Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey

persepolis risingThis review originally appeared in SFRevu.com on Dec, 1, 2017

Persepolis Rising is the seventh Expanse novel, and the first in what we expect to be the third story arc. The last novel, Babylon’s Ashes, ended with the establishment of the Transport Union, which gave former OPA types a role in galactic commerce, carving out a few decades of relative quiet while mankind moved out into the galaxy through the hyperspace ring created by the proto-molecule at the end of the first arc (Abaddon’s Gate). Continue reading

Sony HX80 – A camera with just enough stuff

2017-10-24 11.03.32 I’ve toyed with a number of Sony cameras in the past few months, looking for something that gave good enough results while being easy enough to carry that it doesn’t get left home. So far, the HX80, while not as impressive a camera as any of Sony’s RX series, is filling the bill. Granted the Zeiss lens has a narrow range of f stops (3.5-8.0), but it delivers up to 30x optical zoom (24-720mm equiv) decent low light performance, a pop up viewfinder and tilt lcd display. All for a list price of $369, though I managed to get mine down around 275 thanks to some credits I had at Best Buy. For that price, it’s a great camera that slips comfortably into a pocket.  Continue reading

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz 

28209634Set 125 years from now, Annalee Newitz’s debut novel comes at the question of property from two angles: slavery (both robotic and human), and intellectual property.  It does so through the voices of its main characters, Judith, aka Captain “Jack” Chen, a pharmaceutical researcher turned pirate who clones high-priced drugs to distribute them to those who have more need than means, and a freshly-activated bot named Paladin, designed for security work for its owners, work like tracking down pharma-pirates. 

Paladin is sent, along with Eliasz, its human partner/handler, to stop Jack’s piracy, so it comes as no surprise that the two are on a collision course as Paladin and Eliasz roll up Jack’s network with bloody determination.

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Beef Bourguignon

BB-Plated-2017-03-16-15.44Beef Bourguignon is the French cousin to pot roast, with the addition of red wine, large cubes of beef and very slow cooking to make it all tender. At the end, the liquids are separated from the beef, carrots, potatoes and onion and reduced and thickened to become a silky sauce to serve over the solids.

Key to getting the most flavor is browning the meat as well as the carrots and mushrooms. When browning in a skillet, it’s important not to touch the pieces until you turn them, cooking them for 4-6 minutes on each side over medium heat. Prep time for this is 45 minutes to an hour with all the browning, and cooking time is 4-6 hours, so be sure to get an early start.

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