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childrenIt’s getting towards the end of the year again and I’m starting to think about what I would like to read next year. I haven’t come up with a definitive list, but I have been thinking.

The worst part about reading is that there are only so many hours in the day and so many books to read. Worse still is the fact that there are so many great books out there that I have already read and would love to read again. So that got me thinking. What I would really love to start doing is to mix things up and focus not only on new material that I want to read, but other books that I would love to read again.

For example, a few books that immediately jump to mind are Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln ChildMars and Return to Mars by Ben Bova and West of Eden by Harry Harrison. I read all these book when I was in high school. Relic especially was a book that really captured my attention. It was brand new, nobody had ever even heard of Lincoln Child or Douglas Preston, or Penergast for that matter. Today there are over fifteen books in the series that started with Relic, with more coming out all the time. Same thing with Ben Bova and Mars. Mars is part of his ever growing Grand Tour series that began even before the publication of Mars and is still going today.

These books make up the Something Remembered part of my list. They are books that immediately grabbed me as a young adult and books that I still think about today.

west_edenThen there are books that are Something New, just been published but end up in the back log of things to read. The End of All Things by John Scalzi is in this list. Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos are another that spring to mind.

And then there is Something Old. These are books that were publish more than ten years ago; books that I know about but, again, are back logged in the list of things to read. This list can be pretty big, but a few examples of these would be Dune by Frank Herbert (which has been on previous years lists), Rama by Arthur C. Clarke, Venus, by Ben Bova, or Forge of God by Greg Bear.

The problem with many of these books is that they make up a part of a larger series. And while I love series, I also like to mix it up when it come to my reading. It’s hard for me to start with Dune, for example, and then read the next five books in the series, one after the other. If they are really good, it’s no problem, I did that with the first three book in John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War.

This, however, doesn’t even begin to touch books on my History or writing lists that I hope to read in the next year as well.

star-wars-trilogySo, I did some digging and it appears that there is a book coming out for the new Rogue One movie, but it won’t be out until mid December. Also, as the Lengends books go, Timothy Zahn is coming out with a new Thrawn book in April of 2017. Not really clear about what the specifics of this book are, but given how much of a fan I am of the Heir to the Empire trilogy, I’m more than thrilled to see more new material coming out. Also, there is a second Rogue One book being written by James Luceno, who has written a few books in the Legends world and has apparently jumped over to the official cannon universe of Star Wars.  There new titles can be found herehere and here.

the_deepI’m not sure where I first heard about The Deep by Nick Cutter. It must have popped up on amazon in relation to something else I had read or purchased or looked at. In any event, I like the description and decided to purchase it. I’m over half way through the book that tells the story of a group of scientists that are desperately trying to find the cure for a horrible plague that is ravishing the entire planet. The name of this disease is The Gets. It makes you forget. First you forget where you put your car keys, and eventually you forget where you live, and they you forget other things, things more vital to your well being, like how to breathe, and then…the end. A possible cure is found deep in the ocean – 8 miles down – in the form of a substance name Ambrosia. But is it really a cure?

This is one of a couple of books I have recently picked up that are written by author that I have not only never read anything by them, I haven’t heard their names before. Depth by Lev Ac Rosen is another book and author. As for the deep, so far I like the writing style. It is clear and not confusing and everything makes sense. If there is one complaint that I have so far it is that there is a little too much background given at times. But that’s a minor point. So far I’m pretty pleased with the author and the writing.

ghost_brigadesI’ve been snooping through the web trying to figure out what is new in the Science Fiction world – books, movies, etc – and what I have found is…not much. And at the same time, a lot. We have known for some time that HBO is making a show based on Asimov‘s science fiction classic, Foundation series, but as of today, there is no release date. The same goes for other books that are thought to be in pre-production to be brought to the small screen such John Scalzi‘s Old Man‘s War and Redshirts, Frederik Pohl‘s Gateway, and Ann Leckie‘s Ancillary Justice. Although, the Old Man’s War television series does seem to have a show name of The Ghost Brigades after the second book in that series. The only thing we do know is that 3001 by Arthur C. Clarke does seem to have a tentative release date of 2017, which is good because I’m currently reading 2061 and will move onto 3001 when I’m done. New additions to the list of soon-to-be T.V. shows are Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, The Dark Tower by Stephen King (which has actually been thrown around for several years as possible T.V. show), Lock In by John Scalzi, and Hyperion by Dan Simmons. So…yeah, a lot happening without much of anything happening, all at the same time. Being a huge Old Man’s War fan, though, I can’t wait to see that story being told on television. So I guess stay tuned. As for movies, well…apparently re-bootes for both The Mummy and Interview with a Vampire are in the works. And Pacific Rim 2 has been delayed.

foundationEvery year I come up with a list of books that I would like to read. This year is a little different as I have finally put pen to paper and organized which books are at the top of my list. The list is rather large, but I least I have all these books together and which format the books are in so they are easy to reference when it comes time to start reading a new book.

For example, I have been meaning to read the Foundation trilogy for a while now, and with the series/Movie looming on the horizon, this is the year to start. For those books on my list I have organized them in which order they should be read and in which format I have them – nook, Kindle, Hardback, Paperback, etc.

This list also helps me keep a list of not only which books are in a series and how that series should be read, but I know which books in said series I have already read. Sounds silly, I know, I mean everyone should know which books they have already read, right? Well, maybe, maybe not. Take my Jack McDevitt books for example. The first book of his that I read was Chindi even though The Engines of God and Deepsix came first in that series. But that was several years ago. The book Omega of his is next on my list to read. Also with McDevitt books, you have two character series that he writes in: The Priscilla Hutchins and the Alex Benedict series.it

This makes things easier for me as I find it difficult to keep track of what I would like to read next, since my house is filled with books making is distracting; but also, since Science Fiction and Fantasy books all seem to come in trilogies or larger, it’s easy to sometimes forget where I am in my reading.

What I am reading at the moment is The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler, neither Science Fiction or Fantasy, but still a book that I have heard nothing but good things about and have been trying to find the time to read for years. Another reason for the list. Also on the list of things to at least try and read this year are A Clash of Kings by George R. R. MartinThe Shining and The Dead Zone by Stephen KingCaliban’s War by James S. A. Corey; and Write-A-Thon by Rochelle Melander.

duneThere will be more to that list as I also like reading history and true crime books as well, but for now that’s what I’ve been up to and/or ready.

I am also trying to make an effort to finish books that I have started reading. There have been more than a few books that I have started in the past few years – last year especially – that I have started and then not finished, and thus have to start again. The Sword of Shannara is one such book that springs to mine, which is a shame because it was a book I got about 150 pages into and really enjoyed, but then got side tracked with other life emergencies.

Now that I have finished reading The Martian (coming to a theater near you in October), I have moved onto reading Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke.

I have been on a “read ’em before the movie/television show comes out” kick lately, hence The Martian and now Childhood’s End which is being made into a show and premiering on the Syfy channel this December. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have always had Childhood’s End in my library and have always wanted to read it, so the fact that it is being made into a television show isn’t the only reason why I’m reading it, but it has certainly lit a fire under my ass to get it read before the premier. Having said that, Foundation by Issac Asmiov is next on the list because that looks like it will be a T.V. show/series premiering sometime in the near future on HBO. After that will be Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey, since that is another show premiering on the Syfy channel this December. After that my schedule is open, but at the rate I read these next books will take me probably to the end of the year.

Just as a side not, I have also been reading a history book on Mark Anthony and Cleopatra which is very interesting so far, even though I am only fifty pages or so into the book. And I am also reading a how-to book on writing and revising and editing, the title escapes me no, but it’s not as boring as I thought it would be and I am actually enjoying it and the suggestions it is giving me to be a better writer. So there you have it!

farsideI’ve been a fan of Ben Bova since I was in High School and have read many of his books including Mars and Jupiter, but it’s been a while since I have read any other of his works. I decided to jump back Bova‘s Grand Tour series after reading the description for the Farside novel. I’m three quarters of the way through the book of the story that follower a group of scientists trying to build a large telescope on the far side of the Moon in order to get the first images of a Earth-like planet discovered around a distant star and the challenges that are standing in the way of them accomplishing their goal. One thing that I love about Bova‘s works is that his stories are easy to read, as well as well written and thought out. Farside may not be as good as Mars was all those years ago, but I am enjoying what I have read so far. I am also looking forward to reading New Earth, Titan, Saturn, and Venus at some point in the future.

heir_to_the_empireWhat I would really like to do is get Jar Jar Abrams and the heads of Disney Corporation in a small room and tell them what worthless pieces of Bantha Fodder they are. Yeah, then I would like to tell them where they can shove their new movie. For real Star Wars fans, you know that the events that took place after Return of the Jedi and even before The Phantom Menace, and even everywhere in between, have all been scribbled out in details in numerous books, comics and even television series. But apparently the powers that be at Disney are considering that massive body of work null-and-void as they plan on re-writting the entire Star Wars universe. I took this to even mean Timothy Zahn‘s Heir to the Empire trilogy, which I have a special place for in my heart. So just so everybody knows there will now be two Star Wars universes – the real one that has been their since the beginning, and the new one that Jar Jar Adrams and his cronies wrote. But I’m not bitter.

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foundationThere hasn’t been much to get excited about in regards to Hollywood, but for all that disappointment, cable sure seems to be picking up the slack. For example, I have always been one that has been critical of Hollywood‘s choice to do the remake or the comic book story, ignoring the hundreds, if not thousands, of science fiction books that are just waiting to be made into movies. The biggest such one of these books is probably The Foundation series, by Isaac Asimov. The Foundation series has long been revered as possibly the greatest science fiction story ever told, and yet no movie has ever been made of it. Apparently that is all about to change. But don’t look for The Foundation movie in theaters, instead look for it on HBO. That’s right, the channel that brought us Game of Thrones is adapting the books for a series/miniseries/movies. All the details are still unclear, but if done right this could be something truly amazing. After all, HBO has previously brought stories long thought to be impossible to make and made them and found gold.

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AGoTIt took me most of the summer, but I was finally able to read and finish George R. R. Martin‘s A Game of Thrones. Ever since the show premiered on HBO now almost five years ago, I had wanted to read the books but was a little intimidated because each individual book was so massive and I was also afraid that I might like the writing style – nothing frustrates a reader more than committing to a book and getting a couple of hundred pages into it only to discover that you don’t find the plot engaging or can’t stand the writing style. To make a long story short on that front, not only was the book’s plot just as gripping as the shows, the writing was superb. I won’t rehash the plot here because the show does do – for the first book at least – it justice, but what I will say is that if you ever have the chance to read the book, I would, even if it is 800 plus pages long.

Rating: 5/5

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