Category Archives: Books

Futuristic Suits

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits
by David Wong (2015)

Nightmarish villains with superhuman enhancements.
An all-seeing social network that tracks your every move.
Mysterious, smooth-talking power players who lurk behind the scenes.
A young woman from the trailer park.
And her very smelly cat.
Together, they will decide the future of mankind.

This is the world in which Zoey Ashe finds herself, navigating a futuristic city in which one can find elements of the fantastic, nightmarish and ridiculous on any street corner. Her only trusted advisor is the aforementioned cat, but even in the future, cats cannot give advice. At least not any that you’d want to follow.


This was an enjoyable book of over the top comic violence and some sharp writing. The problem is, it’s like chocolate. I like chocolate, but it’s best in small quantities, eat too much and you stomach ache. This book is just too long. At times the plot seems to lose its way before getting back on track. What I really liked was that the plot was so unexpected. Just when I thought the premise and resolution was worked out, it took a different direction. So recommended, but consume in small quantities.

Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh is the main character in the Epic of Gilgamesh, an Akkadian poem that is considered the first great work of literature and in earlier Sumerian poems. In the epic, Gilgamesh is a demigod of superhuman strength who builds the city walls of Uruk to defend his people and travels to meet the sage Utnapishtim, who survived the Great Flood.

Gilgamesh is generally seen by scholars as a historical figure, since inscriptions have been found which confirm the existence of other figures associated with him in the epic. If Gilgamesh existed, he probably was a king who reigned sometime between 2800 and 2500 BC.


He is the subject of the In Our Time podcast released on Nov 03 2016.


Tony Garone released a music CD based on the epic in 2001.


And Robert Silverberg wrote the book ‘Gilgamesh the King’ on the character in 1984,

 

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.