Monday Book Pick: Roswell, Texas

Roswell, Texas by L. Neil Smith

This is a graphic novel, set in one of L. Neil Smith’s Libertarian universes. In this reality, Santa Ana was killed by a long range rifle shot from the Alamo, allowing the people in to escape, and the Republic of Texas to survive. Flash forward to 1947. There is a mysterious crash near the Texas town of New Mexico. Four Texas Rangers are sent to investigate, along with various military units and spies from various nations, including the California Republic, the Third and Half Reich, and a much smaller United States. It’s a fun read, and Ranger William Bear doesn’t just get the girl, he gets the girl.

Monday Book Pick Archive

Monday Book Pick: The Cosmic Computer

January 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Monday Book Pick, Science Fiction 

The Cosmic Computer by H. Beam Piper

Originally published as “The Junkyard Planet” in 1963, and based on a short story (“Graveyard of Dreams”) first published in 1958. This is the story of a planet down on its luck. Poictesme experienced a boom when it was a major military HQ during the System States War. When the war ended, the Terran Federation couldn’t even afford to ship their gear home. Bases and Logistical centers were sealed up and all the military personnel left packed on transports. The planet’s economy takes a major hit. They are reduced to two major exports. The first is a local mellon prized for the brandy made from its juice. They can sell it for centa-credits a barrel, which is what the rare interstellar trader will pay for it. The brandy made from the juice sells for several credits a glass on Terra. Their other export is military surplus they dig out of old Terran Federation bases, which they are also paid in single digit centi-credits on the credit. A group of leading citizens pool their money together and send one of their own, young Conn Maxwell, to far off Terra. He is to study computer systems at a major university and learn all he can about the legendary Terran Federation military super computer, Merlin. After being told by impeachable sources that Merlin was a myth, Conn returns home with a plan to bootstrap the economy with a search for Merlin. His hope is that by the time the planet is producing its own starships and engaging in interstellar trade (instead of having middlemen dictate prices to them), the group of ‘leading citizens’ will realize that they don’t need Merlin. Then the unthinkable happens and throws a giant monkey wrench in Conn’s plans.

Monday Book Pick Archive

Monday Book Pick: Pirates of the Timestream

December 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Baen Books, Monday Book Pick, Science Fiction 

Pirates of the Timestream by Steve White

Jason Thanou is back (26 Aug 2013 Book Pick) for round three. This time is it in the golden age of Pirates. His team links up with Captain Henry Morgan while they battle it out with time traveling Transhumanists! Even worse, he has to deal the uncaring bureaucracy of his own government.

Monday Book Pick Archive

Monday Book Pick: The Many Deaths of Joe Buckley

November 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Baen Books, Monday Book Pick, Science Fiction 

The Many Deaths of Joe Buckley by Assorted Baen Authors & Barflies

This is raw meat for Baen fans. The complete collection of all the ways Baen authors have killed long time Barfly Joe Buckley.

Monday Book Pick Archive

Monday Book Pick: A Night in the Lonesome October

October 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Monday Book Pick, Science Fiction 

A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny

A classic by the late Grandmaster. It is set in the month of October, which each day being a chapter. The story is told by Snuff, a watchdog, who like his companion Jack, is the owner of several Curses. One of Jack’s involves a large knife. Whenever there is a full moon on October 31, a group of people and their animal companions gather together and work toward a ritual on the night of the 31st. They are trying to either open or keep closed, a gateway for the Elder Gods (think Lovecraft). So far, the Closers have always won. Up until the end, it’s hard to tell who is an Opener and who is a closer, or even who is in the game. Others who are in the area with Snuff and Jack include: a vampire called “The Count” and his bat; a mad Russian monk and his snake, Crazy Jill and her black cat, the Great Dective and his sidekick; and Larry Talbot and his furry alter ego. Zelezny had a lot of fun with this book. If you can pick up a copy with the Gahn Wilson illustrations, you are in for a bonus treat.

Monday Book Pick Archive

Monday Book Pick: Spellbound

October 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Baen Books, Monday Book Pick, Science Fiction 

SpellBound by Larry Correia

Larry Coreia makes the book pick again. This time with the second book in his hard-boiled noir series complete with more than a bit of magic thrown in. It’s the 1930’s and magic has been around for about a hundred years. It started with just a few people, but it’s been growing pretty steady, so by the time this story takes place it’s pretty mainstream. Things pick up where the last book left off.
The good guys have managed to defeat what they thought was their greatest enemy, but they were mistaken. Not about killing the bad guy, just about him being their greatest enemy. The hard part is convincing even their allies about the oncoming evil. Before they can face that evil, they have to deal with a plot to register and round up all the magically active people in America. Hitler was put in front of a firing squad early in this reality, but there are still “good progressives” that want to put people in camps and eliminate the trouble makers. Lots of action. new bad guys, plot twists, and did I mention lots of action. Oh, and remember, don’t get on Faye’s bad side.

Monday Book Pick Archive

Monday Book Pick: Kildar

September 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Baen Books, Monday Book Pick 

Kildar by John Ringo

The sequel to John Ringo’s military thriller Ghost, which also won an award as a romance novel. At the end of the first novel, our (anti) hero has been touring Eastern Europe and sampling its pleasures. Kildar starts with him lost in a snow storm in Georgia (the country, not the state). A series of events result in him buying a farm, complete with a manor house and tenant farmers. The “tenant farmers” turn out to be the descendants of a long lost band of famous warriors. This book tells how Ghost, now known as “The Kildar”, trains up a company of commandos (with plenty of expensive help), and breaks them in by killing a lot of bad guys trying to sneak into their valley in order to kill, pillage, rape, etc. It also tells how the Kildar just happens to obtain an harem of teenage girls, and is forced into hiring an older (26), and incredibly beautiful harem manager. So Ringo is continuing the themes that won the previous novel that romance award. Additional books in the series pick up the pace, with more killing of bad guys, and rescuing of young women, some of which just happen to be submissive enough to warm the cold, hard heart of a Dom like the Kildar.

Monday Book Pick Archive

Monday Book Pick: Black List

August 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Monday Book Pick 

Black List by Brad Thor

A modern techno-thriller about shadowy government agencies fighting one another. One agency is trying to take out another so they can hatch their plan to take over the Internet and generally reduce the level of freedom in America to pretty much zero. The plan doesn’t work when they try to take out Scot Harvath (the hero of the series, of which this is book 11). After much killing, computer hacking, and other spy craft stuff, the good guys win (not much of spoiler there, I’m betting Mr. Thor is working on number 12). A good, entertaining read, and with more reality thrown in than is comfortable to think about.

Monday Book Pick Archive

Monday Book Pick: Not A Good Day to Die

July 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Monday Book Pick, US Military 

Not A Good Day to Die by Sean Naylor

This is the story of Operation Anaconda. The book covers it from its 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.  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, 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 too 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 Archive

Monday Book Pick: Sunset of the Gods

Sunset of the Gods by Steve White

Jason Thanou is back (26 Aug 2013 Book Pick) and things are getting even weirder in his trips to the past. He finds out that there are worse things than finding that the anicent Greek Gods were aliens mucking with human development. At least they were slowing dying out. One a mission to observe, from a lot closer viewpoint than he planned, the battle of Marathon, things go pear shaped right quick when he runs into Pan!

Monday Book Pick Archive

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