Consider Phlebas is a sometimes thrilling, often meandering, always morally gray novel about people caught up in a galactic war. It's antihero is Horza, a human shape changer working for the Iridans, an alien civilization of religious zealots hell bent on breaking the galactic strength of The Culture, humanity's own star-faring civilization.
Star Wars: The Essential Atlas is the best source book never released for any edition of the Star Wars RPG. While Del Rey is publishing the Atlas as a general interest reference book, it's beautiful maps, graphical timelines, and planetary write-ups make the book an excellent for gamers, regardless of whether they're playing d6, Saga Edition, or a homebrew of their own design.
It's spring and I've been trying to get back in shape in anticipation of three months spent coaching my daughter's softball team. This in turn has led to a resurgence of book reading as I download new audio books to listen to while working out at the gym or taking the dog for 45-minute walks.
My Chrismas Reading List for 2008 went well; I finished two novels (Revelation Space, The Last Colony) on the list and made a serious dent in the third (The Amber Spyglass), while also finishing a hefty graphic novel (Star Wars Omnibus: Tales of the Jedi, Vol. 1)
I got off to a great start to my summer reading list, but it slowed down significantly after July, when my spring-summer run of work conferences ended (which had given me plenty of time to read on cross-country plane trips), and I had to double-down on my projects to meet start-of-semester deadlines.
The other problem? I ran into Moon of Skulls, a collection of short stories by Robert E. Howard.
For my birthday this year I headed out to Barnes & Noble with my son Lucas for an afternoon of browsing books and drinking coffee. Lucas, being about 5 months old at the time, was enthusiastic about the outing, as only a baby can be, smiling, gurgling and generally looking forward to flirting with every woman he could see at the bookstore.
My resurrected reading habit picked up in April, allowing me to tear through Analog's June issue and make another serious dent in the Hard SF Renaissance anthology, while a trip to New Hampshire to visit my sister for Easter gave me time to listen to the unabridged audio of Stephen King's new horror novel Cell.
For a TV series that died an unspectacular, mostly-unnoticed death at the hands of brain-dead Fox TV executives, Firefly is proving to have a remarkably lively corpse. First it sold millions of copies as a 13-episode DVD collection, then this show of interest prompted Universal to back a movie based on the series. The latest sign of Firefly's undeath is Finding Serenity, a collection of essays deconstructing the series' complex heroes, intriguing plot lines and philosophical foundation.
... and someone gets confused. Ok, I'm not really confused: more like mystified. Boing-Boing blogger-turned-science fiction writer Cory Doctorow's new book Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town is a weird mix of geek-centric technology and post-modern mythology that is either brilliant or moronic.
I'll need to read more before I know for sure, but either way the novel's disconcerting. The book's about a man named Alan. Or Albert. Or Alfred. Or whatever -- the main character's name changes constantly based on whom he's talking to.