Category Archives: Books

Outcast

Outcast
(Star Force #10)
by B.V. Larson & David VanDyke (2014)

Many peaceful years have passed since the Macro Wars ended. Most of those who fought against the heartless machines have aged—but not the ingenious artificial construct known as Marvin. His insatiable curiosity is as strong as ever, and he’s brought home fresh perils to humanity’s doorstep in OUTCAST.

This new Saga in the Star Force universe begins with Cody Riggs, the sole surviving child of Kyle Riggs. He’s fresh out of the Star Force Academy and ready to explore the galaxy on his own. Young but fearless, he finds himself lost in uncharted space, seeking a way home. At every step he’s hunted by hostile aliens he doesn’t dare lead back to Earth.

Short Hermitage

Brother Hermitage: The Shorts
(The Chronicles of Brother Hermitage #3.5)
by Howard of Warwick (2015)

A collection of short stories from The Chronicles of Brother Hermitage.

At only 25K words it’s not a long book to read. However it is unnecessary. Comedy like Brother Hermitage needs length to setup to situation and introduce the characters.

These stories feel like snippets from the novels and don’t add anything the the canon.

Reduk Topa

Space Team: The Hunt for Reduk Topa
(Space Team #12)
by Barry J. Hutchison (2019)

 

Cal signs-up to star in smash-hit game-show, The Hunt, confident of winning a big cash prize.


This is a total unashamed rip-off the the Schwarzenegger 1987 film The Running Man  Fortunately Cal knows the show, references it and plays to the narrative.

This makes a book more action-adventure  than the previous comedic science fiction stories.

Greedy

Greedy
by Ainsworth Pennington (2015)

From the Funny Book Company, makers of the Howard of Warwick series comes a story of science and scandal.

When Professor Marcus Heighly’s particle accelerator does something quite unexpected to a small piece of lead, a whole world of possibilities explodes in front of his eyes. He is forced to take a long, hard look at his professional standards and his moral compass – and bury them both in the woods at midnight.

Hermitage Murder

A Murder for Brother Hermitage
(The Chronicles of Brother Hermitage Book 12)
by Howard of Warwick (2018)

 

At the monastery of his Hermitage’s friend Abbot Abbo, a young, naive and bookish monk is killed in chapter 1.

Surely not?

It can’t be.


This time we are aware (kinda) of who the murderer is. Then it’s s fiendish plot by conspirators to finish off Hermitage and end the series. Unfortunately they employ a less than capable assassin. He screws up not one, but to two assassination attempts.

But not to worry, Hermitage Wat and Cwen are coming along to save the day. That is, it they can agree how to do that.

Still more bungling humour as the trio make their way through another murder. Just how many people will be left in England when this series ends ?

 

e-Myths

Energy Myths and Realities
by Vaclav Smil (2010)

 

Energy Myths and Realities: Bringing Science to the Energy Policy Debate debunks the most common fallacies to make way for a constructive, scientific approach to the global energy challenge.


A very sobering look at the future of energy generation. While USA-centric most of the analysis can apply to the world situation.
Energy sources like bio-fuel are quickly dismissed. Solar is not much better. But in the end it comes down to (as expected) wind and nuclear. As these are the most dense of energy forms it’s not surprising.

The main issue I have with the analysis is the emphasis of the economic impediments to development of renewable energy. The book was written in 2010, possibly capturing the gloom of the post-Global Financial Crisis.

But as the GFC shows, when those in power are inconvenienced by lack of funds, it’s easy to print money. The USA created $600 billion to bail out the financial industry.

In the end he verifies the quote ‘it’s easy to criticize’. There isn’t much here about solutions.

 

Murder Wat

A Murder for Master Wat
(The Chronicles of Brother Hermitage Book 11)
by Howard of Warwick (2018)

Wat the Weaver doesn’t want to go to the weavers’ Grand Moot in the first place and no one can make him. Except Mistress Cwen, of course. When they get there it all starts so well, but it only takes the blink of a bat’s ear for murder to rear its ugly head and stare straight at Hermitage.


Finally, after ten book featuring a weaver, we get details on weaving. I don’t know how historically accurate the descriptions are, but it does add to the detail and provides interesting plot devices.

There is still a whole crowd of people not as smart of Cwen and Wat to provide the humour. Another fun reads, and proof that the author can consistently deliver the jokes after 11 novels.

Immortalis

Immortalis
(The Second DemonWars Saga #3)
by R.A. Salvatore

In this extraordinary third and final work in the Second DemonWars Saga, R. A. Salvatore weaves a diverse tapestry of characters and events from all the novels of the DemonWars Saga into an epic, unforgettable conclusion. Casting his inimitable spell of the human and supernatural, love and war, faith and faithlessness, Salvatore’s crowning work is centered on a dark young king, driven by a quest to remake humankind.


A total of 163 hours of audio-drama
Approx 1.2 million words
Started almost a year ago
Mainly listened to during the hour of preparing and eating the evening meal.

I’m not doing that again !

Despite the multiple plot threads an characters I kept forgetting each time I resumed listening, it all lead up to a satisfying concluding battle that only Salvatore can do well.

 

Galileo’s Stepdaughter

Galileo’s Stepdaughter
by Amanda McCarter (2011)

Thousands of years after a devastating cataclysm, humanity lives in a new dark age. Technology and science are forbidden and a matriarchal church rules society. However, Ellia is ruled only by her curiosity. Defying the Church, she learns that all is not as it seems in the holy books and that humans once traveled to the stars and possibly beyond.


I initially thought this was steampunk, as it was in a steampunk bundle. It’s more in the post-apocalyptic genre. There is  steam technology, but it’s not really part of the story. Not really science fiction either.  It’s more young adult romantic adventure. And while well written (despite a few spelling mistakes) not really engaging.

It does end on a bit of a cliff-hanger. However it’s not interesting enough to continue.