Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thanksgiving Mini-Reviews

I've been travelling, both on business and vacation, which explains the light posting here for the last couple weeks.  But while posting was light, I had plenty of time to read.  Here are some quick reviews of the books that I read during my travels.


Architect of Aeons, by John C. Wright - The fourth book of the Count to the Eschaton sequence wakes Menelaus Montrose and Ximen Del Azarchel after the invading Hyades civilization collects the peoples of Earth, sending their captives to forcibly colonize worlds.  To ensure the survival of the colonists and Man as a collection of species, they must speed the growth of the AI construct inside Jupiter and risk enslaving the worlds of Man to the Jupiter Brain.  This is ambitious space opera on a galactic scale across millennia of time.  Read. This. Series.

Battle Cruiser, by B. V. Larson - Larson has been crowned as one of the Big Three of Indie Mil SF, outselling many of legacy publishing's mil sf masters.  Battle Cruiser instead is a space opera with a hero in the military instead of the military as hero of most mil SF.  It is a decent beach read and an improvement over his Star Force series.

Comes the Destroyer, by David vanDyke - The tenth book in the Plagues Wars series is probably the wrong place to introduce people to it as the series constantly changes genres, starting as a bioterror tale that goes post-apocalyptic and then full-bore mil-sf in the vein of John Ringo's Legacy of the Aldenata.  While I enjoyed the earlier bioterror and post-apocalypse entries more, vanDyke crafts a page-turner that kept my interest, and I want to find out how the series ends.  And there's five more books and at least one more genre shift to go...

Set to Kill by Declan Finn - At times both a love letter and a Dear John letter to convention fandom, Set to Kill brings a Ringoesque hypercompetent mercenary security professional to Dragon Wyvern Con, where Sad Tearful Puppies have been threatened.  Best described as action film meets sci-fi convention murder mystery, it works best for those who have been caught up in the recent incineration of the Hugos or for those in the Liberty/Dragon Con crowd who can see through the thin character disguises.  Guaranteed to piss off the WorldCon crowd.  As a story, though, it's prequel, It was Only on Stun, is a better example of the convention murder mystery.

Swan Knight's Son, by John C. Wright - As it is the December Puppy of the Month, keep an eye on the Puppy of the Month Club blog for my thoughts.  I will say that I found it to be a quick read and a worthy addition to Wright's growing bibliography.

Thief of Time, by Terry Pratchett - I loved reading this when it first came out, and the radio play with Harlan Ellison as Wen the Eternally Surprised is still one of my favorite audiobooks.  However, during this read through, I found a hollowness to Pratchett's work that I failed to notice when Discworld was a bigger part of my reading life.  The scaffold marks on the humor and plot are more evident this time around, and much of the action is anti-heroic in nature.  Susan now gets old fast, and is only a dye job and problem glasses away from a modern internet scold.  However, the best part of the book is still the Monks of Time, aka the Men in Saffron.

Thune's Vision, by Schuyler Hernstrom - This is a collection of sword and sorcery stories that I heartily recommend to readers wanting a fun read and writers who want to learn their craft.  As it was the November Puppy of the Month, Frisky Pagan, Jon, and I all wrote in depth on it here.

The Vindication of Man, by John C. Wright - The fifth book in the Count to the Eschaton, it starts with Rania's imminent return from the M3 globular cluster and the liberation of Man from service to the Hyades cluster.  John C. Wright then throws a toolbox full of wrenches into the mix, shaking up the concepts of reality that Menelaus and Ximen used to steer history by.  It sags in the beginning as the stage is set on the planet Torment, but takes off like a roller-coaster as soon as the ornery Texan comes out of hiding.

Who Fears the Devil?, by Manly Wade Wellman - Probably my favorite collection of Appendix N stories, this features John the Balladeer who walks through Appalachia with his silver-stringed guitar, collecting folk songs and stories from the people he meets and squaring off against the witch men, haints, and haunts that afflict them.  Fans of D&D will see an inspiration for the Bard class, while fans of weird tales will find mountain men and women, as well as their beliefs and traditions, treated with respect instead of the sneering at hillbillies more commonly seen in the publishing industry.  Potentially a future Puppy of the Month.


  1. " Rania's imminent return from the M3 supercluster"

    You indulge in a small typo. M3 is a globular cluster, that is a cloud of stars orbiting our galaxy. A supercluster is a collection of clusters of galaxies.

    In my book, a globular cluster houses an Authority, an arm houses an Archon, a galaxy houses a throne, a cluster houses a cherub, and a supercluster houses a seraph. They are different orders of magnitude.

    You will encounter seraphim and cherubim in the final volume, COUNT TO INFINITY.

  2. Thank you. I have made the correction, and look forward to reading Count to Infinity.