may be editing problems (i.e. his "voice" is wrong) but the constant harping on the code of conduct of the CISSP and CISM and his invocation of Federal and State laws (generically, never specifically referenced, just an "I knew they were violating several laws and couldn't be a part of this") makes him sound like some sort of whiny tattletale, not as an identifiable protagonist.  I know ethics and legality are important and I am not criticizing the author for wanting to operate in an ethical and legal manner.  It's just the tone the book takes.  It's horrible.

Finally - This book was apparently self published and it shows.  Bad grammar, bad editing.  It really needed some polishing before release, and that might have helped with point two.

Just stay away unless a new version comes out.

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