I’ve been reading a lot of science fiction this spring and summer, but haven’t written anything about them. If I put together a book review for each one, that’s all you would see for the next 2 months. Rather than do that I decided to do just one big post with a bit about each new read.
The Martian is the story of Mark Watney, an astronaut stranded on Mars, who must use every bit of knowledge he can to stay alive until he can be rescued. The level of technical detail and knowledge is incredible (and I’m told accurate). It was a lot of fun. The only thing I can say that was weak, is that there was very little discussion of the mental state a person would be in after spending that much time alone, in what is effectively solitary confinement. It’s well known the psychological state a person would end up in and Watney seems to glide right through without a mental scratch.
I really enjoyed The Martian, as have a huge number of people this year, since it’s now being made in to a movie starring Matt Damon. Andy Weir is the epitomy of the author’s dream (fulfilled through hard-work). Andy self-published on Amazon and the strength of his writing and the amazing technical knowledge and detail propelled him to the top of the charts.
Andy’s made the podcast circuit. Check out some great interviews below:
This was my surprise series of the summer. I grabbed one on a lark and quickly hammered my way through the trilogy. The books take a common premise (the origin of humanity) and takes it for a fascinating spin. The premise is fun, the characters are relatively well written and the pacing is fast. Reminds me a bit of a Clive Cussler novel if he wrote science fiction.
The Atlantis Gene (Book 1)
The Atlantis Plague (Book 2)
The Atlantis World (Book 3)
These books were fun just because I always enjoy a good insurgency series. The earth has been invaded, but rather than just getting rid of humanity we’ve been occupied. Humanity is on the brink but fighting back as usual. The books weren’t anything new or unusual, but they were a fun and quick summer read.
Conquest (Book 1)
Empire (Book 2)
I’d never heard of Ian M. Banks which is a cardinal sin for a true science fiction fan. I just finished up the first novel of the series, Consider Phlebas, an intergalactic war is raging, and our hero is crossing the galaxy, fighting off the Culture, in an attempt to capture a computer that could win the war.
The novel had a pretty unconventional story arc and ending. I have to say I was a bit confused at the conclusion and what it meant to the overarching story. I’m trying out this second novel now.
Consider Phlebas (A Culture Novel – Book 1)
Unless Sanderson just blows it repeatedly, I’m probably going to continue to read anything he puts out. He finished up one of my all time favorite series The Wheel of Time, after the unfortunate death of Robert Jordan, and he did a fanstastic job.
The Reckoners Series is an interesting shift from classic fantasy. The series is set in modern day earth but humanity has suddenly developed super powers, not unlike the X-Men or the old show Heroes. In this version though, US (and world) have been largely destroyed and the remaining cities are ruled by the specials.
The one interesting twist is that each power has a specific weakness that they do their best to keep secret. The key to defeating any special is to find their weakness.
The story centers around a group of Reckoners doing their best to rid the world of the specials. Sanderson is a master of his craft, so characters, story and pacing are a lot of fun.
Firefight (Reckoners Book 2)
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