“Horus Rising” by Dan Abnett

I felt it was time I took a proper dive into the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Here’s my review of Horus Rising by Dan Abnett.

Wow. It’s been a while now since I wrote a book review. The last one I posted was of Jim Butcher’s urban fantasy/detective noir novel Storm Front. That was back in early 2018, and half a year after I’d finished the book. For my Horus Rising review, however, I decided to start writing before I’d reached the final page.

You might not be familiar with the Warhammer 40,000 universe. But if you’re even remotely interested in role playing games, science fiction, role playing games, or anything related to that, there’s a very good chance you’ve crossed paths with Warhammer 40K in one way or another.

Personally, I’ve only casually observed everything with fascination from a safe distance. I’ve never been much of a table-top gamer, but the Warhammer 40K universe and its lore still comes across as something that should be of interest for someone like me.

A natural place to begin was Horus Rising by Dan Abnett. It’s the first book in the Horus Heresy series, which counts no less than 49 books.

1 the Road

Back in 2016, an AI wrote a movie script. Fast forward to last year, when another AI took it upon itself to write a novel, 1 the Road.

The 2016 movie, Sunspring, was written by Benjamin, a long short term memory recurrent neural network. Sunspring was somewhat confusing, but if you want to watch it, it’s available in the post I wrote about the movie. Benjamin has since retired, at least his website now belongs to a non-artificial Benjamin1.

Since AIs don’t reliably create new AIs – yet – Benjamin was the brain child of a human, Ross Goodwin. Goodwin describes himself as a “creative technologist, hacker, gonzo data scientist, and writer of writers,” who uses technology to create works of art. In 2018, he set out on another adventure. Goodwin hocked a camera, a GPS, and a microphone to a computer, placed everything in a car, and went on a road trip from New York to New Orleans.

Using input from the camera, GPS, microphone, and the computer’s internal clock, a neural network would then narrate the entire trip. A printer in the back seat printed a hard-copy of story as it progressed.

Meditations

One morning in 2017, Rami Ismail played a short game that made him wish he had a new tiny game like it for every day of the year. That wish turned into Meditations.

Meditations will launch a new game every day, inspired by that day, and only on that day. There’s all sorts of games in there, from curious small puzzle games, and challenging little platformers, to personal games about life and loss and happiness and love and death – and everything.

I installed Meditations in early January, but I’ve only played three of the games. And they were, how should I put this, confusingly interesting? Today’s game, by Andrew Gleeson, is a good example. It’s a game without title, but the description is “for those who feel adrift in the endless void.”

For those who feel adrift in the endless void. The January 18th Meditations game by Andrew Gleeson.

It’s about flying through the endless void while you try to remember what keys to press. Or something like that. I don’t understand the game, but it sure is great for relaxing. Just like the other two Meditations games I’ve tried so far.

Put on Good Weather for an Airstrike‘s awesome Sleepy Music for the Tired Insomniac playlist, and you’re good to go.

2018 in Music

It’s 2019, and I’m publishing a post summarizing something that happened in 2018. What is this madness!? Here’s my 2018 in music.

Normally, the post that lay out my year in music comes when Spotify decides to unleash their own annual recap. In 2018, that happened in early December, and while it was tempting to sum up the year then, I wanted to wait for all my 2018 data to be available. And not just the data from Spotify, I wanted all the juicy stuff from our friends over at last.fm as well.

First, let’s see what the Last.fm general listening summary says about 2018.

Compared to 2017, the number of tracks played (or “scrobbles” as last.fm calls them), is down by 8%. This should not come as a shock. I listen to music mostly when I’m at work, and in 2018 I spent a few months at home on parental leave. I’m a bit surprised the number of tracks I listened to didn’t go down even further, to be honest.

Welcome to the Fediverse

Wouldn’t it be great if you could participate on the internet without having your private data and habits sold for profit? You already can. Join the fediverse.

Imagine logging on to a social media site to discuss your anime obsession. But instead of logging on to a site owned, controlled, and monetized on by a Fortune 500 company, you log on to an instance being operated by a fellow anime fanatic in her spare time. The instance you log on to only has about 50 users, but it’s a friendly, tightly knit group of people who all share the same interest as you. No harassment, no hate-speech, no bigotry. Any bad apples not following the Code of Conduct decided by the instance administrator – “don’t be an ass” – is simply banned from participating in the discussion.

The instance you log on to is in many ways an isolated, private island. But it’s also part of a larger network consisting of hundreds of other nodes with hundreds of thousands of users. Most of the instances are owned and operated by private individuals, and together all the instances form a federation.

Welcome to the fediverse.