Português English

Blogs

Books From 2023 feature
2023.12.31

Books From 2023

Every year, I try to compile a list of games, books, and movies I experienced. For the complete list, check the Ratings. Here we go (sorted by rating then alphabetically)!

I’ve maintained the habit of reading, mostly through audiobooks during my daily dog walks, for several years. It adds a layer of engagement to my routine, turning a no-brainer task into an opportunity for thought. Without it, I’d feel like I’m merely walking without purpose.

Here’s a list of books from this year, a selection not exhaustive but those that linger in my memory. As I often forget to update my GoodReads records or write about them on this blog, these are the ones that come to mind. I’ll edit this post if I recall additional entries.

Fiction

  1. All Systems RedAll Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) (Martha Wells) (10★★★★★★★★★★): Accidentally stumbled upon it, now one of my favorite storylines. The protagonist is amazingly funny and clever.
  2. An Election (John Scalzi) (9★★★★★★★★★): A politics short story as if Star Trek and Monty Python had a literary baby.
  3. Artificial ConditionArtificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2) (Martha Wells) (9★★★★★★★★★): Like all books in the series, short and funny. A continuation of the amazing stories.
  4. The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Neil Gaiman) (9★★★★★★★★★): A mesmerizing blend of magic and memory. Childhood nostalgia takes a whimsical, wickedly clever left turn.
  5. How I Proposed to My WifeHow I Proposed to My Wife: An Alien Sex Story (John Scalzi) (8★★★★★★★★): Scandalously hilarious, like finding your grandmother’s secret collection of racy novels - a delightful misfire in the Valentine’s Day weapon of love. Super short.
  6. Influx (Daniel Suarez) (8★★★★★★★★): Suarez paints technology with an edge so sharp, you’ll want to handle the book wearing Kevlar gloves - thrillingly mind-boggling!
  7. Rogue ProtocolRogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries #3) (Martha Wells) (8★★★★★★★★): A great book. More of the same for those, like me, who want more of the same.
  8. Exit StrategyExit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries #4) (Martha Wells) (8★★★★★★★★): Just like book #3.
  9. The Presidents Brain is Missing (John Scalzi) (8★★★★★★★★): A twisted, hilarious romp through a decapitated democracy - it’s like if West Wing tripped over Pinky and the Brain.
  10. A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Becky Chambers) (7★★★★★★★): A tale that’s equal parts human soul and mechanical heart. Imagine Dalai Lama took a walk in the woods and ran into Wall-E.
  11. Daemon (Daniel Suarez) (7★★★★★★★): Suarez strikes again, shoving us down the rabbit hole of a digital dystopia - it’s like Alice in Wonderland for technocrats.
  12. The Tale of The Wicked (John Scalzi) (7★★★★★★★): A short story about ChatGPT going rogue.

Non Fiction

  1. Mind Wide OpenMind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life (Steven Johnson) (9★★★★★★★★★): Another enlightening journey into the cranial cosmos.
  2. Prisioners of GeographyPrisioners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics (Tim Marshall) (9★★★★★★★★★): We are what we can possibly be. How countries and entire continents act considering their own geographic limitations.
  3. The Law (Frédéric Bastiat) (9★★★★★★★★★): A masterpiece about the origin of power and those who wield it.
  4. Thinking, Fast and Slow (Daniel Kahneman) (9★★★★★★★★★): A mental marathon that’ll take your mind places it didn’t even know it had running shoes for.
  5. How Democracies Die (Steven Levitsky, Daniel Ziblatt) (8★★★★★★★★): Amazing and still very true.
  6. The Five Love Languages (Gary Chapman) (8★★★★★★★★): Personality modeling. Your heart’s very own Rosetta Stone, translated into the dialect of devotion - essential for lovers fluent in compassion.
  7. Essays on Political Economy (Frédéric Bastiat) (7★★★★★★★): A collection of texts about politics and economy. Good, but none were revolutionary.
  8. Power of NowPower of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (Eckhart Tolle) (5★★★★★): Like an existential espresso shot that forgot the sugar. It leaves you tasting the bitter afterthoughts of over-caffeinated philosophy.

For more books, you can check my online read list on GoodReads.

Game List 2023 feature
2023.12.31

Game List 2023

Every year, I try to compile a list of games, books, and movies I experienced. For the complete list, check the Ratings. Here we go (sorted by rating then alphabetically)!

This year my game library is over 1000 games. 1/3 I’ve never touched it. 1/3 I’ve barely played. So I can stop buying games for a while and still have a lot of fun.

Finished

  1. Battlefield V (9★★★★★★★★★): Only played the single-player campaign, and like its predecessor Battlefield 1 (9★★★★★★★★★), I loved it. Short stories about multiple characters and theaters of war, each with unique mechanics.
  2. Hades (9★★★★★★★★★): An amazing game loop, showcasing the best of the rogue-like “dying and repeating” gameplay. The dialogue options and voiced characters are nothing short of amazing.
  3. Skyrim (9★★★★★★★★★): After a decade, I’ve finally completed the Dragonborn legend in the land of the Dovah! After watching some hilarious videos of The Spiffing Brit channel exploiting its mechanics, I was convinced to restart. I installed a dozen mods to enhance visuals and UI. It’s much better.
  4. Assassin's Creed Syndicate (8★★★★★★★★): Surprisingly good. Reasonably relatable protagonists. Good gameplay loop despite repetitive side missions and a lackluster current-time storyline.
  5. Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist (8★★★★★★★★): Hilarious fun in an experimental game. Top-notch story and humor. And it’s free!
  6. Strange Horticulture (8★★★★★★★★): A unique puzzle about selecting flowers based on descriptions, hints, and clues about their usefulness. The Cthulhu-lite underlying story adds a nice touch.
  7. 3 out of 10 Season 2 (7★★★★★★★): Not innovative and sometimes boring. As a game developer, I have a deeper appreciation of its humor.
  8. Call of the Sea (7★★★★★★★): Short puzzle story game with a Lovecraftian-ish theme.
  9. Cube Escape Paradox 1 (7★★★★★★★): The first half of the puzzle game (a full game by it’s own) is free. Escape room-like gameplay with a mysterious plot. Part of a broader multimedia experience (with a movie and a second game to complement the story).
  10. Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak (7★★★★★★★): Visually adorable, nice story (though a bit confusing for those not remembering the main game story). Focused on combat without major building elements.
  11. Lucifer Within Us (7★★★★★★★): A quite nice short adventure with a dark them.
  12. Quadrilateral Cowboy (7★★★★★★★): A crazy hacker game with multiple ways to solve puzzles and unique visuals.
  13. The Fall (7★★★★★★★): A puzzle (with little action) short game with a nice premise and story.
  14. Bernband (6★★★★★★): An experimental sensorial game, a true walking simulator focused on relaxation. And it’s free.
  15. Dear Esther (6★★★★★★): A visually stunning riddle wrapped in an enigma, perfect for gamers who like their plots like abstract art.
  16. Ghostwire Tokyo (6★★★★★★): The first moments of the game I was expecting an horror game. The mood starts definitively scary. But after a couple of hours, I found out that stealth is almost a cheat, except some bosses. The open world collectibles are 99.999% pointless.
  17. Old Mans Journey (6★★★★★★): A little relaxing game about an old man traversing landscapes. Doesn’t harm but doesn’t make a dent either.
  18. Oxygen Not Included (6★★★★★★): Klei_ is not famous for the RTS genre, but they tried to mix RTS with survival like Don’t Starve. Not great, but enjoyable.
  19. Shadow of the Tomb Raider (6★★★★★★): It tumbles through the jungle, where combat feels like a chore, traversal lacks thrill, and the storyline and characters are as cookie-cutter as they come.
  20. The Silent Age (6★★★★★★): A short puzzle story. Nice, but not remarkable.
  21. Rage 2 (5★★★★★): The gameplay is good, but the story is passable. It seems rushed, as the final 25% of the map is kind of irrelevant. I prefer Mad Max (7★★★★★★★) or Just Cause 3 from the same developer.
  22. Baba Files Taxes (4★★★★): An experimental game from the same developer of Baba Is You (7★★★★★★★).

Currently Playing

  1. Beyond: Two Souls (8★★★★★★★★): Starting this story-driven game with my wife. Expecting to finish it in the next couple of weeks. Heavy Rain probably coming next.
  2. Deadloop (8★★★★★★★★): In the middle of the game and loving it. The protagonists are amazing, though some “bosses” are a bit wacky. The personalities are hard to define, but hoping to get used to them. Notably, it seems a bit too easy.
  3. Metal Gear V: The Phantom Pain (8★★★★★★★★): Tried playing it years ago and found the story hyper confusing. Giving it another shot now, realizing Kojima aimed for an analogy with real-world references. Similar to Death Stranding (7★★★★★★★).
  4. The Dungeon of NaheulbeukThe Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos (8★★★★★★★★): Didn’t see it coming, a genuinely funny classic turn-based RPG with top-notch humor.
  5. Mortal Shell (8★★★★★★★★): A tough-as-nails romp through a beautifully haunting and punishing world where every victory feels well-earned. My Xbox controller stopped working, so it’s waiting for a fix.
  6. Paradise Killer (8★★★★★★★★): CRAZY! Do not let the visuals fool you. Amazing. Loving this amazing true detective game where, as far as I know, you can draw any conclusion you want.
  7. Desktop Dungeons (7★★★★★★★): I’ve played a demo web version of it ages ago and i liked so much that I’ve even bought Dungeons of Dredmor by mistake. I’ve never remembered the name the one I liked but recently they created a remaster and gave the original for free. Very clever and hard.
  8. Duskers (7★★★★★★★): Recommended by RPS and released free on Epic Game Store. Unique visual presentation of this Matrix rogue-like.
  9. Overland (7★★★★★★★): A puzzle game with a post-apocalyptic theme.
  10. Subnautica (7★★★★★★★): Played it years ago, enjoying the open nature of the game. Playing again to finish it.
  11. The Other Worlds (7★★★★★★★): A recent addition from Amazon Prime Gaming, just scratching the surface.
  12. Pikuniku (6★★★★★★): Kinda kids game, very welcoming.
  13. Titan Souls (6★★★★★★): An indie game expanded from a 48h game competition, really nice. Got a bit lost in the map, but the bosses are unique and challenging.

Not finished yet (for one reason or another)

Many projects barely begun. Installed to test, but mostly in limbo—WIP or collecting dust. Unfinished tales of exploration and hesitation.

  1. Disco Elysium (9★★★★★★★★★): Holy moly! Got it from my brother on my birthday, had only a couple of minutes to play, but it’s already shaping up to be a favorite.
  2. Astrologaster (8★★★★★★★★): Indie small game with crazy humor. Liked it very much so far.
  3. Black Mesa (8★★★★★★★★): The official/unofficial Half-Life 1 remake. Superb! Curious to see what the fuss was about HF1 after finishing Half-Life 2 (8★★★★★★★★) last year.
  4. Gris (8★★★★★★★★): Beautiful first level.
  5. Shadow Tactics (8★★★★★★★★): Liked the thinking in this game. Definitely one I’ll try to complete sooner than later.
  6. Supraland (8★★★★★★★★): Harder and much longer than anticipated, but loving the sarcastic tone and bucketload of jokes.
  7. Thronebreaker (8★★★★★★★★): A great RPG using the core mechanics of the Gwent card game. Unique premise and a VERY fun game.
  8. Unravel Two (8★★★★★★★★): Still to finish with my wife. Slow-paced and forgiving, allowing infrequent plays.
  9. War of Mine (8★★★★★★★★): Far into my third playthrough, but still to survive and see the game credits.
  10. While True Learn (8★★★★★★★★): Logic programming puzzles. Amazingly fun and challenging for a programmer. The special bonuses for optimized solutions request multiple plays for each scenario.
  11. Baba Is You (7★★★★★★★): Played some levels, up to the second or third “world.” SUPER clever.
  12. Cloudpunk (7★★★★★★★): Weird visuals and relaxing gameplay. You’re a taxi driver in a special city.
  13. Death Stranding (7★★★★★★★): Kubrick walking simulator. Paused to focus on Metal Gear V: The Phantom Pain (8★★★★★★★★) for a better understanding of Kojima’s latest endeavors.
  14. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (7★★★★★★★): liked the first title, Deus Ex: Human Revolution (8★★★★★★★★), but this one is a far inferior game. The story is not nice and the gameplay is not fun so far.
  15. Heaven’s Vault (7★★★★★★★): Highly anticipated game, played a bit and liked the story so far. Space for multiple run-throughs to explore all possible branches (not sure if I would do it tough).
  16. Observation (7★★★★★★★): Excellent storytelling despite clunky controls. Removed to free up space; redoing the narrative may be challenging after a couple of months.
  17. Superhot Mind Control Delete (7★★★★★★★): Played several levels already, yet to finish.
  18. Surviving Mars (7★★★★★★★): Played a couple of times but never completed a single level. It’s dry.
  19. Breathedge (5★★★★★): This “Subnautica in space” is funny, but the gameplay loop is not engaging. Considering giving up on this.

Continuous playing

I play them eventually. Most of them, are strategy games. Nothing new from last years list, except:

  1. Fall Guys (8★★★★★★★★): I’ve finally got it working on Linux (not trivial due the anti-cheat components), so I could play alone and with my wife this funny little-hearted game. It’s controls are easy enough for my wife to try playing a competitive game.

Next games on my radar

Finally, here is a list of games that I already have in my collection that I plan to play in the next months. Its a bit ridiculous to talk about next game, considering the amount of unfinished ones, but the catalogue is so vast that I can afford to play ahead.

  1. Doki Doki Literature Club: Not particularly my style, but intrigued due to the positive reviews. Played for just a handful of minutes.
  2. Ghost of a Tale: Followed the development process for quite some time because it was made using Unity3D. It looks adorable.
  3. Heavy Rain: Planning to play this critically acclaimed story-driven game from Quantic Dream with my wife.
  4. Hitman: Never finished Contracts due to perfectionism. Hoping to play more relaxed with this one.
  5. Prey Mooncrash: I’m a fan of time travel/ time loop ideas. I bought it but days later I got Deadloop (8★★★★★★★★) (following game from the same company) for free.
  6. Undertale: Started several times, but the lack of synced saved games (using Steam) made me start over each time.
  7. We Are There Together: Bought to play with my wife, but not included in Play Together on Steam. Considering convincing another soul to play with me
  8. XCOM 2: Received praises in the past few years. Time to take a look at it.
Movie List 2023 feature
2023.12.31

Movie List 2023

Every year, I try to compile a list of games, books, and movies I experienced. For the complete list, check the Ratings. Here we go (sorted by rating then alphabetically)!

NOTE: I believe this list is the one that is mostly incomplete. I will probably make additions to it time to time.

  1. Home Alone (10★★★★★★★★★★): A Christmas classic. Was on TV and hooked me in. Love it.
  2. Everything Everywhere All at Once (9★★★★★★★★★): Undoubtedly the best film overall. It’s a delightful and thought-provoking experience. The Chinese actors deliver an AMAZING performance. I’d vote for best actress, best supporting actor, and supporting actress. Not to mention the commendable visual effects and wardrobe choices. The variety of outfits that briefly graced the screen is staggering.
  3. Moulin Rouge! (9★★★★★★★★★): A sensory banquet served with a dazzling dressing of Parisian passion. This movie sweeps you into a whirlwind waltz of love and loss, painting a masterpiece on the canvas of your heart.
  4. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (9★★★★★★★★★): An amazing #RoaldDah short story. Very Wes Anderson.
  5. Air (8★★★★★★★★): A nice, not great, “documentary” telling the story of Nike managers creating their most famous and lucrative product to date: the Air Jordan shoes.
  6. Poison (8★★★★★★★★): Another great #RoaldDah short story adapted by Wes Anderson.
  7. The Rat Catcher (8★★★★★★★★): The craziest #RoaldDah short story adapted by Wes Anderson. Very nice too.
  8. The Swan (8★★★★★★★★): The shortest #RoaldDah short story adapted by Wes Anderson. Very nice.
  9. Triangle of Sadness (8★★★★★★★★): My favorite movie from the Oscars’ 2023. Despite having zero chance of winning, it’s a harsh social satire that will definitely make you scratch your head. It’s a running joke in my family about the taste for scatology, and it delivers.
  10. The Remains of the Day (8★★★★★★★★): Hopkins is amazing actor, period. Only two years after his Oscar winning Hannibal in The Silence of the Lambs, he is now a butler in a very Downton Abbey fashion, which allowed him to run (but did not win) his second golden statuette.
  11. All Quiet on the Western Front (7★★★★★★★): The opening scenes showing the boys eager to participate in the war contrasting with the first moments in the field are a real lesson. However, the movie is a series of misfortune tales merged together.
  12. Elvis (7★★★★★★★): Austin Butler, the actor playing Elvis, delivers a top-notch performance. However, Tom Hanks’ character is kinda annoying. The movie has a strong first half and a sluggish second one. It’s one step away from being a documentary but enjoyable nonetheless.
  13. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (7★★★★★★★): Nominated for best Adapted Screenplay. I’m now curious about the original text. It might be good. Again, it’s still a zoo of characters with a boring detective.
  14. The Greatest Show (7★★★★★★★): Nice musical. Great performance by Hugh Jackman, but it lacks the charming to be a Moulin Rouge killer.
  15. Top Gun: Maverick (7★★★★★★★): A fun sequel that leverages the original movie. Great visuals, good story.
  16. Luckiest Girl Alive (6★★★★★★): I was expecting a great story but had a hard time swallowing its mystery.
  17. The Menu (6★★★★★★): A tantalizing entrée of intrigue, slightly undercooked in the main course of plot development. Yet, the dessert of performances saves this cinematic meal from being entirely forgettable.
  18. Avatar: The Way of Water (4★★★★): Bad.
  19. The Mummy (2017) (4★★★★): Bad.

Documentaries

  1. Vale o que está Escrito (10★★★★★★★★★★): The best documentary of the year is Brazilian focused. It’s about the gambling Mafia in Rio de Janeiro.
  2. Navalny (7★★★★★★★): A chilling documentary that’s as nerve-racking as a Cold War thriller yet bursting with the gritty reality of modern Russian politics. It’s like a glass of vodka straight up, no chaser.

Animations

  1. Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio (7★★★★★★★): A lovely adaptation. It’s a bit dry in the storytelling department, with abrupt story deviations (mostly due to the source material), but I liked it.

TV Shows

  1. The Last of Us (S1) (8★★★★★★★★): A great show, very close to the source material, AFAIK (I’ve never played the games). Another great script by Craig Mazin. I’ve been a great fan of his work since I started listening to his podcast ScriptNotes ages ago.
  2. Cyberpunk Edgerunners (7★★★★★★★): Surprisingly nice and gives some of the imagined feeling of the game and the Cyberpunk universe.
  3. Only Murders In The Building (S3) (7★★★★★★★): Some people liked this season, but I found it to be just okay. Better than the second, with memorable characters, but the premise is very narrow, preventing it from growing naturally. Selena’s character is 100% irrelevant.
  4. Succession (S4) (7★★★★★★★): Family harmony and business prowess continue to degrade, on their known trajectories. But after so many scandals, it is less and less credible. Also it lingers longer than needed. At least, it ends in a high note.
  5. Ted Lasso (S3) (7★★★★★★★): A third round of heartwarming soccer shenanigans with a winning streak of compassion and underdog triumphs. It’s like a box of your favorite cookies; you just can’t help but crave more.
  6. The Rings of Power (6★★★★★★): Amazon invested a lot, but the script is not inspired. Too much white noise, with characters that do not do a lot, nor influence the story forward. The high point, of course, is the finale revelation.
My Son Did His Last Magic Trick feature
2023.09.13

My Son Did His Last Magic Trick

It’s been a month since my youngest dog, Mago Merlin Harigaya Massa, my Little Mage, passed away. Even though he was “just” a dog, I loved him and treated him like a son. He slept with me and sat at the table during meals.

I’m trying to write for the tenth time while crying profusely. This text won’t be able to capture even part of how special he was.

Note: My dogs have an Instagram profile: https://www.instagram.com/avalondogs/

Origin

We met him on the street a month after buying my first house in Uberaba. He was still young and very dirty. He played with my two dogs, King Arthur and Princess Guinevere, while we walked around the block. I let the three sniff and enjoy each other’s company. Continuing our walk, he returned to the corner he was at. It was cute.

People from the neighborhood were looking after him, always providing food and water.

The next day was the same. My wife Ana Luisa and I were enchanted and began joking about “how long could we resist such cuteness?” That afternoon, it rained, and I felt so sorry for him that I went to check if he was okay. He was fine, taking shelter under a canopy until the rain passed.

On the third day, a Monday, after playing with my two dogs, he followed, and followed, and followed us calmly for the rest of the walk. He kept following us and when I opened the door to the house, he entered, sat down, and told me “We’re home, Dad”! Merlin was the one that adopted me, and I’m so eternally grateful.

His first photo
His very first photo

Mago merlin adopted me
Mago Merlin adopted me

Personality

We chose a name following the “tradition” of the tales of Avalon: Mage Merlin. Since he was the first dog we adopted after getting married, his full name became Mago Merlin Harigaya Massa. He was still young, the vet estimated he was about 4 months old, 6 tops. He had very short legs, so he was often teased as a “design flaw,” “little liar” (liars have short legs), or “rhino” (he ran and bumped into everyone).

I’ve met many dogs, but he was special. Much more intelligent and active than average. Almost like a border collie. A sponge for learning. He imitated his siblings in everything. In less than two months, he knew practically all the tricks it took me years to teach the others. He could shake hands, roll over, stand on his hind legs, spin, and many other tricks.

Food was his issue. He always ate desperately and was possessive over food and bones. If one of his siblings left food in their bowl, he would eat it and go straight to the “time-out” corner, cheeky guy (“I know, I know…”). We worked on this, and he improved a lot in his two years of life.

He had a cute habit of tilting his head to listen better to what we were saying. He was charming. Had an ear that, like his tail, clearly responded to his mood: it perked up when he was curious and dropped when he was tired or sad.

He loved to play. When he discovered the toy box, he was thrilled. He even played alone. He’d throw the balls far and go fetch them. Enjoyed tug-of-war toys like his sister, and also enjoyed playing ball like his brother. He was an energy machine. During walks, he ran non-stop, without getting tired. He happily accompanied me during my running workouts. I ran 5 km; he would run 10 because he kept going back and forth.

Family

King Arthur was initially uneasy about the arrival of another male and had some natural disputes. Arthur is more of a calm guy, and Merlin wants to play all day. When Arthur was in the mood, they would run together.

Guinevere adopted him as a half-brother, half-son. She would defend him during any event on the street, playfully wrestle with him, and even clean the sleep from his eyes. When he was on time-out, locked in the bathroom for a few minutes, she would stand at the door, alert and concerned. She still looks for him when we mention Merlin’s name. She deeply loved him.

He learned to be very affectionate by imitating his sister. He would sleep cuddled up in bed, sit next to us on the couch, ask for affection, and nudge us when we stopped. Family and friends were initially a little startled by his enthusiasm, but would fall in love with him within half an hour.

I took more photos of him than any other animal or person in these two years because he always had something incredibly funny or interesting.

The Day

It was a routine Monday walk, starting the week. We went to the park, I unleashed them, and let them run. Like any other day. On the way back, they usually walk without leashes because they’ve been trained to stay close. I reinforce this habit every day. Just counting “3, 2, 1…” is enough for them to pay attention and stay close.

But on that day, he saw another stray dog, became super excited to play, and ran to meet him. He tried to cross the street but didn’t see the car, which was actually going at a low speed. It all happened very quickly.

He left this world doing what he loved the most: playing, running, and making friends.


I am sure we gave him an excellent life. A country boy, he got to know the beach and the forest and traveled to a dozen cities. He ate, played, and slept a lot. He slept out of exhaustion from his always full day. Then woke up energized to start everything all over again. He had parents and siblings, love, and a home.

A month of mourning. Mourning like I’ve never felt before. I’ve had dogs in the past that eventually passed away. Even when I was younger, I did feel the sadness. But nothing compares to now. Mago Merlin was probably the biggest loss of my life. Perhaps because now I really felt like a father.

There wasn’t a single day that you didn’t make me smile. I love you, my son.

★ 2021-XX-XX (adopted 2021-12-13)

✝ 2023-08-14

His last photo. the day before
His last photo. The day before

The Murderbot Diaries feature
2023.07.18

The Murderbot Diaries

Welcome to my latest obsession, folks: Martha WellsMurderbot Diaries. I stumbled onto these gems while exploring the book reviewing phenomenon on TikTok. Trust me, they’re worth the hype. I didn’t just read these books, I devoured them, like a bot set on ‘max power mode’. Listen up, if you’re into all things sci-fi, comedy, or just plain stellar storytelling, you need to hit up these books. And if you’re not… Well, maybe you’re due for a software upgrade.

Speaking of software, meet our central Murderbot, a SecUnit (SECurity UNIT bot) but with a twist: it’s managed to circumvent its own governor module and is now as free as an unhinged AI on a high-speed data stream.

These books are clever, jam-packed with excitement, and keep you guessing at every twist and turn. Plus, their shorter length makes for an easy, delightful reading experience, much like binge-watching “Sanctuary Moon”. And you know what? They’re even better as audiobooks. Seriously, hats off to Kevin R. Free, the maestro narrator who brings Murderbot’s voice to life in the audiobooks.

Now, without further ado, let’s delve into the quick reviews (and no spoilers, I promise!):

Muderbot 1 All Systems Red

All Systems Red is like the pilot episode of the best TV series you’ve ever seen. It introduces our unsocial, serial-drama-loving Murderbot with a bang. Despite the potential for bloodshed, our hero would rather keep its ceramic composite armored head buried in the latest episode of its favorite show than engage with its human charges.

The plot is as tight as a well-coded algorithm, and Murderbot’s self-aware, self-deprecating voice adds a level of nuance that makes you forget you’re rooting for a machine. A full 10 out of 10 stars, hands down.

Muderbot 2 Artificial Condition

Our metal protagonist is back in Artificial Condition, squaring off against a formidable AI called Control. It’s like a digital chess game, except the pawns are sentient beings and the stakes are galactic. I found this second installment to be even more riveting than the first, and the character development? Just like a well-executed software upgrade.

Muderbot 3 Rogue Protocol

Rogue Protocol ramps up the stakes, with Murderbot on the run, bouncing off interstellar routers like a rogue ping packet. The narrative thread here is an adrenaline-soaked blend of suspense, emotion, and hard-edged humor. The introduction of new AI characters gives the story a fun, unexpected dimension that adds to the overall intrigue.

Muderbot 4 Exit Strategy

In Exit Strategy, Murderbot starts to experience something akin to finding its home network. But don’t think for a second that the tension lets up. Quite the opposite. This book delivers on both action and depth, pushing our beloved SecUnit to its limits in more ways than one. It’s like an over-clocked processor in the best way possible.

To wrap this up, I’m urging you to take a deep dive into the Murderbot Diaries series. The books are a well-balanced mix of thrilling sci-fi, dry humor, and poignant self-reflection. And trust me, they’re even better when you’ve got its dynamic narration in your ear.

Wondering if ChatGPT and Bard are made of a similar zing. And no, I’m not suggesting it’s sentient… but if it starts making coffee, I’m outta here.

Bruno MASSA