Summer’s End 2023

Usually I write these Summer Reading List retrospectives at the actual end of summer (rather than days before the start of the next summer) but 2023 was a particularly trying year and motivation was lacking.

But now a new summer is upon us … so let’s take a breath and see how last year went.

In 2023, I planned to read 12 novels. I added one additional book – Alien: The Cold Forge, raising my total to 13. Of these, I read 11. I had two novellas; I read neither of them. I had one graphic novel – Hellboy: The Bones of Giants – which I did read.

Vacation-wise, my family went to Vermont for our annual stay on Lake Champlain, and I went with my son to Rodney Scout Reservation, a scout camp in Maryland, located on the Chesapeake Bay. As always, I thought I’d read more at camp than I did, but wrangling a dozen or so boys turns out to be pretty time-consuming.


  • Eversion by Alistair Reynolds – Amazon – This time-skipping, time-looping novel made for a great summer read. It featured settings like a 1800s era sail ship wrecking off the coast of Norway and a zeppelin exploring Antarctica, plus other, more futuristic expeditions. All ended in disaster, but ultimately, the individual disasters don’t matter. It’s the reality-warping mystery behind them that does.
  • Children of Memory (Children of Time Book 3) by Adrian Tchaikovsky – Amazon – More temporal shenanigans featured in this latest Children of Time novel. The two previous books featured time as a linear concept, featuring great leaps forward in time that demonstrated how alien civilizations advanced. This book takes place in the same universe – and carries forward the uplifted Earth species we met in the first books (spiders, squids) while introducing a new species: corvids (aka crows). As always, Tchaikovsky does an excellent job getting into the heads of these evolved creatures.
  • Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes – Amazon – Sold as Event Horizon meets Titanic, this sci-fi horror novel had fun playing with the tropes of the sci-fi and horror genres. If you liked the movies Ghost Ship or 13 Ghosts (and, of course, Event Horizon), you’ll enjoy this book.


  • Alien: Out of the Shadows by Tim Libbons – Amazon – This book takes place between the original Alien movie and the sequel Aliens and features an alien infection on a mining planet. The setup is good … but it featured Ellen Ripley for no good reason other than people probably thought it would sell books. And it probably did, but I wish she wasn’t there. Given the timeline, you knew Ripley would survive, and you knew that she wouldn’t remember any of this. Having to jump through the narrative hopes to accomplish this wasn’t worth having her in the book.
  • Dragons of Deceit by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman – Amazon – From a pure nostalgia viewpoint, this book was great. But nostalgia only gets you so far, and while I appreciate the novel’s tour of favorite places and old friends, I wish it could have gotten to the main story a hell of a lot faster.

Looking Ahead

I didn’t finish two of the novel. The first was Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty – Amazon. I started it, but summer got busy, and then the fall got busier, and then the winter … well, you know how it goes. The same goes for Alien: The Cold Forge by Alex White. Unlike Alien: Out of the Shadows, this book adds to the Alien universe without including any of the Alien or Aliens characters. I’ve been slowly reading it since last summer.

When it comes to the novellas – The Sins of Our Fathers (The Expanse, #9.5) by Corey S.A. James – Amazon – and Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot DiariesBook 3) by Martha Wells – Amazon – I just ran out of time.

I’m carrying all three of these books/novellas forward to the 2024 list, with Station Eternity jumping to the top of the reading list.

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