J’s Take on Dare, Truth or Promise by Paula Boock

Dare Truth of Promise CoverI’m about over teen gay romance novels. Or perhaps all quiltbag YA that doesn’t have a speculative element. Well, okay, I’ll make an exception for ones that aren’t glb, just because there’s so few of them.

It’s just that this particular book had all the standard elements. Religion, freaked out family, kinda-sorta-accepting family, high school drama club complete with theatre production, car crash, dog, non-explicit sex, formal/prom. Even now I’m having trouble not confusing it with ‘that one where it’s the school newspaper and one of them is a photographer’, which is um.. The Year They Banned the Books by Nancy Garden.

I suppose it’s a little unfair of me to say it’s just like all the other books, when it’s from 1997 and set in New Zealand. To some extent, the other books are like it.

The New Zealand setting didn’t affect things much. Just some of the terms were different, and my edition had a handy glossary in the front. Not everything was in there, but I was pleased to see “goolies” made the cut. No censorship in the glossary.

I notice on Amazon that Kirkus is quoted as saying “[a] steamy, brilliant girl-on-girl romance”. Either they’re operating from a different definition of “steamy” than I am, they’re counting the hot tub scene as full of steam, or my edition really was edited!

I like the size of the book. Smallish and thin both, with a photo depiction of each of the girls on one side.

The book was readable, but I was rolling my eyes a few times. It got heavily teen angsty in one or two spots. Or was it three or four?

And early on there’s this scene where the girls are working in a fast food place and the guy in charge is sexually harassing like every girl who works for him. And though most of them don’t like it, no one does anything productive about it! Like, tell, ANYONE. Like, threaten him with a LAWSUIT. Like, QUIT! So the book has left a skeevy vibe behind all because of this one guy who isn’t even terribly relevant to the rest of the plot.

The priest’s reaction is refreshing, but I have to say not terribly convincing and believable to me. Fast food guy can sexually harass his employees without consequences, but Catholic priest can say whatever he likes about homosexuality?

At least.. I assumed he was Catholic. Or remembered him as Catholic. Is that the only Christian religion where they’re called priests and they’re celibate? Well, anyway… don’t tell the Pope what he’s been saying in 1997.

So, in sum, enough is enough. Next angsty gay teen romance I read had better at least have some zombies in it. And I hate zombies.


J’s Take on Deepwater Black by Ken Catran

Deepwater Black cover imageI read this book slowly over the course of what was probably months. It turned out to be the perfect book for picking up and putting down. The plot wasn’t hard to follow and the characters weren’t so numerous or complex that it really mattered whether I remembered them or not. And I also didn’t care. I didn’t feel a compelling need to keep reading to figure out what was going on.

Which is perhaps a damning criticism because the book was just one giant mystery made up of little mysteries. And I just didn’t care.

The main character is either a kid in the contemporary real world who goes to school, etc, or he’s a kid with a bunch of other kids flying a spaceship in the future. He’s ‘prexing’, a word which I never did figure out, and just falling into this hallucinatory state where he believes he’s living out the life of a 20th-21st century Earth kid. Or he’s actually that kid.

On the ship, it’s a group of I dunno maybe half a dozen kids, who don’t really know what they’re doing or where they’re going. And there’s like creatures and jel and dangerous random things they have to fight off, and I don’t even know why. And two of the kids are plotting, but not secretively or very well, to get voice control over the computer. But whatever.

So the mysteries are, like, what’s this prexing thing about, why are these kids on the ship, because they don’t really know themselves, what is this ship and why was it built, where are they going, etc, etc. And why is it called Deepwater anyway?

Well, you won’t get answers to all of those questions by reading the book. (And darned if I’m going to read any more in the series to try to find them either.) And the answers that are provided are full of crap science that I’d love to pick apart, but would be major spoilers. Because what’s the point at all of reading this book if I tell you what’s going on in it? None. But it fails biology and it fails astronomy. It probably also fails physics generally. Maybe ecology.

There certainly is potential in the overarching idea, and enough hand-waving would’ve made me fine with the poor science. However, it would’ve had to have done a lot more with the characters. I couldn’t see most of them even 2-dimensionally, let alone 3. One of them had the annoying tendency to learn things and then not want to tell anyone else. And she was pretty much the most developed of all the characters.

My recommendation has to be to give this one a pass. If you want kids alone on a spaceship, try Marion Zimmer Bradley or Dom Testa.


J’s Take on Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Jellicoe Road cover

I believe the American title is Jellicoe Road and the original title is On the Jellicoe Road. This cover is the most unappealing cover to me. I’m not big on flowers as design elements and orange flowers are the absolute worst. Especially on book covers. It did not make a good first impression.

When I finished the book I was mad at it.

The non-spoily summary is: Taylor Markham is a teenager living in a boarding school after her mother abandoned her. And there’s a ‘war’ going on between the students, the locals, and a group of cadets who come for several weeks every year. And she finds out who she is and makes friends and blahdeblahblah.

This review is going to get increasingly spoiler-filled, so feel free to stop when you feel like you’ve been spoiled just the right amount.

There are two narratives running through the story. Taylor’s first person story and snippets from a manuscript her guardian is writing. At first I felt detached. The very first thing we get is a car crash with dead people, but it’s in the manuscript, so it doesn’t count? Then Taylor seems to do things without really knowing why she’s doing them or even how she’s feeling. At least that’s how it comes across to me as a reader. She’s in charge of her House now, even though she seems bad at it. And there’s a decided lack of adults around. Hannah, the woman who’s nominally her guardian and unofficially in charge of her House isn’t actually officially attached to the school. So when she disappears, it’s not like things are much different? And no adult comes in to fill her place. The kids seem oddly on their own a whole lot of the time. Especially considering these are Hogwarts-age kids we’re talking about. And they even have to do their own cooking!

So there’s this war between the students, the Townies, and the Cadets over territory. And the rules are convoluted. But mostly I was just confused. Why is there this war? Why do the adults not care? Taylor seems oddly surprised when some of the boys start physically fighting. What kind of war is it that that’s not part of the point of it? It’s just weird.

Meanwhile we have this whole other set of characters we’re supposed to keep track of, in this manuscript Hannah has been writing for over a decade. They’re all full of angst.

I can sort of see this book is well-crafted, in that we learn more about Taylor’s past bit by bit, as she learns it too. It’s a tough thing to pull off, authorially. (Although I do have some time/number quibbles. Suddenly a 17-hour drive is only 7 hours. And there’s a date thing that’s screwed up after that.)

But by the end, I was mad. Mad mad mad.

(Major spoilers now.)

Dead people everywhere and suicides and bleh bleh blecch. And adults that WON’T TELL HER THINGS. It’s sort of the worst combination of things in kid’s books. Those things show up everywhere and are hella annoying each and every time. I mean in kid’s books in general, but also in this book in particular!

And this phrase keeps running around in my mind when I think about this book, so I’ll go ahead and type it: I felt manipulated.

So I can see how some people might think it’s Teh Awesome. But I have a lot of trouble appreciating its craft when it annoyed the heck out of me and made me outright mad by the end.

I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads the moment I finished reading it. Though I was hesitant even then. I may yet go back and change it to 2.


Nebula Project: Man Plus

What follows is a spoiler laden discussion of the book Man Plus by Frederik Pohl. Beware if you’re worried about such things.

Man Plus book cover

Facing mutual self-destruction, the major governmental powers on Earth race into space. One solution: to create a cyborg capable of living and working on Mars without a suit. When the first test subject dies, Roger Torraway becomes the man of the hour. Or the man plus of the hour. As his body is gradually converted into a “Martian”, his mind has to cope with no longer being human while he angsts about his love for his cheating wife.

J: So.. Man Plus wasn’t a promising title. I didn’t know what to expect going into it. Except that you started it first and said it was horrible. And you were right. And not only did it not get better, it GOT WORSE. But, at least it was short.

K: Man Plus is a very ambiguous title, though it becomes clear enough as soon as you begin reading: Man+, new and improved man, etc. It’s certainly not double-plus good. I can’t, however, agree with you that it got worse: the first part of the book was definitely the lowest point for me. It didn’t improve, really, but the parts where Pohl abandoned his efforts at characterization and concentrated just on his science fiction were considerably better.

J: The first chapter was a straight infodump. So it’s true that it improved on hitting the second chapter, with actual action and dialog. And yes, it did get more interesting. But the treatment of the female characters got increasingly worse. With a little rise and sharp dip at the end. So it was just painful all the way through.

K: Maybe I just got numb to it. I don’t know. So, let’s first take a look at the basic premise: Earth is an environmental and political disaster area, and rather than figure out a way to fix this, instead, based on opinion polling, the Americans have decided to adapt a human so that he can live on Mars without a space suit. Which is sadly, totally believable.

J: Except I didn’t quite understand the point of it. Because it turns out they were going to send astronauts in suits along as well. And they haven’t built in any way for this man+ to reproduce once he’s on Mars. So if Earth continues to go to crap, there aren’t going to be any more Man Martians.

K: Exactly. It made no sense at all. But no doubt it made everyone feel good, even if it solved nothing at all and left them with pretty much the exact same problems as they had before, just less time to solve them in.

K: Considering they obviously had a way to create livable areas on the surface (the traditional ‘domes’), and the Man+ required considerable computer support and was able to be felled just by not buttoning closed a flap, it didn’t seem to me like this was a viable or reasonable long term OR short term solution.

J: Add to that that at least one other astronaut was there almost solely as tech support for him and you’ve wasted two slots you could’ve used for engineers or Mars experts. Or was it three? What was the priest there for?

K: He was an ‘aerologist’ or something like that. I wasn’t entirely sure what that was. It sounded like he was hoping to be an exobiologist if any exobioorganisms could be found. And then they needed an actual pilot who seemingly needed no additional skills, since he wasn’t going to be able to land regardless. But the strangest part was that the addition of ‘Brad’ to the team was apparently as last minute decision made practically on a whim! Considering how very many issues they had with Man+ just lauching into space what would they have done if they hadn’t sent him along?

J: He wasn’t the only whim they had either. But let me back up to explain the plot a bit more. However well I might manage it. Our main character is Roger Torraway and he’s an astronaut, though it’s been years since he was in space. He now works on a project to produce this Mars-adapted man. A friend and former colleague is the guinea pig. But things go horribly wrong and he dies. As guinea pigs are wont to do. And Torraway’s the new man for the job. And so we get to go through all these procedures and surgeries and tests with him, while he angsts about his wife having an affair. And, spoilers, they eventually do get to Mars.

K: It does seem to me to be the worst sort of stupidity to have put all your eggs in one basket. Why on Earth would they only have one prototype Marsman? Even though they act like it’s not a big deal that they must essentially start from scratch building Roger, it surely has to have delayed everything at least a bit!

J: And neither of them seems very keen on doing it either. Which has to make me wonder why they agreed! Surely ‘duty’ only goes so far. When they signed up to be astronauts, they didn’t sign up to be surgical modification guinea pigs. It’s not something I would want to do, or most people would want to do, but surely someone out there would be willing and eager. Since even the prior astronaut training seemed to be not essential. And yea, why wouldn’t you test these individual things on other people before slapping them into your one prototype? And to have your head eye guy NOT THERE when you’re installing the key piece of eye thing seems reckless. I have to say the humans in this story don’t come off looking good at all. Any of them.

K: The decisionmaking process of all of these people seemed extremely random and without any thought to potential consequences. Or at least, if they were aware of consequences, they didn’t take any steps to minimize risk. BUT it’s not just the humans who come off as idiots in the end, in my opinion.

J: I cannot disagree with that. And this is a major spoiler, I suppose. But we do warn about spoilers! Was the ‘twist’ ending any sort of surprise to you? I have to say I noticed the ‘we’ pretty early on and that was one of my guesses as to who ‘we’ was. Very high on the list.

K: It wasn’t a surprise exactly. I didn’t get the impression that the ‘we’ was intended to be subtle or easily missed, and it was very clear that the ‘we’ weren’t humans. I can’t say I guessed what the ‘we’ would be but then I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about it either.

J: To me it read like a shift from third person omniscient to first person plural that was supposed to start out subtle. I don’t think you were supposed to notice right away. But it was easy to doubt it was an AI because the computers were so big and clunky and seemingly stupid. You know, early 1970s computers. I think punch cards are even referenced. At times, aliens seemed more likely.

K: I don’t remember the reference to punch cards. But it was interesting to me to see what Pohl felt would be the limitations of the computer intelligence. I’m not sure it was well thought out. For instance: the computers have been manipulating the US Government into doing this Mars mission and, more importantly, putting a big computer into orbit around Mars with a nice generator. But they simultaneously concluded that it would be impossible for them to get someone to build an end-of-the-world bunker on some isolated island somewhere. To me, these seem like they require similar levels of manipulation. Surely the computers could easily pretend to be a corporation and trick some humans into doing the work for them. It doesn’t seem especially far-fetched given the set of parameters we have.

J: Or send robots to Mars rather than a cyborg. Just seems so much easier. Or a number of other scenarios. I mean, they don’t even need to be on Mars. Just a bunch of computerized spaceships would be good for a start. What bothered me was the machine intelligence was sexist too! Why are they all ‘brothers’? They don’t have a sex, why should they need a gender? What was so wrong with the word ‘sibling’ or ‘cousin’ or something? Siiigh.

K: Yeah, that was odd. I guess on that note we may as well talk about the issues with the female characters in this book. Of which there were many — issues, not female characters. Starting with Roger’s wife, Dorrie. Who apparently has her own thoughts and needs (good), and works because she wants to (good), but is running a store with no actual effort made to be profitable (bad), because her husband wants to support her ‘hobby’ (bad). And she’s kind of a bitch (neutral).

J: The first time we see a female character, she’s being patronized by the President of the United States. How the pretty little things had to put up with having their nails soaked to remove poisons, lest they scratch him. Actually reading those security measures was interesting, because they weren’t much more, to see the President, than they would be today to, go to Ohio.

K: And his interaction is given as evidence of how personable he is. It struck me more as something straight out of Mad Men, and certainly not something for the mid-70s, when feminism as a movement was really quite far underway. Except Pohl then later proceeds to treat us to a weird scene where Dorrie, now famous as Roger’s spouse, is interviewed by a feminist magazine. I couldn’t tell if he was trying to make the feminists look ridiculous by portraying them as fringe, or being inclusive and just kind of clueless about how to do it.

J: Yea, the feminist character was even worse than his portrayal of the other women. She resents having to do the interview at all, because the magazine isn’t interested in Dorrie for Dorrie’s sake, but just because she’s this famous astronaut’s wife. So right from the start she has this bad rapport with the person she’s supposed to be interviewing. Not that she cares. And says some pretty horrible things to her that aren’t feminist at all. ‘What sort of example are you going to set young womanhood? Turning yourself into a dried-up old maid?’ Calling marriage a ‘ridiculous farce’. Though I liked that her interview crew seemed to be all women. Though I don’t know whether the ‘prop boys’ were or not. It was interesting he said ‘lightperson’, ‘soundperson’, ‘cameraperson’, because those terms were so fine I didn’t even notice they were gender neutral. Until he surprised me by making them women. Up to now the only women had been wives and nurses. So I was definitely assuming anyone else was a man.

K: It was wiser to make that assumption, though we did find that one of the ‘nurses’ was actually a psychologist in disguise, and there did seem to be a woman involved in the testing phase of Roger’s abilities who didn’t seem to be a nurse? I don’t quite remember what her actual position was, though.

J: It wasn’t clear if he was trying to realistically portray a feminist and doing it badly, or making fun of them. But yea, not only is she a psychologist, but a major and an astronaut. At least by training even if she hadn’t gotten into space before. But even she doesn’t get off lightly. Because for some reason it’s thought if she pretends to be a nurse and looks like his wife, that this’ll help him adapt to his wife not being there for him. Or something? So she’s a surrogate love interest first, and psychologist only second.

K: Yeah, I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on there. Certainly Roger’s stalkery obsession with his wife should have caused him to fail some kind of psychological tests required to become an astronaut, let alone their prize cyborg?

J: You’d think. What was even more strange was that they apparently had an open marriage anyway. So it wasn’t that she was having sex with this other guy, or even that it was another guy he knew, but that it was happening while they were living together, rather than in different parts of the world? Or something? She wasn’t doing it in the right way, basically. Oh and they built in his fail-safe warning procedure to hallucinate her. Whose brilliant idea was that?

K: The priest even admits later he realizes now that was a huge mistake. But apparently the 12-year-old boy ethos continues to reign supreme even at future NASA. I bet they digitally enhanced her boobs too.

J: *laugh* Yea, I don’t know why they didn’t change it when they realized it would be a problem. Women are definitely sex objects in this book. As in, objects to have sex with. The psychologist astronaut? She goes up in space in a different ship, with one guy. And they have sex. Even though the all-male crew of the other ship seemed to be fine with spending months not getting any. The wife of the first guinea pig, she comes down to have a look at what he looks like now. Then she expresses concern that he’s not getting any, and offers. Only to be told he doesn’t have the equipment. So.. she leaves. Without talking to him or seeing him, or kissing him or touching him or anything. Like, well, if I can’t have sex, then my role as wife is moot. Even the nun the priest is dating could have sex if they filled out the right paperwork!

K: The part with the first man’s wife was very odd. The whole book was definitely written from a male perspective, and was weirdly progressive in certain places and weirdly regressive in others. In that sense, it made me think of Forever War and its odd treatment of the female soldiers.

J: A male perspective is extra odd considering the narrator is this machine intelligence. Oh, and seemingly out of nowhere, near the end of the book, the psychologist/astronaut is called a ‘girl’. Just, for no reason, and it wasn’t something I’d seen used earlier. Though it might’ve been and I just didn’t notice then.

K: I don’t know. The reference didn’t spring out at me, so it must not have been that egregious. The male characters (aside from Roger, who as I mentioned before I felt was rather unstable) seemed all right. No super deep characterizations, but they were all types that have shown up in other books and didn’t really strain credulity there.

J: Yea, they were okay. I didn’t like any of them particularly, but they didn’t make me want to throw the book across the room.

K: And the cyborg idea was pretty interesting. I just wish it felt more logical in the end to have even done it. The whole musing on how it would be necessary to cut down on the inputs because his brain just couldn’t handle the information overload struck me as a fresh idea.

J: Although the example that young adults who’d been blind all their lives and were given sight then killed themselves because their brains couldn’t adapt? Was that a real thing that happened?

K: Extensive research in wikipedia suggests… sort of. Though I didn’t get the impression that in the book he was talking about real cases, but about the use of artificial eyes a la Geordi La Forge.

J: I got the impression he was referring to a real thing, or what seemed to be a real thing. But maybe, yea. Anyway, the whole cyborg thing. Well, it’s odd to even think of him as a cyborg, because it.. well, maybe it’s just what I’ve seen in sf/f lately. Steampunk often delves into biomedical stuff. All Men of Genius with surgeries and Westerfeld’s Leviathan series with genetic manipulation. So it was just I guess hard for me to think of it as a cyborg, even though yea, it was all machine and electronic bits and not organic bits. So even though it was a cyborg and I can’t argue with that, it still felt to me like ‘old-school’ steampunk or Cold War surgeries. Like, hey, let’s give him two heads. Even though that wasn’t it. And apparently cyborgs are awesome guitar players. That was random.

K: That was very random. I wasn’t sure if it was trying to restore his manliness after he was castrated or what. But anyway, not being a connoisseur of steampunk or clockwork or anything, what it reminded me of the most was the Borg (the original Borg, not how they ended up). Except the Borg started their adaptations as babies — perhaps to overcome the sensory overload issues. And of course this predates almost all of that.

J: Does it predate cybermen?

K: Inasmuch as the Cybermen appeared in 1966, no.

J: But they didn’t have wings.

J: One other thing I wanted to be sure to mention is his term ‘sinonaut’. Presumably this is referring to the Asian astronauts. Asia seems to be this large.. faction, coalition? It seemed an odd term, so I Googled it. It literally means something like ‘traveler to China’. So it makes absolutely no sense to use it, and is possibly not very PC either. Since astro- and cosmo- refer to you know, space. And cosmonaut is just an Englished-up version of the Russian word. Wikipedia is helpful again here. The proper term to use for Chinese astronauts, if you’re not going to just call them astronauts, and aren’t very good with Chinese, is taikonauts. Which is taking part of a term used in Chinese and referring to, you know, space, and not traveling to China, and then slapping the -naut on there. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astronaut Although it seems some people do use ‘sinonaut’. I wonder if Pohl invented it, or if other science fiction writers did. I’m not sure when the Chinese space program really started.Or if people sort of re-invent it. And it’s just wrong every time.

K: Interesting. But yes, it does seem a bit odd — like Frenchonaut or something. The only other thing which I felt I must mention is how much it weirded me out to have a Dorrie in this book. I wasn’t expecting it, and it just took me by surprise.

J: It was odd to me too. Though I’m sure odder for you. I was hoping she wouldn’t do anything too cringe-worthy! Like, I didn’t want to hate the character. Fortunately she came off fairly well.

K: I suspect only because she had so little screentime, but yeah, she didn’t do anything very objectionable at all.

J: So that’s Man Plus. I hope he didn’t do a sequel Man++ that we have to read later. Although we do have to read another Pohl next, because he won two years in a row. Lesigh.

K: There is a sequel, but it was apparently written with someone else, 20 years later, and it has very bad reviews on amazon. I think I’ll pass.


J’s Take on Alan Turing: The Architect of the Computer Age

Alan Turing: Architect of the Computer Age Cover
Today is the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing’s birth. I figured that since I’d procrastinated more than 2 years over writing my Turing review, I should do it today to make it look deliberate. Though I only have a little more than an hour left to go in June 23rd. And technically June 23rd is over in the UK. But we’ll ignore that!

Back when I was originally supposed to do this review, I had chosen a book called The Man Who Knew Too Much by David Leavitt. I tried reading this book. Then a long time later, I tried again. Then I just had such a block against even trying that I let it sit around and sit around. Finally about a month ago, I thought I’d look up what my other options are. There are surprisingly few books all about Turing. And no children’s books I could find. I borrowed two through interlibrary loan. One was a hefty textbook-looking thing. I didn’t even crack that one open. The other was Alan Turing: The Architect of the Computer Age by Ted Gottfried and written for a YA audience.

Finally, a book I could get through!

The problem with the Leavitt book was it was too dry and full of footnotes. Of course I’ve read dry things with footnotes before, and it’s fine if the subject is interesting enough, as Alan Turing certainly should’ve been. But it also suffered from a lot of time-jumping that was driving me up the wall. It was pretending to be chronological, but the author kept inserting comments about how this and that and the other thing would happen later. I just wanted a nice story about his childhood and time in school and everything that follows after that.

The YA book gave me that. There are a few spots where there’s a comment inserted. Like, spoiler alert, he’s going to get into running eventually, with Olympic potential. But it happened much less frequently.

I wouldn’t call this book eminently readable; I have read much better, more enjoyable nonfiction. In fact at first it was reminding me of school history books and I was thinking ‘no wonder I found history boring’. But once I got used to the style, it was fine. Plus the subject matter was very interesting.

I had watched, years ago, (even before this review was originally due), the docudrama, “Breaking the Code”, about Alan Turing. It’s great and I highly recommend watching it. In fact I intend to watch it again before the weekend is out.

What I failed to get a sense of from the movie that I got from the book was just how geeky a kid he was. In a time and place where it was not very nice at all to be a geeky boy (there are many times and places like that, of course). It also surprised me to learn just how absent his parents were. It’s not that they dumped him at boarding school, which you sort of expect, but they weren’t even in the country for large portions of his childhood. He’s still a toddler and they’ve both gone back to India. And not even left him with grandparents or aunts and uncles. Even when his father’s job in India is over, the two of them move to France! It’s just so bizarre to me.

The book does a pretty good job of explaining Turing’s accomplishments in mathematics, biology, and of course computer science in a way that’s understandable to me, and probably understandable to most high school students. It also doesn’t shy away from talking about his evolving identity as a gay man and his relationships with other boys and men, and one woman. I didn’t feel like the book was leaving things out to protect the Impressionable Youth ™.

Several times Gottfried referenced the biography by Andrew Hodges. K read and reviewed that book, if you’d like to read her review.

Halfway through the book, I stumbled upon photos. I hadn’t realized there were photo pages in the middle. I never like photo pages being in the middle of the book. I might like to see a picture of Turing as a child, while I’m still reading about his time in school. And then I get to the photos and start looking at them, and then there’s spoilers! It happened with Neil deGrasse Tyson’s book too. So I refrained from looking and went back later, after finishing the book.

The author describes the adult Turing as ‘unhandsome’, but I don’t see that. Maybe it’s the 50’s hairstyle that makes him look like the typical handsome dark-haired man. Or maybe I don’t know what ‘handsome’ means. In a group photo, I can see a little more what the author’s talking about. But I still don’t see him as looking geeky or mad scientist-like. The author a couple of times refers to his appearance or laugh as like a mad scientist.

I paused in the descriptions of a Turing machine to play a second time with today’s Google Doodle. I don’t know if either helped me understand the other more, but it was a nice break from reading.

Turing’s birthday anniversary is only today, but Gay Pride Month lasts until June 30th. So take the opportunity to read or watch more about Alan Turing. He’s an important part of science history and an important part of gay history.