Media I Enjoyed in 2023

Another year has passed, and I’ve enjoyed lots of different varieties and kinds of media throughout it. In a perfect world, I would want to write a full blog post on each of the things mentioned here, but in this annoyingly imperfect world with silly limitations like 24 hours in a day and the need for sleep, this will do. I hope you enjoy this little collection of things, and maybe even find something you want to pick up yourself. Happy New Year! : )

(Note: this is not meant to be read in one go, it is meant to be jumped around in. Hopefully the Table of Contents can help you go to whichever topic or specific instance strikes your fancy.)

Table of Contents


Overall, I’ve continued to explore the amazing, slightly melancholic and bittersweet world of post-rock. It strikes a special chord with me, though I can’t quite explain why. Sad yet comforting; maybe you know the feeling, or maybe I’m just talking nonsense. Anyway, here’s wonderwall some album/band recommendations:


Solkyri was a band I had never heard of, but they opened for We Lost The Sea on tour this year. Opening bands can be hit or miss, in my experience, but Solkyri were really solid and I’ll be trying to catch them live in the future when I have the opportunity to.

I’ve acquired 2 of their albums so far:

  • “Mount Pleasant”, which is their most recent album and hence also the one they played more tracks from at the concert. “Pendock and Progress” was their opening track at the concert, and is really nice. Bit more of a guitar solo feel than most post-rock tracks, and the album in general feels a bit more grunge/alt-rock (maybe? I’m not super good with genres), but it is a good album and one that I keep coming back to several months after the concert happened.
  • “Are You My Brother?” is an older (2013) album of theirs. It is more classic/soft post-rock, which I personally really like. I find myself reaching for it whenever I want something nice, uplifting, and relaxing, whilst still being post-rock (so not too relaxing, I guess ^^). There is one track with vocals, which some post-rock fans will like and some won’t; I quite like both that track, and the album in general.

Drif (Heilung)

Heilung is a fun and somewhat esoteric band. I was introduced to their music via the video game “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice” — a Viking-/Old-Norse-inspired, story-driven hack-n-slash — and have since found myself enjoying the music a lot more than I expected. “Drif” is their most recent album, and although the poetry readings are somewhat weird (but there’s only one or two of them), it brings a different, more evolved sound to previous albums like “Lifa”. If you’re interested in trying something new; something which plausibly sounds like it could have been coming from the haar-covered shores before a raid, or sang/chanted at some old Germanic ritual (Heilung themselves calls their style “amplified history”) — without the neo-n*zi associations which unfortunately also tend to come with that style of things — then give Heilung a try. (Heilung, as far as I can tell, have been very good at removing fans which do not follow the first line of their Opening Ceremony: “Remember that we all are brothers”.)

I’d recommend starting with “Lifa” or maybe the 2 first tracks on “Drif”.

My Little, Safe Space (Six Days of Rest)

This premiered on the WorldHasPostRock YouTube channel about a month ago. Then December hit, and as a result I’ve not had much time to listen to it beyond that. The first impressions I’ve gotten from the couple of listens I’ve given it though, is that it’s a quite calm album, perfect for evening listening or when you need to ground yourself. There is a slightly more restless section (a bit like sitting trying to calm down in a little, safe space ; )), but I don’t mind that; it adds depth to the album.

ÁTTA (Sigur Rós)

ÁTTA, 8 in Icelandic, is the latest album by post-rock legends Sigur Rós. It is a very fleeting and drifty album, a departure from their previous couple of albums, which have used a lot of distortion. If you’re familiar with Sigur Rós, ÁTTA is a bit like () but with a more generally uplifting sound and more piano. The fourth track, “Klettur”, builds up these absolutely fantastic small tensions using dissonance, and then the chorus resolves them all with a beautiful harmony that just washes over you; it’s phenomenal!

ÁTTA can be listened to both in the background and in a more focused session, and in both cases, I’ve found, leaves you feeling refreshed and at least a bit happier.

Triumph & Disaster (We Lost The Sea)

We Lost The Sea (WLTS) were my first introduction to post-rock (the YouTube channel “WorldHasPostRock” included “A Gallant Gentlemen” as part of one of their collections) and I don’t think I’ve loved a genre that fast in a long time.

Now. Where “Departure Songs” was an album inspired by the perseverance and enduring curiosity of humanity in spite of extreme risk and tragic accidents, making the album highly cathartic and comforting in its own bittersweet post-rock way, “Triumph & Disaster” is not exactly that. The opening paragraph of the album description reads:

Triumph & Disaster is a post-apocalyptic view on the collapse of the world told like a children’s story and illustrated through the eyes of a mother and her son as they spend one last day on Earth. The music is the narrative for the destruction and tragedy. The words tell the story of love, loss and letting go.

If that immediately brought your mood down, yeah it tends to have that effect (sorry!). Triumph & Disaster is an intense album, to say the least, both thematically and musically. The very first notes on the album are harsh, almost air-siren-like (but make it metal), and they slowly fade in and out of the music for seven minutes of the first track (which is 15 minutes long; I love this genre ^^). On one hand, it’s somewhat jarring. But on the other, as ever with WLTS, boy does it ever nicely set the tone for the rest of the album’s “journey”.

That’s not to say that there aren’t nice tracks on the album, far from it! The remaining half of the first track is softer (although the opening harshness does make a comeback towards the end of the track), and this is a common theme throughout the album. There are some soft tracks in the middle of it, but most of the tracks blend post-rock and that more metal-y harshness; the album tells a tragic, haunting narrative, and the music reflects that. It’s actually really cool.

I love this album, I genuinely do, but the intensity of its story, how the music tells it, and the at times overwhelming soundscape means it is not something I listen to lightly, in the background. And I often need to just sit for a bit after listening to it. It’s a tragic story, but it’s just so well done…

Reading back over that, if I’ve somehow convinced you to listen to this (because it is actually fantastic music) rather than you just going “I’m good. Do you need a hug?”, then yay! ^^;;

Also, be sure to listen to the combination of the album’s poem/story and the track “Dust”, on YouTube: “Triumph & Disaster - Are we really too late?” This combination is not included on the album (I don’t know why, it is such a good way to go through the album’s accompanying text), but it is once again really well done and sets the tone for the album.


Other than the post-rock albums, I have (re-)discovered some old bands and albums from various genres:

  • Some Nights (Fun.) — I’d only ever heard the singles, but the entire album is great; parts of it remind me a bit of Queen.
  • Black Holes and Revelations (Muse) — I’d heard of, but never listened to, Muse. I’m not entirely sure how I first encountered some of the tracks on this album, but I have now bought it and am thoroughly enjoying it. There’s a good mix of rock, synths, rhythm, and slow songs.
  • Take-off Your Pants and Jacket (Blink-182) — A long-lost classic. I was a huge Avril Lavigne fan growing up, so I have a soft spot for pop-punk. Being older, it is obviously “some young men with attitude”, but the music is still good and fun.
  • Metallica [The Black Album] (Metallica) — I got into Metallica via the phenomenal cello-covers by Apocalyptica. Finally decided to listen to some of the originals, and ended up liking the songs, including the ones I hadn’t heard, so much that I bought the album.
  • Extreme Power Metal (Dragonforce) — I decided to revisit Dragonforce, which I hadn’t listened to since the “Inhuman Rampage” and “Guitar Hero III” days (2007; aaaah!), and was pleasantly surprised. Their songs are still undeniably power metal: mainly fast guitars, drums, and solos, but I found the songs on “Extreme Power Metal” to be more distinguishable from each other than the ones on “Inhuman Rampage” were. Always nice to see a band has evolved and refined its sound, and this album is now my go-to whenever I need a ridiculous burst of energy (although listening to it while already stressed/anxious is not good, it turns out). I did not see a cover of “My Heart Will Go On” coming, but I’m here for it ^^

Video Games

Acquiring a Steam Deck around New Year’s 2022-2023 has been a game changer (heh) in terms of me actually relaxing and playing video games, rather than using my laptop, which is also my work device, and ending up stressed and not knowing what to play. The Deck is easy to take out and take with you; it does media playback thanks to actually being a complete Linux “laptop” in disguise; and with a dock, wireless mouse and keyboard, and an external DVD/BluRay drive, it even works as a media PC. Sure, you’re not going to play competitive Counter Strike or DotA2 on it, but for everything else, it’s fantastic and runs any game I’ve thrown at it surprisingly well.

And here are some games I enjoyed playing on it:

Sayonara Wild Hearts

Epilepsy disclaimer

If you have some form of photosensitive epilepsy, I’m really sorry to say that it is extremely unlikely that you will be able to play Sayonara Wild Hearts. The game heavily uses strobing and flashing lights in various neon colours, often contrasting ones (for example flashing bright orange on top of a generally purple scene), to an extent that might make some non-epilepsy-sensitive people dazed. And there are sadly no settings or mods which change this. I’m genuinely sad about this, because it has both great gameplay and music, and I wish more people could experience the game…

“Sayonara Wild Hearts” I found via an Architect of Games recommendation video. I picked it up not knowing what to expect, other than other people liking it and it being an indie game (which usually is indicative of a fun/fresh/interesting/good/all-of-the-above game). And wow did it ever deliver! Sayonara Wild Hearts can only be described as so. much. raw. fun!

The game is an interactive album with a neon-purple and -pink vaporwave/cyberpunk colour scheme. The music is fantastic. Go listen to the opening/menu track “Sayonara Wild Heart” by Daniel Olsén, and if you like the beat, if you find that track fun, if you get hyped, then go pick up the game right now and come back once you’ve stopped grinning from playing it ^^

The whole game pulses with energy to the beat, the music is simply fun, no other way to describe it, and the gameplay mechanics and scenarios constantly surprise you in the best of ways. You drift through space, skate along a breaking-up motorway, fly through meteors; and I’ll stop there because I’ll spoil too many things which are best when freshly experienced. It is a rhythm game at its core, but not a difficult one, and the game constantly introduces new mechanics and then takes them away before they become boring, giving it a great drive. Sayonara Wild Hearts was the first time in forever that I found myself grinning from ear to ear within minutes. And that lasted throughout the game.

I have over 20 hours in this game which is effectively a 1-hour-ish interactive album. And although I love the music, the vast majority of those hours are because the gameplay is such fun to revisit!

The Past Within

For anyone familiar with the Rusty Lake game studio and their unnerving, noir puzzle games, “The Past Within” is yet another wonderful instalment in the series. It requires 2 players on separate devices (with 2 separate copies of the game), making it ideal for playing whilst hanging out with a partner or puzzle-liking friend.

You return to your father’s old cabin by the lake to explore his lab and solve the puzzles to potentially bring him back, whatever that may mean. One player is in the past of the setting and another in the present, and you must communicate what you see on your screen to solve the puzzles; very simple, fun, and collaborative. A game takes probably 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your communication skills and puzzle-solving-ability, and since there are multiple puzzles and sides to the story, it is also replayable. Well worth the £7 or so that it is on Steam.


Signalis was another game that I received on recommendation of the Architect of Games YouTube channel. And I should have read the tags: it’s a Lovecraftian survival horror game, not “something fun” to start one random evening… ^^;;

Oh well. The game itself is interesting, although the story requires some familiarity with works like “The King in Yellow” and other eldritch/weird horror stories, and thought and interpretation/analysis. You play as Elster, an “LSTR unit”, searching for her missing companion after their ship crashed on a remote planet with an underground mining operation. However, (surprise surprise) the mine seems abandoned, and as you travel further down you begin to encounter its former workers, which are different types of units, who have turned into monsters.

Great holes secretly are digged where earth’s pores ought to suffice, and things have learnt to walk that ought to crawl.

You do not have much health, and the game only lets you carry 6 items in your inventory at any time (there are synchronised storage crates in safe-rooms, for storing extra items and swapping loadouts), making it an interesting challenge balancing healing items, weapons, ammunition, and the strategies you want to employ when traversing the mining complex. The sound design is fabulously unnerving (there are tunable radios), and the plot equally so. If you’re looking for a different type of game and don’t mind the horror aspects, Signalis is probably for you.


Celeste is an incredibly highly acclaimed puzzle-platformer. It was released in 2018, but I returned to it this year to play through it with more dedication than I had previously. Not only did I end up completing the game, but I managed to get obsessed enough to hunt 100% of its achievements.

The game is probably as close to perfect as games can get, genuinely. The soundtrack, story, level design, and characters are woven together so nicely, complementing each other in different ways and by different amounts depending on the stage in each chapter (level), that the flow of the game is unlike anything else I’ve experienced.

Celeste is about the main character, Madeline, trying to climb Celeste mountain, mainly just to prove that she can. But it quickly becomes clear that the mountain is more than it lets on, as the game takes the player through an extremely well-written story exploring anxiety, mental health, depression, tenacity, pressure, and dealing with one’s inner demons. And it manages to do this without any of it feeling forced or corny; it all feels very honest.

The game is very challenging, but exemplary in accessibility settings: the game speed, player stamina, number of dashes, etc. can all be configured in case the default difficulty is too high. And there is no judgement here: you can still earn all the achievements, complete the story, and do the optional challenges as you would with the default difficulty. Celeste is meant to be a hard game, but “challenging” means drastically different things for different people; why exclude some? You can always leave it off or turn it back up if you find it being too easy or want to try the defaults after you’ve gotten used to your personal settings.

Each level is also very fair. Nothing requires pixel-perfect timing or anything like that. This can lead to some frustration, as every death means you know pretty much exactly what you did wrong. But that makes it so much more fun and satisfying when you finally get a room done : )

There’s plenty of bonus, more challenging, content once the base story has been completed. And finally, there is the free Chapter 9 DLC: “Farewell”. It is the final challenge for fans of the game, and even though it took me almost as long to beat that single chapter as it did the rest of the game and bonus content combined, I played it through a second time, just because it flows so well and blends story, music, and gameplay exquisitely!


I really wanted to like “Hades”; I’ve played previous Supergiant games and thoroughly enjoyed their stories and gameplay. However, I found Hades’ final boss, and the way to reach it, somewhat arbitrary in difficulty (maybe I just need to “git gud”). And while I am interested in what the story is and how the relationships between the characters develop, I am not interested enough compared to the overall difficulty that I want to clear the game at least 6 times — once with each weapon — along with extra clears to get the random encounter for the tens of supporting characters, in order to get a complete picture of what happened and how each character is. Which is a shame because it is a good story, and the voice actors they’ve hired have done a spectacular job of their roles (did I mention every character is voiced? No? It’s pretty cool!). But again, maybe I just need to “git gud”. And if you like difficult rogue-likes, Hades might very well be for you.

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

“Alba” is a stylised, cute, and peaceful video game about the girl Alba spending her summer holiday with her grandparents on a Mediterranean island. You go around exploring the local wildlife, as well as talk to the locals about things like the mayor’s plan to build a mega-hotel on the island (which is really nicely portrayed as a nuanced issue, not purely evil). The game is incredibly immersive with a lot of attention to tiny details that aren’t immediately obvious, because your brain just accepts them as “how the world works”; that’s how seamlessly they’re implemented.

The buildings are unquestionably Mediterranean in architecture, with slightly boxy houses in town and houses with tiled roofs and white walls surrounding them in the residential area just on the outskirts of town. There is a constant background noise of grasshoppers and cicadas as well, which anyone who has been to the Mediterranean in the summer will recognise. And all of that, combined with the deep blue sky, bright sun in the day, and warm tint in the evenings, really make you believe you’re on a small Mediterranean island.

The crowning jewel of Alba, in my opinion, is its sound design: the people behind that clearly studied a lot of birds. The wood pigeons coo from up in trees or gutters, the distant cries of swifts descend from high in the sky, great tits chirp, oystercatchers have their distinctive cry; you can essentially locate any bird if you happen to hear its call. The game conveys directional audio really well, even on headphones or TV speakers, and since there’s no obvious cut-off distance, you are able to pin-point even distant bird calls.

Also, the animations are spot-on: swifts glide and very occasionally flap their wings; swallows swoop; pigeons hop; seagulls glide and hop; smaller birds do that silly little hop when they can’t quite be bothered flying. And the main character, Alba, who is a little girl (probably 8 or so) doesn’t simply walk, she skips and runs. At random! Like a kid would! It’s really well done. (I know I might sound overly enthusiastic here, but I do genuinely find it amazing how much attention to detail there is in this game.) There are also some brutally honest yes/no answers you get to give, in exactly the way a young child would.

At the end of the story, the game lets you explore freely, so there is no pressure to complete the wildlife journal before you complete the story. So yeah, if you’re looking for a cute little game to take you away on a relaxing exploration of wildlife in the Mediterranean, Alba is an excellent “sit back and relax”-game that is also fun to play.


Furi is an extremely challenging boss-rush game. It is probably the hardest game I have played in many years. You play as a mysterious character locked up in a high-security space prison, and you have to escape by fighting each section’s “Guardian”. You have a sword (melee attack), a laser gun (ranged attack), a dash/dodge, and a parry; nothing more, nothing less. And each boss requires you to use these in different ways, adapting to that fighter’s attack style and patterns. There is a story, which is revealed throughout the fights, and the ending when you finally break free is really well done. It is very difficult though, and more in a “raw difficulty” kind of way than, for example, Celeste or Hollow Knight, both of which are tough but fair. An exercise in frustration at times, but a fun one (if you’re into those kinds of games ^^) with a really good soundtrack and story.

(The camera angles in-between fights are completely wack however, and the game not automatically readjusting your input-direction-transformation when the camera angle changes (until you let go of the joystick) makes for a very confusing experience. You can manually walk through the scenery to the next fight, but there is a toggle for auto-walking, and I would recommend using it as often as possible. Fortunately this only applies in-between fights, the camera behaviour during fights is sensible and almost static.)


I enjoyed “Control”, a paranatural, SCP-inspired game about the main character Jessie searching for her brother, who was taken by the mysterious “Federal Bureau of Control”. There are powers like hovering and telekinesis to play with, combine with your gun-fu to get to enemies, and to use to explore previously unreachable areas of the map. However, I found that the novelty of the powers wore off fairly quickly, although the fights were pretty well-paced.

The game is playable on a Steam Deck, and I didn’t mind the playthrough I got out of it, nor the game’s look on the Steam Deck. But there are so many reflective surfaces, textured metal plates, and water puddles that the game was clearly meant to be played on a GPU with dedicated ray tracing hardware. If you have one of those, it probably looks phenomenal.

Deep Rock Galactic

Deep Rock Galactic (DRG) is another game I didn’t start in 2023, but still warrants mentioning. “Danger, Darkness, Dwarves” is the description, and it pretty much does what it says on the tin. You play as a dwarf on a space mining rig, sent down in a crude “drop pod” to serve your corporate overlord’s mining interests, regardless of risk to your own life and limb. However, what makes this game such a gem is how much it leans in to this otherwise depressing setting: You’re grumpy mining dwarves! In space! Every line is voiced exactly as I imagine a grumpy dwarf on a mining rig would sound, including the management person who begrudgingly radios you your mission objectives and alerts you when a swarm of bugs is on your way. Everything is themed around “fantasy dwarf stereotypes, but make it space mining”, and it makes for great entertainment; the beers at the corporate bar is what give you your buffs before each mission, for example! It’s great! ^^

DRG can be played solo, although thanks to a very well-implemented ping system (and the community being friendly in general) I have both joined random missions and had strangers join my missions, and had a blast each time. There is also voice chat, if you like that. By default the team size is 4, one for each class (or a different sub-arrangement if you wish), although I hear that can be adjusted with mods (which I assume then have to be installed for all players who want to join).

Rock and Stone!


Becky Chambers’ books

Some years ago, a friend of mine recommended the first of the Becky Chambers books: “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet”. I picked it up around Christmas that year, read it in (I think) a day, and immediately turned it over and re-read it; it was that good.

It was sci-fi like I had never read before: intrictate, and with detailed characters; amazing dialogue and interactions; refreshingly diverse species (as in, not “Oh look! In this Milky Way of ours with literally billions of stars, somehow every species is humanoid.”); plot, scheming, secrets; glimpses of technological and scientific explosions that were so cool and interesting, yet didn’t seem completely magic (for lack of a better term) or illogical. There’s also small sprinkles of anthropology throughout the books, and it makes for highly entertaining musings on what “normal” is in a Galactic Commons context.

It’s not a space opera; nobody is The Chosen One, destined to save The Universe (tm). That might put some people off, and that’s fair. But I personally found it incredibly refreshing, and all the more enjoyable, to read and experience the story of humans and aliens, and their interactions, which still felt relatable and humane. The plot, conflicts, relationships, interactions, etc. weren’t grandiose, and yet they were. (Much in the same way as life, I guess.)

Anyway. I have since picked up each of the “Wayfarer” novels (of which “The Long Way […]” is the first), and although they are (mostly) independent and with different casts, they are all wonderfully… cosy-whilst-thrilling, I think I’ll call it. Each one brings something fresh, a new idea / a new plot-point, meaning I never felt like the stories were boring or simply expanding on existing story for the sake of it.

Chambers’ novella “Monk and Robot”-series are her more recent books, set in a more solarpunk-esque world. But as always, the world-building is phenomenal: there are fun new religions (like one whose symbol is a bear eating honey, and the religion is focused on comfort and good food), an interesting world to explore along with thoughts on AI, mortality, and (indirectly) the meaning of life. Delightfully Zen.

At this point, I will pick up anything Becky Chambers publishes without hesitation, and they’re my go-to books for a nice afternoon in on a rainy day : )

The House of Sorrowing Stars (Beth Cartwright)

There are a lot of good ideas in “The House of Sorrowing Stars”, the core one being an old house on a lake where people go to resolve their grief via special flowers that only bloom when the grief has been processed. Each person’s grief is unique, leading to individual stories that must be told and processed in their own way, and an individual amount of time spent by the person visiting the house. It is a good setting. However, I personally found the book as a whole somewhat disappointing.

The main character flees home, and this is never touched upon again, even though she brings with her her father’s craft (making marchpane) and her father supports her decision to leave. One of the residents regrets not supporting his son’s passion, a similar situation to the starting position of the heroine, but again, we never get to see how he eventually resolves this as part of processing his grief. (In general, I would’ve liked to see more exploration of the idea of how the house and flowers work.) The romance is also a bit iffy: the main character wants to be independent and more than just “a pretty thing”, yet she gets shoe-horned into an insta-love with one of the permanent residents of the house, without any rapport being built up or loosely established, to heal and “fix” him, finding his violent outbursts of rage adoringly protective (or something like that). Something is juts off about it; it felt misplaced and awkward.

But such is any media consumption. As part of finding the good pieces, you inevitably encounter duds or ones which seemed promising but disappoint.

Monstress (Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda)

Okay, this one I’ve technically been following for 7 years, but I picked up “Volume 8: Inferno” in November 2023 and it continues to be excellent. The art is gorgeous, with clear inspiration from the Jugenstil/Art Nouveau and Art Déco movements, mixed with a healthy amount of Steam Punk. Now, that wouldn’t matter too much if the story wasn’t good. If you hadn’t guessed, it thankfully is ^^

It’s got political plots, intrigue, and mystique; factions include a religious cult, immortal demi-gods from an unknown world, talking cats with multiple tails (and warrior-poets!), humans, and “arcanics”, which are hybrid children of the humans and the demi-gods. But no faction is perfect. There are internal conflicts, corruption, all that good stuff that makes for really nice, realistic, and deep storytelling about a world in a post-war, delicate state. Everyone has a personal goal, and these don’t just align out of convenience for the story; it is much more interesting to explore the characters as they try to reconcile differences.

It also has one of the aspects I respect enormously in a story, especially one set in a scheming, recently-post-war world: it doesn’t shy away from hurting its cast or main characters. Battles are fought, sieges are laid, sabotages are conducted, and it is never “And the heroes made it because they’re the heroes.” The fights are fair and realistic, with every dirty trick you would expect from highly powerful, definitely-not-at-war factions applied. If a character would lose a limb, they do. Characters which were introduced but run into an infernal monster? They don’t miraculously make it out, they die. And I respect that.

Tying into this, Monstress also nicely includes and handles the mental state of its characters and how their psyche changes based on the events that they encounter, the PTSD they (inevitably) develop from the turmoil they go through, the choices they must make, and the events that affect them even though they were outwith their control.

I’m looking forward to see where the story gets taken now that it seems it is (sadly) reaching its endgame.

The Infinity Particle (Wendy Xu)

On a completely different note to Monstress, “The Infinity Particle” is a strong recommend to anyone who’s familiar with the Becky Chambers novels and want more. It’s a sweet, but short, story set in a near-ish future on Mars, about a tech intern, a human-like sentient robot, and narcissism (okay, that part is not sweet, but it is key to the story). There are many interesting little thoughts about what a world with conscious AI would be like, mutual respect in relationships both platonic and non, as well as power structures. I think it might be aimed at more of a young-adult audience, but it scratched that “cosy space sci-fi” itch for me : )

The Three-Body Problem and The Dark Forest (Cixin Liu)

I have mixed feelings about these. They are good sci-fi novels (I think), and they introduce interesting ideas about what First Contact might be like, discuss human nature, etc. However, they also take a while to get going; for both books, I’ve thought “When is anything going to happen” up until around page 100, but then they really kick off! This might just be a difference in story-telling, compared to all the British, Nordic, and USA-based sci-fi I have consumed up until now, but, for example, in “The Dark Forest”, when I was on the third page of intricately describing an ant crawling over the inscription on a statue, which it could never hope to understand, but still the shapes and corners and curves said something about the world and the meaning of everything (and this was done for at least 2-3 symbols on the statue), I really was tempted to skip ahead to wherever the metaphor ended; a metaphor is fine, but I definitely got it by the second time it was repeated, and the amount of detail used in each repetition, I personally found, dragged it out unnecessarily.

Again, once they get going, they’re really good. And maybe all it is, is a difference in story-telling approaches. But I do wish they gripped you a bit more at the start of the book, promised you something, rather than setting the scene for over 100 pages.


More books I enjoyed, and miraculously even had time to write full posts about:

And that’s all of that. Thank you for reading along, I hope 2024 is a good year for you! <3

Thomas Ekström Hansen
Thomas Ekström Hansen
PhD student in Computer Science

My interests include information visualisation, formal methods, and low-level programming.