The Forever War Review

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Author: Joe Haldeman
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Published 1974, this edition 2009

“So. Damn. Good.”

That was my reaction and the first words I wrote after finishing The Forever War. My thoughts after letting the book sit with me for over a week have not changed. It is not only a great science fiction war novel (many would say the best), it is a great war novel. period. Continue reading

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2018 Reading Goals

So I’ve been mulling over setting some reading goals for the new year. I don’t like setting hard goals to meet and I never make New Year’s resolutions. But, I do have some general goals I’d like to accomplish this year and going forward.

When I started the blog back in November I didn’t have any goals other than start the damn blog! Then once it launched I tried to post at least twice a week. That was it really. But now that I’m a matured and seasoned blogger (of about two months) it’s time to get serious. In a non-committal kind of way. So here’s a few or more general things I’d like to start doing.

READ MORE DEBUT NOVELS

IMG_3522.jpgThis year I want to read at least one debut novel a month. I know, right there like two paragraphs above I said I don’t like setting hard goals, and here I’ve set a number. Shush…I can do what I want, it’s my blog.

Anyway, I’d like to read at least one debut novel each month. For a long time I’ve only read books after the author is established. But that means I miss out on the excitement of finding a new author and getting to tell everyone about them. And yeah it may mean I read a few duds, but my guess is I find some gems too. If 2017 was any example there is great potential for some awesome new fiction. So, one new debut a month and by the end of the year maybe I can post a decent best of 2018 list.

For January my debut is Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft. Now I know, this isn’t exactly a debut because he self-published it a few years ago, but it just got picked up by Orbit and released today. It was his debut novel, and I’m treating it as a debut for 2018. Continue reading

January 2018 Update

I wanted to give everyone a quick update on what’s going on, and what to look forward to at least in the short-term.

Vintage SciFi

Right now it’s Vintage Science Fiction Month! If you’d like to participate choose some vintage science fiction and read along. Blog about it if you blog, tweet about it if you tweet, facebook about it if you facebook, insta if you insta, whatever. There are no hard and fast rules about what qualifies for “vintage” science fiction but I (and others) are using our birth year…if it’s older than you it’s vintage.

If you’d like some more details about Vintage Science Fiction Month check out this post from Andrea at the Little Red Reviewer for background and on Twitter @VintageSciFi_ (with the underscore at the end).

IMG_3471.jpgA bunch of us have joined together for a Dune read along on twitter. Each week we read a portion of the text then participate in a group chat. At the end of the month we’re talking about watching the 80’s Dune movie and doing a live chat. Look for #ReadDune on Twitter.

So far I’m really enjoying my second reading of this SF classic. There’s soooooo much I glossed over in my first reading 15 or more years ago. That and age has given me a wider context for things unfortunately.

I’ll probably do some sort of review at the end of the month. Continue reading

Best Books Of 2017

It feels a little strange to be writing this post today. I started 2017 with a goal of trying to see just how many books I could read in the year. There was no set amount, I was just going to note a few words about them as I went and post pictures to facebook and twitter with pictures of my bedside bookshelf as it filled up with each read. By the end of the year I was blogging and writing reviews. So who knows what I’ll be doing this time in 2018.

Last night I took a look back at my list. I read 47 books in 2017. I’ve discovered that’s not a lot compared to some of you but I feel pretty good about it. I’ve put the full list at the bottom of this post. There’s some really good books in that list. I didn’t get to read as many works published in 2017 as I would have liked and there were a lot of great books to come out in the SFF world this year. I wish I could have got to more of them.

Anyway, for this post I’ve listed the seven books that I either gave a five star review on the blog, or that I would have given a five star review had I been blogging at the time I read it. Four of the seven are debuts! Not all of them fall into the speculative fiction focus of the blog but I do read a wider selection. You’ll even notice some history books at the bottom where I’ve listed all the reads of the year. So here you go…my best of 2017 in the order I read them. Continue reading

Blackwing Review

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Author: Ed McDonald
Publisher: ACE
Published: October 2017

“Slowly realizing I like grimdark more than I thought I did.” That was my reaction just a few chapters into Ed McDonald’s dark, gritty, and bloody debut, Blackwing. If this book doesn’t make you a fan of the grimdark genre nothing will.

Hope, Reason, Humanity: The Misery Breaks Them All.

“Under its cracked and wailing sky, the Misery is a vast and blighted expanse, the arcane remnant of a devastating war with the immortals known as the Deep Kings. The war ended nearly a century ago, and the enemy is kept at bay only by the existence of the Engine, a terrible weapon that protects the Misery’s border. Across the corrupted no-man’s-land teeming with twisted magic and malevolent wraiths, the Deep Kings and their armies bide their time. Watching. Waiting.”

Continue reading

Updated Book Rating System

I’ve got a number of items on my “to do” list related to the blog that I hope to accomplish between now and when I go back to work next week. One of those items is updating my book rating system. Why should I post it for everyone to see? Well, I feel like it’s just good manners to let an author know how their work was judged. I also think readers of the blog will appreciate knowing what went into a rating other than my subjective whim at the time of writing. Maybe nobody cares, but here it is… Continue reading

My Christmas Eve Reads

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Christmas is filled with traditions. You know this even if you don’t celebrate the holiday. Here in the U.S. you can’t avoid the craziness of the nationwide offering to Mammon that is Black Friday and the entire shopping season during the run up to Christmas Day. The stores are filled with holiday items for sale the moment Halloween is over. And then there’s the Christmas music, because there’s always at least one person you know who wants to listen to nothing but Christmas music all day, every day, from Thanksgiving until Christmas day. There’s always one. If you do celebrate Christmas then add to that Christmas Eve services, family gatherings, Christmas dinner, office parties, gift exchanges, leaving cookies and milk for Santa, and opening gifts on Christmas morning. Traditions.

I have one particular tradition I enjoy as much, if not more than all the others. For the past ten years or so there have been two books I’ve read every Christmas Eve to my children. After we open Christmas Eve gifts (one gift per kid, another tradition for our family) we all gather together in our matching pajamas (cheesy I know), pile onto the couch by the fireplace, and as the kids snuggle up next to me I read… Continue reading

The TBR Short Stack: Dec 19, 2017 (And A Quick Update)

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So what’s the TBR short stack? For me it’s my small to be read pile; the one sitting in the cabinet beside my reading chair. This is the pile of books I’ve selected to read next in no particular order. The short stack is not to be confused with all the other books in the house that are on my to read list. Those other books will sit on shelves collecting dust until I finish the short stack, and until I quit adding to it with other books that catch my eye and I pick up week to week. I’m like a dog seeing a squirrel that way.

So…there’s twelve more days before the end of the year and here’s all the books I still have to read and review in no particular order. Continue reading