Landshark5's books for 2009
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1. A Gift of Dragons by Anne McCaffrey
2. The Darwin Awards Next Evolution by Wendy Northcutt
3. The Tough Guide To Fantasy Land by Diana Wynne Jones
4. Motel Of The Mysteries by David Macaulay
5. How To Live On Mars by Robert Zubrin
6. If I Were An Evil Overlord edited by Martin Greenberg and Russell Davis
7. Heroics for Beginners by John Moore
8. Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon
9. Marque And Reprisal by Elizabeth Moon
10. The Rolling Stones by Robert A. Heinlein
11. Have Space Suit Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein
12. The Star Beast by Robert A. Heinlein
13. Arctic Daughter by Jean Aspen
14. Watchmen by Alan Moore
15. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
16. The Bart Book (The Simpsons Library of Wisdom) by Matt Groening
17. Brian Boru Emperor of the Irish by Morgan Llywelyn
18. Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse edited by John Joseph Adams
19. Jumper by Steven Gould
20. The Mystery of Ireta by Anne McCaffrey
21. Triplanetary by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
22. First Lensman by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
23. Galactic Patrol by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
24. Grey Lensman by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
25. Second Stage Lensman by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
26. Children of the Lens by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
27. Aliens Among Us edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois
28. The Vortex Blaster by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
29. Have Space Suit Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein
30. Where's My Jetpack? by Daniel H. Wilson, Ph.D.
31. Red Thunder by John Varley
32. Backyard Ballistics by William Gurstelle
33. Sanctuary edited by Robert Lynn Asprin
34. Spacesuits by Amanda Young
35. The Planet Pirates by Anne McCaffrey
36. Free Space edited by Brad Linaweaver and Edward Kramer
37. The Man Who Never Missed by Steve Perry
38. Matadora by Steve Perry
39. The Machiavelli Interface by Steve Perry
40. The Omega Cage by Steve Perry and Michael Reaves
41. The 97th Step by Steve Perry
42. The Albino Knife by Steve Perry
43. The Black Steel by Steve Perry
44. Brother Death by Steve Perry
45. The Musashi Flex by Steve Perry
46. The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld compiled by Stephen Briggs
47. Gamer Fantastic edited by Martin Greenberg and Kerrie Hughes
48. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
49. Rocket Ship Galileo by Robert A. Heinlein
50. The Fire Duke by Joel Rosenberg
51. Fast Ships, Black Sails edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer
52. How To Build Your Own Spaceship by Piers Bizony
53. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
54. Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov
55. Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov
56. The Tao Of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
57. Zombie Haiku by Ryan Mecum
58. The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks
59. World War Z by Max Brooks
60. Old Man's War by John Scalzi
61. The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
62. The Last Colony by John Scalzi
63. The Pillars of the World by Anne Bishop
64. Shadows and Light by Anne Bishop
65. The House of Gaian by Anne Bishop
66. Zoe's tale by John Scalzi
67. The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
68. Starman Jones by Robert Heinlein
69. The Sagan Diary by John Scalzi
70. The Skylark of Space by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
71. Skylark Three by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
72. Skylark of Valeron by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
73. Skylark DuQuesne by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
74. Physics Of The Impossible by Michio Kaku
75. Teach Yourself Games Programming by Alan Thorn
ETA books read and ticker
Book 2 for the year speaks to my fractured reading time. The Darwin Awards Next Evolution by Wendy Northcutt. Short one or two page vignettes of stupid people doing fatal or nearly fatal things.
The Tough Guide To Fantasy Land by Diana Wynne Jones
Encyclopedia style satire that pokes fun at the all too recognizable fantasy tropes. Some entries were only meh but others were laugh out loud hilarious. I definitely recognized several fantasy books I've read. A fun and easily broken up read.
msg 1 edited to add ticker and books read list
Motel Of The Mysteries by David Macauley
I first read this book in school for a section on archeology. Whenever I see or hear some expert start telling us how things were or are in great detail based on minimal data, I think of this book and chuckle. A must read to put things in perspective for anyone who reads archeology or history books.
I pulled this out for a reread after seeing a particularly pompous lecture by a scientist telling everyone how it was in great detail based on far too little actual evidence. I feel this book should be required reading for all scientists. I love the Discovery Channel and its productions because anything that helps popularize science is a good thing. I also sometimes fear that the CSI effect in courtrooms will be replicated in science as some people build up unrealistic expectations based on these shows.
How To Live On Mars by Robert Zubrin
Book by the founder of the Mars Society written from the perspective of an experienced Marsman/Hustler on some of the technology science and decisions involved in surviving on Mars. I found the book interesting, but just okay. I kind of feel like I should have liked the book more than I did. There was nothing wrong with the book, I just didn't get into it as much as you would think considering the subject matter (I tend to be very passionate on space travel and colonization).
Touchstone lead to the wrong book.
If I Were An Evil Overlord edited by Martin Greenberg and Russell Davis
Collection of stories on the theme of being an evil overlord. A quick, fun, humorous read.
Heroics for Beginners by John Moore
A humorous book that pokes fun at some of the standard fantasy devices. A quick, enjoyable read to get me through a sleepless night. Recommended for the fractured fairy tales set or those who enjoyed The Tough Guide to Fantasy Land.
Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon
First of five books in Vatta's War series. Girl on her maiden voyage as captain of a merchant ship unintentionally ends up in middle of war. Can she get through her adventures and make a profit at the same time? The science is strictly background and part of the setting so no expositions on theory for those who care about that. A fast paced read that I really enjoyed.
The Rolling Stones by Robert A. Heinlein
One of Heinlein's juveniles, a quick fun science fiction adventure. I've been in a reading funk the last couple of weeks and unable to pick up a book for more than a few pages at a time. This was the perfect antidote and I read it in a couple of sessions. When I joined LT last year, Heinlein's books were some of those put to the side for a reread. While some of the technology (sliderules, radio compasses) is dated, most of his stories have aged well.
A week ago, I was 20-30 threads away from at least skimming every thread in the challenge, now, after a few day of ignoring LT for RL, there's over 200 threads with unread messages.
Have Space Suit Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein
A quick fun read. Boy wins space suit in contest and ends up on adventure to the moon and beyond.
The Star Beast by Robert A. Heinlein.
Another Heinelin juvenile, and like all of his juveniles, a fun read. Raising John Thomases ... always good for a grin.
I finally gave up and quit the Science Fiction Fans group on LT. As a fan, it seems wrong not to belong to the group, but it's SNR passed my tolerance threshold long ago. When I first joined LT last year and read through the back messages, I picked up several adds to my wish list. Then the tone of the group started changing and becoming more negative. The negativity of the almost automatic attacks by the literary snob group on pretty much any book or author mentioned as trash or a hack is just depressing. The hundreds of posts splitting hairs and arguing definitions and semantics is a waste of my time. I know there are plenty of good and positive and helpful posts on the group, but I've decided that overall, the group is just not worth my time. All the adds to my wish list this year have come from the challenge group anyway so I doubt I'll miss much. I'll check in from time to time to see if they ever go back to discussing science fiction, but I won't rejoin until I can recognize it as the science fiction fans group and not mistake it for the angry rejected writers group or the literary snobs group.
RL may be interfering with my reading and keeping up with all the posts on LT, but I'm not going anywhere. This group and LT in general have been welcoming, friendly, and helpful. The only thing close to a complaint I have about this group is wondering how to catch up and keep up with all the posts. I still intend to eventually read all the posts in this group. I've found several great recommendations and discussions here.
Thank you for all your suggestions and comments. You're the winner for individual with the most suggestions added to my wish list from your various posts here and through out the group.
You recommended Derkholm earlier and it's already on my wish list, although not bought or borrowed yet. I haven't read any Brust in a while, I'll need to dig those out for a reread at some point. For whatever reason, I can't recall ever reading any of Bujold's books.
If you've not read any Bujold, I think you have a treat in store! She's a quality author!!
Arctic Daughter by Jean Aspen
A young woman graduates junior college and goes off with her fiance to pioneer in the Alaskan Wilderness. If the topic interests you, I suggest finding a different book on the subject. There was plenty of descriptive prose, but I was never drawn into the scenery. Large chunks of daily living and survival that I think might have been interesting were ignored. My only connection with the characters was the occasional desire to shake them and ask if they forgot to pack their common sense or if it was simply frozen.
Watchmen by Alan Moore
Most recommendations from LT are currently going on the wish list to be found at a letter date since I have such a large TBR pile already. However, I can't stay away from bookstores. I haven't read comic in years and graphic novels aren't normally on my reading list. But with the hype for the movie and multiple mentions here on LT, I picked up Watchmen with a coupon. Lots of people have had their say, so I'll just leave it at an interesting read.
That said, I'm still catching up to posts (including yours). I read the shorter, oldest posts, then the starred ones I regularly follow, and then go back to the oldest so I can take the time to read it through. It's almost manageable for me. You'll find a method that works for you.
Nice reads, by the way.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
Yes, I am one of those people who sometimes reads book bought as gifts for others before handing them out. The moneys going to charity, but this is definitely a cash in on the Harry Potter name. I haven't read any of the Harry Potter books all the way through so that may have some bearing on my thoughts. Short, not bad, but not all that great either in my opinion.
The Bart Book (The Simpsons Library of Wisdom) by Matt Groening
Another gift book. Short, fun, good for Simpsons fans.
Brian Boru Emperor of the Irish by Morgan Llywelyn
A read inspired by St Patrick's Day. This was a good story and a fun read. The YA version, there is an adult version of the story that is 3 times as long. Sections of the story were this happened than this happened and lacked any real meat. Overall good, but sections were a little sparse. I enjoyed it.
Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse edited by John Joseph Adams
A collection of post apocalyptic stories. There were a couple of stories that had me scratching my head. Almost all of the stories were in the okay/good category. And there were a couple of really good stories. Nice collection, good value overall.
Jumper by Steven Gould
A science fiction book about a young man who can teleport. he has to learn how to use his power and deal wih the issues it brings up as well as the issues from his past. A well written and interesting book that I enjoyed reading. I know it won't be the same, but I'm definitely adding the movie to my Netflix queue.
The Mystery of Ireta by Anne McCaffrey
Omnibus edition of Dinosaur Planet and Dinosaur Planet Survivors
I really need to do more reading from my TBR pile instead of rereads, but occasionally something reminds you of a scene from a book or movie and it just won't go away. The scene in my head is actually from Planet Pirates which I'm reading now and ties in. Anyway, the book is the story of an exploration team put on a planet with dinosaurs. The dinosaurs are a mystery, but the main focus of the stories is on the team and their fight for survival leading up to and after a mutiny (I guess I can say that since it is mentioned on the back of the book) and at the end a confrontation with planet pirates. This book and Planet Pirates share a galactic setting and many characters, but both stand alone without requiring you to read the other. Another great world from McCaffrey.
I'm back. Even though I could have done without the underlying reasons, an occasional vacation without bringing along even a laptop is a nice break. I should have tried it long before now. I refuse to look at how far behind it has put me, I'll get to it when I get to it, and the vacation was worth it. Taking time to visit with family and see that everybody is okay with my own eyes rather than hearing about it over the phone is something I need to do more often.
Triplanetary by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
First Lensman by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
Galactic Patrol by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
Grey Lensman by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
The Lensman series by E.E. 'Doc' Smith is grand space opera. The series is one of the originals and was the first of its kind in several respects. Good is good, bad is pure evil, men are men, women are women, and everything is black and white. There are no real shades of grey. It is over the top, with millions of ships involved in battles and loose planets tossed around like over sized hand grenades. If you choose to look for flaws, you can pick it so full of holes, it won't stand up. But it is great fun. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. If you are in the right mood, the Lensman series is highly enjoyable. As long as you understand what space opera means, highly recommended.
The versions I listened to were audio editions narrated by Reed McColm and downloaded from Audible. Everything waas spoken clearly and understandably. I had no problems keeping track of which character was speaking and what was going on. I question some of the voice choices as not quite matching the character, but it wasn't a major detractor and didn't keep me from enjoying the audio version. As always when available, these were unabridged editions. Overall, excellent audio quality and a great narration.
but I'm anxious to know if this was a first read for Landshark or a reread, and what the review will be!
The series was published in magazines, before being collated and reworked into the better known series of books. The complete series in internal sequence, and their original publication dates are:
1. Triplanetary (4 parts, January-April 1934, Amazing Stories)
2. First Lensman (1950, Fantasy Press)
3. Galactic Patrol (6 parts, September 1937-February 1938, Astounding Stories)
4. Gray Lensman (4 parts, October 1939-January 1940, Astounding Stories)
5. Second Stage Lensmen (4 parts, November 1941-February 1942, Astounding Stories)
6. Children of the Lens (4 parts, November-1947-February 1948, Astounding Stories)
Originally the series consisted of the final four novels published between 1937 and 1948 in the magazine Astounding Stories. However, in 1948, at the suggestion of Lloyd Arthur Eshbach (publisher of the original editions of the Lensman books as part of the Fantasy Press imprint), Smith rewrote his 1934 story Triplanetary, originally published in Amazing Stories, to fit in with the Lensman series. First Lensman was written in 1950 to act as a link between Triplanetary and Galactic Patrol and finally, in the years up to 1954, Smith revised the rest of the series to remove inconsistencies between the original Lensman chronology and Triplanetary.
The Lensman books are fun stories that I enjoyed tremendously. As long it is understood, these are space opera, I recommend them. These aren't books for when you're looking for something with meat to dig your teeth into. You sit back and enjoy the ride. It's escapist, not thought provoking.
I read some of the Skylark books back in school *cough*cough* years ago so this is not my fist Doc Smith but my first time going through the Lensman series. I think they hold up well. Some may not like the old fashioned men are men, women are women stereotypes, but I think they play well in space opera.
Aliens Among Us Edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois
A collection of stories about aliens living among humans on Earth. There were a couple of good stories but more than one left me scratching my head wondering what the point of the story was. Nothing terrible but the collection overall is just okay.
The Vortex Blaster by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
Another book in the Lensman world, but not part of the main story arc. It follows Dr. Storm Cloud, a member of the galactic patrol, but not a lensman. This story does not pack the punch of the earlier books and since it is not part of the main story arc, can be safely skipped. Okay, but not one I'd put any effort into seeking out.
I recommended Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin based on the reviews here and my dad liked it enough to start looking for other books by the author. A medieval mystery, it's been added to my TBR pile. I rarely recommend books to my dad or vice versa due to different reading tastes and I usually end up recommending stuff I hear about only to find out he's already read it. Finding a book that should appeal to both of us is a real treat.
A more serious recommendation from my mom. Be a Survivor : Your Guide to Breast Cancer by Vladimir Lange. An informative guide that helped my mom in a stressful time. Some cancer groups hand this guide out and though treatment options keep getting better and changing, it is a useful overall treatment of the subject. Luckily I can say my mom has come through treatment in great shape and I can breathe again.
Have Spacesuit, Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein
I read the book a couple of months ago. This is the full cast audio edition I picked up at an Audible sale. I liked the book and liked the audio edition. This was an unabridged full cast ensemble version. The main characters were voiced clearly and understandably. A couple of the minor characters were voiced with accents that made them harder to understand, but overall there was nothing inaudible or that I couldn't understand. There were very few sound effects (a good thing in my mind) and none of the sound effects were over the narration. An enjoyable listen.
Where's My Jetpack? by Daniel H. Wilson, Ph.D.
Where's My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future That Never Arrived looks at the technologies of science fiction like jetpacks, rayguns, teleportation, ... The technologies are examined in a humorous vein like How to Survive a Robot Uprising. How to Survive a Robot Uprising looks at movie robots and doesn't provide much useful information however. While humorous, Where's My Jetpack? gives a useful, factual high level overview of the technologies discussed. Of course, you wish it would go into more detail on some technologies, but it provides some very interesting info.
Red Thunder by John Varley
Take two teens just out of high school that dream of going to space, their girlfriends, a drunk ex-astronaut, and a socially retarded yet genius inventor and you have a group that is determined to build a private spaceship and be the first to Mars. Take a Chinese mission that left months ago and a NASA crash program that is trying to catch up to the Chinese and you have a race to Mars. A fun, fast paced, enjoyable read that kept me up half the night when I should have been sleeping.
Backyard Ballistics by William Gurstelle
This is a book I should have had when I was younger and conducting trench warfare in my grandparent's gravel driveway.
Sanctuary edited by Robert Lynn Asprin
Sanctuary is the hardcover omnibus of the first three books of the Thieves' World series. A typical swords and sorcery fantasy world, each books has multiple stories by different authors whose only rule is don't kill off someone else's major character. A rather nasty place, but I had several of the books at one time. I lost them learning the lesson that people who will return books you lend them are rare, few, and very far in between. i was thrilled to find this book used for a good price as a replacement.
Spacesuits by Amanda Young
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum has 200 spacesuits in its collection. This book documents the evolution of the spacesuit with plenty of photographs. The book maily focuses on US spacesuits through the Apollo and Skylab eras as the Smithsonian has very few shuttle or Soviet spacesuits. Aimed square at space nuts, it is full of interesting info, but of course, you want even more.
The Planet Pirates by Anne McCaffrey
This is an omnibus edition of The Death Of Sleep, Sassinak, and Generation Warriors. These books tie in with The Mystery of Ireta, but you don't need one to make sense of the other. I got through the first two stories and part of the third right after reading Ireta and the book has been sitting on the table for the past couple fo months waiting for me to get around to finishing it. Not the most satisfying of conclusions, but a good story.
Free Space edited by Brad Linaweaver and Edward Kramer
Free Space is an anthology of libertarian science fiction. The idea is interesting and intriguing, however the execution and quality turned out to be a mixed bag. It took me half a year to read this book as I kept putting it down for other books in between stories. Overall, it's just okay, nothing special.
The Man Who Never Missed by Steve Perry
First book of the Matador series. the hero sets himself against a galactic confederation. Mix in the military, highly skilled shooting, and martial arts to create a fun science fiction read. A comfort read for a sleepless night.
Matadora by Steve Perry
Second book of the Matador series. The hero trains and creates a cadre of trusted helpers to carry on the revolution. A quick afternoon read that's just as enjoyable as the first book.
The Machiavelli Interface by Steve Perry
Third book of the Matador series. The time of widespread revolution has come and the matadors need to do their part to bring about the fall of the confederation. Another quick, fun read.
The Omega Cage by Steve Perry and Michael Reaves
Another Matador novel. The first three books of the Matador series are about the revolution and all the others are the major character's adventures before and after the revolution. If you haven't read and liked the original trilogy, I wouldn't bother with any of the other books in the series. The other books are good, but not at the same level as the starting trilogy.
The 97th Step by Steve Perry
Another of the Matador series. An interesting book, good, but not as good as the first three in my opinion. Stylistically, I didn't care for the multiple flashbacks at the beginning of the book.
The Albino Knife by Steve Perry
A Matador story that brings all the major players from the revolution back together to defend against a series of attacks and solve a kidnapping. A quick read and interesting story.
The Black Steel by Steve Perry
And another Matador novel, only another two books to go. Normally, there's no way I could read a nine book series back to back without my mood changing and picking up another book, but these are extremely quick reads for me. This book ups the martial arts ante to sword fighting. An enjoyable read, however some of the scenes seem to be written for the sake of titillation, and don't really expand the characters or story line that much. The Matador series has several same sex couplings that could squick some people out, although none of it is all that graphic.
Brother Death by Steve Perry
Another Matador book. My least favorite of the series.
The Musashi Flex by Steve Perry
Ninth book of the Matador series. Written years after the other books, it focuses on the Flex and the creation of sumito. A good book, but the ending left something to be desired. Through out the series, you can spot little recycled bits and pieces. Still, a good series that i keep around for occasional rereads.
The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld compiled by Stephen Briggs
Terry Pratchett in bite sized (and some a little larger) pieces.
Gamer Fantastic edited by Martin Greenberg and Kerrie Hughes
A collection of short stories about games and gamers. there were a couple of stories I really liked but there were also a couple of stories I really did not like. The stories I didn't like dragged the collection down.
The Fire Duke by Joel Rosenberg
An interesting twist on characters from Norse mythology combined with multiple worlds and fencing/sword-fighting. Had its moments, good, but could have been better.
A couple of more recommendations for the wishlist, Thanks.
I found the concept behind The Fire Duke to be interesting, but the execution could have been better. I though the author didn't always think through the consequences of his characters' actions and some of the reactions seemed false. Still a good book overall.
Fast Ships, Black Sails edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer
A collection of pirate stories seemed the perfect book to start on Talk Like a Pirate Day. There were a couple of excellent stories but the collection as a whole doesn't meet my standard for recommendation of at least half the stories should be okay or better. A third of the stories left me with the question, "What was the point of this?" and one was just plain terrible. Keep the best of the stories, cut two thirds out, release as a mass market and you have a must own book instead of a collection that is trying to use a couple of great stories to drag it out of mediocrity.
How To Build Your Own Spaceship by Piers Bizony
This is an interesting yet badly named space book. The name and back blurb/publishers description are misleading. The focus is not on building spacecraft. It is a business book, not a science book. As a popularization book, it touches on but does not deep dive into several topics concerning space business. There is mention of rocket fuels, Soyuz, Apollo, and other spacecraft, but the focus is on the business opportunities of space. Besides mentioning several business opportunities from contracting to starting your own space tourism business, it touches on issues like financing, politics, legal, environmental, and public perception. The title and description were misleading, but I found this to be an interesting book providing food for thought on the concerns of a space business.
I'm sure you'll enjoy it. It's interesting and you won't have that Hey, What's this? moment where you realize the title and book don't quite match.
You've already got a dream job for a space nut. Maybe if you wanted to quit and start your own space company.
Foundation by Isaac Asimov
I set the Foundation books to the side for a reread when I started entering my books into Library Thing and sorting through boxes of books. Great story, still powerful and enjoyable.
Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov
A good book, but lacks reread value. The story uses a gimmick that is very recognizable even after years between reads.
Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Good book, nothing special to say about it.
The Tao Of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
Never read a philosophy book when your allergies are acting up even if it says philosophy/humor.
Zombie Haiku by Ryan Mecum
A poet becomes a zombie and continues writing haiku about his experience. Some good ones, some funny ones, overall tries too hard. Okay, strictly a Halloween novelty book.
The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks
I've been looking for this book since reading World War Z last year. I was surprised not to find it at a book store until this year's Halloween display considering the sucess of World War Z. A civilian survival guide for dealing with zombie outbreaks, some parts seem well thought out and others not so much. Good, but not the same caliber as World war Z.
World War Z by Max Brooks
Interviews with survivors of a zombie war. One of my favorite new reads of last year. Seemed like the perfect time to reread between Halloween and finding The Zombie Survival Guide. A memorable well written book.
I reread that this year as well, its shockingly good isn't it?
Old Man's War by John Scalzi
Man turns 75 and leaves Earth to join the military protecting humanity's colonies. A reread now that I've picked up more books in the series. Great military science fiction and highly recommended.
The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
Sequel to Old Man's War. Focusing on the special forces, the Colonial Defense Force must break up an alien alliance getting ready to war on humanity and track down a human traitor helping the aliens. Another excellent story from Scalzi. Two great books means I'll be picking up anything new from Scalzi I see.
The Last Colony by John Scalzi
Third in the world of old man's War. Our heroes have retired from the military and are asked to lead a new colony. The colony is a trap and pawn in an interstellar conflict. Another strong military science fiction story from Scalzi. There was none of the trilogy letdown I have felt in other series.
The Pillars of the World by Anne Bishop
First book in the Tir Alainn trilogy. A good fantasy story with witches.
Shadows and Light by Anne Bishop
Second book in the Tir Alainn trilogy.
The House of Gaian by Anne Bishop
Third book in the Tir Alainn trilogy. Story arc escalates to war, not as strong as the other books in the series.
Zoe's tale by John Scalzi
Another story set in the world of Old Man's War. Zoe's Tale retells the story of The Last Colony from the viewpoint of the colony leaders' adopted daughter Zoe. A strong heroine provides another strong book from Scalzi. A couple of hiccups in believability for me but a great story overall.
The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
A dark fantasy full of self interested characters and ambiguous moral decisions. The world was well imagined and interesting. The translation was good. The jumps of the story made it a little hectic, but still enjoyable.
Starman Jones by Robert Heinlein
Farmboy goes and has adventures in space. I said earlier that there was no Heinlein YA I could think of that I didn't like. That is still true though I find this story towards the bottom of the scale. I don't recall reading this one before and found it on Audible. I'm usually a fan of show don't tell, but the beginning chapters of the book could have been easily compressed into a couple of paragraphs and saved some grinding slowness. Conversely the ending seemed stuffed into a couple of paragraphs and could have been expanded some. The meat of the story was enjoyable and about what you'd expect from a YA adventure. The Audible edition was well narrated and everything was clear and understandable.
The Sagan Diary by John Scalzi
Another story in the world of Old Man's War. The diary of Jane Sagan, special forces soldier, it fits between The Ghost Brigades and The Last Colony. There are too many assumptions and references to the other books for this to stand alone. The prose is more lyrical and different in tone from the rest of the series. This was the free audio version available from Scalzi's blog. It was free so he gets a bye on the lack of post production. There were multiple readers for a single character and it was jarring when the voice changed from chapter to chapter. Overall, both in terms of content and production, it didn't do much for me and gets an okay.
You probably already figured this out but if you follow the link in bluesalamander's review, you can find a web version and download the free audio version of The Sagan Diary.
The Skylark of Space by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
Skylark Three by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
Skylark of Valeron by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
Skylark DuQuesne by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
The Skylark series is space opera same as the Lensman series. It was written before the Lensman series and is more personal in scope, looking at only one generation and having the same major characters from story to story. Fun, enjoyable, over the top, escapist science fiction. The only real negative I have to point out is that while in the Lensman series, men were men and women were women, the lead women remained strong characters from start to finish, in the Skylark series, the women started out strong, but were diminished in character on signing the marriage contracts.
Skylark and Lensman are Smith's main series. Skylark was actually his first science fiction. He had some individual stories and his name was associated with a couple more series, but it was more of an inspired by than main author of situation if I remember correctly.
Interesting idea. I haven't tried a group read on LT yet. I could follow along and test the waters on a series I know I enjoyed.
I've never participated in a group read here (or anywhere since school) so I'm probably not the right person to lead the discussion.
Physics Of The Impossible by Michio Kaku
Physicist Michio Kaku looks at common science fiction technologies like force fields, teleportation, and spaceships in terms of today's theoretical physics and if and when they might be possible in the real world. It was an interesting read.
Teach Yourself Games Programming by Alan Thorn
Learn how to design and create your own games??? Not really. The book does not go deep enough into the theory and process of game design and focuses too much on certain programming systems like C++ to be of much use to me. It truly is a teach yourself book as several topics are introduced on a very high level and it is up to you to research and teach yourself.
Yay, I made it to 75 books for the year. I may get more read before the end of the year, we'll see how it goes with visiting and holiday activities (and college football bowl season). I'll be back to this thread at least once more to wrap things up before moving on to the 2010 thread.
First off, thanks for the encouragement and recommendations, it's really appreciated. My short holiday trip turned out to be a long extended take care of family business trip and my car stereo died so I didn't get any reading or listening done to close out 2009. That means my total for the year stands at 75 which included paper and audio books, but not online reading, newspapers, or magazines. Tracking: I checked my list a couple of times because it was there and easy, but I wouldn't have missed it if it wasn't there. Thread: Except when traveling, I listed books read within a couple of days. I could have done a better job in terms of more info on the books and my opinion. Group: Nice, friendly people and I saw some good discussions and recommendations before I got overwhelmed. A total failure in terms of keeping track of any thread other than mine.
Next steps: Move on to the 2010 group (where I'm already a couple of weeks behind), dig out Triplanetary and catch up on the Lensman group read, try and keep up with at least a few key threads, and in general just participate a little more in 2010.
See ya in the 2010 group.
Landshark5's Books for 2010