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terms_of_enlistmentI read Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos pretty much on a whim. I finished something else and hadn’t really thought ahead of when I was going to read next. Terms of Enlistment was on a list, but not that high simply because it is a part of a six part series. In the end I decided that not only would I read the first installment,  but I would also power through and read the second and third, is I ended up liking it. I ended up liking it. There was nothing truly great about it – it reminded me of Starship Trooper, which I read back in high school – but it was written well and kept me engaged. In short, its your typical military science fiction story surrounding a couple of characters who are in their first tour when the first intelligent life, outside the human race, is discovered. Off course, it’s on the worst of terms as this new alien species is taking over a human terraformed colony planet. From there it’s all action and explosions. Like I said nothing super special about the plot or story, but it was well written and kept me reading. Enough so that I’m already fifty pages into the next book of the series, Lines of Departure.

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Thrawn by Timothy Zahn

I remember reading the Heir to the Empire trilogy in high school, and probably more than any other book(s), it was these that first sparked my reading interest and has hook me ever since. Since reading these books I have read other Star Wars book and even some other Timothy Zahn books. Then came the day that I heard Disney was buying the rights to the franchise. Not only that, all the books and material that came outside the movies and television shows weren’t considered canon. What did this mean? Would those books disappear? Like I said I had read many of them but nowhere near ALL of them. Soon my concerns were put to rest when these works were simply re-labeled as “Legends.” Then came a new Thrawn book that appears to be part of the canon story line. Needless to say, I was extactic. Over the holiday week these book was on sale and I jumped at the opportunity to get it.

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

This books takes place in a Universe outside of the Old Man’s War books. Because of this I’ve been a little bit hesitant to read it since those books and that universe will be hard to beat, but considering how big of a Scalzi fan I am I figured I might as well give the book a chance.

Babylon’s Ashes by James S. A. Corey

Expanse Universe is that it takes place in a universe that science fictions epics rarely take place in – the near future when humanity has yet to venture out past our own Solar System. I have read the first two books in this series and will eventually make it to this one, but been warned this books are long, like Game of Thrones long.

Nobody reads unless they really enjoy it. It’s easier to sit down and watch a movie or play video games for endless hours. But more than the enjoyment of reading is the fond memories one has about books he/she has read in previous years. For me, it is those books that make me come back for more. Unfortunately, I have read my fare share of books that, for lack of a better word, sucked. But its these are the ones that didn’t and kept me coming back for more and fueled my desire to pick up a new book and start reading.

Having said that, and now that I have compiled at least a partial list of what I plan to read next year, here is a list of books that I would read again in a heartbeat. And book Gods willing, will read again someday.

  • West of Eden series by Harry Harrison. Lots of books people tell you about a book and that’s what prompts you to pick it up and start reading. This series was the only one that I can think of that nobody mentioned to me beforehand, I just came across them on my own (although to be far, I read these my sophomore year in high school so it could be I simply forgot that someone told me about them). To best describe these books, it would be like Clan of the Cave Bear meets Jurassic Park. A great trilogy of books that has stuck with me all these years.

  • Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I am a painfully slow reader and while this book isn’t huge it is five hundred pages plus. Having said that, I raced through this book from front to back in about three days. That is speed reading for me. I have never done that with any book before or since. I have always wanted to go back and read it hoping that it catches me and pulls me in like it did all those years ago when I read it the first time. FYI, this was made into a movie and if you’re really interested in reading the book or have seen the movie and not read the book, the movie was horrible and very different from the book.

  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton and The Landoliers by Stephen King. I lumped these two together because I have already read both these books twice and would love to read them again. Both King and Crichton are masters at story telling.

  • Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. Like I’ve mentioned before, no matter how much I like a book series it’s hard for me to finish one book and move right on to the next. With this trilogy of books that’s exactly what I did. Whenever a book or books captures you like that, it’s best to just give and go until your done. I read these books when there was only three in the series. Now there are six. None of the latter three come close to the first three, but after finishing the final book in the trilogy – The Last Colony – I remember wanting more.

I’m sure there are others, but many of these are books I read while in High School and really had an impact on me as a developing teenager. They set the stage for me in terms of my goals in life, and set me on a path to becoming a (want-to-be) writer. Hopefully there are still books in my future that have as much an impact on me as these books did.

Last year (2017), like most, I wasn’t exactly happy with the amount that I read. But hey, that’s how it goes – life often gets in the way and goals get pushed to the side. I was happy, however, that I finally read Dune. It had been on my list for a few years.

I must say, when it comes to this years reading list that I am a bit confused – or, maybe uncertain is a better word – on what to read. I have started way to many series and feel like I should focus and finish a few of them out before moving on to something that involves reading another new series. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin is one such book that is on my list to read this year. Should I stop there? Or should a power read straight on through and continue my Game of Thrones journey by immediately starting A Feast for Crows? Like I said, I’m not sure. I love the Martin books but often, when I finishing any book I like to mix things up and move onto a new book and/or new author. Plus these books are often over a thousand pages…It makes me feel exhausted just thinking about it.

Green Mars is another such book series. I read Red Mars when I was in college, so it has been years – years! – since I read it, but I still I remember lots of the detail about that book, which is always a clue to me that I really enjoyed reading it. That’s not to say that I couldn’t go back and read it again and realize that I missed or forgot a lot of things.

Mars Life by Ben Bova is yet another. I read the first two books – Mars and Return to Mars – years ago. More then that, however, is that these series of books are only a part of a broader arc of books known as The Grand Tour series of which there are MercuryVenus, and Saturn just to name a few. Some of them I have read – and not in order – while still some are at home on my book shelf waiting to be read.

Finally, there are the Han Solo Adventures books by Brian Daily. While I realize that the books that came before Disney acquired the rights for Star Wars are now labeled as non-canon, that doesn’t mean the books aren’t still worth reading. And with the new movie coming out, what better way then to get hyped up by reading something from the Star Wars universe even if it isn’t relevant to the upcoming movie?

Hopefully there will be more books added to this list, and hopefully in the coming year I can do a better job and get off my ass and reading a little more. This could easily be accomplished by putting down my XBox one controller and picking up my Kindle instead. Small steps…small steps.

foundation_2A few years ago I was excited at hearing that HBO was adapting the Foundation series into a television series. I hadn’t read Foundation at that time but I had read enough of Asimov’s other works to know it was most likely great, especially considering how people held it in such high regard. But as time past and still no television series, it became clear that there was a problem. And then, after a few more years I had forgotten there there was even talk about bringing the books to television. Which brings me to today and more news that a Foundation television series is in the works. Like so many other books that I have read that are supposedly being made into a television series, I will believe it when I actually see trailers and/or the shows themselves. In short, don’t hold your breath.

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.

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