A mish-mash of stuff so far…mostly science fiction and some fantasy mixed in for good measure. Oddly enough, no non-fiction yet this year. Hmmm…I see a couple of things on the bookshelf that could remedy that.
Halo: The Flood (William C. Dietz) / Halo: First Strike (Eric Nylund)
Books 2 & 3 of the tie-in novels for the Xbox game, Halo. I read Halo: The Fall of Reach last year and enjoyed it. These were 2 for 1 at a bookstore going out of business in December of last year. The Flood covers the same material as the game — not as good as The Fall of Reach (especially since I’d played through the game) but it was readable. First Strike covers events after the game and may coincide with events from Halo 2 but I haven’t played through that. Nylund also wrote The Fall of Reach. All are quick reads — eye candy SF adventure.
The Briar King (Gregory Keyes)
The Briar King is the first in a fantasy series by Keyes. The ‘lost colony’ of Roanoke, Virginia figures into the premise of this book. There are interesting ideas in the book. In particular, the faneways — a series of important sites to a particular saint — when walked in the proper order imbue the walker with some of the power of the associated saint. However, something about the story or the author’s writing style didn’t grab me. I don’t have any interest in the later books.
Stranger in a Strange Land (Robert A. Heinlein)
Considered Heinlein’s best work and one of the best science fiction works from the 50s and 60s. He coined the term ‘grok’ (to understand, to be one with) with this book. I read the uncut version published by Heinlein’s wife after his death. Although it was nice to read what was left on the cutting room floor the first time it was published, I don’t agree that this version is the best. At the very least, it needed a small amount editing to fix a few things (spelling, grammar, at least one continuity issue).
The Adventures of Pip and Flinx (Alan Dean Foster): For the Love of Mother-Not / The Tar-Aiym Krang / Orphan Star
I also picked these up at the 2 for 1 sale. I’ve read a lot of other work by Foster (namely, the Spellsinger series) but not this. For the Love of Mother-Not is a prequel written after the first several books were published. It tells of Pip’s early years, being raised by Mother Mastiff and finding Flinx, the mini-dragon that becomes is pet/friend. The other 2 are adventures Pip has a a late teen, young adult. Not bad but not great either.
Dune – The Battle of Corrin (Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson)
This is the third book in the second prequel trilogy by Herbert and Anderson. They’ve done a good job telling the back story that leads up to the Dune series. The Battle of Corrin tells of the final showdown between man and thinking machine and the final destruction of thinking machines. We also continue to see the development of the factions that become the powerful houses, groups and corporations later in the series. Although I’ve enjoyed the prequels, I am happy they’ve come to a conclusion. However, I read that they’ve written 2 more volumes that occur after the original series based on outlines and notes from Frank Herbert. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t!
The Dark Elf Trilogy (R. A. Salvatore): Homeland / Exile / Sojourn
Fantasy trilogy set in the Forgotten Realms world of Dungeons & Dragons. It’s the story of the drow elf, Drizzt Do’Urden, and tells of his upbringing, his choice to split from his heritage and eventual move to live on the surface. Drizzt was originally a character in the Icewind Dale trilogy and this was written afterwards to provide Drizzt’s back story. No new ground is broken in these novels but Salvatore moves the story forward at a good clip. I enjoyed them well enough that I’ve started The Crystal Shard, the first novel in the Icewind Dale trilogy.
Slaughterhouse Five (Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.)
Another classic novel by Indianapolis native, Kurt Vonnegut. It’s a cynical anti-war novel and quite an appropriate read with all the nasty stuff going on in the Middle East this days.
I’m waiting on A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin. It doesn’t look like it will be published any time soon. Something in the Miles Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold or another Harry Bosch novel by Michael Connelly would be nice. If you have any suggestions, let me know!