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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

Soliciting books for my Summer 2009 Reading List

by Ken Newquist / June 6, 2009

It's almost summer again, which means it's time for me to start assembling that long-running Nuketown tradition: the Summer Reading List. (check out Radio Active #50 for my 2007 reading list, and Radio Active #69 for my 2008 one).

The reading list is my chance to catch up on stuff I missed during the rest of the year, as well as to read some books I've meant to get, but never did. This time around, I'm sticking mostly to science fiction in general and space opera in particular. I've got a few books already lined up, but I'm looking for suggestions: send me yours by posting a comment or emailing me at I'd also love to know what's on your summer reading list, so post those books as well!

Here's what I'm already reading:

  • Redemption Ark by Alastair Reynolds: The sequel to his earlier book, Revelation Space. Aliens are invading the galaxy, and humanity's only hope is for a cybernetically enhanced, group-mind joined soldier named Clavain to find an ancient weapons cache.
  • The Space Opera Renaissance: This is the second of two space opera anthologies I got for Christmas. I finished the first one -- the New Space Opera -- earlier this spring and I'm looking forward to digging into this more traditional collection (the New Space Opera had a decidedly transhumanist bent)
  • The Dreaming Void by Peter Hamilton: A follow-up to his Pandora's Star/Judas Unchained books sees humanity investigating what could be a mini-universe at the center of the Milky Way galaxy (instead of the mega black hole everyone thought was there

What I'm enjoying most about Reynolds' and Hamilton's books is that they think big. Revelation Space had a great, species-threatening hook at its core, and was self-contained enough that I didn't have to read the follow up (but I wanted to). Meanwhile, Hamilton can be verbose, but he does a great job of setting up galaxy-spanning challenges. I'm looking forward to more of the same from both authors (as well as any others I can find).

I've also got the The Bloody Crown of Conan by Robert E. Howard sitting on my shelf, but I think it may stay there. I love fantasy, but I suspect I won't really start jonesing to read some until the release of George R.R. Martin's next Song of Fire and Ice book (or the final book in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, which ever comes first).


Altered Carbon by Richard K Morgan

Think hard-boiled detective novel crossed with great cyberpunk. Awesome stuff.

And, if you like it there are two more Morgan books starring Takeshi Kovacs. The follow-ups lean a little more towards hard sci fi. Can't recommend these highly enough. Great speculative fiction, and lots of plot twists (and book-ending mind-blowers a la Stephenson) to keep you guessing.


A busy gamer dad shares his thoughts on gaming, geek life, and other eclectic topics of the day.

I think that might make for a nice break from my space-opera packed summer (and perhaps good fodder for the 'scum and villainy' side of our Star Wars campaign?

I've created a Summer 2009 Reading List bookshelf over at to keep track of my books. In addition to Altered Carbon, I've added Dauntless (The Lost Fleet, Book 1) by Jack Campbell, which is a big ol'space opera/military SF book involving huge space battles, and The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester (a pre-Space Age SF book suggested by a reader offline, which should fill my "classic" slot for this summers reading list).

Here's my current list:

Finish Queen of Blades (novelization of the Starcraft Brood War expansion pack)
Finish World War Z
Just ordered J.C. Hutchins' (w/ Jordan Wiseman) Personal Effects: Dark Art and Mur Lafferty's Playing for Keeps
The Dark Templar Saga (Starcraft 2 prequel trilogy) by Christie Golden
Then, more of Jim Butcher's awesome Dresden Files books

A busy gamer dad shares his thoughts on gaming, geek life, and other eclectic topics of the day.

Ken, FYI - if you're so inclined, Altered Carbon is available on Audible, and the reader did a great job.

A busy gamer dad shares his thoughts on gaming, geek life, and other eclectic topics of the day.

Good to know, though at this point I have more time to read regular books than I do to listen them (what with my ultrashort commute and all). A happy problem to have, to be sure, but I do miss listening to books...



World War Z is a book I've wanted to check out for a while -- it looks like a lot of fun, and hey, it's got ZOMBIES.

Butcher's Dresdon Files books are something I keep meaning to pick up one of these days, but I think I'll save them for when my mood swings back to fantasy. I'm having too much fun reading SF these days, and I don't think it would mesh well with my current mindset.