A Reading Diary, Science Fiction

Posted on November 9, 2015. Filed under: Book Reviews, Science Fiction, The Walker Library |

  1. Fiction
  2. Science Fiction/Fantasy
  3. Hard SF/Military- Ian Douglas
  4. Douglas, Ian. Star Corpsman: Blood Star. Harper/Voyager: New York, 2012 (355pp.) Read in 2013.
  5. Douglas, Ian. Star Corpsman II: Abyss Deep. 2013, (373pp.) Read May 2014.
  6. Douglas, Ian. Star Carrier IV, Deep Space. Harper/Voyager: New York, 2013 (355pp.) Read May 5-15-14 to 5-25-14.
  7. Douglas, Ian. The Heritage Trilogy, Book 1: Semper Mars. EOS: New York, 1998 (376pp.) This is the second time I have read this fantastic book (04-26-15 to 04-28-15). This is one of my favorite books/series because it is so believable in the area of technology. Obviously he got the timing of things wrong, written 1998, but the general flow of the technology is very believable. The military/political action is also outstanding and very believable. The obvious failure for me as a Christian is the main premise of the book that man was “created” by aliens. Still, the “first contact” aspect of the book is outstanding as well. This book is what S-F should be!
  8. The Heritage Trilogy, Book 2: Luna Marine. 1990 (402pp.) This is the second time I have read this book (04-29-15 to 04-30-15) and is one of my favorites as a part of this trilogy. I find the science part of the book to be quite believable although I disagree with the atheistic “we are made by aliens” subtext which is not quite explicit but certainly is being put forward.
  9. The Heritage Trilogy, Book 3: Europa Strike. 2000 (483pp.) Read 2nd time 05-01-15 to 05-04-15. This closes out one of the best S-F trilogies around in a very believable military SF story that shows the progression of science in the future.
  10. Star Carrier V, Dark Matter. Harper/Voyager: New York, 2014 (370pp.) Read 07-25-16 to 08-01-16. This is another good, solid book in the series by Douglas that combines Military SF with Hard SF and touches of philosophy. One of the ongoing themes in the series is the White Covenant, an Anti-religious political pact that forces people to keep their religion to themselves, no evangelizing. By the end of this book, that philosophy is starting to crumble in an interesting way. This book includes a lot more real science and scientific theory.
  11. Military SF- David Weber
    1. Honor Harrington series, On Basilisk Station.
    2. Honorverse series, Manticore Ascendant I: A Call to Duty by David Weber and Timothy Zahn. Baen: Riverdale, NT 2014 (384pp) Read 11-13-16 to 11-17-16. Another Outstanding book in the Weber corpus! This book definitely has shades and themes hearkening back to On Basilisk Station. Introducing a new hero, Travis Long, and going back in time to the beginning of the rise of Manticore before the discovery of the junction. The book tells the story of young Travis Long who joins the navy to get away from an unhappy home life and no future. He finds disappointment with the navy but then finds his life and home there as well. He seeks to live a life of hard work and integrity when all those around him just want to cheat and get by. The politics of Manticore are in the forefront of this novel, as always in the Honor Harrington series, and it is those who want to do the right thing against the liberals who always want more power but don’t like the military. And of course there are some bad guys thrown in, and lots of action.
  12. Hard SF/Military- James A. Corey “The Expanse” series
    1. Leviathan Wakes. Orbit: New York, 2011 (561pp.) Read in early 2013. A very good read, definitely kept my interest. Very realistic descriptions of solar system travel and colonization, business and government complexities with racism. The racism was interesting in that it was people from the inner planets hating Earthers and people from the Outer Planets hating the Inner Planets, etc. I did not really like the alien concept though, but I did like the detective angle.
    2. Caliban’s War. Orbit: New York, 2012 (595pp.) Read in late 2013. Same as above. The military angle and battles are pretty good, but, again, the alien is a bit too weird for me.
    3. Abbadon’s Gate. 2013 (539pp.) Read 06-02-15 to 06-08-15. This one was the best of the three so far in that the alien is now more understandable and it makes sense. The author uses religion quite skillfully in this book, which is a rarity for SF writers. There was a theme of vengeance and redemption/forgiveness. The military angle in this book was quite good with very realistic zero g fight scenes. This is a good series which I will keep up with, but not greatness.
  13. Hard SF/Military- Ben Bova
  14. Grand Tour#1 Powersat. TOR: New York, 2005 (424pp.) 2013.
  15. Grand Tour#2 Privateers. TOR: New York, 1985 (383pp.) 2013.
  16. Grand Tour#3 Empire Builders. TOR: New York, 1993 (406pp.) 2013.
  17. Grand Tour #4 Mars. Bantam: New York, 1992 (549) 2013.
  18. Grand Tour #5 Moonrise. AVON: New York, 1996 (543pp.) 2014.
  19. Grand Tour #6 Moonwar. AVON Books: New York 1998 (501pp.) 2014.
  20. Grand Tour #7 Return to Mars. EOS: New York, 1999 (543pp) March 2014.
  21. Grand Tour #8 The Precipice. TOR: New York, 2001 (422pp.) April 2014.
  22. Grand Tour #9 Jupiter. TOR: New York, 2001 (389pp.) April 2014. One of the best books ever to show the tension between religion and science! Fantastic!
  23. Grand Tour #10 The Rock Rats. TOR: New York, 2002 (384pp.) May 2014.
  24. Grand Tour #11 The Silent War. TOR: New York, 2004 (410pp.) May 2014.
  25. Grand Tour #12 The Aftermath. TOR: New York, 2007 (396pp.) Read May-June 2014.
  26. Grand Tour #13 Saturn. TOR: New York, 2004 (470pp.) Read April 2015. This is a clever book about politics set inside a colony ship bound for Saturn where the thousands of colonists are to choose their government. Bova is showing how the corrupt and evil ideologies of communism, liberalism and fascism vie for power and hinder the science of the trip to Saturn.
  27. Grand Tour #14 Leviathans of Jupiter. TOR: New York, 2011 (500pp.) Read May 2015. Bova returns us to Jupiter to investigate the intelligent Leviathans of Jupiter in another clever story to demonstrate how science can be corrupted by traditionalism and personal hubris. There is this dominant theme in Bova’s series of revealing the enemies of science from every corner. There is an interesting character study or two in the book, especially that of “Dorn”.
  28. Hard SF/Military SF John Ringo
    1. Troy Rising series, Live Free or Die. Baen Publishing Enterprises: Riverdale, NY 2010 (551pp.) Read for the 2nd time 06-25-15 to 06-29-15. This may be my favorite SF series ever! This is in the First Contact Genre but is so much more. The author’s main purpose is stated in the title and he is speaking to our time every bit as much as he is speaking his vision for the future. This book charts an economic view of free enterprise and a political view of realistic conservatism. The main character, Tyler Vernon, is a fairly average guy who sees an opportunity, seizes the day, and forces his vision on the solar system. This book mocks liberalism from front to back. The book excels in its realistic approach to a first contact event and shows that the galaxy is not necessarily a safe place. This is a classic. Volume one of a trilogy so far.
    2. Troy Rising Series, Citadel. Baen Publishing: Riverdale, NY 2011 (522pp.) Read 06-29-15 to 07-02-15. As good as the first volume in this series was, this one is even better! Again there is serious presentation of economics and politics during war, but the character development is also strong with additional heroes/heroines
    3. Troy Rising Series, The Hot Gate. Baen Publishing: Riverdale, NY 2011 (528pp.) Read 2nd time 07-02-15 to 07-04-15. This series gets better with each book! Seriously, this might be my favorite SF series of all time. The economics and politics of this book are right on target without sounding “preachy”. He is showing the realities of war fighting. “The only thing worse than war is loss of liberty,” p.206.
    4. Black Tide Rising series, vol.1, Under A Graveyard Sky. Baen: 2013 (479pp.) Read 07-04-15 to 07-06-15. This is a good Apocalyptic/Zombie series that combines some good, believable, science with excellent survival instruction/action. It is Hollywooded up somewhat as some of the action sequences are simply NOT realistic. Characterization is good as Ringo focuses on the two teenage daughters of the main protagonist, Steve Smith. It was a weird twist to have our hero as a naturalized US citizen from Australia who was a Para and currently an American History HS teacher. The survival at sea motif is unique and really works. A very good read, but not a classic like the Troy Rising
    5. To Sail A Darkling Sea. Baen: 2014 (507pp.) Read 07-08-15 to 07-11-15. An excellent sequel to the first volume with great character development and action.
    6. Islands of Rage & Hope. Baen:2014 (521pp.) Read 08-09-15 to 08-12-15. Good fun reading with continuing character development.
  29. Hard SF, Autumn Kalquist
    1. Fractured Era series, Better World, by Autumn Kalquist. Diapason Publishing: 2015 (141pp.) Read on 10-03-15. This novella has some good ideas, combining a dystopia with some hope for a new world and lots of adventure. This is a prequel to a pre-existing series. The problem with this book, however, is that the writing style is for adolescents (young adult) and does not come close to including enough detail. The plots include an 18 year old who is so distraught over looking for hope and purpose that she attempts suicide but is rescued by a friend. Another plot is that she is a lesbian and this is kind of a coming of age/coming out novel and her lesbianism is a major problem as her society must have healthy babies born to reproduce their losses. The paganism in the book is feeble and is becoming too common in SF writings (see Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series). The basic ideas and storyline are sound so I might go for a second book. Also this book is listed as a novella, so the full sized books in the series might have more of the details I think it needs. All in all, I cannot recommend this book.
  30. Hard SF Andy Weir
    1. The Martian, by Andy Weir. Broadway Books: BROADWAYBOOKS.COM 2014 (387pp.) Jeremy ordered this book for me as we were walking out of the theater after watching the movie version, The Martian, starring Matt Damon. The movie and the book will be in my all time favorites list, probably top 10. This book was difficult as it is filled with scientific data and formulas, gear and technical terms. But that is absolutely what makes this book as powerful as it is! This is a modern day Robinson Crusoe…on Mars! Yeah, I love me some space opera and military sci fi with lots of aliens and space battles, but the best sci fi is believable and near enough to our time to make it seem achievable. In twenty years from today, 2015, the things written by Weir may be happening! While the book is laced with profanity and presents pretty much an atheistic worldview, the story is a good, positive, can do, pro-America story of human suffering and overcoming all obstacles with heroic efforts from a huge cast of supporting characters, including the communist Chinese. This book is simply outstanding! I highly Recommend.
  31. Military SF Tom Kratman
    1. Carrera series vol.1: A Desert Called Peace. Baen: Riverdale, NY 2007 (975pp.) Read 07-23-15 to 07-29-15. This is my first Kratman book, and I am hooked. This was outstanding! The science fiction part of the story is in the background, and is good, and essential for the story, but the military/political/social conflict on this new world takes place in a time period of about equal technology to early 21st century Earth. The main ideas presented in this well told story revolve around America’s response to 9/11 and the societal/economic/military conflict with islam in the 21st Kratman, an Army veteran (LTC in rank) critiques the U.S. military and politics through his writing of this SF story that takes place 500 years from now. And he does a thorough, and searing job of it! I love this guy! He is not subtle. You know exactly what he is critiquing. This book, and presumably the series, will rate up there with John Ringo’s Troy Rising series and David Webber’s Honor Harrington series.
    2. Carrera series vol.2: 2007 (920pp.) Read 08-19-15 to 09-05-15. This is an outstanding sequel to A Desert Called Peace! Kratman carries on with the story of how Carrera builds his army, navy and airforce and fights the muslims, and anyone who gets in the way, for revenge for their terror attack that killed his family. The message he is sending our culture today is that if we want to win in this war we have to actually fight and we must wage total war without remorse. It is interesting that he does find some muslims as allies in his fight. Our political class and military NEED to read these two books! I can see this series expanding to the point where they gain space flight and go back to earth, or…change the story up and tell about what is going on back on earth.
    3. Carrera Series vol.3, The Lotus Eaters. 2010 (496pp. hardback). Read 10-12-15 to 10-15-15. Outstanding! This may be the best book in the series yet! In this book Carrera leads a war against narco-terror groups, and faces betrayal from within, and counters the aggression of another state. However, the real story is that this book is Kratman’s political manifesto, calling for a timocracy, a democratic republic where only the military and veterans have the right to vote and lead. His political excursions under the name of Jorge Mendoza throughout the book are clear statements pointing to the kind of state Kratman wants. Furthermore, Kratman engages the background science fiction story more in this book detailing the corruption and cultural failures of old Earth. His critiques of our society are spot on; his prophetic voice of where our present civilization is heading is more than plausible, I would say it prescient. Because of his forcefulness and deliberateness in his storyline and the many excurses he includes, this book seriously raises the bar on all the conservative, military SF guys (Ringo, Weber, Drake, Campbell, etc.) Perhaps Carrera is not as loveable as Honor Harrington, but his message is loud and clear.
    4. Carrera Series vol.4, The Amazon Legion. 2011 (593pp.) Read March 2016. Another outstanding work by Kratman, this time focusing on how to wage war with guerillas tactics. The book is a little bit out of sequence with the following books however. His emphasis on using homosexuals in a separate unit is bizarre. I just do not think there are enough homosexuals who are patriotic enough to do this.
    5. Carrera Series vol.5, Come and Take Them. 2013 (798pp.) Read April 2016. This series keeps getting better. Usually sequels start to get old, but not with Carrera! Again, this guy’s philosophy of war needs to be taken seriously!
    6. Carrera Series, vol.6, The Rods and Axe. 2014 (671pp.) Read May 2016. Here the war gets into the defensive phase, so Kratman gives his defensive strategy. Outstanding yet again.
  32. Military SF, Jay Allan
    1. Marines: Crimson Worlds I, System7 Publishing: 2012 (229pp.) Read 01-28-16 to 02-02-16. The plot and writing style were so similar to the Marko Kloos novels listed below that I thought it was the same author using a different name, but they are different people. The setting of a future dystopia is very good and the account of all the training that goes into make a future warrior is outstanding. The way the author explains what the ships and crew have to go through because they do NOT have inertia dampening is unique and believable, no other author does it like this. The character development within the novel is good and the storyline definitely got my attention so I have continued to read this series. This is a good “B” grade SF novel.
    2. The Cost of Victory: Crimson Worlds II. 2012 (258pp.) Read 03-01-16 to 03-17-16. This book solidifies with me that this author is worth reading, the 2nd in the series loses nothing and in fact gains.
    3. A Little Rebellion: Crimson Worlds III. 2013 (346pp.) Read 03-30-16 to 04-06-16. Another very good follow on book in the series.
    4. The First Imperium: Crimson Worlds IV. 2013 (274pp.) Read 04-07-16 to 04-12-16. While I am enjoying the story and the plot is getting thicker, I am doubting the use of the ground forces against the aliens who are not biological and therefore have no use for an earthlike planet. The aliens should just nuke the planet it seems to me; therefore, I see a weakness in the plot in order to give more action to the star players.
    5. The Line Must Hold: Crimson Worlds V. 2013 (288pp.) Read 05-10-16 to 05-17-16. Again, the plot and characters are enough for me to keep on reading; I am invested in the characters now and must see it through the end. Other than the halfway stupid aliens the storyline is good.
    6. To Hell’s Heart: Crimson Worlds VI. 2013 (308pp.) Read 09-15-16 to 09-21-16. The plot gets thicker and some favorite characters get killed off again.
    7. The Shadow Legions: Crimson Worlds VII. 2014 (287pp.) Read 10-12-16 to 10-25-16. The plot is still going very strong with some very good twists. I am invested here so I am going to read to the end I guess.


  1. Military SF, Marko Kloos
    1. Terms of Enlistment. 47North: Seattle, WA 2014 (334pp.) Read 08-20-15 to 08-22-15. This is a good start to a promising series. Definitely not up to the level of Weber, Ringo or Drake, but a good read nonetheless. This is a dystopic/military/space opera/First Contact Genre that has believable characters, realistic futuristic equipment and a fine knowledge of military training, etc. It is occasionally Hollywooded up. I will follow this author and see what comes next.
    2. Lines of Departure. 2014 (315pp.) Read 09-08-15 to 09-13-15. This is a worthy sequel to Terms of Enlistment and adds a whole lot of character development and plot twists. Rarely have I started a new author from the “B” list and really enjoyed it, this is an exception. I really like the combination of Military S/F with dystopia and First Contact tossed in. The aliens are bit over the top but that’s ok so far. He has me hooked now! The main plot underneath the alien invasion is that the civilization is crumbling and there are some in the military who stand up and resist tyranny, risking it all. This is encouraging, but also very complex considering the state of the people back home. He is showing the end state of a high tech welfare state system and that there are no good options. The trip home to visit his mother was reminiscent of Thomas Wolfe’s writing from the 1930’s and the Great Depression. Very sad and moving.
  2. Military SF, Jack Campbell
    1. The Lost Fleet #1 Dauntless. Ace Books: New York, 2006 (293pp.) Read 09-21-15 to 09-23-15. This is a good, B grade, SF story that is worth the read and I will begin to read the series. This does Not rise to the level of Ringo, Weber, Douglass, or Kratman though he seems to pattern himself after Weber’s Honor Harrington character. One of the main themes of the book is Leadership. He does include some small technical detail that other writers avoid- he includes the difficulty of fighting space battles with time lag in the information chain. The other authors tend to all overcome time lag due to distance with their technology but Campbell keeps the time lag real as they fight over light hours and light minutes and light seconds. I like also that he is addressing what a free society can lose after fighting a century long war as standards are relaxed, morals are compromised and we become like our enemy. With the deaths of leaders over and over again, institutional knowledge dies with them and tactics as well as discipline must be renewed. Geary is presented as a “Christ figure” to an exntent and the psychological battles get old and tedious. He introduces enough mystery along the way to keep me asking for more and gives me hope for the series.
    2. The Lost Fleet: ACE Books: New York, 2007 (295pp.) Read 10-03-15 to 10-05-15. This a good “B” grade SF series that has an excellent plot and side stories, but stiff, wooden characters and dialog. There is not much character development going to happen here. The action is good, and Campbell does outshine some of the “A” list authors in his handling of space warfare. I will continue to read the series, but the stiff characters may wear me out eventually.
    3. The Lost Fleet: Courageous, by Jack Campbell. 2008 (299pp.) Read 11-13-15 to 11-15-15. Another decent “B” grade SF novel. The dialogue and characterization are dragging me down. I hope to read the whole series, however, as the basics of the story are good and the hints at aliens are tantalizing. One does hope the Lost Fleet gets home eventually.
    4. The Lost Fleet: Valiant, The Lost Fleet: Relentless, and The Lost Fleet: Victorious, by Jack Campbell. ACE Books: New York, 2008 (284pp.), 2009 (320pp.) and 2010 (331pp.) respectively. I can truthfully say that this series grows on you and gets better the more you read. The characterization improves with each book; the characters are now seeming to be real people and carry on real conversations. While Campbell’s battle sequences get some things right, he is the Best so far at using real distances and times in space, he is inconsistent. He gets that it takes days to set up battles that involve light hours of distances, and that it takes a fraction of a second to fight it out as the ships close, but then he has the ships maneuvering and re-engaging too fast. Another weakness is in the total lack of a staff for the commanders. These flaws, while serious, do not detract much from the story line which is always full of surprises. I can definitely recommend the series!
    5. The Lost Fleet- Beyond the Frontier, Dreadnought, by Jack Campbell. ACE Books: New York, 2011 (368pp.) This book continues the new theme of the unknowable aliens, the enigma race and also continues a theme of the plot to get rid of Black Jack Geary by his own people, this time the government. Another nail-biter ending!
  3. Classics
    1. Jules Verne. From the Earth to the Moon and Round the Moon. Nelson Doubleday, Inc.: Garden City, NY. Originally published in France 1865 and 1870 (279pp. total). I purchased these books decades ago and I don’t think I ever read them, although I do believe I had the Classics Illustrated comic book edition and read them as a child. These two novels are included in Verne’s Voyages Extraordinairs series of books that featured geographical and scientific studies which include Five Weeks in a Balloon, Around the World in Eighty Days, Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, In Search of the Castaways, Mysterious Island, and many others. The Moon books begin in a way that makes me think he is writing a parody of the United States and its obsession with war immediately after the Civil War. Verne does discuss many of the theories current for the day that discuss how to leave earth orbit, reach the moon, and what the moon is like. To the modern day reader it is laughable and ridiculous because we have been to the Moon now. Selenians is the name for the alleged moon people and the most overused word in the book is “savant”. And yet, the book worked for me, it was a good read, and fun. We must realize that this was a serious effort to describe what might happen on a trip to the moon, but about 150 years ago! This book is rightfully a Classic and a forerunner of modern Science Fiction. I would say that this book is required reading for the serious S-F fan who wants to discover the genre’s roots.
    2. A Journey to the Center of the Earth, illustrated by Lars Hokanson, afterword by James Hynes. The Readers’ Digest Association: Pleasantville, NY. Originally published in France in 1864 (280pp.) This was the third in the series of geographical novels in Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires series. I have read this book before, I think maybe even twice before, and I had the Classics Illustrated comic book as well. Also I saw the original movie starring Pat Boone from 1959 but I have not seen the recent movie of 2008 starring Brendan Frasier. The book has the same problems as From the Earth to the Moon, and the same strengths. He discusses the theories of geology and the geologic column and fossils current for his day which all sound so far away from our science. There are several obvious faults in the story that have nothing to do with science, such as the many months of food they carried on their backs along with all the guns, tools, and instruments. You have to just look past these obvious flaws and relax and enjoy the wonder of the story. The psychology of the story is also remarkable in that the characters include a manic-depressive- Harry, and the eccentric Professor along with the extremely laconic Hans. This is a Classic and a must read for the S-F fans who want to learn of the founding of their favorite genre. This is also a good way to introduce children in the pre-teen to early teen age groups to the Classics and S-F.
    3. Isaac Asimov. The Bicentenial Man and Other Stories, Doubleday & Company, Inc.: Garden City, NY 1976 (211pp.) I purchased this book from the Science Fiction Book Club back in 1979 and I may have read 1-2 stories from it, but if so, I never read the entire book. I finally read it 11-30 to12-24-15. Back in my youth, Asimov was one of my favorites; today I much prefer other authors. However, this book was a joy to read and the light hearted stories manage to examine important issues, usually following the Robot theme. The Bicentennial Man was a great movie with Robin Williams, and the short story was truly great and deserves classic status as it examines the question, What does it mean to be human? It does foretell the future in that there is a gradual melding of the human with the machine, and the machines are taking on human characteristics. There are some mysteries and dramas in this book that use S-F as the setting. If you want to get a glimpse of classic S-F and become acquainted with Asimov this may be the book for you. I highly recommend!
  4. Fantasy/Alternative Universe
  5. M. Stirling “The Change Series”

(1). Lord of Mountains. ROC: New York, 2012 (430pp.) Read May 2014.

  1. SF Mysteries/Jack McDevitt
    1. ACE Books: New York, 2013 (389pp.) Read 05-13-15 to 05-14-15. In this book McDevitt returns to the Priscilla Hutchins story after retiring her in his last book. Now, realizing he had a good thing going with “Hutch”, he takes us back to her beginning as a cadet in interstellar pilot school where she gets her license to fly and encounters one mystery/disaster after another in a series of just a few short months. If you are looking for Hard SF with a lot of technical details, this is not for you. My one criticism of McDevitt’s writing is that he makes flying an interstellar waaayyyy tooooo easy. These ships have a one person crew, the pilot, and she can go to sleep, play games, read, etc. the ships fly themselves with their AIs. That criticism being said, what McDevitt does offer are good mysteries and plots with character studies set in the future. In this book he sets up the career of Hutch and gives us much more of the political background for her place in time. It sounds remarkably like today with political cynicism, terror plots, and budget fights. I am a loyal fan and will continue reading the Priscilla Hutchins novels eagerly.
    2. The Hercules Text, by Jack McDevitt. ACE Books: New York, 1986 but greatly updated in 2015, (353pp.) Read 10-15-15 to 10-19-15. Outstanding! One of the best SF novels I have ever read! This is very different from McDevitt’s other novels in that he is writing in the First Contact genre. McDevitt examines the First Contact scenario from how it impacts those who make the contact. He looks at their professional lives, personal lives, politics, military, health, and RELIGION. This is the best handling of religion by a SF author, even better than Ben Bova. Very thoughtful well rounded book and an exciting read! Highly recommend!
    3. Coming Home, by Jack McDevitt. ACE Books: New York, 2014 (356pp.) Read 11-08-16 to 11-11-16. Another Very Good mystery by Jack McDevitt with some odd twists in dealing with historical artifacts from my day!
  2. End of the World/Prepper
  3. Boyd Craven
    1. Devil Dog: Out of the Dark. 2016 (245pp.) Read 10-04-16 to 10-08-16. An acceptable effort at a story from after TEOTWAWKI. The theme is a good guy who is somewhat broken takes care of others while fighting gangs of bad guys. I may continue the series.
  4. Classics
  5. Frankenstein, or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, 1818, A Norton Critical Edition, Edited by J. Paul Hunter. W.W. Norton&Company: London, 1996 (339 pp., text pp.2-156; critical 157-339.) Read 06-28-16 to 09-11-16. I read the novel many years ago and perhaps the Classics Illustrated comic book as a child and I remember the movie vaguely. But this is the first time I have studied the novel. This is the beginning of the Science Fiction genre but it is so much more than a good, scary story. The Critical section of the Norton Critical Edition was generally very helpful in understanding the various layers of the book and I now see it in a totally different light. I highly recommend this edition! The book definitely deserves its Classic status.
  6. Mary Shelley: Her Life, Her Fiction, Her Monsters by Anne K. Mellor. Routledge: London, 1988 (276pp.) Read 09-12-16 to 10-13-16. This was an outstanding biography combined with literary criticism of Shelley’s works. I found the book to be very helpful and mostly understandable. Mary Shelley lived a messed up life and it comes out clearly in her writings. It was sad, really. The depth of understanding that is woven throughout Frankenstein is amazing considering she wrote it when she was 18 years old. I definitely want more of this kind of book whenever I read a classic!
  7. Frankenstein, A Cultural History, by Susan Tyler Hitchcock. W.W. Norton & Company: New York, 2007 (392pp.) Read 10-14-16 to 11-25-16. Outstanding! This book absolutely confirms how important a work was Shelley’s Frankenstein. This book was Very thorough in tracing all of the cultural impact of Frankenstein for the last 200 years. A case can be made for the book being one of the top most influential novels of all time. From sales popularity the book was not that big of a deal in the 1800s and certainly not from a literary critic’s view either. But it did make it to the stage quickly and then, a hundred years later, it took off like a rocket as the science caught up with the novel and the multiplied the value of the novel. Now its place is secure in the canon of Western Literature and the ideas will always remain with us.
  8. Mysteries/Thrillers

Historical Fiction


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