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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Nuketown's Summer 2010 Reading List

by Ken Newquist / June 6, 2010

For the last two years my family's been invited to vacation with our friends at their cabin on Lake Champlain, a cabin with an outhouse, battery-powered appliances, minimal internet connectivity and a hammock. It is, in short, the perfect place to read. And that, of course, means its time to put together my Summer Reading List for 2010.

Springing Forward

This summer's reading list includes a few hold overs from the spring, starting with New Moon by Stephanie Meyers. This werewolf/vampire/teenager love triangle is part of my ongoing book exchange with my wife. In the first round, I read Twilight and she read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. This time I'm reading New Moon and she's reading The Hobbit. If I'm motivated enough, I'll read Eclipse this summer as well; I'm taking suggestions for what my wife should read in Round 3.

Also held over from the spring are The Skies of Pern, the last of Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern books and Century Rain, a novel of warning alternative realities by Alistair Reynolds. I discussed these books in my last Off the Bookshelf column. I expect these two books to join me on the island.

Summer Proper

Once I clear the spring backlog, I'll be moving on to my new books:

Victorious: The last of Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet should see Captain "Black Jack" Geary finally return home to the republic he loves. I tore through the first five books in this space opera series, loving the military jargon and the solar-system-scale naval battles. This will be the carrot that gets me through any book I'm having trouble finishing.

The Lord of Light by Roger Zelany is probably the only book by the author that I haven't read. Its the story of a starship crew who colonizes a distant planet, and then sets themselves up as gods to rule over its populace. It's been on my "someday" list forever; it's time to make it a reality.

I found The New Space Opera to be more of a transhumanism anthology than a proper space opera one, but I liked the book enough to want to read its sequel, The New Space Opera 2. It includes a number of authors whom I enjoy, including Mike Resnick, John Scalz, and Cory Doctorow, so I'm optimistic. That said, I'm not buying it until I finish The Space Opera Renaissance, which I got for Christmas two years ago and still haven't completed.

Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan has been suggested to me two or three years running, so I'm going to pick that up as well. It's a mix of cyberpunk and noir, and sounds like it's right up my alley.

Update 6/13/2010: Peter Hamilton's The Dreaming Void, the follow-up to The Temporal Void is out in paperback, so I picked up a copy. in the The Temporal Void, the galactic core is hope to a strange, self-contained reality known as the Void. It's boundary with our reality is unstable, and it periodically undergoes expansions that cause it to devour (and presumably destroy) star systems. These expansions are fueled in part by the appearance of Dreamers -- those outside the Void who can sense what's happening inside. It's all a bit convoluted, but Hamilton right's a mean space opera, and I suspect its tech-fueled melodrama will make for an good summer read.

This list should get me through to late July, so I'm open to more suggestions. I'm interested in good space opera, particularly something to replace the just-completed Lost Fleet series, but I might venture farther afield.

What's on your summer reading list?


Provided I don't manage to get to them before the end of the month:

  • The God Engines by John Scalzi
  • Changeless by Gail Carriger
  • A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
  • Red Thunder by John Varley
  • Jhereg by Steven Brust

That list is, as always, subject to whim and distraction.

How about Foundation as the next book for Mrs. Nuke? Oooor, you could mix it up a little and maybe get her to read Batman: Year One? Or the ever excellent Long Halloween? :)

As for my summer reading list, I've got my trusty Network+ Certification guide, my Security+ Certification guide, Windows Server 2008 Administrator, Configuring Windows 7, Windows 7; The Missing Manual.

I'm also still trying to finish Nothing Like it in the World by Stephen Ambrose, and I just picked up Civilization of the Middle Ages, by Cantor.

After you're done with Cantor Bob, I have a lo-ong list of stuff further to read, like Hanson's The Twelfth Century Rennaisance and I just picked up White's Medieval Technology and Social Change. Both are dated, but are "classics" of the discipline.


Good to hear you're going to give Altered Carbon a whirl. (Everyone should be exposed to the wisdom of Quellcrist Falconer...) Amazing book - I'm just about ready to read it again. If you happen to still be consuming Audible books, the audiobook is very well read.

On my list, continuing to enjoy Butcher's Dresden series, finishing World War Z, and I'm hearing to much about Scalzi that I think I need to check his stuff out.

I have Scalzi's "Old Man's War" trilogy in paperback if you want to borrow it. The third book was something of a let down for me, but I really enjoyed the first two.

Hmmm. Hadn't heard about The God Engines, and I'm torn -- on the one hand it's a novella, so it should be a short, quick read, but on the other hand ... it's a novella, so it could be too short of a read.

Clash of Kings is a good book; I loved all of the Song of Fire and Ice novels, even when I was hating George R.R. Martin for twisting the knife in my guts. He's one author who really knows how to kill of characters.

I'm not sure what to make of Red Thunder; Varley's Steel Beach and The Golden Globe were on my reading list previously, but this sounds like a big departure from those novels.

I'm currently researching the in and outs of Federal Indian Law. I got the nasics ( the naked rules ) I need the rough amd tumble bare knuckles stuff.

Good to know -- some of these OS help books end up being "first, turn on your computer..." but then again, the Missing Manuals are usually pretty good.

I don't know about Foundation; it's one of my favorites, but I think it might be a little too science-fictional for her tastes.

Just finished as a prelude to my Summer reading, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter." Marvelous read, well researched, and it made perfect sense that some of Abe's more ardent detractors were vampires.

I highly recommend this book.