Assembling Nuketown’s 2017 Summer Reading List

It’s nearly summer, which means it’s high time for me to be putting together my 2017 Summer Reading List. Last summer I read 16 books, 1 novella, and 8 graphic novels. This year I’m looking to do that one better by reading 17 books and 8 graphic novels.

That’s a hell of of a stretch, but with my summer vacations and monthly camping trips with the Boy Scouts, I’m thinking I’ll have the time I need.

As for the books themselves, I’ve been squirreling away book ideas all spring. I was surprised when I pulled my myriad of lists together and found I’d already reach 14 novels. That said, this list isn’t sent in stone, and I am looking for book suggestions — you can add your ideas to the list by posting a comment below or emailing me at nuketown@gmail.com.

My summer lists tend to skew heavily toward science fiction, but I’m always open to to reading good fantasy or horror novels (especially creature features). Non-speculative fiction books typically don’t land on this list because hey, it’s summer — I want to kick back, relax and delve into strange new worlds. I save the real-world stuff for the rest of the year.

Returning Series

My summer reading list typically includes a few dreadnoughts, favorite series that I return to year after year. They’re my go-to novels, the ones that stand atop the stack of books I bring with me on vacation. Typically those are new novels in The Expanse and The Lost Fleet series, but last summer I was forced to diversify as neither series had new entries.

Thankfully, this summer they’re back on the list. Babylon’s Ashes, the sixth book in The Expanse series, was released back in December. Rather than read it then, I saved it for my summer reading list. The Lost Fleet universe’s original novels completed their run two years ago, but now Jack Campbell is back with a new series describing how it all began: Genesis Fleet.

There are a few series on my list that are winding down. Vatta’s War is a five-book series I started reading to help fill the inevitable space opera void left by a lack of Lost fleet and Expanse novels. The series has been building toward a pretty big fleet battle, so I’m really looking forward to that one. The Bands of Mourning is my obligatory Sanderson book, meant to tide me over until the release of the third Stormlight Archives novel. The most bittersweet of the returning books is Blue at the Mizzen, which is the 20th and penultimate book in the Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Mautrin series. I’ve been reading these books for over 13 years, and I’ve been dreading the day when I read the last of them. That day is almost at hand.

  • Babylon’s Ashes (The Expanse, Book 6) by James S.A. Corey (Amazon)
  • The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn, Book 6) by Brandon Sanderson (Amazon)
  • Blue at the Mizzen (Aubrey/Mautrin, Book 20) by Patrick O’Brian (Amazon)
  • Dark Sky (Keiko, Book 2) by Mike Brooks (Amazon, releasing July 11, 2017)
  • Genesis Fleet: Vanguard by Jack Campbell (Amazon)
  • Maelstrom (Destroyermen, Book 3) by Taylor Anderson (Amazon)
  • The Player of Games (The Culture, Book 2) by Iain Banks (Amazon)
  • Victory Conditions (Vatta’s War, Book 5) by Elizabeth Moon (Amazon)

New Books by Known Authors

Several of my favorite authors have new books out and I’d be remiss if I didn’t add them to the list. Mur Lafferty, a fellow Knights of the Dinner Table contributor from back in the day, has a new scifi murder mystery called Six Wakes out while John Scalzi is returning to space opera with The Collapsing Empire. And then there’s the book that I’m most curious about, which is Timothy Zahn’s Thrown, in which he revisits the character he created for the original Star Wars Expanded Universe.

  • Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty (Amazon)
  • The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi (Amazon)
  • Thrawn by Timothy Zahn (Amazon)
  • Revenger by Alistair Reynolds (Amazon)

New Books by New Authors

While my summer reading lists tend to be dominated by authors I’ve read before, I do try and add a few new ones. Most of the time I’m looking new science fiction, but I do add the occasional new epic fantasy novel.

  • The Emperor’s Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, Book 1) by Brian Staveley (Amazon)
  • Forsaken Skies (The Silence, Book 1) D. Nolan Clark (Amazon)

There were two books on this list that I had to pull because they’re not being released until Fall 2017; they could make the basis of an excellent winter vacation reading list though…

  • Barbary Station (Barbary Station Book 1) by R.E. Stearns (Amazon, released October 31, 2017)
  • The Stars are Legion by Kameron Hurley (Amazon, released November 7, 2017)

Graphic Novels

Hellboy and B.P.R.D. novels form the backbone of my summer graphic novel reading, mostly because there is nothing like reading a spooky horror comic book by firelight. This summer I’m filling in the last of the Hellboy and B.P.R.D. Plague of Frogs holes in my collection, and picking up a few new books to continue the story.

If I’m lucky, this list will be augmented by graphic novels I pick up at Hooked on Books, one of our local used book store. We’ve got about $70 worth of credit at the store, and I’ve occasionally found some great deals on graphic novels there.

  • Hellboy, Volume 10: The Crooked Man and Others (Amazon)
  • Hellboy in Hell, Volume 2: Death Card (Amazon)
  • B.P.R.D. Plague of Frogs, Volume 1 (Amazon)
  • B.P.R.D. Plague of Frogs, Volume 2 (Amazon)
  • B.P.R.D Hell on Earth, Volume 10: The Devils Wings (Amazon)
  • B.P.R.D Hell On Earth, Volume 11: Flesh and Stone (Amazon)
  • Abe Sapien Volume 3: Dark and Terrible and the New Race of Man (Amazon)
  • Lobster Johnson Volume 2: The Burning Hand (Amazon)

Other Possible Books

What else might make the list? There’s the The Way to Glory by David Drake (Amazon). It’s the fourth book in the RCN Series, which tells the story of the intrepid Lt. Leary as he commands a Royal Cinnabar Navy starship. The series is heavily inspired by the Aubrey/Maturin books, and it’s very much in my wheel house.

Another book in Lois McMaster Bujold’s ‘ Vorkosigan Saga (Wikipedia) is another easy pick. I’ve already read Shards of Honor and The Warrior’s Apprentice, so I just need to do some research to see what fans suggest I read next (deciding on published order vs. story order is always such a challenge).

Also in the military science fiction vein is John Ringo’s When the Devil Dances (Amazon), which is Book 3 in the Posleen War series. It’s straightforward military SF, in which our heroes must defeat an invading alien army, but sometimes that’s just what the doctor ordered.

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