The Facebook Effect

This book is primarily a biography of Zuckberberg and the company he founded. To a lesser extent it explores the social implications of the company and tries to draw general business lessons from the company’s culture. In this way it is different from What Would Google Do. This book is less about the changing technological landscape and less about the singularity so I won’t spend a ton of time on it. But I would recommend it as an interesting book about one of the great business success stories of our time. This book paints Zuckerberg in a more favorable and probably more honest light than the doubtless more widely seen movie “The Social Network.”

Snowcrash

Without a doubt Neal Stephenson produced a masterpiece with this novel. So many interesting concepts ranging from religion, psychology, politics, technology and many more are explored and the novel is extremely well written.

Most famously, this book introduced the idea of the “metaverse” an entire world in software which rivals the real world in realism. The closest real world analogy to this we have today is Second Life.  Second life lacks in realism today but there is plenty or reason to believe that we are aiming in that direction as our technology improves exponentially.

In the past few years I think voice recognition has gotten a lot better and this has sort of snuck up on us and not gotten much media attention. As we build towards a more metaverse-like technology the same thing might happen. Teleconferencing companies are GoToMeeting and toys like the Kinect pull the user into a virtual environment. They are hints at things to come.

This book also deals with what’s now called trans-humanism although the term isn’t used. The way he explores this topic is imaginative and compelling. Among the great fiction books reviewed on this site this one may be the best.

Plenzes

I stumbled on this book while looking for info on the new Google Glasses on Youtube. I enjoy this type of science fiction. Like Rainbow’s End it deals with technology that is not way into the future but that should be available in less than 5 years. This might be the first time in history that we are able to read interesting science fiction about technology that is so close at hand. The people in this video loved this book. If you click the video you will see them raving about it. The book was only $1 and short which was very cool. The book was not a bad read. Technology its central insight seemed to focus on the superiority of contacts over glasses which is kind of obvious but interesting to see it explored in fiction.

The book made me laugh out loud at times because I’d seen the video. I kept thinking that the main character in this book, Stewart, was a stand in for the author and the main character’s significant other, Kimi, was a stand in for this author’s significant author Margie. There’s this whole motif of violence against women and general resentment towards society running through Plenzes pretty hardcore and I couldnt help but think it must have been a little akward for the author’s significant author to read it. Anyway if you like your fiction bite sized click the amazon wheel somewhere on the page, spend $1 on this and I’ll earn a fraction of a penny or something.