Assembling Nuketown’s 2019 Summer Reading List

It’s spring, and while others are tending to their gardens I’m thinking about my summer reading list. I don’t have a goal in mind for my 12th annual summer reading list, but I expect it to be in the 12-15 novel range, with a few graphic novels thrown in. As always, it will be a mix of returning series and new books, and, as always, I’m looking for suggestions.

Returning Series

After reviewing my reading lists for the last few years, I realized I have quite a few series in progress. Heck, I could almost build my entire reading list off of returning series.

As always, the latest books in The Expanse and Lost Fleet series are locks for the list (in this case, it’s the Genesis Fleet, which is a prequel to the Lost Fleet). The Thrawn books have been my beach read for the last two years and I see no reason to change that fledgling tradition. I’m itching to read some more thoughtful science fiction, so I expect Use of Weapons (Book 3 of The Culture) will make the list.

  • Rising Tides (Destroyermen, Book 5) by Taylor Anderson (Amazon) – On of my go-to nautical series for reading on Lake Champlain during our annual summer vacation. Plus, the books in this series are almost available at my local used bookstore, Hooked on Books.
  • War Factory (Transformation, Book 2) by Neal Asher (Amazon) – Darker than what I normally read, but still good. The series is about the hunt for rogue AI named Penny Royal.
  • Tiamat’s Wrath (The Expanse, Book 8) by James R.A. Corey (Amazon) – The penultimate book in The Expanse series. The previous book jumped the story a few decades into the future. Everyone’s older (which I can relate to) and an empire of former Martians is on the rise.
  • Triumphant (Genesis Fleet, Book 3) by Jack Campbell (Amazon) – The third book in the prequel series to The Lost Fleet. Based on the title, I’m thinking it might be the last one as well.
  • The Way to Glory (RCN Series, Book 4) by David Drake (Amazon) – The Aubrey/Mautrin-inspired space opera that serves as a substitute for the now-concluded Patrick O’Brian historical naval fiction series.
  • Ancillary Mercy (Imperial Radch, Book 3) by Ann Leckie (Amazon) – The conclusion to the Imperial Radch series, which is an excellent exploration of far future gender and identity.
  • Into the Fire (Vatta’s Peace #2) by Elizabeth Moon (Amazon) – The second book in the follow-up series fo Moon’s Vatta’s War. The first book was planet bound; I’m hoping this one will return the action to the stars.
  • A Bad Deal for the Whole Galaxy (The Salvagers, Book 2) by Alex White (Amazon) – My surprise read for the winter was A Big Ship at the Edge of the Galaxy, which mashed up space opera and magic in ways I didn’t expect. I’m looking forward to the sequel.
  • The Black Lung Captain (Tales of the Ketty Jay, Book 2) by Chris Wooding (Amazon) – Another technology/magic mashup that’s more reminiscent of the old Crimson Skies game … with demons.
  • Thrawn: Treason (Thrawn, Book 3) by Timothy Zahn (Amazon) – The second book in the series, which purported to team up Admiral Thrawn with Darth Vadar, spent too much time as a Clone Wars era Thrawn/Anakin buddy flick. This novel is focused more on Thrawn’s sense of betrayal after the Empire focuses on building the Death Star instead of his own TIE-based project. The Thrawn series became my go-to beach reading the last two summers.
  • Use of Weapons (A Culture Novel, Book 3) by Iain Banks (Amazon) – The Culture books are consistently good reads. This entry focuses on the intelligence agency that works behind the scenes of the post-scarcity, post-human civilization known as the Culture.
  • Shadow Captain (Sequel to Revenger) by Alastair Reynolds (Amazon)  – Revenger found humanity in a far off solar system, piecing together an existence from the remains of prior galactic civilizations. It featured a technological treasure hunt and space pirates combined with a hard science edge. Shadow Captain promises more of the same. This may be my first beach book of the summer, given that Thrawn: Treason doesn’t come out until July.

Returning Authors

  • The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley (Amazon) – I enjoyed Hurley’s The Stars are Legion, which featured an evolving war between decaying generational starships starved for genetic material. The Light Brigade is a new novel that combines military science fiction with time travel.
  • Star Wars: Solo by Mur Lafferty (Amazon) – A friend of mine wrote a Star Wars book? You better believe I’m going to read it.
  • Salvation: A Novel (Salvation Sequence Book 1) by Peter F. Hamilton (Amazon) – Hamilton’s Commonwealth space opera novels are some of my favorite reads, so naturally I’m interested in his next science fiction trilogy.
  • Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber (Amazon) – I just came across this novel, which is the first book in Weber’s Homestead series. Weber writes decent, occasionally awesome, military SF. I’m always looking for more of that, but the downside with Weber is his occasional “the government is stupid, the military knows best” in-character rants.

New Authors

I only have one new-to-me author on this list, mostly because those I read regularly have so many new books out. That said, my summer reading list usually features two to five authors I haven’t read before, and I’m always interested in picking up someone new.

  • Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Amazon) – A story about the remnants of humanity trying to survive on a terraformed world that is not their own … all while avoiding the attention of an all-powerful (and hostile) alien race.

Graphic Novels

The haunted stories of Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. are staples of my summer reading list. There’s nothing like sitting by a campfire while dusk approaches, sipping a beer and soaking in the subtle (and not-so-subtle) horror of a world overrun by cosmic entities. I’d love to find an equally good series to complement B.P.R.D., but so far, no dice. Suggestions are welcome!

  • Abe Sapien Volume 5: Sacred Places (Amazon)
  • BPRD: The Devil You Know vol. 2 (Amazon)
  • BPRD: The Devil You Know vol. 3 (Amazon)
  • Hellboy and the B.P.R.D: 1952 (Amazon)

Previous Summer Reading Lists

  • 2018: 13 novels, 2 non-fiction books, 7 graphic novels
  • 2017: 17 novels, 1 novella, 8 graphic novels
  • 2016: 16 novels, 1 novella, 8 graphic novels
  • 2015: 15 novels, 9 graphic novels
  • 2014: 13 novels, 5 graphic novels
  • 2013: 11 novels, 5 graphic novels
  • 2012: 11 novels, 1 graphic novels
  • 2011: 11 novels, 0 graphic novels
  • 2010: 7 novels, 0 graphic novels
  • 2009: 9 novels, 0 graphic novels
  • 2008: 8 novels, 8 graphic novels
  • 1993: 26 novels

Featured Image Meta

Cover art for Tiamat’s Wrath. Credit: Orbit Books

4 comments

  1. Also currently sitting on a shelf, waiting to be read, is The Past Through Tomorrow by Robert Heinlein. The friend who lent just nudged me about reading it. 🙂

    It’s been in the queue for a while and I’m hoping to get to it after my current read, Black Helicopters by Caitlin R. Kiernan. At the rate I’m going though, it could very easily become a summer reading list book.

  2. Another summer reading recommendation (by the same friend) is The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth Book 1) by N. K. Jemisin. Here’s the summary blurb:

    At the end of the world, a woman must hide her secret power and find her kidnapped daughter in this “intricate and extraordinary” Hugo Award winning novel of power, oppression, and revolution

    I’ve heard good things about Jemisin and this novel – as well as its two follow ups — won a Hugo.

  3. One more suggestion (same friend) is The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, a fantasy novel that’s getting excellent reviews.

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