Monday Book Pick: The Guns of Avalon

June 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Monday Book Pick, Science Fiction 

The Guns of Avalon by Roger Zelazny
The second book in the Amber series. Two sets of five books, plus a fist full of short stories and an amazing amount of fan fiction. Prince Corwin has escaped the Dungeon his brother Eric threw him, with the help of the family madman Dworkin. Revenge, and the throne, are what he is after. First he has to go to Avalon, and of course is sidetracked by Lorraine (name of the land and the woman). He does manage to finally get to Avalon and get what he wanted there. Not without complications, including his extremely deadly brother Benedict, another family member named Dara, and the ominous Black Road. This series are amazingly well written, and this volume includes some insight from a guard in the Castle Amber dungeon named Roger.

Monday Book Pick Archive

Monday Book Pick: There Will Be Dragons

February 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Baen Books, Monday Book Pick, Science Fiction 

There Will Be Dragons by John Ringo
This is the first book in John Ringo’s four book Council Wars series. He wanted to to a science based fantasy series. So this series is set in a far future, in a technological utopia. People live for centuries, they can transform themselves into mermaids, whales, humanoids capable of flight, unicorns, etc. Prety much limited by imagination. There are also fantasy creatures created by genetic engineering and nanotechnology, including dragons and Elves. The Elves were designed as ultra-efficient combat troops. Pro-tip, do no screw with the Elves. Of course, things are no perfect in a Ringo utopia. The human population is shrinking, mainly because raising kids is a chore, and a twenty year commitment. The closest thing to a government is a “Council” that have control over “Mother”, the massive AI that controls the planet, and makes the utopia possible. The Council disagrees with how to handle this problem, so one side decides to kill the rest of the Council in order to gain control. The attempt failed, and the resulting conflict between the Council members sucks up all the available power, reducing the rest of the humanity to pre-industrial levels. Mother still enforces her basic protocols, absorbing all energy higher than low pressure steam. Ringo achieves what S.M. Stirling did in his “Dies the Fire” series, by evoking Clarke’s Third Law. I’ve recently reread the series. It’s a fun read. Check it out.

Monday Book Pick Archive

Monday Book Pick: Tom Swift and his Flying Lab

January 9, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Monday Book Pick, Science Fiction 

Tom Swift and His Flying Lab by Victor Appleton II
Let’s go back to 1954 for the first in the rebooted YA science series. The Tom Swift Jr. books are a spinoff from the earlier Tom Swift juvenile science based adventures. In the original Tom Swift books (first published in 1910), the young inventor was pushing the science of the day, with his motorcycle, airship, and airplane. So the science bar had to be raised in the mid 1950s. Tom Swift Jr., starts his adventures with an atomic powered VTOL aircraft that includes a full set of science labs, a kitchen for their cook, Texan “Chow” Winkler, and a smaller set of aircraft (jet and helicopter) in a hanger bay. Good fun, with a definite Cold War setting.

Monday Book Pick Archive

Monday Book Pick: Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners

December 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Baen Books, Monday Book Pick, Science Fiction 

Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners by John Ringo and Larry Correia
Oliver Chadwick Gardenier is back. Seattle got a bit “too hot” for him (How was he to know that elf chick was only 40?), so for his sins, he is sent to New Orleans. Vampires, werewolves, and giant naked mole rats. Oh my! As fans of the series know, the job of the MCB is to keep knowledge of monsters and the “supernatural” from the public. This is a problem in New Orleans, since most of the locals already know that “HooDoo” is real. There are enough outbreaks of zombies and ghouls that cemeteries in New Orleans are built with fences and locked gates. Then there is the full moon. Things get really weird then, and very, very dangerous for Monster Hunters. Like any John Ringo book, the action scenes are very well done. It is the little touches that had me giggling through this book. Like the male bonding sessions with Chad and Milo (Milo is on the roof the car, trying to pick off zombies on a golf course, and Chad is rocking the car…something my own asshole of a brother would do (love ya Fred, but don’t try to deny this). There is a also the Cajun member of “Team Hoodoo” that things monsters make good eating. That includes the afore mentioned giant naked mole rat. Monster Hunting in New Orleans is different that what fans of the series have come to expect. For one thing, the MCB publishes a supermarket rag of the local events. Think “plausible denial.” Team Hoodoo are local celebrities, and yes, Chad uses that to get laid. Their “landlord” is a local drug gang, who makes sure nobody bothers the building or their cars. Those drug dealers are out on the streets, at night. Zombies and vampires are bad for business. In all a fun read. The only downside is that there is one more book in this series (The memoirs of Oliver Chadwick Gardenier), and it isn’t out yet.

Monday Book Pick Archive

Monday Book Pick: Quest of the Spider

September 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Monday Book Pick, Pulp 

Quest of the Spider by Kenneth Robenson
Setting the Wayback Machine to May 1933 for this chunk of crunchy pulp goodness. The third published Doc Savage adventure, and an important change in the series. After killing bad guys left and right in the first two books, Doc returns from his Fortress of Solitude (just where did you think Superman got the idea from?), and vowed not to take human life (directly) again. This is where he and his team start using the “mercy” bullets that just render people unconscious, the introduction of his “Crime College” in upstate New York for turning criminals into honest citizens. There is plenty of action, pulp style, and plenty of bad guys dying in horrible fashions. It’s just not Doc and his five companions dealing death directly anymore.

Monday Book Pick Archive

Monday Book Pick: Soldiers Out of Time

September 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Baen Books, Monday Book Pick, Science Fiction 

Soldiers Out of Time by Steve White
Jason Thanou is once again traveling through time, and in this latest entry in the series, space as well. Keep in mind that Thanou is not from Earth, so the space travel element in this series has been baked in from the start. If fact, most of the action against the evil Transhumanists takes place on planets other than Earth. There is, of course, time travel on Earth, late 19th Century, near the Khyber Pass. Lots of action and plot twists. A good addition to the series.

Monday Book Pick Archive

Monday Book Pick: Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge

August 29, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Baen Books, Monday Book Pick, Science Fiction 

Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge by John Ringo and Larry Correia
As my gentle readers know, I’m a big fan of John Ringo and Larry Correia. So when John Ringo decided there was a few Monster Hunter books in him that just had to come out, of course I was there. This is the first in a series of books detailing the life and hard times of one Oliver Chadwick Gardenier, a hot shot monster hunter during the 1980s and early 1990s. Returned to Earth by a fisher named Peter, who said “the boss” had a job for him. That job was hunting monsters. Interesting fellow Chad, genius with a gift for languages, who studied the ASVAB tests so he could make sure that he was made a Rifleman when he joined the Marines. Then there was Chad’s relationship with his parents, especially his mother. Let’s just say they didn’t get along well. One of the cool parts of the book was the “Pro Tips” Chad scatters around his memoirs. Here are some examples: “Pro-tip: If you’re going to be cutting off a lot of heads, get a really good katana.” “I don’t care how big and muscle bound you are, things like yoga and ballet are useful. That’s the pro-tip.” Then there is what to wear when jogging in the dark in an area you know monsters live in. A fun read, like most of Ringo’s books, there is a fair amount of humor mixed with really, really good actions scenes.

Monday Book Pick Archive

Monday Book Pick: Code of Conduct

June 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Monday Book Pick, Pulp 

Code of Conduct by Brad Thor
Scott Harvath is back and the bad guys are even badder. Uber-rich eugenicists are out to trim the planetary population, especially those people they don’t think are genetically suited for continued life on the planet. Norseman takes names,and kills bad guys. It’s good solid adventure pulp, which is a good thing.

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Monday Book Pick: Not a Good Day to Die

Not A Good Day to Die by Sean Naylor
For Memorial Day, I’m going with my Monday Book pick for July 28, 2014.
This book tells the story of Operation Anaconda. It starts with the first planning stages in January 2002, through its conclusion in early March 2002. Up to this point, the war in Afghanistan had been conducted mainly by US Special Forces troops working with various Afghanistan groups and calling in US air assets. Anaconda was the first operation to involve large scale use of regular US forces. In this case elements of the 10th Mountain Division and the 101st Airborne Division. The first third of the book covers the planning and the background of the key players. This is fairly dry, but interesting and informative on why and how the fog of war effected the operation. Intelligence said that there were 200-250 Al Qaeda fighters in the intended AO (Area of Operation). The plan was for Afghan forces, with Special Forces ‘advisers’ to confront the enemy, with ‘escape routes’ to be blocked by Afghan forces and elements of the 10th Mountain and 101st Airborne. The motto, ‘no plan survives contact with the enemy’ is often referenced in various forms in this book. There were a lot more than 250 AQ fighters, later estimates put it at 800 or more. They opened up the US forces almost immediately after they got out their helicopters with small arms, heavy machine guns, mortars, and in some cases artillery. The US forces responded with much more accurate fire and air strikes. Lots and lots of air strikes. From the CIA’s armed Predator drones to B-52s dropping JDAM bombs. The most effective though were the Apache helicopters, which got close enough to see the enemy and pour firepower right were it was needed. The fighting continued much longer than expected, in areas were it wasn’t expected, from a well dug in, and well supplied enemy force. Many of which got to see Allah personally. A well written book about a major operation that dispelled the common notion in early 2002, that the war in Afghanistan was almost over.

Monday Book Pick: 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi

13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi by Mitchell Zuckoff and the Annex Security Team
Mitchell is a journalism professor at Boston University. This is not a political book. It is a detailed account of what happened on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi. It details what the security arrangement were, including the use of local militia groups, who was where during each of the multiple attacks, who died, who was wounded, and what the responses by the State Department were at the time.

Monday Book Pick Archive

 

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