Which book will I like best?
resolved Oct 6
Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
A Canticle for Leibowitz
Law's Order by David Friedman
The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate by Ted Chiang
There Is No Antimemetics Division (by qntm)
HPMoR, but the audiobook
Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks (book 1 of the Culture series)
Permutation City by Greg Egan
Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber
Player of Games by Iain M. Banks (book 2 of the Culture series)
Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer
Ancillary Justice
Leviathan Wakes (Book 1 of The Expanse)
The Three-Body Problem
The Man from the Future: The Visionary Life of John von Neumann
The Precipice, by Toby Ord
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch

I hereby commit to reading the top 2 books suggested by this market. I will resolve this market to whichever of those two I like best. If you suggest something I've already read or that I want to veto for whatever reason, I'll add a comment to say so before you put real mana on it. Things related to Beeminder somehow could be good candidates. I'm currently reading _The Elephant in the Brain_ and enjoying it. I'd call that vaguely Beeminder-relevant in that it involves what you actually do vs what you endorse doing. I'm also a fan of ridiculously erudite but gripping sci-fi.

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bought Ṁ25

@JustifieduseofFallibilism Absolutely excellent comic about Bertrand Russel and Mathematics read here: profesorvargasguillen.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/logicomix.pdf

@JustifieduseofFallibilism Ah! I didn't notice this late entry. But of course I've already read this (twice!). It's amazing.

@dreev I guess that means it was worth a shot.

Update: I'm on page 73 of Too Like The Lightning and it's great so far!

@Bart Yeah, it's insanely good. One of a tiny number of books I've liked enough to reread. And as I mentioned elsewhere, we even read the entire thing out loud to our kids.
@Bart Ooh, definitely a candidate!
Saw too late that you've already read it!
bought Ṁ1
@Adrian, I don't think you can assume anything like that about Ann Leckie's inspirations with that kind of confidence, although I've not read the culture series. I'd add that one of the things I remember thinking is that Leckie writes aliens that are properly alien well, and human cultures that are alien to my experience very well, and that the main characters and their interactions are compelling as well as the setting and premise
@dreev I haven't read it, so no strong rebuttal. I had heard that Player of Games is more Culture-y after I started reading Consider Phlebas, but I was enjoying Consider Phlebas just fine.
It's been a long time since I read it, but my recollection is that it was incredibly well written and engaging and above average on philosophically interesting themes. Definitely Culture inspired in that they both examine the social implications of superintelligent AI ships and a post-scarcity economy, though Ancillary Justice focuses on the former and The Culture on the latter.
Antimemetics does a really good existential horror, which is hard to get anywhere else
@CliveFreeman Ok, I'm sold. And yes, read _The Martian_ and loved it. (The movie is good too!) (Also TIL "sarky" which initially I thought was a typo for "snarky". I'm tipping extra for that.)
@CliveFreeman Oh ho, you have my number. Back as an undergrad I read _The Prisoner's Dilemma_ by William Poundstone which is largely a biography of von Neumann and loved it and have been endlessly fascinated by von Neumann ever since. So this sounds like a great candidate, although possibly repetitive if I already know all the classic von Neumann anecdotes?
Rereading your description, I'd say that this is by far the most "ridiculously erudite" sci-fi book I've ever read in terms of the knowledge Palmer brings to bear from being a historian. While maybe some of Greg Egan's books can compare in terms of physics erudition, Palmer is unmatched in terms of her knowledge and creativity on history and structuring a society. I think this review (https://www.gleech.org/palmer) does a good job of describing the book but it's really spoiler-filled so I've copied the first two, non spoiler-y, paragraphs here: > The series is a lot of things. It is the most sustained fictional portrait of Archipelago and polystates, one of the few utopias I would maybe like to live in. Palmer starts in an Enlightenment utopia (post-war, post-nationalism, post-scarcity, post-gender, post-theocracy, post-fideism, post-meat, post-capital-punishment, post-nuclear-family, general justice via universal voluntary surveillance) and then shows what the tensions will do to any system that has to handle humans as we are. > > The worldview diversity is probably the greatest thing about it. I’ve read twenty-author anthologies with less variance in values than this. Speaker’s Corner and SSC comments have nothing on Palmer.
@dreev (not Gabrielle) but if you've ever wished you could read a book about a utopia that actually makes sense but is actually weird and a bit transgressive relative to our norms, you'll like this. You've probably never thought this second part, but it's the only sci-fi book I've ever read that (successfully, IMO) has a narrator who (internally) dialogues with Enlightenment philosophers like Voltaire.
bought Ṁ30
I agree with the comments here re: Player of Games vs. Consider Phlebas. The latter was my first Culture novel and it actually turned me off from the Culture series a bit. Then I read Player of Games and proceeded to read most of the others in quick succession.
bought Ṁ10
I'm presuming you've already read "The Martian", or I'd recommend that! But this is very much in the same vein - smart, sarky person, solving nearly-impossible problems with science to stay alive (and save the Earth!)

@CliveFreeman glad this one won. also one of my faves

bought Ṁ25
Great choice, and I can't believe @dreev hasn't read the Culture series! The Player of Games is much more Beeminder-y, but this is great too.
@JiSK @Adrian This sounds persuasive. Any rebuttal, @horse?
@horse Great suggestion! I'd already heard good things about it. I may bid this one up myself, though there's already extremely tough competition here!
@SG Sounds like a classic I should absolutely read. If you give a mini pitch, I will mash the tip button!
@ahalekelly Ooh, a friend loaned me a hardcopy of this book and I intend to read it anyway. So if this market also makes me read it, all the better.
@ahalekelly I watched the first several episodes of the TV show based on this (without even knowing it was based on a book) and I didn't get excited enough about it to keep going. So I'm less excited about this candidate but it's a candidate and if the market tells me to, I'll read it!
@ahalekelly Already read this! It's amazing. I basically hang on every word Scott Alexander writes about anything. (But since I've already read it, this one can't win. Though if Scott publishes an edited version of it, as he at least vaguely intends to, I'll probably read it again.)