Daemon received a lot of attention about ten years ago from tech industry folks and computer programmers as a sort of “hard” techno-thriller in which computer technology served the plot according to an internal logic and with respect for actual computational and networking limitations in ways that fiction, film, and television so frequently get laughably wrong. The plot centers on a genius computer programmer and game development CEO with libertarian delusions of grandeur. The current political discussion around Silicon Valley arrogance made for an interesting juxtaposition for reading this novel a decade on from its initial publication.
This cookbook does a solid job of collecting the various regional influences of Texas cooking including the Southern-inspired food of East Texas, German and Czech influence in Central Texas, the seafood of the Gulf Coast, and the Tex-Mex of South Texas. There’s a good balance between more opinionated recipes adapted from individual chefs and interpretations of classic home-cooking recipes. Not every take on a traditional classic is my favorite example of that dish, but everything here is good and conveniences for home cooks have been taken into account without ruining the important parts.
The Coral Thief evokes the time and place of early nineteenth-century Paris wonderfully and is clearly the result of engaged research into the history of the era’s natural historians, naturalists, and their rivalries. In all, it was an enjoyable read. However, the execution of the setting was sufficiently engaging that it threw into relief some of the deficiencies in characterization—the two main characters are almost entirely flat on the one hand and fantastically complicated to a fantastical and incredible degree on the other—and plotting—in a final heist requiring silence characters who have worked together for years carry on expository conversations relating their shared personal histories to one another. In a pulpier thriller, I would not have noticed. Having bought into this setting completely, however, the moments that stretched credulity felt all the more jarring.