So, I’m currently reading The Water Knife, an extremely interesting near-future take on the water problems faced by the American Southwest. (The ancient Anasazi has the same problems but that’s a different blog post). Post-apocalyptic climate change fiction with a healthy dose of William Gibson-esque cyberpunk. Great read, no matter your point of view about climate change. Shortly I’ll be done with it, and facing the inevitable “what should I read next” question.
Well here at The Hawaii Project you know we’re all about great book recommendations, finding great books you’d never find on your own. We’re excited today to introduce a new feature, “What Should I Read Next”. Now, to be honest, this has been done before. But not well. Let’s show you in action how different and better our results are.
The most well known approach is Amazon’s “Customers who bought this also bought that”. For the Water Knife, Amazon tells me
- buy other books by the same author (BORING! + I’ve already read his earlier books!), or
- get Seveneves by Neal Stephenson (a space disaster movie, nothing to do with climate change, and so well-promoted, if you read Science Fiction you’ve heard about this book already).
Goodreads at least doesn’t show me books by the same author, but does show me 4 or 5 space operas with nothing in common with The Water Knife. None of these recommendations is really very interesting or relevant.
Let’s check out The Hawaii Project. If you want to know what to read after The Water Knife, we’ve got you covered.
We’re recommending Rivers, by Michael Farris Smith. (“In the tradition of Cormac McCarthy, Larry Brown, and James Lee Burke, Rivers is an enthralling, darkly beautiful novel set in Mississippi against the backdrop of a series of devastating storms that pummeled the American South in the years since Hurricane Katrina. In the near future, a climate shift has caused massive damage to the Southeastern United States…”).
Now we’re talking. A near future climate change adventure story. Spot on. And totally generated by the system, so this same quality of recommendation is available for any book, without human intervention.
And we’re recommending Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Thomas Sweterlitsch, a near future cyperpunk post-apocalyptic novel you probably haven’t heard of, but which is getting nominated for awards and getting rave reviews from other authors. And we’re recommending Jonathan Lethem’s near-future classic, Gun, With Occasional Music — it’s not just new books, or books we want to sell you, it’s the right books.
So much more interesting and valuable.
What makes our approach different? The Hawaii Project is unique in that it identifies what books the influencers and tastemakers are writing about, and so we can identify when two books are written about together — a very strong signal that the two books are related to each other. We also take into account what the book is about, rather than simply whether people who bought this also bought that — a very weak signal that the books are related.
Give it a whirl with your favorite book. What Should I Read Next?