Category Archives: Books

Player 1

Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline (2011)

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.


The book of the time. Everyone was talking about this when I read it. Essential read if you think you are a geek/nerd. There are numerous references to popular culture combines with a witty delivery.

 

Fine Myths

Another Fine Myth
(Myth Adventures #1)
by Robert Asprin (1978)

Skeeve was a magician’s apprentice–until an assassin struck and his master was killed. Now, with a purple-tongued demon named Aahz as a companion, he’s on a quest to get even.
Mildly amusing. Nothing that would compel me to read the following books, but I will try his Phule SciFi series.

Hangman’s Daughter

The Hangman’s Daughter
by Oliver Pötzsch (2010)
Lee Chadeayne (Translator)

Germany, 1660: When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play. So begins The Hangman’s Daughter–the chillingly detailed, fast-paced historical thriller from German television screenwriter, Oliver Pötzsch–a descendant of the Kuisls, a famous Bavarian executioner clan.


It’s a who-did-it set in in the sixteenth century. If it wasn’t for the atmosphere generated by the setting it would be a rather ordinary crime story.

Slan

Slan
by A. E. Van Vogt (1946)

Slan is a science fiction novel written by A. E. van Vogt, as well as the name of the fictional race of superbeings featured in the novel. The novel was originally serialized in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction (September – December 1940). It was subsequently published in hardcover in 1946 by Arkham House, in an edition of 4,051 copies. In 2016, Slan was awarded the Retro-Hugo Award for Best Novel for 1941.

This is being read for the Sword and Laser book pick of November 2016,

Despite being written in 1946, this feels like a very modern author.
It starts with an intriguing premise, of what appears to be a genetically altered population of humans living on earth. What was interesting was the authors explanation of the technology involved, especially as the structure of DNA would not be discovered until 1953 by Watson and Crick. There is is lot of interesting science fiction ideas in the book, but a rather naive view of how the power structures in society work.

The main problem is that it doesn’t come together as a very cohesive story. It switches between characters but doesn’t move the plot along. There is a strange segment of the story near the end where I think it is set in a spaceship, but the activity described appears to be on the ground. Then there is a twist at the end and the book ends with a massive info-dump.

It has been published numerous times in the last 60 years, with a lot of different covers, shown below.


 

Disappearing

How to Disappear Completely
by David Bowick (2009)

Sitting at the top of a Ferris wheel overlooking the Boston skyline, Josh’s life takes an unexpected turn, and things will never be the same. Along with the many surprises on his life’s new path, he’ll come to take life advice from a family of ducks, get in a bloody war with a dog, lose his job over a spilled drink, wake up in the hospital, apply to work at an adult-themed novelty bakery, and find out that people often aren’t what they seem. When you’re at the top of the world, there’s nowhere to go but down.


Not a genre I usually read, but an entertaining romance tale from the male perspective.

This is the only book by the author. He is also a musician and currently touring America. His music is on the site and is very middle American singer-songwriter styled.

Rip Foster

Rip Foster Rides the Gray Planet
by Blake Savage (1952)

 

This science fiction novel was written by Harold L. Goodwin under the pseudonym Blake Savage.

Freshly graduated and commissioned Planeteer (the space-going equivalent of a Marine) Lt. Richard Ingalls Peter (“Rip”) Foster, already contending with inter-service rivalry with the Space Force (equivalent to Navy) crewmen with whom he serves, is tasked with retrieving an asteroid made of pure thorium from the asteroid belt and bringing it to Earth for use as fissionable material. In this he is opposed by agents of the “Consolidation of Peoples Governments”, who also seek control and use of the asteroid.

The science may be way out of date, but it’s still a good rip-roaring yarn.

 

Warehouse 13

Warehouse 13: A Touch of Fever
by Greg Cox (2011)

Reports of a genuine psychic healer, along with a simultaneous epidemic of mysterious illnesses, lead Myka and Pete on a hazardous investigation that stretches from a carnival sideshow back to the bloody history of the Civil War. But when Pete is infected with a deadly disease, Myka and the rest of the team, including Artie Nielsen and Claudia Donovan, must track down a pair of cursed gloves—before a madman unleashes a virulent plague upon America!
It’s a good read for fans of the show. You get a bit more insight into the characters and a more developed story. Recommended.

Pulse

Pulse
by Jeremy Robinson (2009)

HOW MANY PEOPLE WOULD YOU KILL TO LIVE FOREVER?
Imagine a world where soldiers regenerate and continue fighting without pause, where suicide bombers live to strike again and again. This is the dream of Richard Ridley, founder of Manifold Genetics, and he has just discovered the key to eternal life: an ancient artifact buried beneath a Greek-inscribed stone in the Peruvian desert.

When Manifold steals the artifact and abducts archaeologist Dr. George Pierce, United States Special Forces Delta operator, Jack Sigler, callsign King, and his “Chess Team” —Queen, Knight, Rook, Bishop and their handler, Deep Blue—give chase. Formed under special order from President Duncan, they are the best of America’s Special Forces tasked with anti-terrorism missions that take them around the world against any threat, ancient, modern and at times, inhuman. With modern weapons, tough-as-nails tactics and keen intellects, they stand alone on the brink, facing the world’s most dangerous threats.


Another fast paced military thriller. This time the monsters just keep coming. It seems that most of the book was a action sequence with a short pause around the two-thirds mark. Keep ’em coming Jeremy. Recommended.

 

Moondust

A Fall of Moondust
Arthur C. Clarke (1961)

A Fall of Moondust is a hard science fiction novel that was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novel, it was the first science fiction novel selected to become a Reader’s Digest Condensed Book.

The plot is about a tour of the moon that has an accident, the cruiser becomes trapped beneath the surface of the moon. Most of the book concerns the rescue attempt. At each stage Clarke explains the science and engineering of the situation and the solutions. Despite a seemingly dry subject, it’s a compelling read.

Warm Sun

Like Warm Sun on Nekkid Bottoms
by Chuck Austen (2007)
(read in 2011)

A screwball comedy in the P.G. Wodehouse tradition. Without meaning to, Corky Wopplesdown has just gotten sexy lingerie model, Wisper Nuckeby, fired. To make things right he goes on a wild journey with a horny stripper, a repressed minister, a surprise fiancee and a comic collecting pervert to Nikkid Bottoms, a little village where the sun is warm, the people are nice, and the clothing is optional.

This ia a Screwball sex comedy for adults. Very funny, if a bit preaching near the end and wwwaaaayyyy too long. Should have been edited to around 100K words (it’s almost twice that).

What was interesting, and I didn’t know until this post was that Chuck is known for co-creating the animated TV series Tripping the Rift.