I work in one of those brick and mortar bookstores and read pretty much all of my books in paper, so I’m not always in touch with all of the self-published e-books out there. Honestly, there is so much content being self published these days that it is hard to even begin to separate the wheat from the chaff. I’ve been trying to figure some of this out and I found Wool in my radar. I read a couple of posts from people who loved the book and it was making some waves in the publishing world, with movie rights and a print deal in the UK. I picked up a POD copy and gave it a read.
I’ve been reading David Brin’s books for years. I devoured the Uplift books when I was younger and lately I’ve been following his ramblings on the internet as he talks about technology and transparency and the future. I got my hands on an advance copy of Existence, and I am glad that I did. Brin’s vision of our future selves coming into first contact with aliens resonates with the present in wonderful ways.
A couple of years ago I read an amazing debut novel titled Gone Away World. It had an outrageous velveteen cover and a great story that pissed me off so much that I put it down for months when I got to the big twist. When I finally picked it up again, I was treated to such a glorious final act, that all was forgiven. That book was written by Nick Harkaway and I am happy to say that his sophomore effort is equally great.
I’m a big fan of Burroughs’ Mars books. I discovered them in my late twenties and read the snot out of them. I guess that makes me a fan of the nearly extinct sub-genre known as the ‘planetary romance.’ I don’t care that their swashbuckling space operas are full of anachronisms and casual chauvinism. Most of their failings are artifacts of their time, and sometimes I tire of the modern tendency for heroes to be brooding and fallible. Sometimes I just want a rip-roaring adventure with dashing heroes and beautiful damsels.
I don’t spend as much time in the depths of the book mines as I used to, but I still try to spend some time down in the stacks browsing for interesting books. That is how I discovered The City Trilogy by Chang Hsi-Kuo. This deceptively slim volume was published a few years ago by Columbia University Press. I’d never read any Chinese science fiction, so I figured that I should give it a try.
I have a fondness for pulpy sci-fi tropes. I love giant monsters and death rays and super science and all that popcorn. This prediliction of mine made it almost a certainty that I would read A. Lee Martinez’s Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain, the only thing that could have made it more inevitable would have been a lurid cover painting. Though the cover isn’t as painterly as I might hope for, the contents are every bit as technicolor as my appetite could desire.
Erudite as I might pretend to be, there are some glaring gaps in my knowledge. I attended a community college for a couple years after high school, but I never really went to university or acquired a degree. Mostly, that only bothers me when I spend time with my resume, but sometimes there are subjects that I just don’t know much about. I really don’t know much about philosophy, so when I got my hands on a copy of Nigel Warburton’s A Little History of Philosophy, I decided to dig in and learn a few things.