Charlie Harvey

June 2014 Reading

  • Paleofantasy, by Marlene Zuk

    Cover of Paleofantasy

    A patient, detailed and sometimes dryly witty deconstruction of some of the nonsense that is sometimes talked by paleo-fantasists. Zuk looks at the emerging and extant knowledge in the field of evolutionary biology (and sometimes anthropology too). She posits a less reductionist and, let’s face it, more realistic view of things than "human beings stopped evolving sometime around 10000 years ago when they were completely in tune with their environment and everything since then has been bad for us". Best pop science book I've read this year so far.

    2014-06-29 by Charlie Harvey
  • The Quantum Thief, by Hannu Rajaniemi

    Cover of The Quantum Thief

    It was only when I tried explaining the plot to a friend that I realized quite how crazily inventive this book is. A posthuman heist novel with a central character slightly based on Maurice Leblanc's gentleman thief Arsène Lupin, written by a novelist with a background in proper physics (string theory and quantum gravity, I believe). And it had impressed reviews not only from Charlie Stross bu also from the guy who sold it to me in Blackwells. They were right. Serious fun.

    2014-06-29 by Charlie Harvey
  • Lacan: A Beginner's Guide by Lionel Bailly

    Cover of Lacan: a beginners guide

    Lacan’s compiled écrits has a reputation of being rather impenetrable, so back in November 2011 I enjoyed reading Introducing Lacan — A Graphic Guide, by Darren Leader and Judy Groves . Lionel Bailly’s beginners guide, being text-only, goes into Lacan in a bit more depth whilst managing to remain lucid. He is able to situate Lacan historically more effectively than I thought Introducing managed. I found it fascinating, especially some of the links to Sauserre’s structural linguistics that Lacan explored.

    2014-06-05 by Charlie Harvey
  • Algorithms, 4th Edition by Robert Sedgewick and Kevin Wayne

    Cover of Sedgewick's algortihims 4th edition

    I recently got a chance to flick through this legendary tome and thought it so nicely written that it merited further perusal. The code is all Java, but a reasonably straightforward subset of Java. The material is sort of undergraduate CS, but very nicely soherently presented in a style that is precise without being too formal or dry. Highly recommended if you were doing an algoorithims course at university.

    2014-06-05 by Charlie Harvey


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