It’s been a while since I’ve stepped back and taken stock of what I’ve been reading, and with the end of the year rapidly approaching, there’s a whole handful of books that I’m currently in the middle of or about to start up. Hopefully, I’ll get through this short list by the end of the year, and begin building a list of anticipated books for 2012. (Although, like last year’s list, it was only somewhat helpful.)
Ganymede, Cherie Priest. The 4th book in Priest’s Clockwork Century series, we’re dropped into the Louisiana area, slowly working our way across the US south east. Already, I like this book quite a bit more than Dreadnought, and while it’s not quite as interesting or as much fun as Boneshaker was, I’m enjoying it when I have time to read. It’s a good addition to the series, and I’m interested in how characters from several of the stories have begun to appear, making me wonder if the series isn’t so open-ended as I first thought.
All You Need Is Kill, Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Earlier this fall, I was looking for some international military science fiction stories (i.e., not stories written from a perspective outside of the United States’), and seem to have found a good entry for modern-day Japan in this one. A bit like Groundhog Day with power armor and aliens, it’s entertaining, and it’s helping to confirm a couple of ideas that I’ve been working on in my head. Exciting stuff with this one, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.
Learning to Eat Soup With A Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam, John Nagl. My first non-Science Fiction / Fantasy / Fiction book in a little while, Nagl’s book is a case study in counterinsurgency docrine and military pedagogy as it relates to military readiness and tactical continuity. Comparing the US experience in Vietnam and the UK experience in Malaya, it’s a book that I wish that I’d read a while ago, while taking my Master’s. It’s short, but very dense, and very important for anyone who wants to understand how the modern military works.
Ready Player One, Ernie Cline. A friend and classmate of mine turned me to this one. Written by Fanboys writer / director Ernie Cline, this book is absolutely loaded with geeky references throughout. The first couple of chapters were up for free a while ago, and when I had a spare moment last month, I’d downloaded the PDF and read it on my iPad in a single sitting, and have been wanting more ever since. I’m restraining myself from having this one jump the line, but it might very well do that soon.
Seed, Rob Zeigler. Paolo Bacigalupi’s debut novel The Windup Girl is quite possibly one of the more pivotal books that I’ve picked up recently that’s defined my view of science fiction. Seed looks to be in a similar vein of a near future of ecological destruction. I don’t know that it’ll be better, but it certainly looks as interesting.
Rule 34, Charles Stross. I really enjoyed Charles Stross’s Halting State, and this loose sequel is something that I’ve been looking forward to picking up. Stross has a great understanding of how science fiction and the future work: it’s not the technology, but the people and systems that they construct, and I think Halting State was a good example of this line of thinking. Hopefully, this one will be just as interesting.
I’m With the Bears: Short Stories from a Damaged Planet, Bill McKibbon. McKibbon is a fellow Vermont resident, and has been very active lately in protesting a major pipeline that’s under consideration. This anthology of short stories looks at what happens if he fails. I’m very interested in the current and growing trend of eco-fiction that’s coming to bear, and this looks to be a good addition.
How Wars End: Why We Always Fight the Last Battle, Gideon Rose. Megan’s stolen this one from me and is enjoying it, and it’s a topic that’s ever more relevant as we approach the troop-withdrawal deadline at the end of the year.
Who Fears Death?, Nnedi Okorafor. This is the last book on an ever-long list, but it’s one that I’ve had my eyes on for ages now. I’ve heard literally nothing but good things about this story, and it’s good to see more non-US perspective stories coming out.