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Currently reading Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald.

The novel tells the story of dynasties struggling for power on the moon, which has been settled and turned into a mining colony. It has been described as “Game of Thrones in space”. While I have not read Game of Thrones, that seems like a roundabout way of saying that it is like another series that deals with the struggles of feudal families mining resources in space. Luna is much like Dune – even up to including a female religious order interested in long term breeding programs and social experiment (funded by The Long Now, of course). Fans of classic science fiction will likely feel at home in its pages. I look forward to the sequel.

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Currently reading The New Spymasters by Stephen Grey.

The book begins with an overview of espionage immediately before, during, and shortly after the Cold War, before moving on to the role played by Western intelligence agencies in the current millenium. Grey contrasts the earlier focus on human intelligence with the growing dependency on signals intelligence and assassination programs, and makes a compelling case for the need to return to a balanced approach with a focus on traditional spy running.

The dichotomy is reminiscent between that of the longer-term, unconventional warfare practiced by US Special Forces and the direct action focus of other Special Operations Forces as discussed by Tony Schwalm.

Currently reading The Black Banners by Ali Soufan.

In his decade at the FBI, Soufan developed an expertise in al-Qadea, investigating the Kenyan embassy bombing, Jordan millennium pole, attack on the USS Cole, and the September 11th attacks. The book is a history of al-Qaeda, beginning with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, as well as a memoir of the author’s experience investigating the organization. It is a well-written, intriguing read that offers a different insight into familiar stories. I was inspired to read it after subscribing to the The Soufan Group‘s daily IntelBriefs and have not been disappointed.

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A Tradecraft Primer

The CIA’s A Tradecraft Primer is a brief introduction to critical thinking and structured analysis. Its techniques are not limited to intelligence, but instead are applicable to any field where the bias of preconceived notions may cause harm. Its short length makes it a worthwhile read – I read it in a little over an hour while waiting for a plane – particularly as an adjunct to publications like Red Team Journal.

A Tradecraft Primer

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Currently reading A Song Called Youth by John Shirley

Shirley’s cyberpunk magnum opus tells the story of a private security company attempting to use the distraction of a third world war to impose fascism across the United States and Europe, and the guerrillas who resist them. Although first published in the 1980s, the omnibus edition was refreshed by the author for publication in 2012, which gives it the feel of taking place 20 minutes into the future.

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Currently reading The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi.

In the novel plagues, sea level rise and the depletion of carbon fuel sources have altered the face of the planet. Biotech megacorps seek to hack together genetic information from what few crops remain in order build foods resistant to the new diseases and monopolize the calorie market. It’s a sort of agricultural cyberpunk. Like all good cyberpunk, it takes place in a familiar feeling future that may not be too far distant.

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